On Monday, I met up with Joan a fellow “container” garden enthusiast and a regular visitor to my blog. It was great to not only see all her wonderful pots of fruit, vegetables and flowers, ask numerous questions ranging from types of compost, worm farms to problems with insects, but also discuss our successes and failures. For example I discovered Joan’s zucchini suffered from the same problems as mine – once the flowers fall off the end of the baby zucchini wither and rot!
Joan is a mine of useful information and after my latest setback with tomatoes, I suddenly felt inspired and re motivated! We could have happily chatted for a week and still not have covered everything! (Mr. Piglet, my chauffeur was happy, when he discovered her husband was a fellow football enthusiast).
Another tidbit of information shared was the agricultural centre Sanipina where I could not only buy garden “potions” but also receive simple practical and knowledgeable advice in English!
For anyone living in the Algarve here are the details.
Monday to Saturday – 8:30 to 19:00
T: (+351) 282 341 742 (+351) 282 341 742
E: [email protected]
Delighted with the above recommendation dear Mr. Piglet kindly agreed to make a detour (without moaning) on the way home via the agricultural centre AND a garden centre. Luckily, before leaving home that morning I’d collected various samples of the bugs which had taken up residence on my plants and fruit trees. It’s always easier to show rather than try and explain to the “experts”. So not only did I get the pesky bugs identified and prescribed a suitable potion, I also bought a black fig tree which resides in a huge pot. Fingers crossed this one, unlike its predecessors would survive!
Do these bugs look familiar?
Cochonilha – Mealy Bug on my Bay Leaf Laurel
Mealy bug, (Cochonilha) on the leaves and branches of my Lemon tree
The lemons also have the orange bugs
Mealybug also known as Cochonilha
The assistant at Sanipina carefully inspected my bug specimens and pronounced they were all members of the cochonilha family because when you squished them they released a reddish liquid. I also learned this is where the colouring Cochineal originates from – I won’t be buying that again! I asked her if they were Mealybugs but she was not familiar with the name. I checked them both out on Wiki and they look the same to me, so I assume they are? Can any of my Portuguese followers help with this one, please?
Products recommended for Cochonilha
She recommended using a combination of two products for maximum effect however, the advice came with lots of “ifs” and “buts” instructions.
* Water well before spraying
* Do not use in direct sunlight
If trees are in flower or have fruit which are less than the size of a walnut do not use the Pomorol (see product in large pot).
Bay Leaf Laurel
Use combination of both products, but do not eat the leaves for at least a month.
The insecticide in the small pot also kills ants!
I hesitate to use chemicals, but as the infestation is so bad, and now spreading to other plants, I need to take drastic action. A couple of the badly infested plants in small containers I’ve now quarintined and applied the insecticides and will also disinfect the pots for good measure. Time will tell…
Joan also suggested lots of natural remedies such as garlic, chilli, tobacco, rhubarb leaves etc plus Insecticidal Soap. I’m going to try these on some of my other plants to see how effective they are and will make another post later in the year with the results. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions or useful links, please leave in the comments below and I will add to the “useful links” below.