Herb News


Gardening Articles for week ending  18th November 2006
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A well know adage is ‘You only get out, what you put in’ which is applicable to many facets of life.
An older version of this is the biblical adage, ‘You reap what you sow’ which relates to both gardening and our interactions between people and projects.
It is a very simple rule and one of common sense especially with our gardening activities. We put good natural products into the soil and reap healthy plants with high nutritional value.
A couple of weeks ago I stated that the sales of vegetable seedlings and seeds were at record highs this season from information received from garden centres through out New Zealand.
The nurseries that produce the seedlings are hard pressed to keep up with the incredible demand and there are shortages of a number of vegetable plants such as tomatoes in some areas. This is very interesting as it has not being to date, a great season for gardening, yet more and more people are planting out their own vegetables.
I read in the Dominion Post (Friday November 10) an article entitled ‘Health Warning in NZ’s Fruitbowl. The bi-line stated; Hawke’s Bay people are strangely reluctant to eat fruit and veges, and their health is suffering. In the article,  Hawke’s Bay’s medical officer of health, Caroline McElnay rated the area significantly worse than the New Zealand average for various health problems.
(I have heard through Hospice in Palmerston North that the majority of their cancer clients are from the Hawke’s Bay, rating far higher when compared to clients from the Manawatu. A significant number of clients are Bay’s agriculture workers)
The article states that fruit and vegetables are cheaper in the Hawke’s Bay than elsewhere in NZ yet the local sale of produce is low. The article blames fast foods as the cause of both low sales and health problems. I would concur that this would be a certain amount true, but only part of the picture.
I phoned a number of garden centre owners in the Hawke’s Bay to ask them how their vegetable seedling and seed sales were this season. They all reported above average to much higher than previous seasons. The conclusion one would gain from this is that more gardeners are growing their own fruit and vegetables and not buying the produce for sale. One garden centre stated that the sections people have these days are much smaller, which means less room for a few vegetable plants, yet the momentum is to grow their own in containers or on whatever small bit of land they have.
One needs to then ask the question, why? Produce is supposedly cheap to buy in the Hawke’s Bay, little personal land for cultivation and the hassle of caring for plants in containers in an area that is well known for its hot summers?
I think the answer is simple as the people in Hawke’s Bay drive past the orchards, vineyards, market gardens and see the clouds of chemical sprays that are applied to the food that will be offered for sale.
Most people in the Bay know of at least one person or more, that in the last few years has been diagnosed with cancer or some other major health problem. Maybe they have come to realise that much of the health problems are in their food chain. Chemically fertilised produce grown in soil saturated with past chemicals and sprayed with more. (Land that is often too dangerous to be converted to housing developments)
Commercial produce, that can also be lacking in minerals and nutritional value.
Maybe that is why gardeners in the Bay and elsewhere in NZ are growing more of their own as they know what goes into their home grown food and prefer not to play Russian Roulette.
Which brings us back to the point as to what goodness goes into our gardens, relates to what comes out.
When a land mass is under the sea, the land gains all the natural minerals from the ocean. Later the land rises out of the sea and the minerals gained are both used by plants and over time leach away, back to the sea. The simple answer is to bring these minerals back from the Ocean and put them on the land.
I have heard many tales of gardeners that fish out at sea, bringing sea water from the blue ocean, back to dilute and spray over their gardens. These gardeners have great healthy gardens.
Rocks are also a great source of minerals when they are powdered down and applied to the soil.
In prehistoric times the planet was extremely mineral rich and there are pockets of these minerals which can be harvested and applied to the garden. To get the best out of our gardens we need to apply these lost minerals.
The other factor is to create a quality food-soil-web which is thriving in microbes, beneficial fungi and worms. We do this by avoiding harmful chemicals and applying natural soil foods such as compost, animal manures, blood & bone, lime, dolomite, gypsum and seaweed extracts.
Minerals are applied with Ocean Solids, Simalith and Magic Botanic Liquid (MBL).
I had a phone call recently from an Auckland gardener that took my advice a couple of years ago in applying MBL to his garden. His gardens and roses are reputed to be the best in the street and a neighbour nominated the gardens for a garden competition this season, unbeknown to him. His call was to tell me that his garden had won the category entered, and he believed it was all due to his use of MBL.
As the gardener does not use harmful chemical products, using only natural ones mentioned, also has a big bearing on the results.
It is a joy to have great looking, healthy roses in your garden, instead of disease covered specimens.
More importantly for your health, is having the nutritional density in your own home grown produce.
Each plant requires a good soil-food-web in the soil where it is growing along with an X number of minerals. I have yet to see a chart that says a tomato needs say 45 certain minerals and say a rose 55 or whatever. Not knowing the minerals each plant requires means we need to apply all the minerals possible and let the plants choose for themselves from the mineral and element smorgasbord.
We do know however that certain plants will utilise all the 92 natural elements known, these include wheat and barley grass, which makes both these grasses so popular for growing and juicing when all the elements are in their diet. 30mils of wheat grass juice, correctly grown, contains all the minerals, vitamins and enzymes of 1 Kg of naturally grown produce. Wonderful for your health, keeping you fit, slowing the aging process significantly, and a great aid in removing the harmful chemicals stored in our bodies. I strongly recommend everyone to grow and juice this inexpensive health aid.
I had a call from a lady in Hamilton the other day that had health conditions that were not nice at all.
A few months back she took my advice on growing/ juicing and now she has noticed very good health improvements and is able to do many things she was unable to do for many years.
If we give our bodies all the goodness it needs by growing our own fruit, vegetables and wheat grass there are obvious healthy benefits.
It is a simple matter to obtain a few polystyrene trays, fill them with compost adding a bit of the natural goodies mentioned, after drilling a few drainage holes. Space out say a dozen dwarf bean seeds or half a dozen lettuce/silverbeet/brassicas to grow. Not only will these home grown vegetables have more flavour, they will have real nutritional value.
Happy, Healthy gardening.


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     It is now 23 years since I wrote my first weekly gardening article back in 1983. Back then it was pen to paper, long hand with numerous re-writes before the editor received the copy. Once computers started to become available, I spent $15,000 on a Armstrad IBM compatible computer and a HP scanner/printer. This made life easier in some ways but a learning curve to ensure that the PC worked correctly.
     Later on when the very popular garden writer, Nick Scott retired, I took over his syndicated column of newspapers which meant weekly publication in several papers, nation wide. 
During the following years more papers were added to the list and in some areas of the country I was replaced with local writers. Now days I am published in up to 30 odd papers either regularly or occasionally each week. Regular publications have brought a following of gardeners who prefer my more natural methods of gardening. Many gardeners over the last few years have asked if I had written a book.
The answer had always been no.
So this last winter having reached 60 years of age, I decided it was time, and that there would be a book by spring 2006. Once committed it was many winter days and nights with the heater and the computer, typing out information from years of experience.
    I could have just taken the past article files off the computer and put them together in a reasonable order and  published. Instead I felt that many would have these articles in scrap books already so much of the book was written fresh, devoting much more material to main areas of gardening such as Roses, Lawns, Tomatoes, Weeds, Vegetables etc. than could be placed in a 1000 word article.
The book has resulted in 340 pages of information, A5 size with soft cover. There are very few diagrams or pictures, just information.
The book is divided into 5 sections which include some past articles brought up to date plus information on natural products, soil health, plant health and our own health.
Not finding a publishing house that was interested in a first book from myself, it was decided to print and distribute the book as well as write it.
Thus Wally’s Down To Earth Gardening Guide is now available from some garden centres or by mail order from 0800 466464 or on the web at www.gardenews.co.nz
Some book shops may stock the book later on as well, but in the meantime if you are interested ask at your garden centre and if not available, use the above contact details.
A book review is likely soon from the Gardening Editor or Editor of a number of the papers that publish my articles each week. The book’s recommended retail is $27.95.
I have endeavored to make the book a good read as well as supplying lots of helpful advice.

Problems ring me at 0800 466 464 (Palmerston North 3570606)
Web site www.gardenews.co.nz

Garden Pages and News at www.gardenews.co.nz
Shar Pei pages
at www.sharpei.co.nz

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