Category Archives: Organic Garden

Grow Garden Grow

Gnat On My Watch!

Several weeks ago I wrote a post about an invasion of fungus gnats in one of my indoor pot plants. Well, I’ve been patiently waiting to see if the vinegar method I’ve been using had any effect on the fungus gnat population. It hasn’t… In the meantime I’ve been researching other possible means of eradication.

Thanks to the most wonderful local organic farmer Terry and his exhaustive knowledge of environmentally sound pest control methods, I have found an eco-friendly solution. Neem oil.

Neem oil is the naturally occurring oil cold pressed from the kernels of the Neem tree. It is a natural antibacterial, antiseptic, antifungal, antiviral and anti-inflammatory. The tree has developed it’s own highly effective insecticidal and therapeutic properties to protect itself from insect and fungi. Using a solution of Neem oil as a flush for the pot plant effectively and safely rids the plant of fungus gnats. Neem oil can also be safely used outdoors on the garden to control of two-spotted Mites, Whitefly and Aphids.

Neemfruit - Wonderfully Versatile

Deter Ants – The Natural Way

Every Summer we have an ant problem. Little black ants are busily building nests outside in our sandy soil. It’s inevitable that some of these cheeky little ants make their way to garbage bins and the inside of our house looking for food. I don’t like using chemical ant insecticide, so I’ve been researching some environmentally friendly options.

Here are a couple of environmentally friendly methods to deter them:

  • Chalk – draw a line of chalk in the ants path and according to research, ants won’t cross it. If only the rest of life was that easy to sort out!
  • Sprinkle Cayenne pepper in their path
  • Sprinkle black pepper in their path – ant really don’t like pepper!
  • Sprinkle ground cinnamon at the point you think they are entering the house.
  • Sprinkle catnip in their path
  • Make a simple ant deterrent spray…


2/3 cup water

1/2 cup white vinegar

2tbsp environmentally friendly dish-washing liquid


1. Combine water, vinegar and detergent and mix well.

2. Pour into spray bottle.

3. Spray where ants are travelling.

This Guy Should Think Twice Before He Uses Pepper As A Deterrent...

Gnat Flash!

My eyesight ain’t what it used to be…

Black gnats on a background of damp potting mix in a dark corner on a rainy day… Not the easiest things to spot unless there’s millions of the pesky varmints jumping around, which leads me to the conclusion that either nigh on all of them died making a break for freedom at the window or they’re hunkered down doing some seriously dirty dancing and tending their fledgling flock.

Hmmmm I hope it’s the former…

How Cool Is This Photo! Check out Perce-Neige at - she rocks!

You Make Me Feel Like A Gnat-ural Woman!

Thank you Aretha – now I understand the inspiration behind this iconic song!

Sunday morning I opened the curtains to a windowsill that used to be white. A black drift of dead fungus gnats – legs akimbo – greeted my sleep deprived eyes. Jeez, what hell happened here?

I had placed a bowl of vinegar on the surface of the potting mix, but only about a dozen little guys felt the need to take a dip so maybe the vinegar acted like a deterrent and they jumped ship instead?

There are still a few buzzing around on the surface of the potting mix so I’ll keep a beady little eye on them for the while…

What A Gorgeous Young Thing Aretha Franklin Was! (Image courtesy of Getty Images)

Driving Me Gnats!

This morning I checked my fungus gnat infested Yucca… Not Happy Jan! There are little black gnats hopping all over the surface of the potting mix. They seem very happy now I’ve watered the mix… Aaaargh! With the self-watering pot, the mix has the potential to stay moist and ideal for the reproduction of the cursed insects for weeks!

News Flash!!  Apparently a bowl of vinegar with a little water sitting on the top of the potting mix should do the trick… Will try this method before dragging the plant outside…

If any of you have any suggestions how to get rid of these little nasties I’d really appreciate your help 🙂

Fungus Gnat - Annoying Little Fkkr!

Gnats To You!

This morning I woke to what I would call a “normal” morning. My son called to me and woke me from my deep and blissful slumber. Still in my stupor I stumbled to the door of his room to greet him (the door knob is too high for him to open himself) and we played on his bed for a short while.

After breakfast my son (Mr D) says “Mama, ants on the rocks! Ants on the rocks!” What the… Surely He’s not inventing new cocktails yet?

I have a large Yucca plant in a big pot next to the lounge with white rocks on top as mulch and on closer inspection, it looks as though he’s right! Ants – and thousands of them! My mind reeling with ideas of how they may have been attracted to this particular plant, I notice a sweet smell and automatically decide that Mr D has spilled something sweet on the plant and the ants have come to feast.

But they’re not really moving like ants and…wait a minute – they’ve got wings and they’re milling about on the wall and the curtain… What the hell are these little fkkrs?

I bloody love the internet. I Googled it. Turns out they’re fungus gnats!!! Bugger! Apparently they live in the potting mix and if it gets waterlogged and fungus begins to grow, then the fungus gnats say “Yeehah Grandma” and begin to multiply like the insect equivalent of rabbits. I kind of liked the self-watering pot up until today…

These Bugs Look Good Enough To Eat! (image by John Dilot)

I removed all of the white stones with the gnats attached, put them in a bucket and poured boiling water onto them. That swiftly ended the baby boomers party! I’ve wiped the trunk of the yucca and sprayed the top of the soil and the trunk with an insecticidal soap spray. According to a couple of gardening information sites it’s not the right stuff for the job but it’s all I’ve got for the moment. At the last inspection there were no new bugs. I await with anticipation…

Field Of Dreams

It’s Autumn 2009 and I have nurtured the soil in my little abandoned vegie patch with all of the compost I can make and the little money and time I can spare being a newly “single mum”  of a “just turned” 1yr old. I had some seeds from the free seeds offer from the Diggers Club and had planted some garlic. It wasn’t much, but it was mine!

I new the house next door was being demolished and rebuilt but no one had told either myself or my landlord that in order to build a significant wall on the boundary of the two properties, scaffolding would need to be erected on our (my) property. Yes, you guessed it – over my vegie patch!! Much angst and many expletives exploded from my shocked and angry kisser.  Jeez, if I’d known or been asked, I wouldn’t have gone to the trouble of working the patch and raising seedlings which I had just planted!!

Anyhow, long story short. I negotiated and secured a rebuild of the patch with improvements and a fresh load of organic topsoil. Check out the photos below.  The new “before” shots! AARRRGH!

Field Of Dreams – Not

Nothing Like Helping Out With a Bit Of Storage Space For The Builders!

Bare Earth

We moved into our house nearly 2 years ago. It was the first time I’d ever had a backyard with a lawn (apart from at my parents house when I was growing up). Much excitement! The first time I looked out of the kitchen window and into the backyard, I smiled at the potential that greeted me. There was an enormous gum tree on the South- Western fence-line which would provide shade in the hot summer months, a small garden shed, an old but functioning clothes line and the remnants of what looked like a once loved vegie patch. Fresh starts lay ahead in so many ways. This was going to be great!

I wish I had a photo to show you the “before” shots, but alas I didn’t own a camera at the time. 🙂