Stay on top of sea­sonal surge

The Tribune (NZ) - - GARDENING - WALLY RICHARDS

As day­light hours in­crease, hardier plants, in­clud­ing weeds, will be show­ing good growth.

Un­wanted plants, or weeds, are valu­able if you make use of them and treat them as a fod­der crop.

Smaller un­wanted plants should be cut off just below soil level with a sharp knife or sharp dutch hoe. This leaves the roots to rot in the soil, pro­vid­ing a rich source of food for the soil life.

The fo­liage that falls onto the bare soil gets quickly bro­ken down and the residues will help feed your pre­ferred plants.

Taller weeds can be cut down with a weed eater us­ing the Piv­otrim Pro at­tach­ment avail­able from Mitre10 Mega stores. There’s also a trim­mer line for weed-eaters called Lawn Keeper that’s avail­able in three di­am­e­ters. The con­fig­u­ra­tion is su­pe­rior to the smooth sin­gle strand lines and cuts cleaner.

Ei­ther leave the weed stub­ble or cut it off below soil level with a sharp carv­ing knife or box-cut­ter. It’s a method that en­hances soil and grow­ing medi­ums where chem­i­cal her­bi­cides may have harmed the soil life.

Sprin­kle waste ar­eas, paving cracks and cob­bles with salt and lightly wa­ter. This kills the weeds and keeps the area weed-free for a good time.

Sprays of vine­gar or cook­ing oils can be used on sunny days when the soil is drier. Be­fore adding wa­ter, mix the cook­ing oil with an equal amount of dish­wash­ing liq­uid to help the oil mix with wa­ter.

Spring tem­per­a­tures and mois­ture can mean dis­eases. Sprays of potas­sium per­man­ganate (Condy’s Crys­tals at 1⁄ tea

4 spoon to a litre of wa­ter) with Rain­gard added onto the soil and fo­liage con­trols a wide range of dis­eases and fungi. Note: it will stain fences and the like.

An in­ter­est­ing bit of in­for­ma­tion you can pu­rify drink­ing wa­ter of harm­ful bac­te­ria by plac­ing 3 or 4 grains into a litre of wa­ter, agi­tate to make wa­ter a light pink and leave for 24 hours be­fore drink­ing.

Us­ing this method means a large quan­tity of wa­ter can be treated sav­ing the need to boil.

A weekly spray of potas­sium per­man­ganate pro­tects against curly leaf on stone fruit, and keeps new spring growth on roses and other de­cid­u­ous trees and plants from dis­eases.

Sprin­kle Wallys Neem Tree Gran­ules un­der your ap­ple trees, roses and cit­rus trees to re­duce pest in­sect prob­lems.

Use cell strength­en­ing sil­i­con prod­ucts to strengthen your to­mato plants, pota­toes and tamar­illo against psyl­lid nymphs.

In soil where you grow toma­toes year after year, treat the soil with Ter­racin and three weeks later with My­cor­rcin.

In empty glasshouses, burn sul­phur pow­der to fu­mi­gate any win­ter­ing-over in­sect pests.

Spray slime on paths and moss in lawn with Moss & Liv­er­wort Con­trol. This will not harm gar­den plants if they are caught by the spray

Start spray­ing straw­berry plants 2 weekly with My­cor­rcin to in­crease harvest re­sults and feed with Wallys Se­cret Straw­berry Food.

At plant­ing time place a lit­tle Rok Solid un­der seedlings along with a lit­tle Neem Pow­der to give them a good start and some pro­tec­tion from pests.

Re­us­able crop cover, pro­tects from weather, pests, cats and birds.

For chlo­ri­nated wa­ter sup­plies, con­sider a 10-mi­cron car­bon bonded fil­ter on the gar­den tap that will keep the an­timi­cro­bial wa­ter away from any ben­e­fi­cial soil mi­crobes and earth­worms.

PHOTO: FAIR­FAX NZ

Us­ing a dutch hoe to cut off weeds just below the sur­face has ben­e­fits for the soil life, while keep­ing gar­dens look­ing neat.

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