Bug Plagues, Soil Improvement and Chick Shenanigans.

in #homesteading2 years ago

I've been snatching bits of time here and there in the garden when I can and trying to deal with a bug plague. The earwigs and slugs set up residence in my lettuces and turned most of them to slime. The warm weather has dried them out now many are dead.


I guess I no longer need to worry what to do with the excess lettuces. It's not a total loss, because I have more lettuces growing in other places. This is a good reason not to monocrop.

Evenings are spent with a torch collecting earwigs, which just seemed to increase as the weather got warmer. I spotted large wolf spiders and a giant centipede one evening. The centipede was probably full grown at around 15cm (0.5 ft) long. They must be feasting on this bug plague. We've had way more millipedes than usual too. Perhaps it was the mild winter.

The sugar snap peas are dying back now summer is near. I may still get a few more off the later plants and have a box full in the freezer for later in the year.


I’ve been preparing an area for chili plants. I've been mining the soil out, sifting out the rubble and rubbish and adding in manure and organic matter. Capsicum plants are pretty hardy in the heat, but need good soil. Also, they can survive the winter, if its mild enough, so I'm hoping I might be able to get a permanent hedge going, if I can keep the nutrient levels up. So far I have a habanero and a purple chili in. Time will tell if I can get them through the winter.


I've finally given in and got some gypsum for the garden. I was hoping to improve the clay soil by digging organic matter through over time, but it seems we have a layer about a foot down which causes problems when roots reach it. So we'll have a tree or bush doing fine for a year or two, then suddenly die. Apparently the gypsum will continue to soak down, breaking this up.

The chicks have gone out into the run with the big girls and the hens are enjoying the chance to have dominance over them.



I've set up a cage top, propped up just enough to let them in and out, but not the hens. This way they have a safe haven when things get too much and their own food and water in there.



You can also find The Miniature Smallholding on:



Ahhhh the joys of Adelaide soils... I gave up and made my own

Posted using Partiko Android

 2 years ago 

I tried a habanero once, but couldn't resist dumping some used coffee grounds on it, as fertiliser.
It didn't go great.
Millipedes have been prolific here too recently. Also white tips inside the house.

Coffee takes a while to build up in soil. I add it to my coffee plants.

Posted using Partiko Android

I just heard on radio white tips are harmless. Well Ill be. The bairnsdale ulcer was always attributed to white tips, except it wasnt... an urban myth. Poor maligned white tips.

 2 years ago 

Now I'm feeling guilty for all the white tips I've killed; and for all the ones I'm going to kill in future.

Errm, did you literally put them on the plant or around the base? Not that I'm an expert on coffee grounds as fertiliser. I think they usually add them to the compost heap.

 2 years ago 

Around the base, but likely way too much.

So I guess that means go easy on the coffee grounds or they need to be composted first. Thank you for sharing, I've learnt something new.

Posted using Partiko Android

After days of rain, and a 29 degree day forecast on on Monday, I can even imagine the bugs we might have!!! I have so much to do but no time. I might just put a raincoat on and get out there today anyway. Good luck with the earwig war!

We've got a weird forecast too. To of 19 today, 23 tomorrow then 35 Monday and back down to 19 Tuesday. Huh?
The last two evenings have been cold and wet, so I haven't even been out to collect earwigs. They do seem to finally be reducing, though.

Posted using Partiko Android

Sometimes I found with clay soil underneath it drowns some of my plants. But I don't know about the climate there if you get enough rain for that. Crazy so man bugs! Same here last summer though I have never seen so many ticks in my life.

Posted using Partiko iOS

We have two extremes. Summer dries it like concrete and winter saturates it. I just lost a passionfruit vine which was doing fine until winter. This would have been it's second winter too, so I'm guessing it hit that clay layer and drowned.

Ticks! I hope we don't get them! 😨

Posted using Partiko Android

Think that problem layer is one of the problems we're having here in one specific spot. We have a row of fruit trees down the side of the house but there's one cursed spot where a tree planted in that area would do great until it randomly died, so now nothing is there.

Let the chickens at the bugs :D If they don't decide to eat everything else along with the bugs XD

I have what I call "no grow" areas like that. I noticed that where we removed bushes threat were already in, things grew. So maybe the previous owners used gypsum whenever they planted.

The earwigs only come out at night when the chickens are sleeping. I have thought about chicken head torches, but they seem to actually want to sleep rather than bug hunt with me. I give them what I collect for breakfast in the mornings.

Posted using Partiko Android

How about just letting the chickens out of the cage to demolish the insects? Win Win and will give you much better eggs too.

Leading the curation trail for both @ecotrain & @eco-alex.
Together We’re Making This World A Better Place.

Click Here To Join the manually curated trail "@artemislives" to support quality eco-green content.


Unfortunately, the bugs only come out at night and the chickens can't see in the dark. They get what I've collected for breakfast, however. If I let them out in the day, they'd just demolish all the veggies instead. I rotate them seasonally between the runs so they can feast on the finished veggies and dig for the bugs.

Posted using Partiko Android

Odd. Hardly anyone cages chickens here in Asia & the veggies do just fine with chooks roaming & scratching in between. Maybe just the type of chicken you have?

Maybe. Ours just love their greens. Our first ones were commercial reds and they did used to roam more, because they preferred grubs over greens. They were practically laying machines, however, so their drive for protein was probably pretty high.

I would love to have a mobile fence so I could let them out on the lawn to peck at the grass without them demolishing all the edibles.

Posted using Partiko Android