Sum­mer gar­den­ing roundup

The Tribune (NZ) - - GARDENING -

PROB­LEMS?

Ring meat 0800 466464 (Palmer­ston North 3570606) Email­wal­lyjr@gar­de­news.co.nzWeb site www.gar­de­news.co.nz

toma­toes are se­curely staked. Heav­ily fruit­ing branches are also prone to wind bash­ing so se­cure or pro­vide shel­ter rather than lose the fruit.

Tomato de­stroy­ing psyl­lid nymphs are so small that a strong mag­ni­fy­ing glass is re­quired to see them, ideally 10X. On Trade Me, there’s a three-piece jew­eller’s lens kit Loupe mag­ni­fy­ing glass set for only $14.24 with mag­ni­fi­ca­tion of 3X, 5X and 10X. The price in­cludes ship­ping from UK, so a real bar­gain while handy for check­ing fo­liage for small in­sects. At 10X mag­ni­fi­ca­tion, plain-look­ing fo­liage be­comes a whole new in­ter­est­ing world.

Of­ten gar­den­ers do not pick up on the first signs of in­fes­ta­tion, and by the time they do there are al­ready large pop­u­la­tions do­ing a lot of harm and much more dif­fi­cult to con­trol. Be­ing able to spot pests early and deal to them im­me­di­ately is a boon.

Some years ago, I sug­gested that glyphosate was most likely to do more harm to the soil, an­i­mals and hu­mans than any other com­monly used agri­cul­tural chem­i­cal. Ev­i­dence is prov­ing me cor­rect, and now coun­tries are wak­ing up to the health prob­lems the chem­i­cal causes.

Mon­santo has been strug­gling for in­vestor con­fi­dence fol­low­ing the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion’s can­cer agency dec­la­ra­tion in March 2015 that the world’s most widely used weed­killer – glyphosate – is a ‘‘prob­a­ble hu­man car­cino­gen’’. Mon­santo re­cently an­nounced that sales in its agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tiv­ity seg­ment, which in­cludes glyphosate based Roundup her­bi­cide, fell 34 per cent to $820 mil­lion, with shares fall­ing more than 2 per cent as a re­sult.

So, if Roundup is un­safe, how will we con­trol weeds? The same way we did be­fore Roundup was in­vented. I have not used any her­bi­cide chem­i­cals for over 20 years. The United States En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency (EPA) has an­nounced that a pre­lim­i­nary risk as­sess­ment of Im­i­da­clo­prid shows that chem­i­cal poses a threat to some pol­li­na­tors.

Im­i­da­clo­prid is one of four neon­i­coti­noid pes­ti­cides that honey pro­duc­ers and en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists have long sus­pected as be­ing linked to de­clin­ing bee pop­u­la­tions and colony col­lapse dis­or­der in North Amer­ica.

PHOTO: FAIRFAX NZ

Pol­li­na­tion by hand is ad­vis­able to en­sure fruit set in cu­cur­bits such as cu­cum­ber, pump­kin and zuc­chini.

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