Fourteen day compost

You can make compost in 14 days, using the following method. You'll need seven or eight wooden open bins. They can be built using old tin or boards but if they are made with slats and bolted together they can be moved to another position in the garden. Small sheets of tin can be placed at the front of the bins to keep the mixture in and the weather out. 1. Spread cut grass on the ground (near the bins). Short lengths of grass are best (for example grass clippings). 2. Sprinkle chicken, cow, or...

To build a compost heap

First spread over the ground a 15 cm layer of plant wastes such as hay, straw, leaves or woodchips. Add a five cm layer of manure. On top of this place a two cm layer of garden soil. Sprinkle on lime, dolomite and rock phosphate. Earthworms will quickly move in, adding their valuable castings to the heap. Every 24 hours, earthworms eat more than their own weight in dead organic matter and mineral soil. Continue to build up the heap in layers until it's about one and a half metres high. Keep the...

Nodig Gardening In The Tropics

Before beginning your new vegetable garden, it is a good idea to have some well-made compost available to give your seeds or seedlings a good start. When you're selecting a suitable site be sure that the area is free from vigorous weeds or grasses (nut grass will penetrate a layer of plastic without any problems at all). Remove any larger weeds or grasses by hand before mowing the area. A site which is gently sloping is best, so that excess water from seasonal rains will drain off easily....

Tomatoes

Tomatoes can be grown all year round in most areas. Because there are many different varieties available, be sure to choose one which will suit your area. Place stakes approximately 60 cm apart in rows or circles in medium rich soil. Place three or four seeds at the base of each stake and cover them with soil or sieved compost. When the seedlings are 10 cm tall, discard the weaker ones leaving the strongest to grow on. Tie up the young plants as they grow, and pinch out the tips of all...

Melons

Rock melons and honey dew melons love warm sunny weather and should be planted in mid to late spring (depending on your particular area). These sensitive vines will not grow at all if the weather is cool and cloudy. Melons prefer a sandy-loam soil and love to grow on slopes or hills facing north or north-east Prepare their soil beds by making small hills and, because melons are heavy feeders, add plenty of well-rotted manure to the soil before planting the seeds. Melons do not transplant well...

Herbs That Love Heat Or Humidity

Basil loves the heat, and warm sunny days. Let a few plants go to seed in the garden, and each season new plants will grow again in spring. Prune back healthy plants and they will make new growth for the following summer. Grow it in frost free areas only. Borage is an annual plant that will readily self seed. It grows to one metre, has large, green, hairy leaves and a taste of mild cucumber. The attractive blue flowers can be used to decorate food dishes. It's also a good animal fodder goats...

A live soil

Permanent Wilting Point

To grow organically we need to develop a 'live' soil soil that is rich in organic matter and natural minerals. A soil that is teeming with life. Fertile soil contains nitrogen N , phosphorus P , and potassium K plus trace minerals. 1. Inert mineral and organic particles that make up the soil mass and serve as a reservoir of plant foods. These mineral particles contain potassium and phosphorus, as well as many trace minerals such as calcium, magnesium and boron. 2. The teeming bio-portion...

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Avocado Weevil

Young avocado trees can be planted out from February to August. Keep the plants well watered until they are established. Their soil should be well drained with plenty of well rotted compost, mixed in with an equal amount oftopsoil. A thick mulch of spoiled hay or straw should be maintained beneath the tree to conserve soil moisture and keep weeds in check. Mulching is an effective control for phytophthora cinnamomi a fungus disease of the root system . You must also protect your young avocado...

Pawpaws

Pawpaws are a delicious fruit to grow in the home garden and a seedling tree will begin bearing fruit only 12 months after planting. Trees can grow to a height of five to six metres but they begin fruiting when the tree is approximately 120 cm high. Pawpaw is only slightly frost tolerant and is defoliated in cold weather. It prefers high temperatures, plenty of water, and a sweet soil high pH . Pawpaws also need protection from strong winds. Pawpaws can be male, female or hermaphrodite both...

Fuerte

Tropical Climate

This variety of avocado produces fruit of excellent quality and it matures in early winter. The fruit is pear-shaped with green skin which peels readily when mature. The tree is wide spreading and may reach a diameter of ten metres and a height of five metres over ten years. Fuerte is one of the most cold tolerant varieties of avocado and can withstand temperatures as low as -3 C for a few hours without serious damage. A disadvantage with this variety is that it does have a tendency towards...

Peas

Peas are easy to grow in hot climates and will also enrich the soil because they are a legume. Plant them after a heavy-feeding crop such as cauliflower or sweet corn. All peas need is a little compost and lime added to the garden bed before sowing the seed. Peas prefer a pH of 6.5. Peas are a cool season crop and sowing times should be based on local conditions. There are many types to choose from, dwarf or climbing, or edible podded peas such as snow or snap. Plant seed directly from May to...

Propagating fruit trees

Figs, mulberries and blueberries are easy to propagate. Simply take a 30 cm cutting from an established tree during late spring or early summer and plant it in its permanent position. Place the cutting in a mixture of coarse sand and soil. It will quickly grow a root system and become established. Frangipani and monstera deliciosa can also be propagated this way. Cuttings for hibiscus and other similar plants will quickly grow a root system if you place 15 cm cuttings in pots and keep them...

Popular varieties of Custard Apple

Pink Mammoth produces huge fruit weighing up to 550 g, with an average of 24 seeds per 500 g of fruit. African Pride is a custard apple with fruit which averages 300 g and 36 seeds per 500 g of fruit. Island Gem has fruit which averages 250 g and 31 seeds per 500 g. The custard apple is a semi-deciduous tree, growing to 4.5 metres high, with a spread of six metres. The trees should be spaced approximately nine metres apart when you're planting out a small or large orchard. As the trees develop...

Index

Native trees 109 Natural ecology 34 Nitrogen 4 No-dig gardening 10 No-dig gardening in the tropics 44 Okra 66 Onions 66 Orange 94 Organic matter 3 Parsley 22 Passionfruit 81 Pawpaw 101 Peas 53, 67 Pecans 106 Pest Control 28 pH testing 8 Phosphorus 4 Plant propagation 35 Planting young trees 107 Potassium 8 Potassium Permanganate Condy's Crystals 33 Potatoes 67 Propagating fruit trees 76 Pyrethrum 28 Saving seed 37 Seedlings 35 Shallots 69 Silver beet 69 Spinach 52 Spring onions 69 Squash 69...

Planting out lychee trees

You should prepare a large planting hole, at least ten times larger than the container, but do not dig down into the sub-soil. To the soil you've removed add 500 g of rock phosphate, 200 g of lime or dolomite, 15 kg of compost and five kg of fowl manure. Mix this well and plant the tree in the mixture. Do not plant it too deeply, to allow for adequate drainage. Mulch the tree thickly with hay or straw taking care to leave 15 cm clear around the trunk. Water in the trees thoroughly and keep them...

Cover Crops and Green Manures

To prevent or reduce erosion, certain plants can be grown as a cover crop and can be used as green manure. These crops are turned into the soil when they're 75 to 100 cm high. This method is perfect for growers who cannot produce enough compost or have difficulty obtaining large quantities of animal manures. Cover crops also offer protection from plant diseases and insects after seasonal crop rotation. They are excellent for areas of the vegetable garden that are not in use because they bind...

Beetroot

Beetroot grows best in soil that has been well manured for a previous crop. Plant the seeds from March to October. A beetroot seed is actually a cluster of seeds, so several seedlings will grow from one seed. Sow them in rows about 15 cm apart. Thin them when they're 10 cm high, removing any weak plants. Beetroot transplant easily, so any strongly growing seedlings can be planted elsewhere in the garden. Pull them by hand when the globe-shaped roots have reached a reasonable size. If they're...

Fast Plant Propagation

Many plants can be propagated very easily in warmer climates. At certain times of the year seeds germinate and little plants pop out of the ground practically while you watch Warm soil and moist conditions are perfect for sowing some types of seed and seeds should germinate quickly and easily if they're planted at the correct time. Most home gardeners will have noticed how pumpkin vines 'appear' in the garden or in the compost heap in mid-summer, together with other herbs and vegetables. Seeds...

Potatoes

Potatoes should be grown in the ground in warm climates. Mulching is satisfactory only in cooler areas because warmth heats up the mulch and rots the potato stems. For the best results, tubers seed potatoes should be encouraged to sprout before you plant them. Buy your tubers early to allow six weeks for good sprouting. Used egg cartons are good for this. Place the tubers in them with the 'eyes' of the potatoes at the top. Place the boxes in the light, but not in the sun. When the shoots are...

Organic Gardening

Tropical Climate

From the publishers of EARTH GARDEN magazine ORGANIC GARDENING in tropical climates EARTH GARDEN BOOKS Trentham, Victoria Trentham, Victoria, 3458. Facsimile 054 241743. First published 1993 by EARTH GARDEN Books. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the written permission of the publishers. This book is printed on...

Do Pecan Trees Grow In Tropical Climates

Pecan trees grow q uite tall up to 18 metres with a 12 metre spread. They are deciduous and prefer cool winter conditions. Pecans make a lovely shade tree in summer, and a small orchard of pecan nut trees would enhance any property. There are at least 160 varieties of pecan nuts grown, but only a limited number are available commercially. Check with your nursery for the variety best suited to your area. Pecan trees do best in a heavy soil. They don't even mind clay soils. Plant young trees...

How to make liquid manure

How Make Liquid Manure

You can make liquid manures quite economically in the home garden. The best container is a large drum which can be placed close to the vegetable garden. Place into the drum approximately two buckets of either cow, chicken or horse manure. Add a few handfuls of comfrey and some leaves of stinging nettles, if they're available. Wear gloves to handle these. Top up the drum with water and mix it all well. Leave the mixture for four to six weeks before using it. The mixture will smell quite...

Lemon grass

Lemon grass is an unusual herb which resembles the flax plant family in appearance and habit of growth. The leaves are long straps of fresh bright green which grow from a fleshy base. The plant is quite decorative and in one growing season should make a clump about 15 cm across the base and 60 cm high. It will thrive in the hottest position if it's given plenty of water. Lemon grass is propagated by lifting a clump and pulling away rooted pieces from its outside edges. Simply plant the pieces...

Planting out the mango seedlings

When you're planting them out, be sure the soil is rich in compost and manure. Dig a large hole to accommodate the new tree and mulch it well with hay or straw. Irrigate the new planting at least twice a week in dry areas. For practical purposes trees should be kept pruned back to three metres high, with a similar spread. A spacing of five metres between trees is quite adequate. When the seedlings are one metre tall, pinch out the terminal bud. Two or three shoots will develop and these should...

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Vegetable Garden Tropical Climate

Absolute cleanliness in the garden is essential to minimise the many pests and diseases which will attack vegetables at every opportunity Remove spent crops or discarded leaves from the vegetable garden because these will attract 'pests'. Rotting vegetation gives off large amounts of both ethanol and ammonia, attracting many insects. Mould and mildews can spring up, almost overnight, in warm humid weather. Check the garden every day or so many diseases can be treated in the early stages. You...

Carambola or fivecorner fruit

The carambola is an evergreen tree native to south-east Asia, with pink flowers and fruit which is a fleshy berry acutely five angled and star-shaped in cross-section. It is yellow when ripe and contains ten to 12 seeds. Carambolas are a very decorative tree, growing five to 12 metres high. They require tropical or warm sub-tropical conditions to thrive. Young trees are extremely frost sensitive but although older trees can tolerate light frosts they can withstand low temperatures for only...

In The Vegetable Garden

If you've bought vegetable seedlings they have most probably been grown under shade cloth. Many gardeners find that these seedlings wilt and die within a day or two of planting out into the garden, not realising that the tiny plants are not able to stand the hot sun. A temporary shaded area should be constructed over the transplanted seedlings for seven to ten days until they are well established. The best time for transplanting is during late afternoon. Before removing them from their...

Controlling pests on pawpaw trees

Most pests can be controlled by creating a micro-climate which will encourage many predators to breed and live in the pawpaw plantation. If the trees are planted as closely as is recommended, the leaves of the plants will form a shady canopy over the ground. Tiny tree frogs and a good population of spiders will soon develop in this cool, moist micro-climate. Spiders are well known as great predators and will attack many insect pests, including the fruit fly. The most serious disease affecting...