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.

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.

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 disease. But how best to manage this common problem?

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 white with them. I have lost quite a few hibiscus to them. Is this a bad year? Do you have one of your…

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 upgrade – from one of the world’s leading garden cities into a 21st century garden utopia. Now, they’re building it. Gardens by the…

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 pools and then tiny stalagmites emerge from them, forming miniature landscapes. As the sizzling Brisbane sun rises their colour quickly fades to…

Turmeric In The Garden And Kitchen

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is indispensable in the kitchen and easily  grown in a frost free climate. The tasty leaves and rhizomes and edible flowers are useful for flavouring and colouring food. In some countries, turmeric is used to help manage post traumatic stress disorder. After gardening in the heat and humidity of a Brisbane summer’s day, I find turmeric tea, a Javanese speciality, very refreshing. Some years ago, an Indonesian friend said “Drinking turmeric daily reduces body odour, helps keep you healthy and may prevent cancer”. Another favourite use I have for turmeric is making sfouf, aka turmeric cake, a delicious Middle Eastern recipe.