Time flies that’s for sure we are now only about 2 months away from the shortest day and after that has passed we are into a new season of gardening.
Now during this quieter time we can do some tidy ups in preparation for the new season ahead.
Starting for those that have glasshouses or tunnel houses if your summer plants are about finished and ready to remove then it is time to fumigate the house and kill off all the pests that maybe on the old plants and in the nooks and crannies.
The cheapest way to do this is to burn yellow sulphur powder inside the house.
Leave any plants still in the house that are finished as why take them out with likely pests to later infect your outdoor gardens?
The sulphur fumes will likely damage most plants in the house so any that you want to save you should remove their containers or dig them out of the soil and put them in pots.
Move these preferred potted plants to a protected place such as under a carport or on a veranda where they have some protection against the winter chills.
You could spray them with Vaporgard before or after moving them to reduce their shock of being out in the real world.
Close down all your vents leaving the door open for your escape route.
Place about three tablespoons of sulphur powder onto a steel plant such as a spade or hearth shovel.
To light it you need a very strong flame such as one used for burning weeds.
If you do not have then wet a little of the powder with some mentholated spirits and light that.
Once the Sulphur powder starts burning it is hard to put out and all should burn creating sulphur fumes which choke and kill the pests that are inside the house.
Once it starts to burn quickly exit the house and close the door.
Leave the house sealed for a day or two before entering the house which should be safe with only a lingering smell of sulphur.
As it is winter there is no need to open vents or leave the door open to let any pests from outside enter the house.
If you grow in soil or in raised beds in the house you may like to wipe out any possible soil diseases from last growing season.
Some gardeners like to change the soil in the house each winter with the idea that it will remove any soil born diseases.
Outside of a lot of work to do so the only likely advantage is the psychological aspect you gain.
Soil born diseases are very difficult to remove as only a small amount left behind can re-infect the new soil brought in.
Also the new soil brought in may also have diseases in it and so then a waste of time.
In the past injecting steam into the soil was used by commercial growers later to be replaced by chemical sterilization.
For the home gardener this was to use a now banned product called Basamid.
Basamid killed soil diseases, pests and weed seeds and from what I saw in the spring seemed to give the soil a new lease of life as plants seem to take off.
Jeyes Fluid was also another popular disinfectant used to kill bacteria in the soil.
The product is not easily available in NZ anymore but maybe available by mail order.
The problem with Jeyes fluid is that it not only kills the pathogens in the soil but also harms the beneficial microbes which you want for a good healthy soil.
A new natural product is available called Wallys Terracin.
Terracin contains a bacteria that produces antimicrobial compounds which, when introduced to the soil,
resets the existing soil biology.
It contains powerful beneficial microbes that beat up on the pathogens.
As it contains microbes you should only dilute it to the instructions using non chlorinated water as you do not want to kill what you paid for.
Used as a soil drench on lightly moist soil to give the soil a nice soaking as to the instructions on the label.
Two weeks after applying Terracin I suggest that you mix Bio Marinus™ ( manufactured by the enzymatic hydrolysis of fish offal, blended with humate, seaweed and biology including Bacillus subtilis, Trichoderma and other beneficial microbes) with Wallys
Mycorrcin in a watering can using non chlorinated water to dilute.
Once mixed apply to the moist soil immediately as the food content in the Mycorrcin will start the microbes breeding and it would, if left in the watering can, overflow the liquid.
Also if you were to put the two products together into a plastic bottle and seal the bottle will expand like a balloon before it explodes.
Powerful microbes for sure.
Also you may like to apply the same treatments to your vegetable garden or other preferred gardens to increase the microbial soil activity making for significantly healthier plants this coming season.
Remember that once used you do not want to destroy what you have created later on by watering the areas with chlorinated tap water.
See www.0800466464.co.nz for a housing and filter system you can easily connect to an out door tap.
Filtered tap water will make am amazing difference to your gardens and plants.
It means healthier plants with less problems as the soil life is not harmed by chlorine poison.
Also if you do not have a filter in the kitchen for drinking and cooking water then you can easily fill flagons or bottles from the filter outside which is much better for your health and the health of your pets.
With this crazy world currently you want to have the best soil possible so you can feed your family with
highly nutritious foods, home grown.
As always for those that are interested send me an email for other non gardening bits.