Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Extreme garden pest control

As you may have read in my last post, things have been neglected somewhat of late. That includes the garden and backyard. Weeds are going crazy, the grass needs mowing and some undesirable bugs have taken up residence. A few months back I picked a very small crop from my mandarin tree. I had noticed that some bronze stink bugs were present. It was my intention to give the tree a good prune, debug, oil spray treatment and fertilise. However I got slack and never got round to doing it. Next thing I know the whole tree had burst into flower, oops missed that opportunity. I thought all was going OK, I hadn't seen any more stink bugs, yes the tree really did need a prune but it was too late now. I gave it some liquid fertiliser and planned on giving it a good treatment once the fruit was the size of a pea. Last week whilst watering the tree I was shocked to find the tree was literally covered in orange bugs, different looking bugs to what had been there before.
The offending bugs
As it turns out these are immature bronze stink bugs. They can cause lots of damage to the tree especially the new shoots, see above picture.  I don't think there is an organic spray to control these pesky critters unfortunately.  You can pick them off manually and dump them into hot soapy water.  However, when under threat they squirt out a rather nasty smelling slime that can be very irritating to the skin.  The other method of removal that I had heard about was from Annette McFarlane on ABC local radio gardening program.  Annette uses a vacuum to remove the bugs, yes a vacuum.  Considering the size of the infestation I thought this is going to be the best method for me!

Extreme pest control tools
 Armed with my trusty old vac, eye protection, gloves, hat and a long sleeved shirt I attacked the tree.  My my my what a sense of satisfaction one gets from sucking those blighters from the leaves and branches.  At the same time I did feel some guilt as they have a right to live as well.  It took the best part of an hour to do the job.  Up and down the ladder, looking under leaves and branches, finding their hiding spots.  I can't imagine what the neighbours must have thought, vacuuming a tree.....LOL
Once finished I had to prune out a large branch in the middle as it had died.  I found about a dozen more bugs so they got they hot soapy water treatment.  I'll give the tree an oil spray next as I think it has scale as well. 

A word of warning if you want to try this yourself, don't use a bag less vacuum or your brand new Dyson (no I didn't make that mistake).  It makes a bit of a mess in the vac and the smell from the bugs is a bit difficult to remove but it works a treat!  

My trusty garden helper Tana

I'm finally getting my gardening mojo back again.  It's just going to take a long time to get on top of things, baby steeps.

Do you have any extreme gardening adventures?

Cheers Lisa

Friday, October 5, 2012

A sewing update

Goodness look how easily I fall back into bad blogging habits. 
I'm slowly trying to establish some sort of a routine in my life, as everything has gone to pot over the last 8 - 12 months.  The wonderful Rose started a 28 day challenge on the DTE forum last month and I'm hoping it will help me find my way.

I have managed to do a little sewing during my blogging drought and thought I'd share that with you today.

This friendship bag was made to hold an 18th birthday present for a family friend.  My idea. Of course I leave everything to the last minute and couldn't get it finished on time.

Friendship bag
Fabric panels and coordinating fabrics
Other side
It turned out really well and is very cute, I'm sure I'll find a home for it soon.  There is a bit of an interesting story about the fabrics I used.  The panels were purchased from eBay with the intention of using them for a quilt for my niece. Some months later I won a fabric pack as a door prize at a my local quilt shop.  I later realised that the fabrics were from the same range as the little panels, what a coincidence.

A couple more  pairs of underpants have been made.  After a few adjustment to the pattern I'm really happy with how they fit.  The Hawaiian print cotton Lycra cost only $1.00 for 1m at the RSPCA thrift shop.  The black Lycra was purchased several years ago and never used.  Buying the elastic is the most expensive part.  I must get myself organised as I'm in desperate need of a few more pairs.

Perfect fit undies

Last but not least I finally finished my vintage sheet quilt top.  Hmmm it's only taken how many years.  I was all set to use an old woollen blanket as batting and one of Mum's old flannelette sheets for backing but it's a bit bigger than I anticipated.  Finding or having the space to lay it out so I can sandwich the layers is proving difficult.  Sounds like another excuse really!! 

Being queen size it's difficult to get a good picture

I'm planning on using the sheet on the left as backing
I really need to apply myself to finish this quilt, it will be perfect for summer, nice and bright and breezy.  Stay tuned for updates and a whole post dedicated to vintage sheets. 

Have a lovely weekend
Cheers Lisa