Gardening Articles for week ending 5th November 2016
Written by Wally Richards.

The change of seasons from winter to summer and from summer to winter brings us weather conditions that are partly winter and partly summer, these are often times of ample moisture with temperature fluctuations varying from low single digits to double digits well into the 20's

Its during these roller coaster times that several pests and diseases thrive causing us gardeners problems.

Moist conditions brings out the Gastropoda or gastropods, more commonly known as snails and slugs, which are a large taxonomic class within the phylum Mollusca.

Active during wet weather times these pests can do a lot of damage to young plants and they tend to live within the foliage of vegetables that are ready for harvest.

I am often asked for a non poisonous way of dealing to the critters that will not affect pets and wildlife.

Commercially there is an iron based product that is called Quash. It is in pellet form and can be safely sprinkled around your seedlings and other plants you want to protect from slugs and snails.

The pellets contain a lure and when eaten by the pests they die as they cannot handle iron.

You could make up a similar bait by using bran (the carrier) yeast (the lure) and iron sulphate or iron chelate. (the Control) Inexpensive and a great safe control.

The old dish of beer sunk in the ground attracts slugs and snails because of the yeast aspect and presumably they party down and drown.

Besides iron being deadly to them copper is also another compound they cannot handle and will kill them if they come into contact with it.

To use this with freshly planted seedlings simply sprinkle a little untreated sawdust around the seedling and and spray Wallys Liquid Copper with Raingard added to the sawdust and seedlings.

The slugs and snails will not go over the copper so your plants can grow safely.

The copper spray can be used wherever you find slugs and snails by directly spraying them.

Another one you can use is laying slats of ply down on the soil which slugs will hide under during the day. You make up a spray of 1 part bleach and one part water in a trigger sprayer.

Each day fold back the ply to expose the slugs which you spray with your mix. Lay the ply traps back down to collect more slugs over night.

As long as there is ample moisture around then they will be active and hiding under your ply traps.

This can also be used to control populations of wood lice or slaters.

Last week when I was watering the containers I noticed that my two crops of garlic had rust on the foliage.

Since then I have had several gardeners from all over NZ contact me about the same problem on their garlic.

The rust means that the garlic foliage will not be able to obtain the same amount of energy from the sun as they would if not affected by rust.

Sometimes the rust can cover so much of the foliage that the forming bulbs in the soil get nothing to enable them to enlarge.

My first line of attack was to mix a quarter of a teaspoon of potassium permanganate into a litre of water with 1 mil of Raingard added then spray all the garlic foliage.

The damage already done will remain and if successful new foliage produced will be free of the rust.

Repeat spray of the same about a week later to protect the new growths.

The alternative to potassium permanganate is Liquid Sulphur. Copper sprays are not effective.

The more damage that has occurred will affect the size of your bulbs at harvest time.

You could help offset this by spraying the foliage with Perkfection and Vaporgard after having used the above sprays a couple of times.

The Perkfection builds up the immune system of the plants and the Vaporgard provides a sun screen against UV which allows the plants to photosynthesis better and gain more energy from the sun.

The Vaporgard film means that the leaves are also more protected against further rust attacks.

The rust problem on garlic is most annoying as home grown garlic is a prize crop for health and culinary use.

Talking about sunscreens I have just finished reading Ian Wisharts book on Vitamin D which I would highly recommend for gardeners to read if they have not done so already.

Natural progressive tanning (which we were taught when I was young) without burning builds up your tan giving you mega doses of Vitamin D naturally as our bodies are designed to receive. From the hundreds of peer reviewed studies done; this will mean you are much healthier and better equipped to remain healthy.

Gardening is an activity which places us in the sun and as long as you are sensible about exposure times your health will certainly benefit.

UVB as I understand it gives us our tan and protection, sunscreens remove the ability to build this protection against UVA. UVA is not stopped by sunscreens (or glass) and that is where the danger of skin cancer lays. Natural tanning gives us the protection and Vitamin D we need.

As the weather warms and sunlight hours increase the need for water increases to ensure moist soil and growing mediums.

Fortunately in many areas it has being a wet spring with ample rain falls on regular bases.

That is good as the health of the soil is maintained with large populations of beneficial microbes, fungi and earth worms.

You can see it in your gardens; they are beaming with healthy growth and continue to do so as long as the skies open up and rain falls regularly.

The time will come when you have to get the hose out and start watering.

If you are unfortunate to have chlorine in your tap water you will find that after using this chemical treated water (which is used to kill bacteria in the water) it will also harm the soil life in your gardens.

I used to find this season after season once I started watering with chemical treated tap water the health of my plants and gardens diminished.

It would revive if a day or two of rain happened but deteriorate quickly with applications of tap water.

By removing the chlorine with a carbon bonded filter does make and maintain the health of your plants and gardens.

The poor gardeners in Havelock North will certainly be in shock as to what is happening to their gardens this coming summer having chlorine added to the previously natural non-chlorinated tap water.

Here is a bit of info I saw on the web:

In the 1970s scientists discovered that when chlorine is added to water, it forms Trihalomethanes (THMs), one of which is chloroform. THMs increase the production of free radicals in the body and are highly carcinogenic (cancer causing).

Chlorine and THMS have been linked to various types of cancer, kidney and liver damage, immune system dysfunction, disorders of the nervous system, hardening of the arteries, and birth defects.

A pause for thought?

Problems ring me at 0800 466464 (Palmerston North 3570606)
Web site

Phone 0800 466464
Garden Pages and News at
Mail Order products at

Natural health is a silver bullet to medical vampires.

Every healthy unvaccinated child is a refutation of the medical cartel.

Views: 123

Replies to This Discussion

Wally - coconut oil is worthy as a sunscreen

Will your filters take care of the Chlorine in town water? Also worth mentioning as many folk here are on Sulfur. If you drink Sulfur or use it on your garden with chlorinated water - the chloride blocks the uptake of the sulfur!

Really are you advocating murdering perfectly good chook food with poisons (well to them).

We have a snail and slug population and use it to feed the chooks, its a really good food source for them, just leave pots around and each morning shake them out and feed out.

Shield bugs are interesting too ... like nothing likes them but !!?

If early season you hatch chicks and begin feeding them shield bugs from 2 or 3 days old they will follow you around the garden and feast on shield bugs as you shake them off your plants.

Don't leave them in the garden they will eat everything else as well, have the chook run close, don't feed them till 10 (when they wake up) and then having trained them from chicks to follow a noise you make, pick a noise their IQ isn't high or shouldn't be greater than ours, lead them through for 20 minutes and then call them out for some real food.

Another idea I came up with was the yellow light (led's).

We have a large garden area, a poly-house with both potted plants and Aqua-ponics and now aero-ponics working well ... the green shield bugs become a problem and spread disease viruses etc so they have to go.

In the garden at night I have a yellow bucket with a light in it hanging on a tree, the light attracts the bugs (because bugs look for sickly plants and they generally look yellow) they end up going in the bucket to get to the light but I've got the light covered with water with a tiny bit of soap (made here) in it to break the water tension ... the bugs hit the water and find swimming isn't an option, clear it out every week by giving it to the chooks and combine these two methods the problem is completely over ... and the cost of your chook food just went down and your eggs just got a lot better.

Look we have brains and thumbs ... they don't ... get a hold on life.

In the aqua-ponics, I have a flood and drain system (actually 2) dropping into an NFT system (5 runs) that drop into a bath (white)

The bath is open and was going green so I got a crap load of tadpoles ... (like hundreds of them) to clean up the green alga ... well that worked and they're still hungry so I got 12 high powered yellow LED's and put them in the bath under the water, turned on at night ... the bugs in the poly-house now go to the yellow light and the taddies eat them.

the tads crap and piss (i guess ... never really asked one) and add the 'nutrient' that was going to be eating my plants, into the water ... which my plants use to grow.

So pests are useful, they're just in the wrong place or uncontrolled and as we have brains and thumbs it's about time we got smart and used them before we lose them completely.

Pharque sake stop looking at your thumbs yes they are shorter but it doesn't happen that fast you have time.

Well there's some ideas for the garden today ... if you don't grow it don't eat it ... it's not like you don't know what they do to the food right?


I really enjoyed that Neal - why did I not think of slugs snails and chooks?!

Welcome to the forum


© 2018   Created by rose.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service