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pests

how to control root knot nematodes organically
City, Country

How to get rid of Root knot nematodes organically

If your plants look stunted and its leaves exhibit chlorosis and lack vigour, yet you’ve done everything right and you can’t figure out why, it’s time to check the roots of your plants. If the roots are knobbly and have galls, you have a case of root knot nematodes in your soil. I have experienced this on a few occasions, fortunately in my planters and not in-ground. Read on to find out how to control root knot nematodes organically.

What are they? These plant parasites are microscopic roundworms that damage plant roots and feed on its vascular system. This causes growths to form, affecting the plant’s capacity to absorb water and nutrients.

Shrubs, trees and herbaceous plants are susceptible to root knot nematodes. These include begonia, azalea, hibiscus, gloxinia, hydrangea, impatiens, cyclamen, coleus, some cacti, rose, and edible plants like tomato, capsicum, chilli, eggplant, rosella, okra, cucumber, pumpkin, melons, Malabar spinach, passionfruit, banana, pineapple, sweet potato among others.  

What are your natural options? Here’s how to get rid of root knot nematodes organically, you can consider using a mix of methods to improve efficacy rates.

Grow biofumigant crops for root knot nematode control

how to get rid of root knot nematodes organically
(Photo by Eva Elijas from Pexels)

Brassicas such as Brassica rapa (field mustard) and Brassica juncea (mustard greens) have bio-fumigation properties and are effective at root knot nematode control when grown as a cover crop, however there are some other plants, like Tagetes patula (French marigolds), Tagetes erecta  (Mexican Marigold) and oats, which are highly capable too.

How it works is it releases compounds to suppress pests and pathogens in the soil. It is effective when in its early flowering stages, plants are chopped or pulped and incorporated into the soil and watered. The soil needs to remain moist for a few weeks, and isocyanate gases are released by the plants as it breaks down.

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City

Aloe Vera assault

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I haven’t had much luck with growing food this past winter/monsoon season in Singapore. Weather aside, my plants have been on the receiving end of avian assaults, some have been pecked at, some even uprooted. This is the first time it has ever happened in our garden.

I was already pretty miffed when I had lost some nasturtium plants, a baby winged bean, rosella fruits and seedlings, and a cos lettuce plant. The initial suspects were the chickens, but the lack of footprints conveyed that we have a light-footed thief on our hands. Recently, I realised that a band of mynahs enjoy loitering in that area, and I would see the odd spotted necked dove, plus there’s this solo friendly bird that was suspiciously hanging around the scene of the crime today. So it could be any or even all of them.

But it was upon seeing all my aloe vera plants in this horrid state that had really peeved me off. I need to really net my plants now. These birds must be really hungry to have considered eating this, and seeing it’s quite bitter at the skin, I’m surprised that the birds enjoy this so much. Or maybe they are thirsty, or maybe they like its jellied texture.  Some research online showed that many birds enjoy eating aloe vera.

As much as I believe in leaving plants in their natural state, I’ll have to keep them all enclosed in netting. It’s either sterile gardening or no gardening, I’m afraid. So I won’t be starting any seedlings till I get some netting. I’m back to Australia next week, so expect Autumn updates soon!

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Country

Pesky pests in the garden

Grasshopper

Grasshoppers are so cute but not when they are tearing through the leaves of our vegetables. I squash the ones that I am able to catch, but I let the little guy in the photo go though, and released him in a part of the garden that is full of ferns and succulents.  They have already done some damage to several of our kale plants but not as much as caterpillars have. There has been a remarkable number of garden pests I’ve had to deal with in these last few weeks and admittedly, it has been causing me some anxiety.

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