Gardening News and articles

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Gardening Articles for week ending 20th October 2018

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Written by Wally Richards.

Garlic Rust has for the third season raised its ugly head to destroy the current crop of home grown garlic. (And some commercial ones)
What causes the spread of the rust? Wind and water.
The fungus flourishes when the weather is cool, sunlight is low, and humidity is high. If you live in this type of climate or had a very wet/gray season, avoid watering your garlic plants late in the day, and especially avoid watering the leaves if they do not have a chance to dry out before evening.
Our cloudy or hazy skies is another reason for this disease and another attack on producing our own food crops.
Likely your garlic is either currently free of the disease or badly suffering from it.
Recently I saw a gardener's garlic crop with a fair bit of rust on the foliage. They did not have any of the products that I normally recommend but they did have Wallys Moss & Liverwort Control.
So I mixed up a litre at the 25mil rate per litre and sprayed the plants.
About a week later I saw the plants and there was a number of dried leaves laying on the soil but in the middle of each plant was a set of lovely green leaves.
Interesting as the Moss and Liverwort Control is also a good fungicide as well as one of the best controls for moss etc.
Another gardener a month or so ago told me last season they had sprayed their big crop of semi-commercial garlic with Wallys Liquid Sulphur and Raingard added every 2 weeks.
That kept the plants from being attacked and they sold their cloves on Trade Me for a very good profit.
I see some web sites suggest spraying the garlic with copper which is basically a waste of time as copper sprays do not do much in controlling rust.
Sulphur sprays is the one to go for or sprays of potassium permanganate (quarter a teaspoon per litre of water with Raingard added)
A combination of Wallys Liquid Sulphur and potassium permanganate with Raingard added would be even more potent.
Also your may recall the suggested spray of those 3 products with Wallys Liquid Copper added for protecting stone fruit against brown rot. Another successful remedy as long as you spray every 2 weeks till harvest.
Apple trees are either flowering currently or coming to the end of flowering so the prevention of Codlin Moth damage needs to be looked at.
Sprinkle Neem Tree Powder under the apple tree from trunk to drip line and lightly water it down. (The powder is faster acting than the larger particles of Neem Granules)
The reason for this is to confuse the codlin moths when they emerge out of their cocoons under the tree as the smell of the powder overrides the smell of the tree and young fruit.
While the moths are sitting on the ground waiting for the tree to come along hopefully birds will eat them during the day.
Encourage birds to the trees by scattering some bread or grain.
Once the flowering has finished you can set up a Codlin Moth Pheromone trap on a stake near your trees. This attracts the male moths and tells you that it is time to start spraying the apples (not the tree) when you catch some moths.
Use Wallys Super Neem Tree oil at 5mil per litre with Raingard added. Spray the young apples so there is a coating of oil over them. (Repeat every 7 to 10 days till no more activity in the trap for a month.)
What happens is this: The female lays her eggs on the leaves, the grubs hatch out and crawl to the nearest apple and take a bite to eat their way in.
With Neem Oil being present means the grub get a bit of Neem in their gut preventing any further eating so they starve to death.
You end up with a pin prick scar on the mature apple. (Note similar will work on Guava Moth grubs)
The potato and tomato psyllid which I have written about several times and now is the time to protect these two plants and others that can be affected such as tamarillos, egg plants, capsicum, chill and okra.
What we are going to do is to make the plant's cells super tough so that when the psyllid nymphs hatch out they cannot piece the plant's foliage to feed and so die quickly breaking their life cycle.
It does not matter a hoot how many thousands of adult psyllids are in your garden and how many millions of eggs they lay because when their short life is over there are no new generations of psyllids to carry on.
There are three products to use; firstly a soil drench which is called Wallys Silicon and Boron Soil Drench. Mixed with water, you drench the planting area or the root zone of the plants. This is repeated one more time 2 weeks later.
No more for the season as too much boron can cause problems.
The boron assists the plant to take up the silicon.
Next we have two sprays; Wallys Silicon Cell Strengthening spray which actually contains silica in the natural form of Diatomaceous Earth and Wallys Silicon Super Spreader (used at only 1mil to 5 litres of water) this drives the silicon into the plant's foliage.
Repeated every two weeks till plant has reached full maturity and then once a month.
Now an unusual thing will happen (besides getting a crop to harvest) the foliage and the fruit will be much bigger than normal. Reason? Silica increases the plants ability to gain energy from the sunlight.
Now one final thing; a young gardener asked me if using potassium permanganate would kill weed seeds in the garden. The answer is no. Then he asked did I have anything that would do so?
After a short think I realised that yes we did it is called Wallys Compost Accelerator.
The compound Ammonium sulphamate breaks down compost and woody material in the compost and drenches of this would not only break down your compost faster but also kill the weed seeds.
This is always a problem in home made compost if you do not generate sufficient heat to kill the seeds.
Now on this bases why not break down the weed seeds in the soil before planting?
This is my thoughts on how it could be done on a garden free of preferred plants.
Dilute the Ammonium sulphamate at the rate of 200 grams per litre of water in a watering can and water over moist soil at the rate of about 500 mils per sqM. (One litre per sqM would be likely better but could be over kill)
Leave for a couple of days and lightly water to sink deeper into the soil.
Repeat a light watering again 2-3 days later and then after the same period give the soil a good soaking to flush any of the compound away.
Now what I do not know at this point is if planting seedlings into the treated area whether there maybe any damage to their roots if there is still some residue left.
So do not disturb the soil instead lay some newspaper or cardboard over the area and cover with some purchased weed free compost.
You should be able to plant seedlings into the compost without any problems and likely even sow seed into the compost.
Anyone that may try out this great idea please let me know the results to confirm my thoughts.
Two interesting items this week. Firstly: Bayer Stock Crashes After Monsanto Cancer Verdict Upheld By Judge; Analyst Estimates $800 Billion In Future Liability.
The judge decided to reduce the punitive damage award from the original total of $289 million following a verdict reached earlier this summer, down to $78.5 million.
A decision which concerned jurors who decided on the higher award amount in order to send a clear message to Monsanto that they deserve to be punished for covering up the dangers of their herbicide.
A commercial produce grower I was talking to during the week told me that NZ flour mills are now refusing to accept wheat for milling to flour if the grain crop has been sprayed with Glyphosate prior to harvest.
This is a great move to improve our health as our bread will be Roundup free and much safer to eat.
Likely the mills are avoiding possible law suits in regards to the flour that they sell and likely other industries will also wake up to the health aspects of Glyphosate.
That includes retailers who do not advise their customers of the possible health risks of Glyphosate.