Taking us to Chelsea in 2007.
Live images in March from Melbourne & Chelsea in May.
Please tell your friends. No one else will.
Written by Wally Richards. 7th April 2007
Written by Wally Richards.
Written by Wally Richards. [Photo]
ARE YOU READY FOR WINTER?
Now is the time to prepare ourselves and our gardens for winter.
We are prompted by advertisements and common sense to prepare for the
coming short daylight hours and the cold that winters bring. We order
in firewood, check our electric blankets, and as the saying goes, ‘we
get out our winter woollies’. We endeavour to make ourselves and our homes,
‘as snug as a bug in a rug’. If we take time to look after our needs,
why should we not make time to look after our much loved gardens and plants?
It is only logical that the plants and gardens we have cared for over
the last 9 months should now be given a bit of protection against the
chills and wet they are going to face in the coming months.
Wet soil greatly increases the cold, that plant’s roots have to survive
in. Prolonged wet feet increases the chances of root rot which is a killer
of a number of plants in winter. It stops growth, where drier soil
allows some growth even in a wet winter. We cant stop the rain falling
but we can assist the soil to dry out faster. For instance if you have
a vegetable patch dig a trench at least a spades depth around the perimeter
of the garden. Water will drain into the trench where wind and the weaker
sun will speed up its evaporation. Clay soils and hard packed soils tend
to hold water in the root zone of plants and the easy way to open up these
areas is by applying good doses of gypsum now.
You can also install nova flow drain pipes from known wet areas into your
storm water system.
In my case I have a backyard that can become a lake in winter, with rain
water which can lay for days or weeks. This is not good for my citrus
trees and other plants that grow in the area. My chooks, which free range
the area, must wish they were ducks. I solved the problem by digging a
trench the length of the yard and placing a nova flow pipe in the trench
covered with pea metal and then replaced the clay soil over the top. At
one end, near the house, a deep hole was dug and lined with a plastic
container that has ample holes in it. A submersible pump is placed inside
this and connected to the storm water system.
When we get a good downpour, the water drains into the nova flow pipe
and runs into the hole with the pump. When the water builds up the pump
automatically turns on and pumps the water away.
The end result is the yard never stays under water for long and my chooks
have not developed webbed feet. You have an initial outlay for a submersible
pump, but as I have had the same one for over 20 years it certainly has
more than paid for itself.
If you have lived at a property for more than a year you know where your
wet areas are and do something to improve the drainage. Another interesting
thing with big down pours of rain was highlighted in the Dominion Post
(Friday March 30th) up north at Opua which read; ‘Residents of luxury
homes in Opua were evacuated to the Opua Cruising Club as slips endangered
There has being a big movement for people to purchase properties with
views of water (sea/lakes/rivers) in more recent times and these supposed
desirable (and high priced) properties may not be a good investment with
global warming. We are going to get high rainfalls, oceans rising, land
erosion and expensive properties could well become worthless at time goes
by. Once people cotton on to this the value of many properties will drop
like a stone, insurance companies will not insure them and many will lose
their current asset. Its a bit like living on an active volcano, disaster
will happen sooner or later.
For us fortunate people that live on higher ground well away from water
ways and possible land slips life and home should be fine in comparison.
Well back to winter proofing the gardens.
There is a product called Perkfection which is great for protecting our
plants against wet weather diseases. A couple of sprays now, a month apart,
will put your garden plants in good stead for the winter ahead. Perkfection
is ‘Synthetic Organic Phosphates’ and 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.
The next step in ‘winter readying’ your gardens and plants is to apply
magnesium and potash which can be found in balance with a product called
Fruit and Flower Power.
Used around your preferred plants at the rate of 50 grams per square metre
once a month for the next 2-3 months. The 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 shows 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. Often we see leaves
yellowing in winter due to insufficient amounts of this element.
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 adequate
potash to their plants as winter starts to approach and to avoid too much
Potassium harden up the cells of our plants giving protection from frosts
We can further protect our soils and plants by a soil drench of Magic
Botanic liquid (MBL) and a spray over the foliage of the same.
Next step is to protect those plants that do not like the cold and frosts
and we can achieve a good degree of protection from a spray of Vaporgard.
VaporGard is organic and it provides a long lasting (2-3 months, or longer
in winter) film over the foliage which protects down to 3 degrees C.
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 increased
protection. Note, several frosts in a row will result in damage still.
VaporGard develops a polymerised skin over each spray-droplet which filters
out UVA and UVB. Providing a sunscreen for the 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. The 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 glycols are anti-freeze for the plant’s cells so you have enabled
the plant to have its own anti-freeze system. It is the freezing of cells
at frosty times that causes the frost damage.
During an average winter with the occasional frost I can keep my tamarillo
in full foliage as well as other frost tender plants. An application of
Vaporgard now will prevent you being caught out with an early frost and
later on about June another application will protect your plants into
Once you have applied Vaporgard to any plants and wish to apply another
spray of Perkfection you need to add Raingard to the spray so it will
pass through the film of Vaporgard.
In a nut shell you firstly aid drainage, then apply Fruit and Flower
Power, followed with a drench of MBL and spray of the same with Perkfection
added. Lastly for those tender plants a spray over the foliage with Vaporgard;
the spray on frost protector.
Problems ring me at 0800 466 464 (Palmerston North 3570606)
Web site www.gardenews.co.nz
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