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Meet my friend Mike.

You’re back! Thanks for coming to visit again! Here is a lady bug to make you smile.

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Ma has been inspired by everything I’m doing, her previous work has come flooding back with all of the amazing things she used to do for our orchard. You see while our farm was not certified as organic produce, my Ma worked so bloody hard with everything she did to use less synthetic fertilisers and soil improvers. This meant that long term she was creating a micro eco system that produced better, sweeter, healthier produce. She is incredible, seriously.

So she loaded me up on all sorts of ideas to read up on and drove up to Perth to give me a whole pile of goodies. Molasses, humic and micorrhizal fungi, along with some green lacewing larvae and montdorensis mite larvae.

Micorrhizal Fungi:

This is Mike, the star of the show.

These little guys essentially extend a plants current root system to allow them to more easily take up nutrients in the surrounding soil. So not only are they lengthening the root system, they take up nutrients more easily than most plants, transferring these to the plants root system, acting as a medium for the transfer.

While in undisturbed soils fungi naturally occur to do this, in disturbed soil that is dry or treated with chemicals they do not occur. They could take many years to establish. The sooner you put them in, the sooner your soil will change into its own ecosystem.

I put 10g of the fungi into about 150ml of water in a bucket for a couple of days to get it active. After that I split a little bit at a time in to my watering can, diluted and watered straight on to the garden. James walked behind me watering it off the leaves and through the mulch to start doing its thing in the soil.

Molasses:

As a wise neighbour once told me, this has the same affect as red cordial on five year olds. It makes you plants go nuts because it gets the microbes in soil soil ridiculously excited. Actually, its probably more like eating a tub of yoghurt a day to be honest. Enough of that though.

You could easily make up a sugar syrup and dilute it, but you’ll most likely be using refined sugar. Molasses has added goodies to it as it is less refined, its dark colour a sign of rich trace minerals. Add about a cup to a cup and a half to the watering can and dillute, spraying off the mess from the leaves afterwards to make sure it reaches the soil.

Humic Acid:

Essentially this is the superman version of compost juice. Its older and richer and it smells pretty bad. Probably more like a politician I suppose.

HA increases bacterial activity within the soil and in turn this helps balance the pH of the soil. It also increases water penetration to the soil, as well as the soils ability to retain moisture. It fertilises the soil with a good dose of nitrogen, so you should see an increase in leaves from the treatment.

Just the same as above, mix 50ml/L in a watering can, water in afterwards. HA will leave black stains on your leaves if you don’t really wash it off so make sure you get every last bit!

Bugs:

So at this point in time I have aphids, thrips, whitefly, cutleaf and these grubby black caterpillars who are all having an absolute ball destroying my garden. The lacewings come with two boxes for their eggs which you hang in shrubs, keeping them out of direct hot sun so that eggs can hatch over the coming few days. The mites are in a tub so I just dust these over the mulch. Make sure you don’t do this when it’s about to rain heavily and try not to hand water too much over the coming days.

I buys my bugs from Bugs for Bugs based in QLD. Our order took four days to arrive. Once arrived, the bugs need to be put out pretty quickly either in the early morning or late evening when it is still cool so they can adjust naturally to the increase in temperature.

Phew, that was a big one. Hope you enjoyed, drop a comment or send me a message if there is anything more you’d like to know!

 

 

 

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