Another calendar year of gardening has started and for me this is my 35th year of writing a published weekly article.
My goodness that is just about half my life time.
Way back in August 1983 I was persuaded by the Editor of the Palmerston North's community paper, The Tribune, to write a weekly column on plants and gardening.
That was an ordeal as my English was not great (still isn't, but I can say its my style) and it was hand written as no computers then and I didn't process a type writer.
The handwritten articles would be delivered by myself to the Editor's desk each week for the next edition.
My Mother diligently cut out of the paper every article and placed them into scrap books of which she did till she passed away.
It was 13 years later in June 1996 that I obtained one of the early computers (Amstrad) and was able write my weekly articles and even send them by email to the Editor.
About that time I also set up the first Gardening Web site in NZ called 'Gardening Pages Especially for New Zealand'
I didnt have a web program for making web pages (now called an app) so I had to learn HTML codes by reading the codes on other web sites. Later I obtained a web page program called Hotdog and never looked back since. Way back then the only real traffic on my web site was from America and so I started a mail order service for NZ Native Seeds which sold well till import restrictions into America made it too expensive for the purchaser.
I was able to help Kew Gardens in England when they were setting up a area of NZ native plants.
My earliest writings was on house plants as they were very popular back 35 years ago and it was a subject that I felt confident to give advise on as I was selling them in a little plant shop that I had opened.
Later on I progressed to vegetable gardening and other gardening aspects.
For a few years I was published in over 30 papers through out NZ (they even paid me) plus Garden Centre chain (Greenworld) and even Yates paid me to write articles for them.
This meant I was writing two separate articles each week both which were syndicated and had a potential readership of about a million gardeners.
Publishers would send me new gardening books to review and write about most of which I have since donated to local Gardening Clubs.
Like many I was not aware of the harm that chemicals were doing to our natural gardens and health and ashamedly must admit I used them, promoted and sold them.
Like a lot of things in this world you can be tricked into making bad choices and believe the hype that the manufactures put out to sell their products.
It is a tricky world and you need to keep your eyes and ears open and sort out what is real and what is just lies to sell you a pup (old expression)
There currently are several things that are fabrications designed to take dollars out of your pocket to enrich a few. If I mentioned some of these, a number of people reading this column would be outraged as they believe the hype.
Instead an easy example of this fake science that has since been exposed is; up until recently a low fat diet and taking statins to lower cholesterol was the bee's knees for preventing heart disease.
What a load of codswallop, lowering cholesterol has since been found to be bad not only for your heart but also your brain as both organs require fat to function well.
I am yet to hear the pharmaceutical companies been held to task for adding and abetting heart diseases and senility problems.
Gardening chemicals have a similar history, manmade fertilisers that destroy soil life leaving barren lifeless soils that can only grow plants by heavy doses of what caused the problem in the first place.
The resulting plants are sick and attacked vigorously by Natures Cleaners, diseases and pests.
To overcome this, new rescue chemicals are produced to control the diseases and pests.
Initially they normally work but resistance is quickly built up by the target problem so new rescue chemicals have to be made and alternated to try to prevent resistance building.
Grown unnaturally and loaded with chemicals, vegetables and fruit that should be very good for us are not anymore and the poor animals that are forced to consume these toxic plants and grasses just add more problems to our food chain.
The situation is so silly but not for the corporations that make a lot of money out of it and then the pharmaceutical companies that provide relief from the health issues that often require more medications to offset the side effects of the previous. Just another Brick in the Wall.
There are however diligent scientists out there who understand that working with Nature is far better than working against it.
Over the break two interesting and natural products have been made available to me to write about and promote.
It is early stages yet but one is a natural 'Elicitor' (Meaning: Elicitors in plant biology are extrinsic or foreign, molecules often associated with plant pests, diseases or synergistic organisms.
Elicitor molecules can attach to special receptor proteins located on plant cell membranes.)
In natural situations plants have the ability to protect themselves against diseases and pests but often their response times are slow and the problem can be advanced before they can bring in their defense mechanisms.
This natural product which I am looking to call 'Locked and Loaded' puts plants into defense mode, helps them repel diseases and pests and assists in recovery of the same.
For preferred plants and problem plants such as Buxus this could help greatly.
The other one is a disease that kills grass grubs in their grub stages and has the affect of spreading the disease to others from their dying bodies.
Very safe as it is a disease that is only affection grass grubs not other insects or life forms.
A great safe product for gardeners with grass grub problems in their lawns and gardens.
Lets hope it is better weather for gardening over the next few months and remember if you have any questions just email with your phone number or phone me on the 0800 line
Happy New Year