"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Can anyone please advise me...?

I was stupid - very, very stupid.  When we were at the farm over the Easter weekend, some of my tomato plants still had green orbs hanging on them.  I, unwisely, left those plants in situ - figuring that we would be back in 3 - 4 weeks and I could harvest the ripe fruit.
Unexpected tomato harvest
Two lovely aubergines - the big one is 25cms long
It was over two months until we returned...

That was my surprise.  One of our neighbours had taken a gander at the veggie patch and had told RMan that I had tomatoes and aubergines ready for harvesting.  I was so excited.  Yum!  An unexpected harvest bonus - sort of l'été indien of the veggie patch LOL  My tomato plants in Cape Town had long since ceased to produce anything, so I automatically thought the same would occur on the farm.  And then the added aubergines - two luscious aubergines - wow!

Well, it appears I did my shade cloth veggie patch a disservice.  All I did was encourage a pest to take up residence...

White fly!
The first sign I got 
On closer inspection I saw that one of the plants was covered...!
White fly on my tomato plants...!
Naturally, I immediately ripped the plants out of the beds, and disposed of them.  Sadly, I didn't know to burn them...

Then I discovered that some of my broad beans had aphids.  Even though I could spot the occasional ladybird, I reckoned that the infestation was too big for even this valiant little insect.  I read that if one chops up 2 cups of tomato leaves, and allows them  to seep in 2 cups of water overnight, the spray would eradicate the aphids.  So I did just that.
Two cups of chopped tomato leaves -
 soaking in two cups of water
It becomes a foul brown looking solution, but if it works...
A clearer picture of the solution
I sprayed the plants with this solution four times before we left, with no noticeable difference to the infestation...

So now I am left with the request that if anyone knows of an organic solution for these two pests, please could you let me know.  Something that I can concoct myself - for your brand name products will not be available here.  Does chilli, garlic and water work?

Finally, when we left at the beginning of April I had left a couple of green tomatoes on a shelf in the kitchen - to ripen.  So... warts and all this is what greeted me inside the house.
Some rotten, some good
The yellow tomatoes definitely weren't happy with being allowed to ripen off the plant.  But, with all the green tomatoes I just harvested, I decided that I would do the same.  My latest batch of green tomatoes was laid out on every available shelf and even the Dover stove.
Some of the surfaces covered with green tomatoes
I didn't want to bring them back to Cape Town with me, and add to the packing confusion there.  Plus we should be back on the farm within the next week or, latest, two - so I will be able to monitor them carefully.

The very last surprise I had was that two of my pumpkin plants are still muddling through, looking superbly green and healthy, with quite a few flowers, but with no signs of fruit.
A pumpkin plant outliving it's lifespan...?
Should I remove them.  Am I encouraging more pests...?

Note: Due to the large amount of spam I am receiving on this blog posting I have now closed comments.


Jane @ Hard Work Homestead said...

I often get issues with aphids and whitefly in my greenhouse if I grow tomatoes in there (which is why I do not anymore, they attract to many bugs and worms). We can order beneficial insects here that we can release in the environment. But one of the easiest things to do is go out with a hose every couple of days and blast the plants off with a heavy stream. It knocks the aphids off and most likely they will not make it back to the top of the plant in their life cycle. That is why that type of growing arrangement just is not natural. So you have to replicate what nature would do.

John said...

We pickled green tomatoes last year. Turned out real well. I also dehydrated some of the green ones.

Dani said...

Jane - Thanks. Yeah, I know about spraying the aphids off. But it's the whitefly which give me my greatest problem. I understand they are very difficult to eradicate...?

Also, I grew the tomatoes in the green house because I feared that they would not be able to withstand the wind. Dear me - what am I going to do next season? Guess we will be there, so I will be able to better keep an eye on them.

Dani said...

John - Pickled green onions - like chutney?

Mrs. Mac said...

This link suggests using a spray made with neem oil.


Dani said...

Thanks Mrs Mac - I've heard of neem oil and also of using alcohol? Not sure if I can get neem oil here...

Little eco footprint said...

On a Dutch website I read about a solution of garlic and green soap. Take 1 liter water, boil it with two parts of garlic and let it cool down. Take a garlic press and crush everything and set it aside for a couple of hours. Sift it trough a coffeefilter and add two caps of green soap. This solution is sprayed over the plants.
I don'tknow if it works but I will try it this weekend, because a have aphids in my beans.

Dani said...

LEF - Thank you. Yeah, I reckon I'm going to try the garlic, chilli, soap and water solution for the whitefly.