Gardening News and articles

Welcome gardeners to this information service. This page will be updated every week with new gardening information, products, what to do in your garden at this time of the year, articles on current topics and much more. We hope that you will call in each week, so pull up a chair, pour a cup of tea and enjoy.

Mail Order for Gardening Products, Books, Health and Cosmetics

If you like to receive these weekly articles in your email then contact me with your request at

A new article will appear on this page each week.
Then these articles will go onto a monthly page of articles.
This will build up to a few years of articles giving you a better reference.

List of previous articles

Gardening Articles for week ending 30th March

wallyjr_opt.jpg - 39297 Bytes

Written by Wally Richards.


The arrival of Autumn rains has not let us down and progressively most of the country is enjoying the benefits of water from the sky.
Rain brings down nitrogen which gives plants a nice growth spurt and as its not full of chlorine like some peoples tap water it allows the soil life to prosper and breed, increasing their numbers to the advantage of the soil and plants.
I have seen in a nice wet spring how the gardens come alive; along with the longer daylight hours and temperatures rising to warm the soil.
As time passes and the rains stops, we then have to start watering and if your tap water is chlorinated then your plants suffer with leaf diseases, also they dont look as healthy and as happy as previously.
Then a summer shower for a day or so and suddenly the gardens perk up again as the soil life, which can have 3 generations in a 24 hour period, respond, assisting the plants by breaking down organic material. Plants obtain great benefits from their actions when their populations are high..
You want great gardens and happy plants then keep destructive chemicals out of them.
Keep your soil viable so that you can grow food crops and your favorite plants.
When you read headlines like this from the UN you start to wonder what are people going to eat in the future?
“Only 60 years of farming left if soil degradation continues!
Generating three centimeters of top soil takes 1,000 years, and if current rates of degradation continue
all of the world's top soil could be gone within 60 years, a senior UN official said.
If you look after your bit of dirt you may have something to leave to your children that will have more value than gold.
The 1000 years period to create 3 cm of top soil is the time it takes naturally in nature.
It can take mankind less than100 years to destroy that 3cm with conventional farming practices.
By using natural methods you as a gardener can build up to 3cm of top soil in ten years.
Not hard to do as all you have to do is feed the soil life.
I read one time that given perfect lab conditions the amount of microbes than can be assisted to multiply could within a fairly short period of time have a mass as big as the planet.
A good start for this is by using our Organic Fish Fertiliser (it contains beneficial microbes) with Mycorrcin and molasses. Add some garden lime into the soil for an alkaline pH and keep moist with non chlorinated water.
Add animal manures and compost teas with Magic Botanic Liquid for the cherry on the top.
(If you are really successful you might have to lift your home higher as the soil level grows upwards.)
Anyway back to reality; with the rain comes a few problems as well as the advantages of our gardens perking up.
Slugs and snails which have been dormant during the dry times will come out very hungry and your seedlings which smell nice will be very enticing.
You do not want to use chemical poisons for slug baits as they are harmful to you and your food crops and to pets/wildlife.
There is a bait that is iron based and not harmful from Tui called Quash.
You could make your own bait using a combination of bran, sulphate of iron and yeast.
The bran is the carrier,. The yeast is the attractant and the chelate sulphate of iron is the killer.
Other ones I saw on a web site are: Cornmeal – Slugs love it and die shortly after eating it. (interesting)
Caffeine – diminishes slugs and snails appetites, very effective slug killer, small amount of coffee with water and the slugs dies within 2 days. spray on or around plants or on the slugs themselves. (not sure about that but try it)
Iron phosphate – Completely disrupts their digestive system and adds iron into the soil while it’s at it. (Yep iron is a good killer)
Copper is a compound/metal that slugs and snails cant abide by and if they come into contact with it they die.
I suggest placing untreated sawdust around your seedlings and the spraying them with Wallys Liquid Copper with Raingard added. Spray the seedling at the same time, repeat two weeks later. Slugs and snails will not go over copper.
This is also a good control for ornamental garden plants that get shredded by the pests.
Copper wire can be used by some as a snail wall but metal copper tends to tarnish and become ineffective.
Powdery Mildew will now be seen on a number of annuals and vegetables plus some ornamentals.
This is normal and older annual plants are likely coming to the end of their days, cubits such as squash, pumpkins and zucchini are also on the way out. Roses are going to drop leaves and winter rest.
It maybe useful to keep a few vegetables going to mature a bit more produce but with flowering annuals there is little point.
The best control for delaying the problem that I have found is spraying the white foliage with Wallys Super Neem Tree Oil. It turns the leaves back to green straight away allowing the plant to gain energy from the sun.
If you have plants unaffected by the mildew then you can protect them by mixing a tablespoon of baking soda into a litre of warm water, add a mil of Raingard and spray the foliage.
Moist times brings out the 'Bryophytes' which are small, non-vascular plants, such as mosses, liverworts and hornworts.
They play a vital role in regulating ecosystems because they provide an important buffer system for other plants, which live alongside and benefit from the water and nutrients that bryophytes collect.
They also can be unsightly and with mosses and algae, slime dangerously slippery when wet.
Where you do not want them or where they can cause a fall such as on steps and paths best to get rid of them.
Wallys Moss & Liverwort control is the most cost effective product to use, cleans up the problem nicely and does not harm plants.
For moss and liverworts mix at 50mils per litre of water and turn the nozzle of the sprayer to a jet and shoot them. A mist or spray does not work as the product has to be forced into the target bryophyte..
For lichen and others a mix at 25mils per litre is usually sufficient and a good wetting spray normally does the trick.
I was talking to a reader this week who told me of a tree that was covered in lichen. I offered the solution but he informed me that his wife liked the appearance and so could not spray it.
Likely it will cause rot in the bark and the death of the tree over time but in saying that lichen can look fairly attractive.
Easter this weekend and if not traveling away a good time to sort out your gardens before winter hits in harder.