Ask Vasili

Ask Vasili




Vasili answers your burning backyard questions.


tips, tricks & advice

Yellow plants:
Hi Vasili. Some of the stuff in my garden is going yellow, like the snowpeas and bok choy. Why is this? We had new soil brought in — got the three-way type of soil. I sprayed with some liquid seaweed liquid and Miracle-Gro and I even put some organic garden booster on. Why is it still going yellow? Thanks Jake Pennack

Hi Jake. You’ve got everything going there but yellowing is generally caused by too much moisture held in the soil; maybe you are watering too often. We can’t help the amount of rain but you can water much less. Cut it down to once a week; twice a week if it doesn’t rain at all. No more feeding, either! This can burn the roots and cause yellowing as well. – Vasili

Spotty eggplant:
Hi Vasili. My eggplant have small white spots on the leaves and are sticky to touch. Also, the flowers fall off. What do I do? Regards Frank

White spots on the leaves can be from two types of insects: whitefly, which are quite noticeable on the underside of the leaf; and mites, which also live on the underside of the leaf but aren’t visible to the naked eye. Either way, it will have to be sprayed with either home-brew organic oil or a commercial product like Eco-Oil. For it to work effectively, you will need to spray the underside of all the leaves, making sure to coat them well. Flowers will drop off if the plant is over-watered, so reduce the quantity and frequency of watering and give them a light feed with some organic compost. Best of luck – Vasili

Black spot and fungus:
Hello, Vasili. My roses have what I think is called black spot. I’ve sprayed them a couple of times with Eco-Oil mixed with Eco-Rose. Would I need to continue spraying at regular intervals until all the old leaves fall off and new ones grow? Is there anything else you could suggest, something that is safe for the environment, plants and me? Many thanks Margaret

Hi, Margaret. No problems with Eco-Oil; it’s a registered organic product through BFA and is very safe for plants and animals. Yes, you would need to continue spraying, especially with all the rain we’ve been having — the wet weather brings on the black spot everywhere — and, yes, you can use it on other plants, too. Milk and water is great for controlling mildew and may have some effect on black spot but the Eco-Rose will do the job. The milk ingredient is quite simple, 1 part milk to 9 parts water, mix and spray. – Vasili

Lemon tree help:
Dear Vasili, basically, over the past four months our lemon tree leaves have turned yellow then dropped off (tree is three years old and about 2m high (see photo). Now there are almost no leaves (and what are left are bright yellow) but there would be about 25 lemons in various stages of development. The lemon tree is planted 3m from a Tahitian lime tree, which is abundant with both fruit and healthy leaves and is exactly same height and age. Both trees get a watering with potassium every three weeks or so and a regular spray of pest oil. What is our problem? We are very frustrated gardeners! Lorraine & John Ryan

Hi, Lorraine and John. It may be too warm for the tree to recover in that location. First thing you need to do is cut it right back to about 150mm above the top of the trunk. No more fertilising and water in Seasol once every 2–3 weeks. Do this four times. If you are game enough, dig it up, soak the roots in a large bucket of diluted Seasol overnight then dig the soil over, add a quarter of a bag of compost and plant it back in the ground again. If that doesn’t work, nothing will. – Vasili


Vasili is an experienced gardener with a strong media presence. Contact Vasili:
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21-25 Munro street Coburg Vic 3058