Tips for glasshouse grow­ing

The Tribune (NZ) - - AL FRESCO | GARDENING - WALLY RICHARDS

Gar­den­ers ex­tend­ing the grow­ing sea­son of to­ma­toes and other plants us­ing glasshouses or tun­nel houses should be in­ter­ested in this.

Glasshouse soil can har­bour dis­eases or pathogens which thrive in a chem­i­cal or acidic en­vi­ron­ment.

Ben­e­fi­cial mi­crobes and fungi love an al­ka­line, chem­i­cal-free en­vi­ron­ment, so the use of chlo­ri­nated tap wa­ter, chem­i­cal sprays and her­bi­cides are go­ing to cre­ate prob­lems.

Chem­i­cally ster­il­is­ing the soil with Basamid is no longer an op­tion since the prod­uct was banned.

Potas­sium per­man­ganate with salt can be used as a soil drench but this takes out the ben­e­fi­cial bac­te­ria with the bad.

Some gar­den­ers dig out the old dirt and re­place it with new soil. Not only hard work but gar­den­ers can never be sure the new soil will not have its own prob­lems, es­pe­cially weed seeds.

Ter­racin is a new and nat­u­ral way to clean up soil dis­eases, us­ing a com­bi­na­tion of a Bacil­lus amy­loliq­ue­fa­ciens BS-1b – a ben­e­fi­cial soil mi­crobe, and the en­zymes, bac­te­ri­ocins, sec­ondary me­tab­o­lites and sig­nal mol­e­cules from the fer­men­ta­tion of En­te­roc­co­cus fae­cium to sup­press a broad range of fun­gal pathogens.

Ap­ply Ter­racin at 2ml per litre of wa­ter to one square me­tre of moist soil, or mix at 20ml to 1-litre to spray over 10sqm of moist soil.

Keep the soil moist (not wet) with nonchlo­ri­nated wa­ter.

Af­ter three weeks, feed and build up the pop­u­la­tions of ben­e­fi­cial mi­crobes with ei­ther My­cor­rcin or Thatch Busta. In colder weather Thatch Busta is best as it’s more pow­er­ful and helps warm the soil so the ben­e­fi­cials can mul­ti­ply. In warmer weather use My­cor­rcin.

The next prob­lem with a glasshouse is that the en­vi­ron­ment it cre­ates is ex­cel­lent for breed­ing in­sect pests. Dur­ing the grow­ing sea­son it takes a con­certed ef­fort us­ing sticky yel­low traps, Neem Tree Gran­ules, Wallys Neem Tree Oil and Key Pyrethrum to keep them in hand.

Fu­mi­gat­ing the glasshouse at the end of the sea­son to kill any pests har­bour­ing over in nooks and cran­nies means a clean start in the new sea­son.

Wallys Sul­phur Pow­der is ideal for win­ter fu­mi­ga­tion while there are no crops grow­ing. The prod­uct may de­hy­drate and kill plants so empty the glasshouse first.

Close all vents be­fore ig­nit­ing an amount of sul­phur on a steel hearth shovel.

Place the burn­ing sul­phur in the mid­dle of the glasshouse and leave im­me­di­ately.

The amount of sul­phur burnt will de­pend on size of the glasshouse. For a house 2.5m x 2.5m, burn about 50 grams of sul­phur. Leave it closed up for a few days.

This could also work in out-build­ings for clus­ter flies.

Now a tip for con­trol­ling curly leaf in stone fruit dur­ing spring us­ing potas­sium per­man­ganate aka Condy’s crys­tals. Mix a 1⁄ tea­spoon Condy’s crys­tals per

4 litre of warm wa­ter adding 1ml of Rain­gard. Spray the trees and the soil un­der­neath prior to leaf show, and then every 10 to 14 days for the cou­ple of months the dis­ease is ac­tive..

Potas­sium per­man­ganate is a ox­i­dis­ing agent that kills fungi, neu­tral­is­ing the curly leaf spores as they come in con­tact. Rain­gard pre­vents rain wash-off for up to 14 days.

PHOTO: FAIR­FAX NZ

Peo­ple in glasshouses need to throw a few fig­u­ra­tive stones to take care of the soil and get rid of pests that could af­fect the new grow­ing sea­son. Now is as ideal a time as any to im­ple­ment a main­te­nance pro­gramme.

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