Tag Archives: winter

Clean up time in the garden (Wally Richards)

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.

Phone 0800 466464
Garden Pages and News at www.gardenews.co.nz
Shar Pei pages at  www.sharpei.co.nz
Mail Order products at www.0800466464.co.nz

What to do with those fallen leaves (Wally Richards)

A reader from Southland emailed me this week and asked if I could write an article about what to do with autumn leaves.

For some home owners, autumn leaf fall is a curse, just another chore to rake them up and clear the gutters.

For gardeners, leaf fall is a blessing and they gladly collect the leaves to make leaf mould.Leaf mould is excellent for improving soil, also as a lawn conditioner and mulch over gardens.

It can be used in seed raising mixes and potting mixes.Leaf mould is easy to make, its free with a little effort on your part and its a good substitute for peat moss in your gardens.

If you live in an area where there are hedgehogs and you would like to help them through the winter then leave any leaf fall thats under hedges and other out of the way areas.

The hedgehogs may use the places as hibernating sites over winter.

Also if you have bare vegetable or flower gardens either leave the leaves as a cover over the area or place a good layer over the gardens yourself.

Sprinkle garden Lime over the leaves then spray them with Thatch Busta which will help break down the mat of leaves, getting the gardens ready for spring.

This cover of the leaves will prevent a lot of weeds from growing in the bare gardens.

Now to make your own leaf mould with what is left or what you can collect from else where.

There are two ways to do this and one is much faster than the other.

The fast way is to lay some leaves over a flat area of lawn an inch or two thick and the with your rotary mower adjusted to the lowest setting run over the leaves with your catcher on.

Repeat this with another layer of leaves and so on.

When your catcher is ready to empty, open a black plastic rubbish bag and put a few handfuls of leaves and any grass clippings into the bottom of the bag.

Sprinkle over the leaves a handful of garden lime and then spray with Thatch Busta at 10 ml per litre. (If you don’t have Thatch Busta but have Mycorrcin, then use it at 15mls per litre.)

Now add a few more handfuls of mashed up leaves and repeat the lime and spraying.

Press down when bag is full to compress the material and then you can add a lot more.

Finally when the bag is full enough to still be able to tie off, tie the top then with a small nail or thin blade screw driver punch lots of small holes all over the bag.

Toss the bag into a sunny out of the way area and leave for a month or so.

After a few weeks pick up the bag, give it a shake and put it back with a different side facing upwards.

Repeat this about every month or so.The bag will appear to have more space in it as the material coverts to leaf mould.

Within about 6 months you should have a lovely crumbly product that smells good.

The sprinkling of lime is important as the leaves that fall are acidic and you want them sweet so the bacteria will work breaking them down to mould.

The Thatch Busta or Mycorrcin is also very important as they supply the food that increases the microbe populations which speeds up the process.

The alternative method is to place the leaves into a rubbish bag without using a rotary mower to break them up.

Otherwise the lime and spray are used between layers and tied off as above.

This way will take at least twice as long to get your leaves into good leaf mould (say about a year)

Without the lime and Thatch Busta/Mycorrcin then about two years.

If you are not able to clear the leaves and are going to leave them where they fall, then the best thing to do after they have finish falling is to sprinkle some garden lime over them

and spray with Thatch Busta.

Repeat the Thatch Busta spray every month or so to speed up break down.

If you haven’t planted your spring bulbs yet then you should get cracking now.

If you are planting a bed of bulbs then sprinkle the area with Wallys Unlocking the Soil, blood & bone and Wallys BioPhos.

Rake the  products into the bed then plant your bulbs.Remember to place the tallest growing spring flowers at the back or if a bed in the open place tall growing ones in the centre.

The shortest growing will be in the front.Rather than having a bare bed for a while till the spring bulbs emerge, plant some alyssum and lobelia seedlings.

They will make a nice ground cover over the winter and a lovely back drop for your flowering bulbs.Don’t forget to protect tender plants from frost.

Spray with Vaporgard and if there happens to be two or more frosts in a row, night after night then cover plants with frost cloth or sack/newspaper)

Winter time plants hate wet feet but they may still need an occasional drink during periods of no rain.

Container plants not in the open will occasionally need a drink also; best to wait till they start to droop from lack of moisture then give them a small drink.

Plants like citrus trees in open ground that detest wet feet should be sprayed with Wallys Perfection to prevent root rots in winter.

Remove all mulches as they prevent drying of wet soil which causes root rots and diseases during winter.

Leaving mulches on the soil often leads to loses of plants that cant handle wet feet.

If you are one that likes a bit of news on other matters then email me.

Problems ring me at
Phone 0800 466464
Garden Pages and News at www.gardenews.co.nz
Shar Pei pages at  www.sharpei.co.nz
Mail Order products at www.0800466464.co.nz

Photo: ichimi @ pixabay.com