By Wally Richards.
The Chinese have a saying; ‘Have an Interesting Life’ which on the surface sounds like a nice thing to say to someone but the real meaning is for the person to have many trials and tribulations which makes for an interesting life even if it is a hard one.
This current gardening year is certainly a very interesting one and looking at the recent night time temperatures we could already be into autumn like conditions.
This makes for the shortest summer ever and very bad for us gardeners.
My phone and email has had a constant stream of gardening problems much of which I would put down to insufficient DIRECT sunlight.
Cubits such as pumpkins having lots of male flowers and very few females and even hand pollinated fruit not growing then falling off.
No flowers on some other plants, or petals that form but fail to open, one lady complained that she has a rose that has opened but not fully as normal.
Seedlings bolting and going to seed prematurely adds to current problems.
With the rapid change to lower temperatures two problems arise, firstly its very easy to over water and kill plants that cant stand wet feet, sprays of Perkfection will help control those wet weather type diseases.
Powdery Mildew will abound on cubits, pansies and other plants which will make the problem of light and getting energy from the sun far greater and shortening the life of the plants concerned.
Two remedies, place a tablespoon of baking soda into a litre of warm water to dissolve and then add one mil of Raingard, spray the susceptible plants under and over the foliage.
Baking Soda will prevent or control powdery mildew, repeat 2 weekly.
The alternative is Liquid Sulphur with Raingard.
Rust will also like these conditions so spray the plants when rust appears with potassium permanganate, quarter a teaspoon to a litre of water, spray as needed.
Blight on tomatoes is another disease that like the current conditions and a spray of Liquid Copper with Raingard all over the plants every 14 days will help prevent and control. You can add the Perkfection once a month to give further protection and help keep the plants producing longer.
Don’t stop feeding your tomatoes either as ample good tomato food with plenty of potash will extend the fruiting season.
This current gardening year has been the worst one I have experienced in over 60 years of gardening which I suppose makes it the most interesting. Even my sweet corn is really struggling at this time when in January/February it should be thriving.
I pity commercial growers who must be struggling with the unusual conditions.
I know many of you have suffered drought conditions but here in Palmerston North we have had no water restrictions so water is not a problem and recently we have had good prolonged rainfall as well.
The main problem has been lack of natural direct sunlight, instead getting hazy skies which, no way in all my life time, can be said to be normal or natural!
Weeds are always a problem for gardeners that can’t get on top of them and I only suggest herbicides when there is no easy alternative to the problem but to keep them away from food crop areas.
Instead I prefer to recommend more natural alternatives which can still cause some harm to soil life but not as dangerous to your health as the chemical ones.
For instance common salt or agriculture grade 11 salt is ideal for controlling weeds where you don’t want plants to grow other than well established trees or shrubs. On pathways, drives, cobbles and waste areas, throw on the salt, lightly water and kill the weeds.
Where you have weeds in gardens that can be selectively sprayed use vinegar or cooking oil on a hot sunny day but take care not to spray preferred plants.
A weed eater is also a good way to keep weeds under control.
Glyphosate is the most extensively used weed killer on the planet with millions of tons used annually. It is available in several brand names other than the original Roundup.
Monsanto invented the herbicide glyphosate and brought it to market under the trade name Roundup in 1974. But it wasn’t until the late 1990s that the use of Roundup surged, because of genetically engineered seeds to grow food crops that could tolerate high doses of Roundup. With the introduction of these new GE seeds, farmers could now easily control weeds on their corn, soy, cotton, canola, sugar beets and alfalfa crops–crops that thrived while the weeds around them were wiped out by Roundup.
Eager to sell more of its flagship herbicide, Monsanto also encouraged farmers to use Roundup as a desiccant, to dry out all of their crops so they could harvest them faster. So Roundup is now routinely sprayed directly on a host of non-GMO crops, including wheat, barley, oats, canola, flax, peas, lentils, soybeans, dry beans, carrots, parsnips, onions, potatoes and sugar cane.
I was made aware of the this recently from a retired carrot grower who said it is common practice when a crop is ready to harvest to spray with glyphosate which kills the top, prevents the crop from going to seed before its harvested. Root crops store food/chemicals in their roots which is what you and I are eating.
NZFSA does not test produce for glyphosate yet overseas where labs do test for the chemical it is found in high concentrations. Monsanto recently appealed to the FDA to increase the allowable level of glyphosate in produce.
Monsanto has falsified data on Roundup’s safety, and marketed it to parks departments and consumers as “environmentally friendly” and “biodegradable,” to encourage its use it on roadsides, playgrounds, golf courses, schoolyards, lawns and home gardens. A French court ruled those marketing claims amounted to false advertising.
In the nearly 20 years of intensifying exposure, scientists have been documenting the health consequences of Roundup and glyphosate in our food, in the water we drink, in the air we breathe and where our children play.
They’ve found that people who are sick have higher levels of glyphosate in their bodies than healthy people.
Here is a short list of what health problems glyphosate can cause; Alzheimer’s disease:
Anencephaly (birth defect): Autism: Birth defects: Depression: (Glyphosate disrupts chemical processes that impact the production of serotonin, an important neurotransmitter that regulates mood, appetite and sleep. Serotonin impairment has been linked to depression.) Diabetes: Heart disease: Obesity: Reproductive problems: Respiratory illnesses. Reference and to see more goto;
Problems ring me at 0800 466464 (Palmerston North 3570606)
Web site www.gardenews.co.nz
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If we do not resist using whatever means necessary, we condemn ourselves, our children and future generations to trying to exist on a lifeless planet. Make no mistake, we are in a fight for our very survival.”