Anyone who has spent any time in their garden over the last couple of months will have come across whitefly – those tiny, white, annoying “flies” that travel in massive gangs, ready to fly into your face while you’re watering your tamarillo, or as you brush past your hedge! Honestly, they are the bane of many Melbourne gardeners at the moment, and we here at SoilWorx want to help you rid your garden of these irritating, sap sucking garden goblins!
Firstly, to get rid of whitefly, we need to understand how they tick, and why there are SO many of them around at the moment. It’s fairly simple – whitefly, like a lot of pests in our patch, do nothing other than eat and breed. Melbourne’s wetter than usual winter, late onset of spring, and some crazy humidity have created the “perfect storm” for whitefly – a cornucopia of eating and breeding. A whitefly can go from baby to breeder in 20 – 30 days, hence their MASSIVE numbers at the moment.
Whiteflies are a bit like aphids – they suck sap, and can do dreadful things to the foliage of plants, which results in a poor plant appearance, and a reduction in vigour. Whiteflies are often encouraged into our patches by an overuse of pesticides (this wipes out their natural predators), as well as over-fertilisation of plants using high nitrogen fertilisers. If you’ve got whiteflies, have a look at which products you are feeding your plants with, what you’re spraying around, and how often you are using this stuff. It is possible to kill your plants with love so if you’re not sure, ask one of our SoilWorx experts for a helping hand.
So, let’s get to the nitty gritty – how to get rid of whitefly! First up, engage in a bit of garden hygeine, and remove any weeds and grasses that may be a bit out of control in and around your garden beds. I know at my place, whitefly LOVE hanging out in my kikuyu, especially in areas where it has gotten a bit ….. well…..out of hand! Secondly, it’s important to attack whiteflies when they are at their most vulnerable – first thing in the morning! Before the weather warms up, whitefly are a bit slow, a bit sluggish, and are therefore easier to target. There are a couple of methods and products you can use to get rid of these guys:
- Botanical insecticidal soap sprays (think Natrasoap) work really well, but the secret is to spray every couple of days for 3 weeks. Make sure you spray under the foliage for the best result.
- Spray Eco-Oil, Pest Oil, White Oil or your own home oil-based recipe onto your plants every 10 days for about a month. Again, make sure you spray under the foliage for the best result.
- General “pest sprays” like pyrethrum, garlic and chili sprays may be useful as well, but remember these types of sprays will kill both the bad bugs AND the beneficial critters (like bees, butterflies and a host of pollinators). Use this stuff carefully, first thing in the morning, and watch where you spray.
- A bunch of gardeners swear by the high pressure hose method – a blast of the affected plants, first thing in the morning, for three mornings in a row is said to get rid of whitefly. Does it work? I’ll let you be the judge but hey, it doesn’t hurt to try.
We know how much you guys LOVE your gardens, and we hope this helps in dealing with this annoying pest. As always, SoilWorx expert staff are always on hand to help you with any aspect of your garden – be it pests, pollinators, plant choices and pebbles (as well as everything in between). Got a question for us? Why not post it on our Facebook page, leave us a comment on our blog, or, better still, head on in to your nearest SoilWorx garden centre and ask us in person! We’d love to see you!
We will be running 2 classes this school holidays, Thursday 4th and Saturday 13th of October. Both classes will start at 10am and run for approx an hour.
Our kids club is a great way to entertain young budding gardeners, kids that love crafty fun or for those little ones who love socializing.The best bit is…its free! Lots of fun will be had while making rock creations and grassy caterpillar heads, as well as an exciting treasure hunt all while checking out our new kids corner at the Pakenham store!
Our Kids Club events are not age specific, although it is a requirement that kids are accompanied by a parent/guardian.
Please call to book your spot!
9361-1300 for Deer Park
5940-4918 for Pakenham
OR email …….email@example.com
We look forward to sharing the fun!
September is a fantastic time to be alive for us gardeners! The chill is almost gone from the mornings, and the afternoons are getting longer. Blossoms are bursting and you can smell spring in the air wherever you go. If you have been hibernating through winter now is the time to get out and into the garden, and get your outdoor space looking gorgeous.
In The Vegie Patch
Early Spring is a great time to think about re-invigorating that veggie patch, or indeed setting up a brand new herb and veggie garden. Prepare your patch for spring planting by lightly digging over the area and adding a bit of gypsum for to those clayey Melbourne soils. Follow this up by popping in plenty of organic matter including top-notch compost and well rotted manure. Don’t forget to mulch the beds with a straw mulch. Leave this for a week or two, and then you can start planting all those stunning spring veggies and herbs. If your bed is ready to go, it’s a great time of year to plant basil, lettuce, parsley, capsicum, cucumber, zucchini, tarragon, carrots, eggplants and tomatoes. If you’re after something a little bit different, why not plant some heritage and heirloom varieties of tomatoes like Green Zebra, Black Russian, Tigerella and Yellow Pear.
These tomatoes are tough, look fantastic, taste great and will bring some real interest to the next salad you make! Keep an eye out for these at your local SoilWorx – we proudly stock a great range of Rennaisance Romantic Vegies and Herbs, as well as some beautiful Scotsburn edibles!
Love Your Lawn
Coming out of a long, cold, wet winter, many of our lawns will be looking a bit average at this time of year, particularly Buffalo, Couch and Kikuyu. Don’t fret – they’re not dead, just hibernating! To give our lawns a lift, grab a garden fork and some good quality lawn fertiliser. Aerate the lawn and relieve some compaction by using the fork to “punch” a number of holes in the soil across the entire lawn surface. Follow this up by a good application of lawn food – throw this across the lawn like you’re feeding chooks and water in well. This should give your lawn the kick-start it needs, and in a couple of week’s time, your lawn will be luscious. Stop bindiis and broad-leafed weeds in their tracks by spraying the lawn with a selective herbicide, such as Yates BuffaloPRO Weed Killer Concentrate.
Hedge Your Bets
Spring is a fabulous season to get new hedges planted and established before summer hits. Hedging plants that work really well in the western suburbs include Euonymus“Tom Thumb”, Syzgium “Bush Christmas” and “Hinterland Gold” ,
Westringia fruticosa “Native Rosemary”, Buxus “English Box” and Choisya ternata “Mexican Orange Blossom”. The secret to getting a healthy, consistent screen or hedge is good drainage, and a bit of gypsum, volcanic rock and compost can help improve this at the time of planting. Don’t overcrowd your plants – give them room to grow into each other, and you’ll be blessed with a beautiful, dense screen in a couple of years. Our Deer Park and Pakenham stores both stock a great range of hedging, screening and topiary plants – head in and speak to one of our qualified horticulturists to see which hedge works for you!
Pests to Look Out For
After all the rain we have had, there are a few pests and problems to keep an eye out for in the garden.
- Snails and slugs are about, so protect young seedlings by placing a ring of used coffee grounds around them. This won’t harm your plants, but it will get rid of the snails quick smart!
- Citrus Trees, Gardenias and Murrayas have a bit of sooty mould on their leaves at the moment, as well as the first signs of aphid. Spray these with a Pest Oil or White Oil once every fortnight for six weeks, and this should clear up both these pests!
- Avoid Black Spot on the leaves of your roses by watering only the roots of the plants, first thing in the morning. At the first sign of Black Spot, spray the leaves with a Rose Fungicide, and clear up any fallen foliage to prevent re-infestation.
And remeber, our qualified horticulturists are always on hand to help you with any of your gardening questions and conumdrums – head into your local SoilWorx and have a chat!
Enjoy the warmer weather and the sunshine that September brings, and happy gardening!
We here at SoilWorx just love our roses! In fact, we love them so much, we’ve given them their own month! To celebrate this perfect plant, we are running a fantastic FREE rose workshop with our resident rose guru Deanne. From pruning to placement, staking to selction, pests to companion plants, all your thorny questions about this beautiful bit of boanty will be answered. This is a hands-on workshop for gardeners of all levels who want to learn the ins and outs of roses. This is always a popular workshop, and will book out, so make sure you reserve your space by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org If you just can’t wait for the workshop, and want some info to whet your appetite, check out our factsheet on basic rose care here, or head on in to SoilWorx and have a look at our gorgeous range of bare-root roses. We’ve got 3ft standards, 4ft standards and bush roses available to you at a bargain bare-root price (yup, even cheaper than the big sheds)!
This is a great way to buy for a couple of reasons;
Sleepy-time; roses,amongst other plants have gone to sleep, so to speak, for the winter period, meaning they have pretty much shut down. This state of dormancy allows us to sell them bare rooted as they are not really concerned momentary for their well-being.
Cost; its cheaper for us, we don’t have to pay for pots or potting mix, therefore its cheaper for you!
I would say roses are one of the easiest plants maintain, as long as you know the basic care necessities. So we will go through them now.
Roses like to live in a well conditioned soil environment, you can either add this at planting time on and around planted rose, or if you are preparing the panting area prior to purchasing roses, you can dig manure in with your shovel. Cow manure or Organic Rose Fertiliser is a great addition to your garden bed aiding great blooming roses! Both of which we stock in store.
Planting is easy bush roses need no support they will happily grow in the ground just like any other plant. Standards on the other hand, will need to be staked and tied to the stake for ongoing support. Inadequate support of the stem will result in your rose heads snapping off in strong winds, this will undoubtedly happen if left unsupported because as the rose produces leaves and buds it will begin to get quite top-heavy. Hit the stake in prior to planting, you will ensure no root damage occurs. Placement of the stake should be at the back of the standard and as the stem thickens you will barely see it from the front view. Once planted, secure the rose to the stake.
Aphids; are one of the most common little pests you will find on roses, they’re quite easy to eliminate, what I do is go through and squeeze the little things to death, then spray foliage (undersides as well) and rose buds with Pyrethrum in a little squirty bottle. If your quantity or roses is too great for the initial squeezing technique you can apply the Pyrethrum in a 4Litre spray bottle. All of which we stock in store.
Black spot is another undesirable fungal issue which can commonly occur on roses, especially where conditons are warm & humid. To abet this disease do not water foliage at night, keep the centre of plant free of crossing branches to allow air circulation and pick off any leaves you see that are harbouring this little nasty. A VERY important thing to do is NOT put these leaves in your compost bin. Burn the affected leaves once you’ve picked them. A homemade tonic of 1 part Full Cream Milk and 10 parts water can be sprayed over your roses with black spot safely, to help suppress it and prevent spreading.
Dead-heading and pruning roses is not a hard task. Once you know the fundamentals you will fly through it. Watch this space! Later on in the year we will conduct a fun and friendly rose pruning work shop.
So come on into SoilWorx and choose the rose color of your choice. We have yellows, pinks, oranges, reds, purple, the old fav iceberg and loads more! ! Look forward to seeing you, and, while you’re here, why not have a chat to our rose expert Deanne – she’ll take the torniness out of ALL your rose questions!
- Now is the time for beaut bare rooted fruit! Now that winter is here, head into SoilWorx and grab yourself some bare-rooted, deciduous fruit trees. Pick trees with a nice shape, and don’t forget to prune them back before you plant them out (or ask us nicely to do it for you). Miniatures, dwarf trees, columnars, double grafts – you name it, we’ve got it. Find out more here
- It’s still not too late to plant heaps of herbs and veggies. We have some amazing, fresh, new seasons seedlings ready to grow, including Bok Choi, Tatsoi, Sage, Calendula, Borage, Feverfew, Rocket, Tarragon, Basil (perennial), Mint, Carrots (purple and orange), Spinach, Celeriac and Lavender. Head on in to grab your today.
- Set aside a bit of space and pop in some asparagus! These are a gorgeous additions to the patch, look amazing, and taste pretty good too! We have some beautiful asparagus ready to go, or why not try Deannes’ favourite, the purple asparagus. For more info on how to get your asparagus flourishing, click here.
- Add some colour and movement to the patch, and pop in some of these little pretties- dianthus, cornflower, pansy, viola, verbena and stock. We have a full range of beautiful potted colour available at the moment, at our always unbeatable price of 6 for $10!
- Top up mulch on your vegie patches, herb gardens and ornamental beds, especially important for weed suppression at this time of year. Use pea straw or sugar cane mulches for edible gardens, or choose from our huge range of wood based and inorganic pebble mulches. These types of mulches are perfect for ornamental gardens, and, right now, you may be eligible for a government rebate when you spend $50 or more on mulch. Why not head on in and ask our awesome SoilWorx staff.
- We have a HUGE range of bare-rooted ornamental trees – ornamental pears, crabapples, ashes, oaks, weeping cherries, birches, gleditsias and heaps more. Now is the perfect time to plant deciduous trees, and these always move fast. Head on in and check out our MASSIVE range today.
- With all this rain about, snails and slugs will be out in full force. SoilWorx can help you deal with all your creepy crawlies, and new in this month is our Slugga snail and slug traps. Unlike pellets, these traps are pet, child and wildlife friendly, and allow you to deal with these slimy critters organically. Whack in a bit of beer at night time, and these traps will keep your patch safe!
- Re-potting is a great job to do over winter, and, with our winter specials on pots and potting mix, why wouldn’t you? All of our fab concrete pots and planters (as well as concrete statues and urns) are 25% marked price, and our Mother Earth All Purpose Potting Mix is a bargain at $6 per bag. Concrete not your thing? We’ve got an awesome selection of terracotta and glazed pots as well…..you’ll be impressed!
- Feeling a bit soggy and boggy? Keep an eye out for drainage problems in the garden. This is evident if water pools on the surface after rain or the ground stays soggy and muddy well after surrounding areas have dried off. Use Gypsum or clay breaking liquid to break up clay soils. Adding compost and organic matter will also improve drainage. Check out our great article on dealing with clay soil here!
- We’ve had a fair few frosty evenings over the last month and more on the way, so you need to protect those tender plants from the elements. There are several ways to protect plants from frost including covering plants at night, using frost protectants and watering the foliage. Some vegetables may also suffer from frost damage if they are flowering at the time, such as potatoes and peas.