A solution to try for Spider Mites on your plants!

For the last four or so years we’ve maintained two greenhouses on our balcony – growing chilli, oregano, mint and parsley. We also used to have basil (which Spider Mites destroyed), a single coriander shoot called “Dolly Parton” – because it was heavy and flopped over and Rosemary, which never took off. Most of the plants did reasonably well until they were hit with a double whammy infestation (against the odds of being elevated on a balcony and inside a greenhouse)!


The first infestation was a moth, which led to caterpillars – those fat green juicy ones like in A Bug’s Life. The caterpillars required patience and picking them off one by one to remove the infestation. Needless to say, these came back a few times as you always miss one. Once those bite mark like holes start showing, you know it’s too late and you’ve already got a family chowing down on your plants.

The second infestation, which was much harder to get rid of and literally sucked the life out of all my beloved basil plants (three separate bushes) – was due to the difficult and dreaded Spider Mite! The first Basil plant was the weakest and succumbed to the fact the Mites drained the nutrients out of its stalks. The other two were better established and lasted a little longer, but since I didn’t want to use chemicals as I wanted to eat from the plants, I resorted to meekly trimming the plants – which only delayed the inevitable. In hindsight, I should have tried the method below earlier!

My Parsley was the only plant left after the initial Spider Mite infestation so they naturally migrated onto it and started to kill it too. A few weeks back, I trimmed off all the leaves and left pretty much just the stalks – but I knew this likely wouldn’t work. So I decided with nothing to lose, I would try the combination of Garlic and Chili sprayed over the plant and surrounding greenhouse. Boy am I glad I at least tried, it worked a treat! I sprayed the area only twice in a period of a week and the Parsley seems to be Spider Mite free. I was able to pick and eat the Parsley for the first time last night since this all started a couple of months ago. It no longer has the off colour of looming death, and the leaves look nice and healthy as you can see in the pictures of the leaves below. I unfortunately (or maybe fortunately for you) did not take any pictures of the infestation/Spider Mites – but if they come back I will update this post with pictures.

parsley2 parsley3parsley4

So if you have Spider Mites – you’ll be able to see by the reddish/orange leaves and the webbing they weave on the leaves.

Try this very natural and chemical free solution!

  • 1 Chilli (preferable a hot one)
  • 1 clove of Garlic
  • Boiling Water
  • A jar
  • A spray bottle

bottle Home grown chilli - helping out fellow plants


Chop and crush the Garlic, you want the garlic juice to infuse the water and likewise do the same with the Chilli – just don’t touch your face after handling it. Put them into a small Jar and pour hot water from a kettle into the jar – so you get about a cup of hot water. Leave this to sit and cool down. Once this is cool pour the water into a spray bottle that you don’t mind smelling of Garlic from now on and add water if it’s not enough to get a good spray – just don’t dilute it too much. If you don’t have enough you can just re-boil what is in the jar. Try to strain out any chunks of Garlic or Chilli when transferring to the bottle so it doesn’t clog the spray nozzle.


Spray all over the plant so it’s saturated – under the leaves and stalk and into the soil too as the Spider Mites can sometimes hide there. Spray the surrounding area if it’s enclosed or the nearby vicinity just to make sure the mites go away completely (read that as die).

Repeat this a couple of times and check your plant in a week or so.

Note: don’t keep the solution too long in the spray bottle as it’ll start to smell/rot.

Leave a comment if it ends up helping your plants at all! We’d love to hear of more victories against these little buggers.



Drink tea for World Water Day

HandwashingHappy World Water Day, everyone!

Worldvision Australia has partnered with Chatime Australia today for World Water Day. 10% of all hot and iced teas purchased on 22 March 2014 will go towards transforming the lives of children, families, and entire communities through the precious gift of water. Now thats refreshing!  🙂 Read more here.

Cup-e diem

Who says sustainability can’t be tasty?

edible coffee cup
Morning cup – edible biscotti coffee cup
choc chip cookie milk shots
Night cap – choc chip milk shots.

OneSight Charity – providing eyecare through recycled glasses

Ever woken up in the dark and had to fumble around to find your glasses before moving? Hopefully you end up finding them at some point, but for many other people that isn’t so easily achieved – because they can’t afford eye care.

I found out about this great charity today and thought I’d share it, because it’s such a great way to put to use something which I either don’t use anymore or don’t know what to do with. The best part, it’s actually giving someone the gift of sight which so many of us take for granted.

If you’ve got old prescription glasses or non-prescription sunglasses, OneSight collects them and gives them to people around the world who are in desperate need of a helping hand.

More about them below, taken from their “About us” page!

OneSight, a Luxottica Foundation, is a family of charitable vision care programs dedicated dedicated to providing healthy vision, eyewear and sun protection to those in need worldwide. Since 1988, these charitable efforts have provided free vision care and eyewear to more than eight million people in need around the world and have granted millions of dollars towards optical research and education.

Our volunteers give the gift of sight through four program areas:

  • Global Eye Care – We travel around the world to hand-deliver much needed, free eye care and eyewear through temporary Optical Clinics.
  • Regional Eye Care – We provide free eye care and new eyewear to those in need in our regions through temporary Optical Clinics and Vision Vans.
  • Community Eye Care – We help patients in our local communities through in-store and outreach programs.
  • Research & Education – OneSight funds research to address global eye health issues and invests in the next generation of optometric professionals through scholarships and education.

Vision:  A world where primary vision care is a reality for everyone.

Mission:  To restore and preserve clear vision for the over 284 million adults and children who suffer worldwide from poor vision.

Find out more here at OneSight!

You could even help out by collecting gently used eyewear or just donate your old glasses!



MALM IKEA drawers to guitar case storage

We bought two Malm IKEA chest of drawers (3 drawer set) in white. Probably the best buy from IKEA yet (in recent memory). I made them into a guitar case holder using grip mats (cheap variety shops) on top of the drawers and then using the wall to lean the cases against whilst resting on the top of the drawers. Now, not only do we now have great extra storage for clothes with the deep drawers, but also a good way of keeping the cases out of the way and easy to access. Using these drawers to prop up the cases has made a significant difference in brightening and tidying up the space. For $99 a unit the MALM were a great investment and have helped to utilise all that previously wasted vertical space. I’m glad we went with these and not some of my original guitar holding ideas! When we went to IKEA they even had the “eat your discount” on too in Sydney! Score!

Here are some pictures of what it looks like.

Basically, you’d only be as limited as your wall space and if you don’t need all the space for guitars the drawer tops make great storage space for anything else you might want to display or have easy access too, so you could have half guitar case storage, half a space for your books etc.

I also got Ant to help make some plaques which I place behind each resting head of the case, this helps to:

  1. keep each guitar in its place;
  2. keep the cases from marking the newly painted walls; and
  3. help me identify which guitar is in the case.

Name plaque made of good cushioning cardboard

What are some of the ways you get around storing guitar cases? I would love to hear other suggestions or novel ideas!