by Wally Richards
There are plenty of chores to attend to at this time of the year as the daylight hours increase and plants emerging from their winter rest.
Hardy plants will be showing very good growth now including the plants you do not want commonly referred to as weeds.
Unwanted plants are very valuable if you make use of them and treat them as a fodder crop.
Smaller unwanted plants should be cut off just below soil level with a sharp carving knife or sharp Dutch Hoe.
This removes the root system from the foliage leaving the roots to rot off in the soil providing a rich source of food for the soil life.
The foliage falls onto the bare soil where it is quickly broken down by the soil life providing them with more substance to nurture your preferred plants.
Taller weeds can be cut down with a weed eater such as using the Pivotrim Pro attachment which are available from Mitre10 Mega stores.
(This are far superior to using the roll of weed eater plastic tape which I always found a problem using.)
After cutting down the weeds with the above you can leave the stubble unless you want to clear the ground which means cutting off the weeds below soil level with a sharp carving knife.
Real tough root systems I have used a box cutter on which makes the job a breeze as long as you are careful not to cut yourself.
These methods of weeding enhances your soil or growing medium where chemical herbicides greatly harm the soil life and your plants suffer.
If you have waste areas or cobbles/cracks where weeds flourish then sprinkle salt over the area and lightly water. The weeds are killed and stay weed free for a time.
Another safe to use is mixing Ammonium Sulphamate at 200 grams per litre of water and spraying on a sunny day when the soil is on the dry side. Give those conditions weeds are likely to be dead within an hour or two.
Spring temperatures and moisture brings out diseases to attack your plants so sprays of potassium permanganate (Condys Crystals at a quarter teaspoon to a litre of water)
with Raingard added sprayed onto the soil and plants controls a wide range of diseases and fungi nicely.
Note it will stain things like your house & fences if you are not careful, but will wash off over time.
An interesting bit of information you can purify drinking water of harmful bacteria by placing 3 or 4 grains into a litre of water, agitate to make water a light pink and leave for 24 hours before drinking.
Using this method means a large quantity of water can be treated saving the need to boil.
Spray the above potassium permanganate adding Wallys Liquid Copper for protection of curly leaf on stone fruit about every week till disease time is past.
Spray also your roses and other deciduous trees and plants to protect the new spring growth from diseases.
Sprinkle Wally’s Neem Tree Granules under your apple trees, roses and citrus trees to reduce pest insect problems.
Use the Cell Strengthening products we wrote about a few weeks ago to strengthen your tomato plants, potatoes and tamarillo so the dreaded psyllid nymphs cant feed and ruin your crops.
If you have concerns about build up of diseases in your soil where you grow tomatoes year after year such as it your glasshouse then treat the soil with Terracin and 3 weeks later with Mycorrcin.
Ensure you store the unused bottle contents in a cool situation out of sunlight as it has live beneficial bacteria which would die if exposed to too much heat such as in a hot shed.
If you do not have any plants in your glasshouse so far, then you can burn sulphur powder inside the house to fumigate it of insect pests that maybe hiding away.
Wet times allows slimes to grow on paths which can be dangerous to walk on causing one to slip and fall. Spray with Wallys Moss & Liverwort Control to kill the slime.
Also ideal to use for moss in lawns and liverwort growing all over the place. To obtain best results adjust the nozzle of the sprayer so it is a bit of a jet which forces the product into the target area.
Does not harm plants if they are sprayed at the same time.
Start spraying strawberry plants 2 weekly with Mycorrcin which will increase your harvests by 200 to 400 %. They will fruit earlier, more fruit, larger berries and a longer cropping season.
Don’t forget to also use Wally’s Secret Strawberry Food for bigger strawberries.
When planting seedlings place a little Wallys Unlocking Your Soil into the planting along with a little Neem Powder to give your seedlings a good start and some protection from pests.
I favor crop cover (also so sold as Bug Mesh), which is 4 metres wide. By using wire or piping to form hoops place the cover over the hoops to give protection to the young plants or seeds from weather, pests, cats and birds.
Great stuff and reusable season after season.
If you want great gardens this season then use only natural products that will not harm the soil life and earth worms.
This includes putting a 10 micron carbon bonded filter/housing onto your water tap if you have chlorine in your water supply.
I have received many reports from gardeners about how their gardens have greatly improved in health after removing the chlorine from the water they use on the gardens.
It is just common sense, a chemical poison that is added to water to kill microbes is going to do the same to the beneficial microbes in your soil and effect the valuable earth worms.
I even wonder what harm it does to our gut bacteria when people drink chlorinated tap water.
If anyone has any data on this I would be interested.