Damage control…

I have been on damage control mode since two days ago … when I noticed that my pot of variegated lemon thyme was covered with some white powdery stuff … aka, powdery mildew … as well as aphids on more of my plants which had looked aphid free just not that long ago! arrghhh … !!!

I did not have any problem with powdery mildew on the pot of common thyme that I had had for a few years (cuttings given to me by the mum) but this year I decided to get a variegated thyme from the garden centre when my thyme plant of a few years seemed to struggle to re-grow this year after winter (and had to be discarded ). From a distance, the variegated thyme seemed okay … until I looked closer and realised that the whole plant seems to be covered with whitish powder. Uh, uh …. that is bad news.

Since I cannot allow it to start spreading to my tomato plants which right now are growing well … or to my zucchini, melon and cucumber plants … quick action is called for! So, although yesterday was not as sunny as it was a few days ago, I decided to go ahead and give some of my plants a good dose of milk to help boost their immunity against powdery mildew! Now, who would have thought that milk is not only good for us .. .but also for the plants, huh? But it has been scientifically proven that milk mix with water can help to prevent powdery mildew, and even red spider mites in some cases.

Actually, it is recommended that the milk shower is done on a sunny day… but since the weather is forecast to continue to be partly cloudy and partly sunny for the next few days … I decided not to wait. This is because the milk mixture could only prevent … but cannot dispel the powdery mildew once it has spread on the plants.

But as today seemed sunnier than yesterday … I decided to give them another round of milk shower … this time including some of the plants which I did not do so yesterday … but which I read today can also be affected by powdery mildew!

The milk and water mixture (1 part milk and 9 parts water) for showering the plants.

A zucchini plant …

… and turnip plants glistening with milk after their milk shower.

Now that I have given these plants their milk shower … next on my list is making home-made ‘aphidicide’... to try and get rid of those pesky aphids. Urghhh … I just hate them and am amazed at how fast they can pro-create!

There seem to be several  home-made remedies that one can try to get rid of aphids. I have decided to try using the tomato leaves as well as the marigold spray to see which will work better … only because I already have them growing in the garden and their method of preparation are the easiest! Hmmm … I just hope that they really work! Guess, I will find out soon enough.

By the way, I have been asked to show how my balcony garden looks like.

Now …there is nothing spectacular about my balcony garden. It is like any other … maybe even less interesting than some other balcony gardens. But since it is my own … and seems to be the only edible balcony garden in the area that we live in … so I am quite partial to it lah! And quite proud of it, too … hehehe … 🙂

Anyway … this was how it looks like this afternoon …

Looking out from the living room … to the right …

… the middle …

… and to the left, just outside of the kitchen.

The plants are still growing … so they are not as lush looking as I would like them to be. Hopefully in another month or two, as the plants grow bigger and start to bear fruits and vegetables (if I managed to control the pests that wanted a share in the garden!!) … I will have the green and lush garden that I am hoping for! 🙂

Solo pictures of some of the plants and how they are doing coming up next!

Other entries on the balcony garden during our summer holidays 2012:


6 thoughts on “Damage control…

  1. Hai Paul..first of all.. i hope you can understand my broken english, yes i have seen pictures of you enjoying durians… normally western people do not like durians..i was so suprise then. Here in Malaysia usually old folks will tell us to eat mangosteen after eating durians (they told us that mangosteen can balance the heat inside our body after eating durians)…if durians is called king of fruit, mangosteen in the queen!

    YES, you are so lucky to have CT as your wife..!…see how hardworking she is…planting many sort of plant, cooking many types of dishes and most of all spending her time attending classes to make herself a better person to speak in your language. She has a big heart. Lucky that she is not being charged for bringing smelly fruit…what a funny story…i cant imagine the fireman sniffing around..maybe they are confused and cannot tell what kind of smell that surround the place.

    My husband and me are fee till 10 Jun 2012 because of school holidays. We plan to take our kids back to our house not far from Jasin. Same as you, we feel very lucky if we can meet both of you somewhere…let us know if you plan to go to Umbai ok.


  2. Hi Ros, thanks! I had read of Neem leaves and oil used in traditional medicine but didn’t know it can be used to prevent chicken pox! Interesting. I will try the tomato leave juice first to treat my aphid problem. If that doesn’t work, then I will try Neem oil, too, as I had bought a small bottle in a nursery in Sg last year.

    And yes, Paul has tried lempuk. In fact, he still has some that my SIL kirim last year. But I think he and I prefer the actual fruit more lah!. 🙂 I am going back end of next week, and Paul will follow 2 weeks later.


  3. Salam CT…thank you for sharing the method to prevent aphids. I asked my indian friend about Neem tree, he said its called ‘daun bamboo’ here. I will try blending the leaf, strain it and used the liquid (spraying it to the infcected plant). Malaysian normally used it as some type of traditional medicine to prevent chicken pox. Just blend it till fine with some water, beras and tumeric, then apply it to the infected part (normally the whole body). Just imagine how the person look alike…….TOYOL…!!…hehehehe..!!

    Glad both of you will be back soon (ps: what is the exact date ?), eat a lot of durians ya…you remember or ever heard about lempuk.?..sweet food that can be made from durians flesh….try make some and you can bring it back home without any difficulties. Hurry back dear..and have a safe and pleasant journey..!


  4. Hello Ros, I had not seen your comment earlier – busy day at the office. This is very kind of you. I suppose you must have seen pictures of me enjoying this king of fruit on this blog (if not … the entry is called ‘Tale of a Durian lover’). We shall have to see whether we can manage to take up your very kind offer.

    Poor CT, I would always get her to bring me some fresh durian from Singapore when she was still living there and I would be eagerly waiting for the moment to be able to unwrap this delicacy from its many layers of cellophane.

    Once, when we met at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport (which was our meeting point for our trip to Peru, CT was flying from Singapore and I from Geneva), I managed to find a remote outlet belonging to a well-known fast food chain, bought a drink from them and got CT to sit down with me at the table they had which was the farthest away from the restaurant counter. I was then able to unwrap the durian from the metres of cellophane it had been wrapped in and … savour it.

    Having enjoyed this treat, dispensed with the cellophane in a bin and gone and washed my hands at the nearby gents, I was surprised to see two or three firemen come in, sniffing around and looking at the pipe system above as if trying to detect some gas leakage. As CT can confirm, these firemen were to be seen for a couple of minutes looking around at the pipe system (it was the type of building where they were apparent) and sniffing around … I cannot affirm with certainty that their presence was attributable to my simple durian repast … but the coincidence was interesting … do you not think so? 😉


  5. Salam Ros, you are welcome. Just wondering, for your backyard garden, why not try a raised bed because it seems to be less problematic than growing in the soil as is. (ps: have you heard of Neem oil? It seems to be very effective against aphids. http://landscaping.about.com/od/pestcontrol/p/neem_oil.htm)

    About durian trip to Mersing/Kota Tinggi, thank you very much for the kind thought.:) The problem is that we both do not drive so it is always a problem to go to some places where transport is not very convenient. But definitely, durians (Malaysian) will be one of the must eat (for both Paul and I) when we are in Sg … luckily tengah musim! hehehe .. 🙂


  6. Salam CT….thank you very much for showing all your plant on the balcony. They seems so happy living there. It makes me more bersemangat to mengusahakan a small patch of land in my backyard.

    Last saturday i went to Mersing and Kota Tinggi visiting my grandmother and father there. Know what?….so many durian stall along the way…wondering if i could take you and Paul there to enjoy eating durian.


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