GARDENING HELP

Updated 18/1/2016
DISCLAIMER: Gardening information and articles found in these pages are written by Wally Richards (Gardening Columnist)
They are compiled from his own experiences gardening and information gathered from other gardeners over the years.
The articles/opinions may mention uses of gardening products that may or may not be registered for the purposes mentioned.
They are supplied for you to make your own personal judgements on their validity.
Wally Richards
If you have ideas that will also help other gardeners in their endeavors, please relay them to the writer.

The Potato and Tomato Psyllid

Neem Tree Oil

Key Pyrethrum

Neem Tree Granules

Wallys 3 IN 1 FOR LAWN PESTS

STICKY WHITEFLY TRAPS

OrganiBOR®

KARBYON for black sooty mould on plants

Raingard

Vaporgard

Perkfection

Liquid Copper

Liquid Sulphur

Fruit and Flower Power

ROK SOLID

Mycorrcin

Thatch Busta

Magic Botanic Liquid. (MBL)

Bio Boost

Matrix Reloaded

Ocean Solids

Wheat Grass seeds for Juicing

Bird Repeller Ribbon

Cucumber Booster Food

The Potato and Tomato Psyllid .

My own personal experience with the insect pest; Psyllids, began in the fall of 2009 when a late crop of potatoes in a raised garden, was lifted.
The tops looked great but only pea sized new potatoes lay beneath and these were all sprouting.
At the time I had not heard of the psyllids and presumed I had too much animal manures in the raised garden.
It was only later I became aware of the real reason for the crop failure.
My tomatoes in the area had not been affected but then again I had used Neem Tree Granules plus an occasional spray of Neem Tree Oil from planting time and through the season for white fly control.
I have heard a few similar stories from gardeners who had used Neem Products on their tomatoes and achieved successful crops but had not done the same with their potatoes and had crop failures.
In spring of 2009 I placed Neem Granules in the planting hole with each seed potato and later sprinkled the same over the soil surface at about the time the tops were a foot high.
These were harvested in December and not a sign of any psyllid damage.
A second crop was planted shortly afterwards using the same methods and these were harvested without damage. A third late crop was planted in buckets in February and though not ready at time of writing there is no sign of psyllids.
Tomato plants for the 2009/2010 season in glasshouse and open have all produced well by using the Neem Tree Granules and an occasional spray of Neem Tree Oil.
A few similar reports have come to hand from gardeners in other parts of the country.
A greater number have reported crop failures of both tomatoes and potatoes where they have used conventional home garden sprays and not Neem products.

The best report I had was from Oderings Nurseries in Christchurch where in 2009 a paddock was planted out by the principals using a few different varieties of potatoes.
Neem Granules were used in the planting holes on every row except for the last row as they had run out of the granules. None were used on the soil surface.
When harvested all the Neem protected potatoes harvested well with no sign of psyllid damage.
The unprotected row however was a total disaster without any thing but pea sized spuds.

Neem Granules are the kernels of the Neem Tree that have been cold pressed to extract the Neem Oil from them. In India they are referred to as Neem Cake.

In the soil the Microbes break down the granules releasing over a period of time, the Neem properties that are still in the granules. These properties are taken up by the potato or tomato plant and translocate through the plant. Thus if a chewing or sucking insect feds on the plant they receive a small dose of the Neem affecting their ability to eat again. Thus they die of starvation.
(I don’t know how well the granules would work in soils that have little or no microbes to break down the granules.)
The granules work well on some plants, but not on others such as cucumbers and beans.
The granules also work well on any other soil insects, (grass grubs, nematodes etc)
Back up sprays of the foliage with Neem Tree Oil are advisable and should be applied with Raingard or similar to give rain and UV protection making the foliage sprayed protected for a longer period.
Without UV protection the spray has an effective life of about 7 days.
Neem Oil is not systemic and should only be considered as surface protection thus a complete coverage is needed.
Neem Tree Oil has a heavy consistency and will tend to go solid in cold temperatures, very much like honey. Ideally the product should be warmed before mixing by placing the container into a tub of boiling water. It should also be mixed with warm water for spraying.
Otherwise blockages of spray equipment may occur and best cleaned out with warm to hot water with dish washing liquid used.
On soils where the microbes have been killed off through heavy usage of chemical fertilisers and chemical sprays the Neem Oil should be used rather than relying on the Neem Granules.

Also see NZFSA web page at http://www.nzfsa.govt.nz/consultation/mrl/page-14.htm
In regards to Neem use on crops.
Note: Some Neem Product brands are not registered for use on or around food crops and some other brands are. Wally Richards

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Neem Tree Oil is a natural product from the kernels of the Neem tree.
It is known to effect the natural life cycle of many insects by preventing them from passing to the next stage of their development. Thus nymphs cannot pass on to their next instar if they absorb Neem oil though contact or digestion. They then die.
Also it prevents a number of insect pests from eating once they have consumed some Neem Tree Oil that is on sprayed foliage.
It not known to affect beneficial insects so Ladybirds, bees etc are safe, even if they consume insects affected by Neem oil.
Being natural, Neem Oil is very safe to use but normal spray protection is advised as some people may have a reaction to the oil or smell. (this same product, I have been told, has been used effectively for head lice control in children)
TIPS FOR USE: In cold weather place the un-opened Neem Tree Oil bottle in a jug of hot water.
(The oil tends to solidify in cold weather) Shake bottle well before opening.
Using warm water in the spray mix is important to ensure it mixes well. Only spray at the end of the day when the sun has gone off the plants. Spray for total coverage of plants, under and over foliage.
Do not use in very hot, humid conditions as the oil may separate from the spray, in these conditions and cause blistering on plant’s foliage.
Being an oil it can burn or mark flowers or tender foliage, beware of this and test spray a sample before spraying all of a crop.

For General protection and control use at 5 mls per Litre, for bad infestations spray the first time at 15 mls per litre then followed a few days later at 10 mls per litre. Repeat till controlled.

Add Raingard to the mix at the rate of 1ml per litre of spray. This will assist in foliage penetration and prevent the oil from washing off when you water or it rains.
Neem oils are UV sensitive and the UV radiation will break down the active ingredients over time.
To extend the active life of the product add MBL Magic Botanic Liquid to the spray mix at 10 mls per litre of spray. The MBL will act as a sunscreen and benefit the health of the plants sprayed.
Use all spray made up within 24 hours of mixing or discard if not used. (It can keep longer but its effectiveness maybe reduced.)
Clean spray equipment out after use to prevent jet clogging. A norm rinse through with water and a spray of clean water will usually keep everything in order. Blocked jets or filters can be soaked in meths.
Store your bottle of Neem Tree Oil in a dark, cool place to ensure long shelf life.

Do not add to copper sprays as it will react will copper reducing effectiveness of both controls.
Neem Tree Oil is about the only thing that will control Leaf Hoppers, with regular spraying.
I have also had reports that it tends to keep possums away from gardens sprayed.
Neem Tree Oil is effective (to the best of my knowledge) against most garden insect pests and it also has some fungicide properties as well. It appears to help control black spot and rust and likely other plant diseases.
It can be used with “Perkfection for Roses” for best overall safe protection from both diseases and pests.
Use these three products together, Neem Tree Oil, Perkfection, MBL and Raingard. Note Perkfection is used only once a month but the other two maybe sprayed as required.
Do this and I think you should be very pleased with your roses and garden this season. From the feed-back from gardeners last season, it certainly makes for a better gardens and roses.
Neem Tree Oil is not known to be harmful to pets and wild life..
Neem Safety? see Neem Safety

If you have any questions please phone me at 0800 466464. Or SAE to Box 489 Palmerston North.
Happy and Safe Gardening

Wally Richards
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KEY PYRETHRUM

There is a new pyrethrum available called Key Pyrethrum which can be used at 1 ml to 2.5 ml per litre of water, thus the 200 ml bottle makes up 80 to 200 litres of spray.
Pyrethrum has long been recognized as a natural and safe insecticide against a wide range of pest insects.
Pyrethrins are natural insecticides produced by certain species of the chrysanthemum plant.
The flowers of the plant are harvested shortly after blooming and are either dried and powdered or the oils within the flowers are extracted with solvents.
Pyrethrum liquids are used in the home garden and commercial crops for insect control. The natural pyrethrins are contact poisons which quickly penetrate the nerve system of the insect.
A few minutes after application, the insect cannot move or fly away. But, a “knockdown dose” does not always mean a killing dose.
The natural pyrethrins are detoxified by enzymes in the insect. Thus, some pests will recover.
To overcome the enzyme action so a control is assured it is best to mix the Key Pyrethrum with Neem Tree Oil. Neem Tree oil is an anti-feedent and growth regulator.
Between the two products one has an extended control period and reapplication of the sprays can be applied about every 7 days or when needed. It should be noted that fish are also effected by pyrethrum so don't use near ponds etc..
To obtain the best results from Key Pyrethrum you must only use the product just before dusk.
The reason is that pyrethrums are quickly broken down by UV and if sprayed during the day the effects are lost within an hour or two of application.
But if sprayed prior to dusk the product will be active all through the night till the following day.
Key Pyrethrum is a commercial insecticide and is registered for use on food crops in the commercial size packaging.
The 200ml for home garden use is the same Key Pyrethrum, but as the 200ml size does not have a registration for use on food crops it has to, by regulations, bear the statement ‘Not for use on food crops’ One of those enigmas of regulations, which could be rectified but at a cost which would make the product more expensive.
The less amount of the active concentrate compared to other Pyrethrum products came about from trials, that found that when used at the rate of 1 ml per litre when compared to 5 mls per litre, the end result of the number of pests killed were similar.
Sure the 5ml had a slightly greater kill rate than the 2.5ml or 1 ml rate but not so significantly greater, to justify the stronger solution.
When used at dusk mixed with Neem Tree Oil you have a good control spray for most insects that is safer all round to use, than any chemicals.The Neem Tree Oil which has 1500ppm of the active ingredient (azadirachtin) which is a growth regulator and with another active ingredient, (salannin) which is an anti feedent. Thus Neem Oils don't really kill any insect pests as Key Pyrethrum does instead it stops them eating or maturing which means they die as a result.
We often make the problem worse with insect pests, by feeding plants nitrogen rich, water soluble fertilisers and Nitrophoska which generates soft sappy growth, that insect pests love. By using natural products such as sheep manure pellets, animal manure based composts, blood and bone etc, you don't create such a desirable food source for pests, but you do create strong healthy growth which is less palatable to pests and diseases.
In a well balanced garden you actually want small populations of insect pests because these are the food source for ladybirds and other predator insects. The problem arises that pest insect populations build up first before the predators populations do.
So you need to make a balance by knocking back the pests while the predators are coming on stream.
Chemical sprays are poisons, not only are they supposed to kill the pests but they also harm the environment, are harmful to your family and pets as well as wild life. Really bad in our food chain and water supplies.
Once these chemicals did control insect pests but because of prolonged use over the years, many insects are immune to the poisons, so you harm everything else and often waste your money.
Written by Wally Richards Garden Writer phone 0800 466464
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NEEM TREE GRANULES

Many gardeners have been enjoying the results of Neem Tree Oil in their gardening.
Being organic, Neem has made spraying safer while taking care of most insect pests and a few diseases as well. Every few weeks further reports from gardeners, roll in tolling its virtues.
Roses that have been sprayed with Neem Tree Oil and other safe products such as Perkfection and Mycorrcin have never looked better with healthy foliage and lovely blooms.
My best report came from a lady who looks after 400 roses at a winery in the Marlborough Region and she told me that she had been using the Neem and the other products mentioned since the roses started sprouting in the spring.
Visitors to the Winery are amazed at how healthy the roses are looking and all the staff at winery have had to be told the reason, so it can be passed on to all the inquiries the roses cause.
Neem Tree Granules.

The granules are the crushed kernels of the Neem tree. They contain the Neem properties that make the insecticide control.
They can be used to make plants healthier and reduce the instance of soil insects such as root mealy bugs, root nematodes, grass grubs, etc.
As the granules break down the Neem properties are taken up through the roots of plants and will help to keep the plants healthier and pest free, through the trans-location action.
This can be used to advantage on tall trees and bushes where spraying is difficult.
It is a first line of defense against foliage attacking insects. Sprinkle the granules in the area between truck and drip line.
For use in container plants just sprinkle a table spoon (or more dependent on the size of the container) of granules into the pot at potting up time or place the same on top of the mix.
Very economical the recommend amount is 50 grams to 50 litres of potting mix.
Cover granules with some potting mix as they go moldy as they break down making the container to look a bit unsightly.
In the potting mix it should be effective for several months, (estimated up to about 4-6 months) slowly releasing the Neem properties.
Likewise the granules can be used in soil assist the control of soil insects at the rate of 50-100 grams per square metre.
I would suggest that the soil-life period to be shorter than in potting mix as the soil micro-organisms will break the product down faster.
(Estimated about 1-3 months)
When planting or sowing seeds, you can work the granules into the top 10cm of soil and likewise around plants with problems or ones you wish to protect.
An natural control, in my mind, for Root Mealy Bug, Galls and other soil insects.
Excellent for caterpillar control.
For Grass Grub sprinkle the granules over the recently mowed lawn at the rate of 50 grams per square metre and water to settle to the soil.
If possible roll the lawn. Ensure that areas where damage has occurred and near those areas, are especially treated as the adult females lay their eggs back where they emerge.
Best times for treating is around December as the females are laying their eggs and the grubs are hatching.
Next time for treatment would be in the autumn and into winter when the ground is softening up with the autumn rains.
This is likely to be about April/May/June/July dependant on where you are in NZ.. Always lift some turf prior to application to see if the grubs are present.
For borer control in trees sprinkle the granules under the tree and spray them soth Neem Tree Oil at 25 mils per litre to get more Neem Into the tree. If you have any questions ring me at 0800 466464 or
Email at wallyjr@manawatu.gen.nz
www.gardenews.co.nz
Happy, Safe and Healthy Gardening,
Wally Richards
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STICKY WHITEFLY TRAPS

Pest insects populations expand at an incredible rate when conditions are favourable.
I am always amazed how that on one day, a few insects are on a plant and then within a few more days there are hundreds. If they are not controlled then within a few weeks there can be thousands even millions and then they are very hard to control.
The key to controlling any pest insect is to act smartly and use a suitable control at the very first sign of a pest insect been around. Also you should work on the mice theory; if you see one mouse then there is likely to be several more you don't see. If you see one pest insect you can bet your bottom dollar there is sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles and cousins you don't see.
Here are some stats to show you how quickly a problem can become.

Whitefly: the female can lay 8 eggs a day and between 150 to 300 eggs in her life time and it only take 25 to 30 days from an egg to the adult stage.

Psyllid:affecting tomatoes and potatoes, the female can lay up to 510 eggs over their life time of 21 days and it only takes about 33 days from egg to adult.
The Sticky Whitefly Traps imported from America can catch whitefly, leaf miners, winged aphids and psyllid adults.
These are yellow strips 78mm wide and 125mm long which can be hung near plants you wish to protect. The special colour of the strips are a lure to a number of insect pests on the wing and because of the very sticky nature of the traps, they are stuck for good.

The traps come in a pack of 5 and can be used indoors, outdoors and in glass houses to advantage as a first line of defence. Available from some garden centres or by mail order in New Zealand.
I placed a couple of Sticky Whitefly Traps in my glasshouses a few weeks ago and it is interesting to see all the different types of insects that they have caught.
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GARDENS NEED BORON-OrganiBOR®

Boron is a semi-metallic trace element which is essential for plant growth and the availability of this micro nutrient in the soil and irrigation water is an important determinant of crop yield and quality. Boron does not appear on Earth in it’s elemental form but is typically found as boric acid or as borate (boron oxide) minerals.
In these forms, boron is widely distributed in nature and is released into the environment (soil, water, air) mainly via geothermal activity and the natural weathering of clay-rich sedimentary rocks.
Boron deficiency has been recognized as one of the most common micro nutrient problems in agriculture with large areas of the world (including New Zealand) being boron deficient. Such deficiencies can be corrected with the use of borate fertilizers and in areas of acute deficiency borates can increase crop yields by 30 to 40 percent.
However, the management of boron concentrations in soils can be difficult as a narrow range exists between plant deficiency and toxicity.

Traditionally, the most commonly used boron fertilizers are sodium borates (eg borax, ulexite) and they range from 11.3 to 20.5 % boron. However, due to the high solubility of sodium borates it is difficult to maintain consistent boron concentrations in soil. Thus, sodium borate fertilizers are typically applied frequently and in small quantities to avoid boron toxicity.

A new product; OrganiBOR® is a naturally occurring borate mineral (hydroboracite) mined in the Santa Rosa de Los Pastos Grandes valley in Argentina and is made up of a rare mixture of magnesium and calcium borate. Unlike, sodium borates, hydroboracite is not highly soluble and therefore OrganiBOR® releases boron slowly into the soil, at a rate similar to which most plants uptake boron. OrganiBOR® can, therefore be applied in larger quantities than traditional boron fertilizers and will persist in the soil without the risk of boron toxicity. One application of OrganiBOR® will last anywhere between 3 and 10 years depending on the crop, soil type and climatic conditions.
Thus application of OrganiBOR® is simpler for most growers and gardeners and more cost effective, especially when combined with soil and foliage testing to determine exactly when the next application is required. OrganiBOR® is certified for organic use and is suitable for grapes, apples, kiwifruit, avocados, potatoes, tomatoes and almost all other crops grown commercially or in home gardens in New Zealand.

As OrganiBOR® releases boron into in the soil it combines with water and forms boric acid and plants take up boron from the soil in this form. Boron plays an essential role in a plant’s life cycle. In vascular plants, boron deficiency inhibits leaf expansion, root elongation, apical dominance, flower development, pollen tube growth and, in turn, fruit and seed set. Boron toxicity also results reduced shoot and root growth, with marginal and tip chlorosis and necrosis typically occurring.
While the effects of boron deficiency and toxicity are well documented, the biological mechanisms involving boron which lead to these symptoms are not well understood.
Recently, it was shown that boron cross-links pectins in plant cell walls a process that is essential for cell wall synthesis, structure and function. But in addition to this, boron involvement has been implicated in a diverse range of cellular processes including regulation of gene expression, nucleic acid metabolism, carbohydrate and protein metabolism, indole acetic acid metabolism, membrane integrity and function, phenol metabolism, nitrogen fixation and nitrogen assimilation.
Accumulating evidence also points to boron being important to animals and humans. Boron has been shown to be necessary to complete the life cycles of some higher animals (eg zebra fish and frogs) and boron deprivation has been linked to impaired growth, bone health, brain function and immune response various animal models including humans.
The recent release of OrganiBOR® to the home garden market in one kilo gram containers through some garden centres will allow gardeners to safely apply this essential element to the crops.
It is applied at the rate of 100 grams per ten square metres which means the 1Kg container will do 100 square metres for a 3 to 5 year treatment before the need to apply again.
This will be an absolute boon for home or part time growers that in the past have not been able to easily apply boron, unless they really know their stuff. Sprinkle it about every 3-5 years and forget about it in the knowledge that the plants will be getting the correct amount of boron without risking any sort of toxicity. The boron is of course taken up by the plants and distributed into the fruit or vegetables (or flowers for that matter) which are of course in turn eaten by you and me, so not only will your plants be healthier but you will be too.
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D.E. Micronised Diatomaceous Earth.

We currently have DE in a powder form at $12.00 for 500 grams
Any questions phone me, Wally Richards on 0800 466464 or 06 3570606 (Palmerston North)
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RAINGARD

Raingard is an Organic or Natural biodegradable terpenic polymer.(Made from Pine Resin)
Raingard does 4 jobs when mixed with most garden sprays including herbicides.
Like similar products eg Sprayfix, Raingard spreads and sticks the spray particles over foliage giving a better coverage. But Raingard goes two steps further and used at the recommended rate of only 1 ml per litre of spray it will RAIN-PROOF the spray for up to 14 days in average conditions and average Rain Fall.
This means that the particles of spray are being slowly released from the film Raingard has over the foliage over the 14 days.
Raingard will dry with the spray in normal conditions of between ½ hour to an hour and a half.
Because Raingard locks spray particles on foliage for 14 days, then on food crops, any toxic sprays combined with Raingard should allow the 14 days withholding period or if the toxic spray has a longer withholding period, then the longest period would apply.
If using Raingard with Neem products or sulphur sprays, then as neither Neem or sulphur are toxic, the withholding period is not important.
But if using a Copper spray, a 14 day period should be applied to food crops as copper is toxic.
Raingard saves you time and money as it removes the need to re-spray every time it rains or you water.
Raingard acts also as a bridge for systemic sprays and greatly aids these types of sprays entry into the foliage.
Used with herbicides it will increase the effectiveness of the weed killer, often resulting (from trials) a 50% better result, when compared to not using Raingard.
Raingard is more effective (to my knowledge) than Pulse to aide Roundup into shiny or hairy leaf plants.
It is interesting to note that Raingard used with say Roundup you can reduce the amount of Roundup needed to get the same results. Instead of 10 ml of Roundup to the litre, try 5 ml and Raingard.
Some weeds may this need the stronger solution but most will die from the suggested combination.
It is also interesting to note that another one of our Organic products, Mycorrcin Plus if added to the mix of Roundup and Raingard will also assist with a better and now faster kill as the Mycorrcin will assist in the breakdown of the dying foliage, cleaning up the area quicker.
You might like to try this as a ‘less harmful to the environment’ weed killer, 3 ml of Roundup, 5 ml of Mycorrcin Plus and 1 ml of Raingard into one litre of water.
You should find that this will kill most weeds without having to increase the amount of Roundup.
As the Mycorrcin stimulates the soil life and beneficial fungi it off-sets the damage that herbicides do to the soil and worms.
Raingard is available in 100 ml and 250 ml bottles.
Its cousin Vaporgard is a Frost protector, sea spray and wind burn protector, stress guard protection, assists in better colour and flavour to fruit, extends self life of fruit and produce, reduces water requirements for plants in summer and lasts as a film over sprayed foliage for about 3 months.
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PROFESSOR MACS 3 IN 1 FOR LAWN PESTS

A few months ago I happen to be talking to a green keeper, (Ray) from up north about a couple of gardening problems that he had, and during the conversation he mentioned a product that came from Australia that he was using on his bowling greens.
The product consisted of Eucalyptus oil and Tea Tree oil along with natural plant foods in the form of manures and seaweed/fish extracts.

Ray told me about how he is using the product on his greens to give fantastic control of grass grubs, black beetles, root nematodes and porina caterpillars.
In the past Ray had been using various chemical poisons which he detested as the residue of these poisons would be left on the greens for bowlers to not only get onto their footwear but also onto the bowling balls which of course are been handled. Unless the bowlers washed both hands, clothes and footwear they would be tracking home substances that are not good for their health.
This new natural product was going to overcome any health aspects but how would it go controlling pest insects in the greens?
Ray told me it was magic and did a far better control than any of the chemicals had ever done.

The product is applied at the rate one 1 litre to 25 litres of water to cover 50 square metres of lawn.
(Diluted at the above rate; 200mls to 5 litres of water applied to 10 square metres of lawn)
After application the lawn is further lightly watered with the hose or a sprinkler to wash the oils off the grass and down into the top 6 to 10cm of the lawn. It is there that it does its job.
Often lawns are the home of garden slugs which emerge out of the soil and thatch to invade our gardens during moist times. The product knocks them out also.
Worms will happily live underneath the oil layer in the top soil without any known adverse effects.
Worms that are near the surface when applied may not fair so well.
During a more recent conversation with Ray I found that these oils will control other soil insects such as eel worm, centipedes, root mealy bugs etc. Even the likes of earwigs and slaters can be given the old hurry on if they are causing problems.
The manufacture informed me that the oils act as an irritant to the pests and they succumb as a result.
Imaginative gardeners may find this product an interesting tool in assisting in the control of some pests such as wire worm in the soil by treating the area a few weeks before planting (say) their new seasons potatoes.
The product is only recommended for lawn use and should only be used for the control of pests in the lawn areas.
Used for any other purpose is not recommended but being two natural oils I cannot see any health concerns as you are not likely to spray over any food crops and eat them without first washing as normal.
Being a oil based product, it can of course burn foliage and grass if sprayed in sunlight.
For lawn applications it is recommended to use early in the morning or late afternoon and washing in with the hose, the oils off the foliage and into the soil.
My research on the net indicates that Eucalyptus oil is toxic, but in weak solutions is used medically with warnings of possible toxic effects. (uses inhalers and medications)
Tea Tree oil should not be taken orally as it can be toxic in this form also. (Also used in various medical preparations externally)
The product’s label states ; ‘Do not feed grass clippings to animals and birds’ which would apply to the first or second mowing after application to a lawn area.
If you have pets that eat grass then make sure you water the oils off the grass after initial application before allowing the pets to roam the lawn.
This Australian product is called Professor Macs 3 in 1, been a natural lawn pest insecticide, lawn food and wetting agent. For lawn fertilising it is used at any time of the year at 100mls to 2 litres of water to cover 10 square metres. This rate will in fact assist a little in the control of lawn pests as a sort of top up after the initial application rate.

The wetting agent aspect will assist in drier times for the prevention of ‘Dry Spot’ in lawns.
Professor Macs 3 in 1 is becoming available now through garden centres (ask for it by name) in a one litre container and also in a 2 litre container that you snap your hose onto, to apply easily to 100 square metres of lawn area.
From my conversations with Ray, the green keeper and his absolute phrase for this natural product I can see it being a fantastic boon for those gardeners that want a great lawn without the need to use harmful chemicals.
A neat Green product.

Available by mail order from this web site see.. Mail order page


VAPORGARD

Frosts and winter chills are a problem for many gardeners during winter and the more tender plants need protection or losses can occur.
As we have become more adventurous in our gardens and containers, planting more exotic and tropical type plants, protection is needed or else we treat these desired plants as expensive annuals.
Glasshouses offer a degree of frost protection for tender plants but frosts do penetrate the glass doing damage also. A commercial product called 'VaporGard' has now been made available to the home gardener and this product has a multitude of uses including as spray-on-frost cloth. Very simple to use mixing 15 mls per litre of warm water and then sprayed over plants for a good coverage. In cold weather place your bottle of VaporGard into a jug of hot water for about 5 minuetes to assist in making the fluid easier to pour. VaporGard is organic and it provides a long lasting (2-3 months) film over the foliage which protects down to -3 degrees C.
New growth requires further applications but as there is very little growth through winter, this is not needed till the spring.
Putting on frost cloth and taking it off is a chore and more often or not, one either forgets or you get caught out. VaporGard overcomes these problems and becomes an all winter, first line of defense against the chills.
In areas where you have harder frosts than -3 you will still need the extra protection such as the traditional frost cloth (Good quality frost cloth protects down to -5), combine the two together and you will have a heap of protection.
VaporGard has as mentioned a multitude of uses, it can be used to advantage on transplanting seedlings and established plants as it reduces moisture loss though the foliage and thus reduces transplant stress or shock. This factor can be used to great advantage in summer on your container plants when they start to suffer through drying out. Just spray the plants and they will require far less watering.
In a glasshouse, or on very hot days in summer, plants such as tomatoes and curbits can droop during the day. At that time they have stopped growing. Just spray with the product to over come this problem also.
Another interesting aspect is, VaporGard develops a polymerised skin over each spray-droplet which filters out UVA and UVB. This provides a sunscreen for chlorophyll which is normally under attack by UV light. This results in a darker green colour of the foliage within a few days of application. This chlorophyll build-up makes the leaf a more efficient food factory producing more carbohydrates, especially glycols giving stress protection from moisture loss and extra fuel for better growth and faster maturity. The film also offers some protection against some fungus diseases. Sprayed on fruit it will give your fruit better colour, reduce splitting problems, increases sugar content and earlier maturity. The picked fruit will store for longer also. This aspect also applies to vegetables, potatoes and pumpkins, sprayed before or after harvest they will keep longer.
You could also use this for keeping cut flowers longer. A magic product that has uses all year round. A few don'ts through; never put chemicals in the spray mix if using on food crops as the harmful chemical will still be present when you harvest. Safe products such as Neem and Perkfection can still be used. Do not spray blue conifers with VaporGard as it will turn them green for about a year. Otherwise no other problems just advantages.
Note: when bottle is empty pour some warm water into the bottle to get the last aprox 5 ml of the product out. Made up spray should be used within 24 hours as it may not keep. Store your VaporGard out of direct sunlight.
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PERKFECTION For Roses and Other Plants

The following is additional information about the product called Perkfection and how it can safely assist the home gardener in problems with their plants.
The active ingredient of Perkfection is ‘Phosphite ion’ or Phosphonic Acid. (Potassium ions are also present). The safety when handling Perkfection can be described by the following; formulations of neutral salts, which do not contain wetting agents, would have very little, if any at all, absorption through the skin.
Only people with extreme allergy problems would show any sensitivity. Being neutral salts it has no corrosive effect and only cause irritation to people with very sensitive skin. If spray drift entered the eyes then the irritation would be similar to that experienced with a salt solution. Corrosive damage would not occur. This all means that Perkfection is safe to handle and spray, though all care of oneself should be taken, it is a product that you do not have to use extreme measures, as one should do, with many other garden sprays of a chemical nature.
The next important thing is “There is NO WITHHOLDING PERIOD” when used on food crops.
I would suggest however if you pick something that you have sprayed that day, wash it as you may have a ‘tainted’ taste. Perkfection is used extensively by commercial growers (as PerK Supa)of produce and fruit as its safe, effective, in control and not restrictive on exports of produce.
We have suggested Perkfection for Roses and Other Plants as an alternative to more toxic sprays, for the assistance in recovery from/or prevention of, the following problems, Black spot, Downy Mildew, Phytophthora Root rot, Canker, heart rot, damping off, crown rot, leaf blight, silver leaf, late blight, collar rot, pink rot, brown rot, Armillaria, and gummy stem rot.
Now that’s quiet a list of diseases and it also means that many of your disease related problems can be overcome with this safe to use product. Besides using Perkfection over your roses for the likes of Black spot and Downy mildew you can also use it as a spray over all your fruiting plants and trees including your strawberries. It can be used also over your potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce, beans, cucurbits (cucumbers etc) lawns, onions, passion fruit, Cauliflowers, cybidium orchids and ornamental plants and vines..
In fact there is no where you cannot use Perkfection to advantage.
Being ‘Synthetic Organic Phosphates’ what you are doing, is placing this valuable material, onto the foliage of your plants, where it is very readily absorbed and transferred through the whole of the plant.
This fortifies the plant’s cells, increases the plant’s immune system and makes your plants less susceptible to invading pathogens.
There is however a down side, as with any good thing, you can have too much and the recommendation is to use Perkfection at 5 ml per litre of spray once a month only and only for about 5 times in a season.
(Note a season is the normal period of time for that crop or plant. Roses are from Spring till Autumn. Most annuals 5-6 months.)
The reason is that, you can over load your plant with organic phosphates causing a clogging of the cells and halting growth until the system clears. Prevention is better than cure and by spraying your plants in the spring you give the greatest protection to leaves and fruit, autumn spray will give greatest protection to roots and tubers.
I have suggested that on the 1st of the month to spray your roses and other plants with Perkfection, Mycorrcin Plus and Raingard. 14 days later (15th) spray with Mycorrcin Plus, MBL and Raingard. If insects problems occur then spray with the most suitable Neem Product. (Neem Tree Oil, scale, Mealy Bug, thrips and mites, Caterpillars and beetles; Add Key Pyrethrum for aphids and whitefly.)
All these sprays are compatible and you could if you wanted to, use the MBL on the First of the month also.
They are all safe to use with most of them being organic and that’s what we need in this day and age.
Note Perkfection is coloured Blue by a food dye. If the product changes colour due to exposure to light over time, it may become clear. This will not effect its ability. You can add some blue food dye if you wish for safety.

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LIQUID COPPER SPRAY WITH MANY USES

Copper has long been a great equalizer against diseases in the garden.
Best used to prevent diseases from getting established, but it does have the ability to overcome some diseases that attack plants, as long as the damage has not become too established.
Wallys Liquid Copper is a new Copper as tribasic copper sulphate in the form of a suspension concentrate in a liquid form which is more convenient than having to mix a copper powder with water.
To use Wallys Liquid Copper half fill the sprayer for the amount of spray you wish to make up. Measure out the amount of Liquid copper at 3.0ml per litre of spray and pour this into the water in the sprayer. Put the other half of the water required into a jug and rinse the measurer in this water to remove the Liquid Copper from it.
Next add 1 ml of Raingard to the jug of water for each litre of spray to be used. It mixes in better if the water in the jug is warm. Add the contents of the jug to the water in the sprayer and agitate or shake to mix well. You are now ready to spray.
Spray for total coverage to the point of the spray starting to drip off the foliage.
The product is compatible with most garden sprays but don’t mix with sulphur, lime sulphur or Surrender.
It is also best not to mix copper with any spraying oils including Neem Tree Oil as oil tends to reduce the effectiveness of any copper spray.
Oils are used for smothering scale, mites and thrips and if any of these are present then it is better to do a separate spray for them.
Use also straight after pruning to help prevent diseases entering cuts before they seal.
The commercial brand name of this product is registered for the following plants diseases:

Anthracnose, Ascochyta Blight, Angular Leaf Spot, The following Blights: Common, Early, Late, Halo, Bacterial, Spur and Fireblight. Downy Mildew, Brown Spot, Brown Rot, Leaf Curl, Shot Hole, Bladder Plum, Bacterial Blast, Black Spot, Grease Spot, Septoria Spot, Bacterial Leaf Spot, Rust, Crown Rot, Bacterial Canker, Stemphlium, Bacterial Brown Spot, Melanose, leaf Spot, Cane Spot and Cane Wilt.

Best used as a preventive prior to the first sign of a disease and as a control to prevent spread in plants.
An interesting use of Copper is the prevention of damage to plants from slugs and snails.
Snails and slugs are mollusks and they wont go near Copper so if you spray your seedlings when you plant them out, with the product, it will keep the slugs and snails away from them. The spray protection needs to be repeated till the plants are established or as needed.
This is a great plus in my book as pets are not going to be attracted to the copper, as they can be to the poison baits that are currently used.
Now you need to understand that Copper will not actually kill any slugs or snails unless you spray them directly, instead it creates a barrier that the pests wont go near. Thus when you plant your seedlings and spray them, ensure a bit of the spray hits the soil around the plant.
You could enhance this by sprinkling something like sawdust, wood shavings or fine bark around the plants and spraying this with the copper also.
Another big use, in the battle against snails, is the small snails that get up into shrubs and plants, simply spray them with the product. If you find the larger snails in waste areas and don’t want to pick them up and squash them, just spray with the Copper.
Wallys Liquid Copper comes in a 250ml concentrate bottle making 83 litres of spray
Add to water for better mixing as opposed to adding water to the copper liquid.
This Copper gives you another safer alternative to harmful chemical sprays. It can be used all year round.
USE WITH RAINGARD at 1 ml per litre of spray to give rain proofing for 14 days.
Otherwise no other spreaders or stickers need to be added as the Liquid Copper already has these features.
The Raingard just extends the live of the copper film on the foliage no matter what the weather conditions.
Wash out sprayer afterwards. If concentrate copper comes into contact with skin wash off under running water.
Further information or gardening problems phone Wally Richards 0800 466464
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NEW SAFE DISEASE CONTROL LIQUID SULPHUR

Sulphur and Copper are the two most widely used compounds in the prevention and control of a wide range of plant diseases. These are age old garden remedies, proven over centuries of use and just as applicable today as they were a thousand or more years back.
In the USA, last year, Sulphur was still the most widely used fungicide product in commercial horticulture, easily exceeding the use of all other disease control agents combined.

The reason is simple, it is extremely effective, organic and safe to use, it does not damage soil life like chemical fungicides do and if you are concerned about what goes into the food chain, sulphur is a winner.
We now have Liquid Sulphur which is a very concentrated sulphur in a liquid form.
Liquid Sulphur is most effective for the prevention and control of powdery mildew, rust, botrytis, leaf molds or spots, and black spot. It will however assist in a number of other diseases that can affect plants.
An interesting aspect with sulphur, it’s a very effective spray for the control of mites and does a better job than most miticides. Use for Spider Mites.

Been a thick liquid it is best to add the amount of liquid Sulphur required, into half the amount of water and stir, before adding the balance of the water in the sprayer. Also rinse measuring flask into the balance of water before adding to sprayer.
Raingard should be added to further rain proof the spray, which with Raingard, is normally about 14 days.
Liquid Sulphur comes in a 250 ml container that makes up 100 litres of spray used at the rate of 2.5 mils per litre.
Not to be used with oil sprays such as Neem Tree Oil, spraying oils, Shield or Gild and best applied later in the day.
Roses; use for black spot, powdery mildew, rust and mites and apply at 7 to 10 day intervals to protect new growth from black spot.
Apply at 14 day intervals during active growth. Do not apply to flowering plants or trees that are setting fruit as it can interfere with the pollination. (Spray late in day when pollination is completed for the day.)
Traditionally sulphur is always associated with grape vines and its great for preventing the diseases that can affect the vines such as mildew and botrytis.
Do not use on sulphur sensitive plants such as apricots. Sulphur and Lime Sulphur are two very different sprays so dont get them mixed up. For More Information contact Wally Richards 0800 466464 or wallyjr@manawatu.gen.nz


THE IMPORTANCE OF POTASSIUM AND MAGNESIUM (Fruit + Flower Power)

It has come to my attention that too many gardeners don’t supply their plants with sufficient amounts of potash (Potassium) and magnesium for best health. Plants like us, if they do not get sufficient minerals in their diet, they will be adversely affected and poorly.
Potassium deficiency will show as soft limp plant growth, poor flowering, taste decline in fruit, and general loss of vigor.
I am often asked what is wrong with plants which, don’t seem as good as they could be, even though they are fed well and watered right.
Often the reason is insufficient Potassium.
Then there is fruit, especially citrus which are lacking in juice and flavor.
Tomatoes and cucumbers that don’t have that home grown flavor that one would hope to have.
Plants that have poor flowering or don’t flower at all. Once again the problem can be insufficient Potassium.
Magnesium is involved in chlorophyll production, which converts sunlight into sugars and is involved in activating enzymes. Because of its role in chlorophyll, the first symptoms of magnesium deficiency show up as yellowing, usually between the veins of the older leaves. In severe deficiencies, the entire leaf will turn yellow or red and then brown, with symptoms progressing up the plant.
There are numerous plants that show this tendency, citrus, daphne, rhododendrons, tomatoes, passion fruit, roses to name a few.
Once the yellowing starts to appear then already the plant is having problems and even when magnesium is supplied, it takes several weeks before the lovely dark green colour is restored.
During this time the plant is weakened, as the chlorophyll is not working to its full potential which makes the plant more susceptible to diseases and pests.
During drought conditions, plants suffer and one important aspect to assist in this is Potassium.
It regulates water absorption and retention, influences the uptake of some nutrients and helps to increase disease resistance.
As the weather cools and winter approaches, plants feel the chill like we do, but plants cant put on a jersey like we can. Plant’s protection from chills and frosts comes from having adequate Potassium in their diet.
Thus us gardening commentators always suggest to gardeners to supply potash to their plants as winter starts to approach and to avoid too much nitrogen.
Commercial growers of plants and orchardists have a commercial product that they use to ensure their plants have sufficient Potassium and magnesium in their diet.
These two vital elements are blended together in the right balance as required for plants.
It’s a wonder that this has not been made available to the home gardener before now.
Well that’s about to change as a new product called ‘Fruit and Flower Power’ (the commercial product under a different name) is now available from your favorite garden centre.
It comes nicely packaged in a plastic jar with a 50 gram (50ml) scoop. The jar contains 1250 grams of potassium and magnesium in the right balance.
It is used at the rate of 50 grams (one scoop, just below level full) per square metre around the base of the plant or around the drip line.
(Whichever is applicable) to start with, for any plant that is flowering, fruiting, showing lack of vigor or yellowing in foliage.
Now this next bit might surprise many; but the monthly requirement is 25 grams (half scoop) per square metre. This should be applied while plants are flowering, fruiting, during dry times and going into winter. Outside of these times a 2-3 monthly dose should be fine.
For fruiting a dose at 50 grams should be applied prior to flowering followed by the 25 grams till harvest. For the likes of tomatoes and cucumbers, apply over fruiting period for best flavor.
I get a lot of complaints that citrus fruit are dry and lack flavor so this should fix the problem.

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ROK SOLID

Rockdust-Full Spectrum-Bio Certified Fertiliser
(Replaces Simalith Rockdust)

Rok Solid is designed to work in the soil, increasing the mineral content to the benefit of the health of the soil and plants growing there.
Used on food crops means your produce will have greater nutritional value and taste.
Rok Solid contains over 60 minerals and elements and is specially selected for its natural energy (paramagnetism), this energy is what gives the soil it’s vitality assisting in the nutrient uptake of plants.
The high silica content (43%) helps in plant formation.
Rok Solid is blended with Organic 100 liquid fertiliser concentrate made from fish and seaweed, which contributes a further array of minerals, together with microbial stimulates.
These organisms being necessary to hold soil balance, regulate nutrient to the plants, build humus and help detoxify the soil.

Rok Solid is used at 100 grams per square metre for new plantings.(Note scoop provided is approx 50 grams when filled level)
Alternatively about a level teaspoon into each planting hole for seedlings or a sprinkling along a row of seeds, with the seeds at planting time.
Larger plants about a level tablespoon in the planting hole.
For existing gardens with plants 100 grams per square metre twice a year (spring and Autumn) for fruit trees, shrubs, vegetable and flower gardens and lawns.
Roses an application of one to two teaspoons per rose spring and autumn.

A MUST FOR ALL FOOD CROPS

For the home gardener Rok Solid is available in 1kg and 3 kg jars.

Analysis of Rok Solid (Averages)

Nitrogen [N] .15%
Phosphorus [P] .8%
Potassium {k} 1.4%
Sulphur [S] .14%
Calcium [Ca] 4.4%
Magnesium [Mg] 5.69%
Sodium [Na] 2.95%
Silica [Si] 43.0%
Iron [Fe] 39,000ppm
Manganese [Mn] 1,100ppm
Boron [B] 55ppm
Copper [Cu] 90ppm
Zinc [Zn] 142ppm
Cobalt [Co] 59ppm
Molybdenum [Mo] 2ppm
Selenium [Se] 3ppm
Plus many other trace elements.

I was given a sample of Rok Solid in early 2008 and prior to this I had been using Simalith Rockdust which is imported from Germany. (Rok Solid is a New Zealand product)
I trialled the two rock dusts on my favorite health giving wheat grass for juicing.
I found that the Rok Solid gave a sweeter juice, from the cut wheat grass and that the sweet flavour continued much long in the aging grasses when compared to Simalith.
(I believe it is the sweetness of wheat grass juice that indicates the amount of goodness/minerals in the grass)

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MYCORRCIN

An organic product which promotes beneficial microbes to assist in the composting of organic matter into humus.
Stimulates Mycorrhizal fungi which act as an extension to the plant's roots assisting in the collection of nutrients and moisture.
Improves calcium uptake, stimulates the growth of feeder roots and microbes responsible for mineralization.
Improving Calcium availability and uptake. Inhibits soil pathogens, containing defense proteins such as bacteriocin like substances which inhibit soil pathogens. Promotes balanced growth of both roots and canopy.
Aids plants in increased growth rates, heavier crop yields, warms soil, reduces disease problems, revitalizes soils and microbe activity that have become poorly due to chemical fertilisers and sprays.
A must for preferred plants such as roses, annuals, vegetables, fruit and lawns as well as other ornamentals.
Soil drench applied before planting, 1ml per litre of water over a sq.M. Sprayed at 5ml per litre over existing plants and on the soil around the plant. (Ideally every 14 days) Available in 250 ml & 500 ml bottles.
By using Mycorrcin Plus we stimulate the beneficial organisms and they convert the available food into soluble forms for the plants.
You use less food and get better results.
Here are a few examples, root mass of a grape vine cutting 800% bigger than the control plant from just dipping in Mycorrcin Plus for a few minuets before planting.
Roses that were treated during the summer were in full bloom with lots of new buds, lush healthy foliage, no sign of disease and for the first time ever fragrance from the flowers was noticed.
Other roses on the same property, in a better location, were not treated and at the time of this report, end of March (Auckland) these ones had finished flowering and looked a mess from blackspot.
The manufacturer of Mycorrcin Plus took his wife to see a planting of 18 month old olive trees in a trial area that were treated with the product.
The wife told off her husband because their 10 year old olive tree at home was not a patch on these big healthy trial plants.
You can increase the yield of your strawberry plants by 200 to 400 plus percent.
Do you want a really terrific garden? The answer lays in the soil and Mycorrcin Plus.
Use on your container plants too because they will really benefit from it.
If you have fallen leaves rake them up and spread them over the soil in bare gardens or under trees and shrubs and spray them with Mycorrcin Plus, it breaks them down in about 4 months.
Use in the compost heap for better compost, faster.
More information; wally Richards 0800 466464

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MYCORRCIN GETTING A FAR BETTER GARDEN

I was asked a very interesting question a while back which went like this, ‘How come my parents and grandparents had such bountiful gardens?
Everything thrived and I never saw any great problems with pests and diseases, but on the other hand I have to use fertilisers and sprays just to maintain a mediocre garden. What’s gone wrong?
Well the answer as I see it was the difference in gardening, in days gone by people did not buy fertilisers and plant foods, instead they made their own compost and most people had their own chickens that were given all the kitchen scraps.
This was recycled into manure by the chickens and when the runs were mucked out this goodness went into the compost too. The micro-organisms and beneficial fungi in the soil would be found in abundance along with lots of worms of course. Then people started using chemical fertilisers and these destroy the beneficial soil life.
This means plants don’t feed as well, valuable nutrients are lost as there is not the metabolisms there to make them soluble for the plants. The plants are not so healthy and they then get attacked by pests and diseases.
The answer is to reverse the spiral and now there is a product called ‘Mycorrcin Plus’ which does the following; ‘an organic product which promotes beneficial microbes to assist in the composting of organic matter into humus.
Stimulates Mycorrhizal fungi which act as an extension to the plant’s roots assisting in the collection of nutrients and moisture. Improves calcium uptake, stimulates the growth of feeder roots and microbes responsible for mineralization. Improving Calcium availability and uptake.
Inhibits soil pathogens, containing defense proteins such as bacteriocin like substances which inhibit soil pathogens. Promotes balanced growth of both roots and canopy.
Aids plants in increased growth rates, heavier crop yields, warms soil, reduces disease problems, revitalizes soils and microbe activity that have become poorly due to chemical fertilisers and sprays. A must for preferred plants such as roses, annuals, vegetables, fruit and lawns as well as other ornamentals.
Soil drench applied before planting, 1ml per litre of water over a sq.M. Sprayed at 5ml per litre over existing plants and on the soil around the plant. (Ideally every 14 days) Available in a 250 ml and 500ml bottle.’
By using Mycorrcin Plus we stimulate the beneficial organisms and they convert the available food into soluble forms for the plants. You use less food and get better results.
Here are a few examples, root mass of a grape vine cutting 800% bigger than the control plant from just dipping in Mycorrcin Plus for a few minuets before planting.
Roses that were treated during the summer were in full bloom with lots of new buds, lush healthy foliage, no sign of disease and for the first time ever fragrance from the flowers was noticed.
Other roses on the same property, in a better location, were not treated and at the time of this report, end of March (Auckland) these ones had finished flowering and looked a mess from blackspot.
The manufacturer of Mycorrcin Plus took his wife to see a planting of 18 month old olive trees in a trial area that were treated with the product. The wife told off her husband because their 10 year old olive tree at home was not a patch on these big healthy trial plants. You can increase the yield of your strawberry plants by 200 to 400 plus percent.
Do you want a really terrific garden? The answer lays in the soil and Mycorrcin Plus.
Use on your container plants too because they will really benefit from it.
If you have fallen leaves rake them up and spread them over the soil in bare gardens or under trees and shrubs and spray them with Mycorrcin Plus, it breaks them down in about 4 months.
Use in the compost heap for better compost, faster.
This is a product that is going to change your garden into a great garden and save you money in sprays and fertilisers.
Wally Richards

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LAWNS AND THATCH : THATCH BUSTA

I am very pleased to see that more and more gardeners are looking to improve that patch of green on their sections that we call ‘lawn’. I often write about lawns and have helped to introduce, to the home gardener, the idea of de-thatching their lawns with either a special rake of a motorised Scarifier.
So what is this thatch?
Thatch is more than just an accumulation of grass clippings at the soil surface. Thatch is an intermingled organic layer of dead and living shoots, stems, and roots that lies between the soil surface and the zone of green vegetation. Its development is related to a number of factors, which affect the rate it develops, or the rate it is decomposed by micro-organisms in the soil.
A thin thatch layer can be tolerated in some lawn situations. In fact, a small thatch layer can help to increase turfgrass wear tolerance. However, if this layer is allowed to accumulate unchecked, lawn problems will develop. Excessive thatch layers result in increased insect and disease activity and mower scalping injury. Other problems related to excess thatch build-up include reduced tolerance to heat, drought stress, and reduced tolerance to low winter temperatures.
Whether thatch is a problem or a potential problem is determined by the positive and negative influences affecting thatch formation and decomposition.
Foremost in this scheme is the inherent thatching tendencies of different types of turfgrass. (Brown Top is especially bad for thatch build up) Thatch formation is further influenced through management practices.
Increased stimulation of turf growth through excessive fertilizer use (especially nitrogen) or frequent irrigation will increase the rate of thatch development. Fertilizer and water use should therefore be programmed to produce a quality turf without over-stimulating its growth. Infrequent mowing or too high of a mowing height also favors thatch formation. Mowing should be ideally at 3.5 cm. Or there about.
Soil micro-organisms, which act to decompose thatch, function best in warm, moist, well-aerated soils at a near neutral pH. Thatch accumulation increases in soils where micro-organism populations are inhibited by acidic soil conditions or poor soil aeration caused by poor drainage or soil compaction. Eliminating drainage problems, aerating to reduce soil compaction, and liming to adjust soil pH to the near neutral range (6.2 to 6.5) will favor the activity of thatch-decomposing micro-organisms. (Worms can become a problem in a non acidic lawn with worm casts.)
Now we have an organic product called Thatch Busta which can be sprayed onto your lawn and it assists in the gobbling up of the thatch. One inch of thatch will be gobbled up in about a month, converting the thatch to food for your grasses.
Used at the rate of 100 ml to 10 litres of water to cover 100 square metres. you can use any domestic weed killers with Thatch Busta and in many cases you will get a better result in killing the weeds. Apply Thatch Busta when soil is moist, any time of the year, then use again in the spring and autumn. High traffic lawns may need a more frequent application.
Simple to use and saves you the work of having to use a scarifying rake.
Mind you, if you want to over-sow your lawn then it should be scarified to open up the soil for the new seeds.
Thatch Busta has another very useful aspect, it is a super compost activator and to use it just add 50-100 mls of the product to a litre of water and water over your compost.
Also if you want to break down organic mulches faster into the soil or for making leaf mould.
Note you can do the same over your worm farm to quickly break down raw material for the worms.
A great product for both lawns and compost and helping keep things natural.
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MAGIC BOTANIC LIQUID (MBL) -FOSSIL POWER

In New Plymouth Humate and Fulvic acid has been manufactured from our own native fossil coal.
It would appear that Humate and Fulvic acid from NZ fossilised coal is as good as if not better than the best known in the world to date. It is available as MAGIC BOTANIC LIQUID. (MBL)

How does this relate to you and your garden?
There are many applications that MBL can be used for, some of the most interesting include; Unlocking chemicals in the soil. (If you have been using fertilisers in your garden for sometime you will have a lot of fertiliser locked up in the soil.) Drench the soil with MBL and these come available to plants.
You could have a lot of dollars locked up in your gardens and lawns. It will also clean up many undesirable chemicals in the soil and in one trial, contaminated land was transformed into certifiable organic in 12 months.
MBL ( Humate and Fulvic acid ) is a growth booster for plants, it makes for much bigger root systems, stronger and healthier plants. It is been used with balanced NPK fertilisers to create world record vegetables in America such as 26.7 kg Celery and a 14 kg cauliflower to mention two of many.
If you are into growing record breaking vegetables for shows this could be for you.
Benefits may include; Aids and speeds up germination of seeds.
Helps to release locked up fertilisers from past applications especially phosphates.
Helps increase availability of chemical fertilisers and organic foods for plants.
Helps reduce many common plant disease problems.
Helps clean up many toxic compounds, chemicals and oil spills in soil.
Helps to establish plants in areas where they cant or struggle to establish.
Stimulates growth of soil micro organisms.
Increases root respiration and formation.
Increases availability of micro nutrients.
Can increase permeability of plant membranes, which will enhance nutrient uptake.
Increases vitamin content of plants.
Improves seed germination.
Accelerates root development.
Stimulates plant enzymes.

Contains a number of trace elements such as Si, Mg, S, Mn and more.
Increases ability for photosynthesis.
Contains silica which strengthens cell walls, helps block disease and regulates cell temperature which increases drought and frost tolerance.
Increase pH buffering properties of soil.
Retains and releases water soluble fertilisers for plants when needed.
Increases soil aeration.
Improves soil structure.
Makes soil more friable.
Has a capacity to detoxify chemical residues and heavy metals.
A powerful, natural chelating agent.
Improves taste and shelf-life.
Fulvic acid can promote prolonged production, as it tends to delay the aging process.
Fulvic acid increases the metabolism of proteins.
Used at the rates of 20ml per litre as a soil drench as required and 10ml per litre as a foliar spray once or twice a month.
A must for roses, tomatoes and all vegetable and fruit crops.
Green keepers are using it for better turf so onto the lawn for better healthier lawns.
If you have brown patches on the lawn where dogs have urinated use MBL to help restore or re-establish grass.
Use on your flowering annuals for bigger displays and you will need less plants to fill beds. (with balanced NPK or organic mulches etc)
Whether you use chemical fertilisers or organic preparations, MBL will give you better results and you need to use far less chemical fertilisers and so saving you money.
Put it in your weed killers for better results. Can be mixed as a foliage spray with most garden sprays to advantage. The commercial trade name is Liquid Good.
I believe this is one of the greatest gardening products since we invented the spade. Because it has so many uses and advantages, was why we called it MAGIC.
Questions? ring me at 0800 466464 Email wallyjr@gardenews.co.nz Web site www.gardenews.co.nz Wally Richards


KARBYON This new product is one that solves a problem that a solution has been sort after for years; to remove black sooty mould off plants.
Called KarbyonTM it is Micro encapsulated potassium bicarbonate 900g/kg in form of water soluble powder.
Used at 50 grams per 5 litres of water. (Scoop provided in container is 50grams when filled level)
To mix place 2.5 litres of water in spray tank, while mixing slowly add the 50 grams of KarbyonTM  then the other 2.5 litres of water. (Warm water will be better to use)
When spraying ensure a good spray coverage to run off for optimum disease control. 
48 hours later spray the target plant with a jet of water from the hose.
If not all the sooty mould is removed then a second application of KarbyonTM  maybe needed.
There is a withholding period which is; Do not apply within 7 days of harvest of food crops.
Storage Instructions: Store below 35oC.
Keep out of reach of children.
Store out of direct Sunlight.
Keep container tightly closed.
Do not store diluted product.
Karbyon is used for not only removing black sooty mould off plants but also for the prevention of powdery mildew on plants.
That means it will also help prevent black spot on plants.
For either of these uses I would recommend adding Raingard to the spray so it does not was off in rain for up to 14 days.
If using for black sooty mould then do not add Raingard to the spray as you do want to wash it off after 48 hours.
The cause of the black sooty mould is insect pests such as whitefly, scale, mealy bugs, aphids and thrips all of which feed on your plants and then pee out honey dew.
The honey dew turns to black sooty mould and also attracts ants.
You can do one of two things, firstly kill the insects that are causing the problem by spraying Neem Tree Oil and Key Pyrethrum mixed together or you can treat the sooty mould first and then the insects afterwards.
Black sooty mould not only makes the plants unsightly it also reduces the energy the plant can obtain from sunlight.
The plants are not getting the energy they should and  pest insects are sapping their vital energy as well.
The plants are in stress and can lose leaves, fruit, flowers and eventually die.
A real problem on citrus trees is from the Australian White Fly which arrived in Auckland in 2000 and now spread over a lot of the country.
At least now you have a means of removing the sooty mould.
Ask at your garden centre for Karbyon and if they say they don't know about it tell them to get in contact with me.
Happy gardening Wally Richards.

Bio Boost

“Bio Boost” is the first natural, granulated, slow release fertiliser available to the home gardener.
Most will be familiar with the advantages of slow release fertilisers over powder type fertilisers.
Powder type fertilisers are quick to release giving a boost to plants which only lasts for a short period and often much of the goodness is leached away, which means frequent applications are required for sustained growth. Where slow release fertilisers slowly break down over an extended period of time giving a continuous source of nutrients, with little waste through leaching.
Powder type fertilisers are chemical fertilisers and thus they have another disadvantage, in so much they are harmful to soil life and worms. Continual use has been proven to kill the soil making it very difficult to grow healthy plants. One can see the damage done to soil by market gardeners after a few years of cropping and the use of chemicals.
To date, the best natural nutrients have been supplied to our plants through composts and Garden Galore (sheep manure pellets), In fact it has been recognised that Garden Galore beats, hands-down, all the chemical fertilisers available to the home gardener. Garden Galore has an N:P:K of 4.0:1.4:3.0.
Bio Boost is derived from heat dried biosolids, manufactured from surplus micro-organisms.
It has been heat treated to over 500 degrees C. so it is completely free of pathogens and weed seed.
Bio Boost has an N:P:K 6.1 : 3.4 : 0.4, Plus 1.2 Calcium: 0.3 Magnesium : 0.8 Sulphur 0.8 Iron and Trace Elements.
The main commercial user of the product to date has been Green keepers whom love the product as it gives study even growth to their grasses as well as excellent colour because of the iron content.
Been organic, Bio Boost will not harm soil life and can be used in all areas of the garden to advantage including container and pot plants. The product releases over a period of up to 12 months giving a sustained feeding program.
It would be also ideal to use in conjunction with Garden Galore in the garden as it will increase the amount of nitrogen available and thus faster growth. Bio Boost is low on potash thus without Garden Galore (for the extra potash) you would need to apply additional potash for flowering and fruiting plants. This can be done organically with fresh wood ash.
Bio Boost is New Zealand’s equivalent to America’s Leading organic fertiliser, “Milorganite.”
Use liberally around plants in gardens and containers. Broadcast over lawns and water to settle down the granules. Very cost effective when compared to the more expensive, chemical, slow release fertilisers. Available from Farmlands and PGG Wrightson also some garden centres.
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MATRIX RELOADED GROWING IN A SOIL-LESS MEDIA

Growing plants in a soil-less media, is a fascination for many gardeners and the term Hydroponics arose from this activity. Growing plants by hydroponic methods is very easy and is only as expensive to set up as you wish it to be. A fun automatic system will cost you a small pump, some piping, plastic containers and plastic fittings, put together with common sense.
Or if you have the time to pour some solution 2 or 3 times a day, very minimal costs are involved. Try the bucket method to grow say 3 lettuces, a tomato plant or a potato plant. Obtain a 20 litre plastic bucket or container, at about 40mm up from the bottom drill a hole of a size suitable to place a simple plastic tap. The tap should be the type that has lock nuts, washers and thread.
Glue a piece of fine mesh over the nut end of the tap. (Prevents the tap blocking) Next obtain a bag of pumice granules, these should vary in size from fine to course.
Fill your bucket to near the top with the pumice and with the tap turned to on, pour in clean water till the tap flows freely. Next take say three lettuce seedlings and wash the mix off their roots by rinsing them in a bucket of water. Plant them into the pumice in a triangle formation near the rim of the container.
This means that they will grow well enough apart and over the edge of the container as they mature. You now need a complete liquid food that will give the lettuces all the nutrients that they need to grow and mature.
With the tap still on, pour a little of the diluted Matrix Reloaded over each of the seedlings.
When the tap stops dripping turn it to the off position. Pour a few more mils of the solution onto each of the plants. Thats all you need to do at this time.
Make sure your planted container is in a sunny, sheltered situation and somewhere where you do not forget to check it every day. A glasshouse is perfect. When the pumice looks dryish, open the tap and slowly add more mixed up solution till the tap starts to drip. Turn off the tap and add a little more solution. There is a reservoir of moisture/solution below the tap line and this moisture will be drawn up as the level of moisture above decreases.
(Capillary action) As our plants grow the amount of moisture/nutrient needs increase and we will need to add more nutrient or water once or twice a day. Salts will build up in the bucket which is not desirable.
Its a little trial and error but once you reach the point where you are adding nutrient every day then every second/third day just add plain water. Nutrient one day, plain water next two days and then nutrient. At 14 days run plain water, with the tap open to flush out system.
Following day use nutrient, next day water etc. Flushing is important. If growing a tomato make sure you have a stake in the container for support.
Tomatoes need more nutrient than lettuces so one day nutrient next water and third day nutrient.
(Once again at the time when moisture has to be added every day)To grow a potato you don't fill the container with the pumice instead you plant the seed potato just above the tap level and cover it.
As the foliage grows you keep adding more pumice to cover. Do so till you are about 70mm from top of container. As the new potatoes form they will displace the pumice which may eventually spill over the sides of the container.
Fairly simple and a bit of fun.
If you want to use a pump system then you set up a length of plastic spouting with stops on both ends.
Obtain 30mm thick polystyrene sheet and cut into a strip so it fits neatly into the top of the spouting. Obtain some grow-tubes or small plastic pots which sit into the polystyrene when you cut suitable holes for them, spaced apart for allowing the plants room. A hole is drilled low on one end of the gutter stop and a hose connector secured there with grommets. Set the guttering up on blocks with about a 10 degree fall to the hose connector end, with a holding tank below to collect the nutrient. Sit your pump in the tank with a pipe running up to the higher end of the spouting.
Use with an adaptor to 13mm common irrigation tubing so that you can put a adjustable on/off in this line. (So you can adjust flow rate.) Place pea metal in the base of the guttering to slow and spread the flow of liquid.
Place your plants with clean roots into each of the pots holding the plants secure with sphagnum moss. Fill the tank with clean water and run the system for a day. Empty tank and fill with Diluted Matrix Reloaded.
Run the system. For the next 7 to 14 days top up tank with plain water as needed. After this time take solution and water into gardens or pot plants and start a fresh solution off.
You can enhance either method by adding some MBL (Magic Botanic Liquid), Mycorrcin and Simalith, for all the benefits these products give to plants. If slimes or algae happen put in a few drops of Surrender or spray the same over areas that the green is building.
The guttering method is great for growing strawberries, dwarf beans and lettuces where tomatoes, cucumbers etc will require extra support.. Matrix Reloaded is available from many Garden Centres and its a wonderful liquid plant food for gardens and containers as well. Wally Richards 0800 466464
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CUCUMBER BOOSTER

This is a special food for cucumbers and other cubits such as pumpkins, melons, squash, gherkins, zucchini and gourds.
‘Cucumber Booster’ contains the two high nitrogen components in the right proportions for making up this liquid food.
Comprising of two parts Sulphate of Ammonia and one part Potassium Nitrate.
Mixed at these rates it has a final NPK of 18.5:0:13. Used to boost growth of any of the above mentioned plants, making for more growth and higher yielding crops.
Watered generously on the plant’s root system area, once only per week and recommended to be used on that day as a replacement for normal watering. The product has two measuring spoons supplied with full instructions on the label for mixing and use.
TO USE: Dissolve 50 grams, (one level scoop of large spoon supplied) into 20 litres of water. (Half scoop for 10 Litres)
Or Dissolve 12 grams (6 level scoops of small spoon supplied) into 5 litres of water.
The 300 grams of product will make up 120 litres of this cucumber food.
One should bear in mind however that Cucumber Booster is not a complete plant food, rather a growth booster. Thus it is recommended to use Matrix Blue at half the normal rate (for the Matrix) to have a complete food suppling the needed Phosphorus, Calcium, Magnesium, Sulfur, Iron, Manganese, Zinc, Boron, Copper, Molybdenum, Cobalt, Nickel, Chromium, Iodine and Selenium.
Not all the ingredients of Matrix are needed by the plants, such as Selenium, but are vital to personal health in our diet. Cucumber Booster is very economical for amount of food it makes, and dependent on how many cubits grown, a jar can last for a season or two.
Mixed product is best used fresh but it can store, so make up sufficient to do one or two applications.
The product can be used to boost the growth of other plants if desired but use sparingly on other plants to prevent nitrogen related damage.
Wally Richards
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OCEAN SOLIDS

The deep blue water of the ocean is rich in minerals and elements, in fact all the 92 elements known to man. These elements are also in perfect balance for living organisms, health and well being.
Back in the 60’s/70’s a Dr Maynard Murry did a incredible amount of research into ocean solids and wrote the book ‘Sea Energy Agriculture’ Nature’s Ideal Trace Element Blend for Farm, Livestock and Humans. It is currently published by Acres USA.
Maynard dissected hundreds of ocean creatures and never once found tumors or disorders in their organs. Doing the same to fish from streams and lakes, many were found to have tumors etc.
In one case he dissected a 100 year old whale and found its organs in pristine condition as good as a newly born whale. Maynard realised it was the ocean water, rich in minerals that allowed the creatures living in it to be so free of the ills that effected land creatures.
We know that at various times, all land masses were for periods of times, under the sea.
When a land mass arises from the sea it is mineral rich and once plant life establishes on the land it too is rich in minerals. But over time through rain, erosion and leaching a lot of the minerals gained by the land are lost back into the sea.
It is interesting to note that in isolated pockets on the planet, where because of the terrain, that leaching does not take place. People living in these pockets more often than not live to over a 100 years of age, in excellent health. The reason, Maynard says, is because of the mineral rich diet they have, which allows the cells of the body to replicate perfectly, slowing right down the aging process and maintaining very healthy organs.
Maynard believed that if you give a plant all the possible minerals and elements it may need to grow as it should, then that plant would not be susceptible to diseases common to it.
Trials proved this point by supplying Ocean Solids to say nectarine trees in a row. Every second tree received the solids, the others being the controls. Then curly leaf disease was sprayed over all the trees.
After three years the controls had all died and the Ocean Solid trees never showed any signs of the disease. A number of similar trials were done on various plants with the same results! Maynard took this a stage further by growing various crops of grains and feeding them to 200 female mice (C3H) that had been bred to always develop breast cancer which causes their demise.
200 more of the same C3H mice were fed conventional foods of whom all died within the normal 9 month period that their condition dictated, during which time they produced the normal two or three litters. (all to die later)
The Ocean Solid fed group were sacrificed at 16 months and a definitive examination revealed no cancerous tissue. This group also produced ten litters and no sign of the cancer in the off spring! The Ocean Solids foods had removed the cancer.
If we take this to the next stage then people that grow their own vegetables and fruit with Ocean Solids will be able to have in their food chain all the minerals that those vegetables are capable of taking up.
Maynard found that vegetables etc were capable of taking up about 20 to 40 odd elements dependant on the type of plant.
On the other hand wheat and barley are capable of taking up all the 90 odd elements if available. This is why wheat grass juice has become a very important plant in our health/ food chain.
See my information sheet on Wheat Grass Juice.
Two aspects of this have become very important in my concerns for plant health and people’s health.
If we use Ocean Solids in our gardens along with other natural plant foods, building up the soil life populations, including the worms, then we will have very healthy plants that will not suffer from diseases unless they become stressed for some reason, or reach the end of their days.
If we grow our own vegetables, fruit and wheat grass with Ocean Solids our health can greatly improve, markedly reducing the possibility of many ills such as cancer.
Think of it, healthy roses, plants and gardens along with better health for you and your family.
OCEAN SOLIDS, USE AT: New or existing gardens; 35 grams per square Metre on gardens, sprinkled on and watered in. Use at the above rate for first year and then at half the rate for years 2 to 5. No further applications then for 5 years. Scoop supplied is 70 grams when filled to slightly heaped.
For trays or container plants use at a tablespoon per 4.5 litres of mix. (Scoop does 18 Litres Mix)
SPRAY APPLICATION: One tablespoon to 4.5 Litres of water spray over foliage to run off. The Purpose for the spray, is as a natural insecticide, fungicide and foliar feed. Use only Bi-Monthly and late in day when sun is off the plants.
PLANT FOOD: Use at 1 gram per Litre of water.
Wheat Grass For Juicing: A must to be added to a good animal manure based compost, at the table spoon per 4.5 litre rate. Simalith can be added also and watered in with MBL.(Magic Botanic Liquid).
Wallys Ocean Solids are solar dried only, with no further refining, to ensure that as many of the mineral and elements possible, are present in this product.
Bear in mind that the above use rates on to gardens will over time, with other natural products, bring up the health levels of the plants. Some plants will respond fairly quickly where others may take a season or two to see really good changes. Plants in stress because of lack of moisture etc can still have problems, even with this program.
Good gardening practices are also needed.
Your gardens, Your health.
Wally Richards phone 0800 466464.

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Organic Wheat Grass Seed for Juicing

Growing and juicing wheat grass is becoming an important item for those of us that care about their general health. For many that have health problems, wheat grass can be a significant aid to recovery.
It is simple to grow and extract and for a reasonable outlay, (the most expensive part being the purchase of a manual juice extractor for about $130.00) you are investing in your health and well being.
Why wheat grass? Wheat grass is one of the few plants known to man that has the ability to take up all the known minerals and elements (thats about 90 if they are available in the growing medium)
The Internet has a lot of information about wheat grass such as the following;
‘Wheatgrass juice has been proven over many years to benefit people in numerous ways: cleansing the lymph system, building the blood, restoring balance in the body, removing toxic metals from the cells, nourishing the liver and kidneys and restoring vitality.
One ounce (28mls) of wheatgrass juice has the vitamin and mineral equivalent of 2.2 pounds (1 Kg) of fresh vegetables. It contains most of the vitamins and minerals needed for human maintenance, including the elusive B12.
Many of the benefits of wheatgrass juice stem from the fact that it is a living food, which is a complete protein with about 30 enzymes and is approximately 70% crude chlorophyll.
To be effective wheatgrass juice has to be drunk immediately after juicing.’and; ‘The healing process occurs as the therapeutic chlorophyll in wheat grass juice catalyses the elimination of the stored toxins which cause disease.
These toxins are present in the ailing organism in the form of hardened mucous, crystallized acids, fatty deposits, calcifications and solidified, decaying fecal matter. As these toxins are eliminated, the body is cleansed and brought back to its natural state of health. Wheat grass juice has a very high enzyme content which helps to dissolve tumors.’
Wheat grass juice has become popular in ‘Juice Bars’ where you buy a shot of it for about $3.00 a pop.
Some quick maths says an initial outlay of about $150.00 (Juicer $130) means you have 7 odd weeks of juice, once a day, to recover the initial outlay. After that a few dollars only are spent every so often to obtain more seed, compost and nutrients.
My concern on purchased wheat grass juice, are whether the grass has been grown in a medium that has all the minerals and elements needed to give the highest content of the same in the juice.
Just growing the wheatgrass in the garden or in trays of potting mix or compost will only give the grass the minerals that are present in the growing medium. The juice is likely still good for you but how good? So I did research and found that Ocean Solids do contain about 90 minerals and elements.
Also Simalith (Rock Dust) is very rich in minerals. Add to this (MBL) Magic Botanic Liquid with its properties and you have a combination that is sure to have a lot of goodness.
Then I started growing the wheatgrass and purchased a manual juicer (Juicer Mk 3). This is important as common juicers (electric) with their blade action destroy much of the enzymes. I was surprised to note that the grass when it grew was not the normal green, instead it was a blue/green in colour which indicates a rich supply of minerals.
WHAT YOU NEED AND HOW TO GROW: Obtain a bag of Wheat Grass Seed (Organic grown, so free of chemicals) A jar of Ocean Solids, A jar of Simalith and a bottle of MBL.
You can grow in containers and I found the best is the polystrene boxes that are used in the fish and fruit industry measuring about 56 x 42mm and about 23mm deep plus have a lid.
To use them, carefully drill good size holes in the base for drainage and then fill the boxes two thirds full with a good animal manure based compost with a little top soil mixed in.
Over this sprinkle the Ocean Solids and Simalith and cover with more compost. Over this sprinkle the wheat seed fairly thickly so they are just about touching.
Cover with a bit more compost and water in with MBL.
(I tried sowing the seeds so thickly that they were touching or on top of each other, not good as the grass grows too spindly and you need a lot more to get the same amount of juice) Near touching does give sufficient room for each stalk to develop nicely.
Place lid over the box which keeps birds or mice from eating the seed. Check every day and water a little as need be.
It only takes 2-4 days to have a good strike and once this happens remove the lid and cover with a small gauge netting or net curtain to prevent bird damage.
Once the grass is up about 3-4 inches then it is safe to remove netting. Place in a situation where its part sun/ part shade during the day. ( a few hours of sun, rest time shaded for summer and all day sun for winter) When the grass is about 6 to 8 inches tall you can start harvesting.
With a sharp pair of scissors cut the grass about an inch above the mix. (It will come again and give you a second cutting later) Cut sufficient grass for one extraction.
The taste is sweetish and does taste like grass. 30 to 40 mls taken on an empty stomach about half an hour before a meal is ideal.
The juice then can go straight into the blood stream to fortify your body.
You can cut and juice any time of the day but I feel mornings are better before breakfast. If you have a health condition you may wish to take the juice twice a day.
You can take a greater amount of juice than suggested but work up to it. Regular amounts each day is likely to be better than a larger amount infrequently.
Juice is best taken as soon as available as it will lose its vitality if stored. You can also add the wheat grass to salads or just chew on the grass either swallowing or spitting out the cud.
(The grass chewed and swallowed is high in fibre, so care is needed if you eat a lot of it) A (Juicer Mk 3) is available on this site at
I believe that wheat grass juice is invaluable for good health, stamina and general well being.
I have certainly noticed a difference since taking it daily.
Wally Richards 0800 466464
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