Garden Problems – Stress and relaxation

Stress in plants is the same as stress in us two legged’s, when we are under stress our immune systems are weakened and we are more likely to catch colds and have other health issues.

Stress in us comes with side effects, such as unable to obtain a good night’s sleep, rushed meals or fast foods and the digestive system does not operate as well as could be; our body functions are under pressure. Thus our original stress condition is compounded with the resulting side effects.

Similarly when a plant comes into stress at this time of the year because of the hot dry conditions, it also weakened, attracting pests and diseases, whose job in nature is to assist in taking the plant out.

The plant goes into reproductive mode, flowering profusely and setting seeds. As the plant’s life is threatened it just wants to produce offspring and most, if not all its resources goes into this.

To make matters even worse the soil life including the worms have insufficient moisture so they disappear and reduce further the plant’s ability to take in nutrients and moisture.

Sap sucking insects compound the problem and diseases such as black spot, rust and mildews run wild.

To illustrate a point, I have two areas of garden where I have silverbeet growing. One right down the back, fenced off from the free ranging chooks, was planted up in late spring. The area is very dry with a heavy clay soil and a number of established trees which also suck most of the available nutrients and moisture out of the soil. It is not a good gardening area and I plan to put raised gardens in with lots of compost to make great growing beds. Till this is done I have not watered as much as I should have and the silverbeet is poor looking with rust problems and going to seed.. Where in another area I do have a raised bed with ample compost and animal manures in. This area was planted with silverbeet seedlings in mid January and each night I give the bed a nice drink of filtered water with a hand held hose. Here the silverbeet is lush and already ready to harvest the outer leaves. No rust, just happy plants that have no stress problems. Worms are active which tells me that all the soil life is also. Better growing medium and a little watering daily is all that is needed to keep it right.

We mentioned a cheap remedy a couple of weeks ago on lawns for the problem of dry spot. This occurs when the soil becomes to dry and will not accept water. To break the surface tension you simply fill a watering can with warm water and squirt some dish washing liquid into the water. Give the water a stir to make it soapy and water onto the dry spots or areas. This breaks the surface tension and water can then penetrate. The same principal can be applied to gardens that have become too dry.

Once you have treated with the soapy water you can then water and the water will soak into the soil.

You do not need to supply a lot of water, instead a little water every day later in the afternoon will do nicely. I prefer to water by hand and at the same time I can then check plants for insect pests and any diseases that might be starting up and take the appropriate action to control. It also allows me to pull out any young weeds and pick ripening fruit before the birds start pecking them. I will often come back inside with a couple of pockets full of near ripe tomatoes to go into a bowl and finish ripening.

Leaf hoppers are into many plants at this time and a few nights ago I noticed a number of them on a Brugmansia I have growing in a container, so out with the Neem Tree Oil and Raingard and a good spraying of the plant along with other plants in the area. Next night there was not a hopper to be seen and only the odd one has turned up since. Another spray a week or so later should be in order.

For bad infestations a number of sprays of the two products maybe required for a few weeks.
White butterflies are starting to flit around my gardens so all the cabbages and brassicas along with the tomato plants have been given a dose of Neem Tree Granules onto the soil at the base of each plant, which helps keep the pests under control.

Spider Mites are another pest insect that can run amok on plants at this time and a spray of Liquid Sulphur will stop them in their tracks. (Do not use with other sprays including Neem tree Oil)

You can however mix Liquid Copper, Liquid Sulphur and Raingard together, but dilute the copper and sulphur separately in some water before adding to the sprayer. For instance if you wanted 10 litres of spray add 35ml of Liquid Copper to a couple of litres of water then in another couple of litres add 25 mls of Liquid sulphur. Put a couple of litres of water into the sprayer and then add the diluted products. Add 10 ml of Raingard and the other 4 litres of water to the sprayer and agitate. You are now ready for battle.

Some gardeners like to use both copper and sulphur as protectors on plants for a range of diseases.

A gardener very kindly sent me a poem she has written which I would like to share with you.


I’m sick of pouring chemicals
Toxic sprays I’ve had a few
I’m going to grow things naturally
I’m now obsessed with poo

My niece has got a sheep farm
So we drive the country route
I pack a shovel in the car
And buckets in the boot

Our palm trees harbour pigeons
They are there from dark to dawn
The compost bin is filling up
With droppings from the lawn

Got a worm farm for my birthday
It takes kitchen scraps for free
Worms give me lovely vermicast
And bottles of their pee

Products in the potting shed
Are lined up in a row
They’re prefixed “Magic” “Bio” “Sea”
And some you’d never know

My strawberries are so big and sweet
Far nicer than a lolly
And I’ve got heaps to give away
Thanks to growing tips from Wally

My garden plants are happy
My obsessions tending manic
But that’s the way it has to be
When you’re growing things organic
Very nicely written.

One comment on “Garden Problems – Stress and relaxation

  1. Noleen on said:

    I like the simplicity of relating stress of humans to plants…
    I wish someone had given advise like this for feeding and watering….. If we don’t eat well and drink water we shrivel up and die just like the plants. I love to garden but found a lot of the garden books just too complicated… for a beginner! A most rewarding hobby!

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