Monday, March 26, 2012

Fungus, chook poo, the back fence and other nasties

I couldn't figure out what was going wrong with my winged bean and the Rosella right alongside it. I think the fact that we still seem to be in the thick of the wet season might have something to do with it.   I know my pawpaw trees have a fungal infection and they seem to get better when I treat them often to a skim milk and water drink spray.  The brown spots on the bean looks like a fungus to me, I also saw insect damage on the leaves.  I got out my handy little sprayer and mixed up a fungal spray, plus insect repellent.  20% skim milk, then chili and garlic, topped up with water.  The winged bean is using the pigeon pea as a climbing support.
 The blue triangle butterflies are back - such pretty butterflies, you would think they would be after sweet nectar, but no! .... they are attracted to the foul smelling chook poo pellets I spread around the garden.  I need both phosphorus and potassium in my garden - I like to add it at the beginning of the growing season but not while there is flooding or it will all wash away.  Lately we seem to just be getting showers, not floods, so hope it is perfect timing.  The pelleted chook poo is aged, so is safe to add directly.
 Well, since I am doing a show and tell of all the nasties I might as well show you my shanty town addition - The roof was replaced at work and I nabbed a few of the old corrugated iron sheets.  Along the back fence I have alternated between wire, bits of wood, in fact whatever I could find to keep my soil in and the bandicoots and toads out.  They burrow underneath the fence, so there needs to be something fairly substantial to keep them out.. The last of the wood was rotting away and I had a big load of almost completed compost I wanted to spread out in that area (and keep contained). The other side of the fence is my neighbours compost heap which already had corrugated iron sides, so I thought it couldn't look much worse.
 I have kept the chicken wire mesh in front so that the beans I am going to plant will happily grow up and cover the unsightly metal.  I had some comfrey growing there too, and will plant out some more plants now that it is more open.   I also put some behind the fruit trees (they are in pots) - they seem to love the sunny area.  I think I can now tidy up that area and just have a row of pots and take out the grow bags I had there before, that is assuming I am going to keep the corrugated iron.
When other people recycle/re-use in their garden it looks right, but am I creating a little shanty town in the back garden or not?  Now that I have removed the trellis with the mandevilla and passionfruit vines this area is getting a lot more light and I think soon you wont even notice the new addition.  I am going to try to keep the madevilla controlled into an arch above the fence, raising its height.  What do you think?


  1. Grrr, that darned fungus. I use a bicarb spray which does the same as a milk spray and it really does work. But you need to keep at it after a rain or just enough humid days. Good luck elimating yours.

    I guess I see what you mean about the shanty-town look, but I wouldn't have called it that if you hadn't pointed it out. I used to have an image of gardens that was all neat, well trimmed, with box hedges and flowing lavendar. Those days are long behind me and I now look at individual plants and their health and productivity plus an overall sense of life and growth and beauty. Your garden always looks great to me. It's so verdant you don't need to worry about a little bit of corrugated iron.

    In the interest of disclosure I should say I have a chook run in my yard now with it's chook shed and lots of chicken wire and star pickets (do I hear you saying "shanty town"?) so maybe my opinion is tainted :-)

  2. Hi Laura,
    I intend to be vigilant every break in the rain we get. they seem few and far between though. I know! I love to look at the "potager" type of kitchen gardens, but then the permaculture ones thrill me more lately. I hope that fence will soon be covered in greenery. I have been following the posts about your chook shed, but it is beautiful - nothing shanty about that.

  3. I probably should have used your spray on my vegies but they're too far gone. We haven't had the quanity of rain you have had but seem to have had nearly as many wet days this year. Good for the rest of the plants, but the vegies hated it.
    My opinion -- If the iron serves the purpose you need, then you should keep it. A garden should be all about recycling.

    1. I think even if it is not raining, but overcast, the veggies stretch out their necks to find some sunshine and become long and leggy. Hopefully you can get another shot at planting veggies this season.

  4. Oh my, I don't see 'shanty' at all, I see beautiful plants and in a short time you won't even see the tin when the vines get growing.

    Tin is 'in' lately, anyway, so I think you have the best of both worlds!

    1. Oh you are so sweet, and it has been growing on me.

  5. I hope your winged bean recovers from the fungus attack. One has to do what one has to do to keep vermin out of the garden. Once those corrugated iron sheets are covered with vegetation, nobody would know that there was once a 'shanty town' there.

    1. Considering it is a wet season plant it seems strange that it would suffer from fungus. I think I will put a few clumps of comfrey there so that when the annual plants die down there will still be coverage.

  6. I think your garden is great, and using what you have to hand is a great thing to do, you won't notice any daggy bits once everything has grown, which should only take about ten minutes in our climate :D

    I haven't had funsus on my winged beans but they did take a log time to flower, so did the snake beans, but now they are going crazy. My problem now being to find them before they get too big and woody :)

    Also, keep an eye out for the cyclone they think may form in the Coral Sea at the end of this week, more rain on the way if it does.

  7. KJ,
    Oh no it is only the weeds that grow that fast! This was the first year I tried the winged beans and couldn't figure out why they took so long. Same with my snake beans. I have been so excited that this is the first year my grandkids have taken to chewing on green beans while we wander the garden.... they are not letting them get big and woody. Oh no! not more rain...

  8. Dearest my Australian friend,
    I am impressed by your word in your reply comment for your friend, "vigilant". I too hope for your winged bean recovers from the fungus attack!!! And I loved the picyures of yours today very much as well. The blue triangle butterflies are REALLY beautiful, aren't they♡♡♡

    PS> Thank you very much for your thoughtful comment. I really am appreciated the kind wwords♪♪♪ I am tackling with the problem now, whew...

    Lots of love and Hugs to you, xoxo Miyako*


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