Category Archive: Q&A

How Do I Manage Phytophthora Disease On Cocoa?

“Dear Jerry, my cocoa plants are infected with black pod disease. They are cropping OK, but can I do anything to improve their health?”, asks Peter in Townsville, Australia.

Hi Peter, Phytophthora is primarily a root rot disease and it can spread throughout a plant using the vascular system. Some plants are more susceptible than others and there may be multiple host plant species in your garden.

Certain types of Phytophthora can devastate entire landscapes (like Jarrah dieback, P. cinnamomi) and ruin orchards. This disease is recognised by conservationists as a key threatening process, it cannot be eradicated so you manage it.

Use Grey Water For Gardening? Then Use Green Cleaners For Cleaning.

If you’re watering plants with grey water, the type of detergent you use really makes a difference to both their health and the health of the soil.

Which Trees To Plant At Inverell, NSW, To Cope With Predicted Climate Change?

How do you approach tree planting? “All life on Earth is now experimental. Thanks to a lack of Australian climate leadership, we grow crops and plant gardens in uncharted climate territory. If this is the future of gardening, then we must embrace experimental tree planting for shade, food, fodder and biodiversity”. Jerry Coleby-Williams, Founder of Bellis, Brisbane’s award-winning, affordable sustainable house and garden; Director, Seed Saver’s Network; Patron, National Toxics Network; Patron, Householder’s Options for Protecting the Environment, 2nd February 2019.

How did they keep lawns trim in the days before lawnmowers?

“How did they keep lawns trim in the days before lawnmowers? asks The Guardian newspaper. Animals and scythes were originally used to maintain closely cut turf…and Australia has an indigenous answer”.

Coffee Grounds As A Herbicide

Caffeine is a biochemical with the purpose of affecting the germination, growth, survival, and reproduction of other competing plants. Do not add coffee grounds to worm farms.

Protecting Pawpaw Plants Against Black Spot Disease

If you live in south eastern Queensland and grow pawpaw, it’s worth a quick health check right now. Mild, calm, showery, humid winter weather is perfect for observing outbreaks of pawpaw black spot… Continue reading

Mealybug: Kill! Kill! But How?

Question: “Hi Jerry, This year I have had the worst infestation of mealybug ever. My garden has never had them in the past, but this year everything including established Gordonia’s five metres high are… Continue reading

Hello, Emerald City! Tour Singapore With Jerry Coleby-Williams, 22-26 July 2016.

Gardens take pride of place in tropical Singapore. It’s never been a more exciting time for an Australian gardener to visit. Singaporeans are obsessed with chlorophyll… They have long talked up the benefits of a city… Continue reading

Miscast Mistletoe: Environmental Health Indicators Hiding In Full View

“Parasites aren’t all bad, and mistletoes deserve a rethink. If you study them, you’ll discover that they’re fascinating Australian plants making a valuable contribution to the environment.”

How Can ‘Dog’s Vomit’ Have A ‘Hive’ Mind? Enter The Kingdom Of The Slime Moulds

“Truly alien creatures…are all around us” Professor Christopher Reid, University of Sydney At dawn you could mistake them for vomited curry, something people find disturbing. They surface during the night, forming moist, sulphur-yellow… Continue reading

Why Does The Label Say My Ornamental Chilli Is Toxic?

Question: Yesterday a caller to 4BC Radio’s ‘Talking Gardening’ programme asked why the label on their ornamental chilli plant called it Capsicum annuum, and also said that it was “Unfit for Human Consumption”?

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