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Common problems and questions
1) Compost bin or worm farm is full of little white worms and more
I often see a compost bin as a miniature version of a perfect ecosystem.
Anybody who’s job it is to break down organic matter will live there – first the “shredders” of waste material: millipedes, slugs/snails, slaters, roaches, beetle larvae, some maggots – even mice and rats.
Their waste (excrement) is broken down by the next group of “composters”: fungi, amphipods (litter hoppers)
Next lot is the extremely numerous springtails and tiny fruitfly larvae
Then come the mites (minute), bacteria and other small “finishers”. sometimes fungal, some worms.
Even worm farms should have all these in them at some stage and that’s how Nature runs the show
2) Leafcurl on stonefruit/peaches/plums
Fungal disease that started last autumn when infection began; The new buds that were formed in autumn and during early winter got the fungal spores on them and it manifested itself as leafcurl in spring and early summer.
Prevent next years’ infection by spraying double dose of copper when half your leaves have fallen off in autumn – do that twice in a row a few weeks apart
3) Fruit trees not fruiting well or flowering plants not flowering well
Usually a deficiency of potash (the “K” in NPK)
Did you fertilise your plant at all?? If answer is not: use some rose fert or tomato fert a few times a year – little and often. I tend to grab Seafood soup and Seaweed tea and alternate those often.
Just using Blood and Bone (Mostly “N” and some “P”!!!) does not give a plant much incentive to grow flowers and fruit: Chuck some sulphate of potash around the ailing plant in late spring, and during summer – water well in and do it again in early spring next year – That usually does the trick
4) Need pollinators!!!
Some people think that lack of fruit is result of “no bees”.
Always make sure you have plenty of flowers around your garden that will attract the insects that do the pollination… and it’s certainly not just “bees”: Blow Flies, beetles, thrips, mites, drone flies and hoverflies as well as the dozens of native bee species we have in NZ (some can be tiny!)
I adore the colourful exotic flowers you can plant around the vegie garden or orchard; but some of the tiny native flowers are just as attractive and they cater for a totally different “market”
Biodiverse gardens includes biodiverse plantings and that even may include “weeds” such as dill and flowering parsley and flowering wild carrot and especially yarrow!!!
5) Tiny black insects digging tunnels in my clay soil
Ha! Those are some of the native bees we just discussed; these critters are brilliant at all their jobs and make a tiny, thin tube into the soil where they have a few larvae, fed on pollen and nectar;
Our native bees are not “social” bees (like honey bees) but each tunnel is one pair… mind you they do like living “together” with other pairs in that patch of soil, so it looks like they’re almost social.