Animals & Insects

Nematodes - nasty and nice

December 2009

It was a dawn operation. Everyone slept as I removed my spent tomato plants. I didn't shake soil from their roots as normal. Instead I carefully gathered the lot, sealed them in a plastic bag, and quietly slipped it into the garbage bin. For a fortnight my tomato leaves had been thinning and yellowing. On sunny days they wilted despite the soil being moist. When I lifted them, their roots had rubbery, tumour-like growths. My tomatoes had root knot nematode. The plants cropped well, because I routinely foliar feed with seaweed, so nutrients entered mainly through their foliage and stems, not their roots.

Backyard beekeeping

December 2009

It was a climactic moment when I strapped a beehive to the back of the ute and brought home 60,000 micro livestock. I almost felt like a real farmer. It was climactic because for years I've been reading books, watching DVDs and attending field days in anticipation of exactly this moment. Nevertheless, I felt woefully inexperienced to take on backyard beekeeping.

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