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Wally Richards
Wally Richardshttp://www.gardenews.co.nz
Wally Richards has been a gardening columnist for over 30 years. Check his websites - for gardening news and tips visit www.gardenews.co.nz. For mail order products visit www.0800466464.co.nz. Wally also has a gardening problem help line on 0800 466 464.

Gardening with Wally Richards: Preparing for winter

I don’t know about you? But I have starting to put on a jersey in the morning, off during the day and back on in the evening.

Even dusted off my winter beanie to keep my head warm as well.

Also purchased a truck load of firewood recently, so getting ready for winter.

Now it is time to get the garden ready for winter as well.

Winter gardening news

The first and most important aspect is watering: get this wrong and there will be problems.

Plants are not transpiring water through their foliage as they were doing a couple of months ago and growth is slowing down due to shorting day light hours.

Up till recent I was watering containers and gardens every day but now realise that in most cases there is no need so it is only needed about every second day.

Depending where you are in NZ and what your local climate is like; will depend on how often you need to water till we reach that time when it is likely only your container plants need an occasional small drink.

There is a big danger that if you keep pouring water on you will kill some plants.

Plants such as citrus, passion fruit and avocados (To name a few) do not like wet feet.

If they are sitting in water logged soil they will drop leaves and die as the roots rot.

One of the dangers of this is mulches that were ideal in summer to conserve moisture but in winter they trap water preventing it from drying out.

In fact in winter any mulch which prevents soil from drying out will likely become anaerobic and start to smell bad.

This is not good for any plants that can handle wet soil unless they are bog plants.

So first job is to remove your weedmat and bark mulches unless they are only under well established trees and shrubs.

With morning dew now; what little moisture plants need between rain times will likely be sufficient very soon.

Frosts are going to happen soon in many areas so plants that are frost tender will need protection.

Passion Fruit, citrus, avocado, winter tomatoes, tamarillo, tropical and sub tropical plants in glasshouses (or outside)

The first line of defense is the Spray on Frost Protection, Vaporgard.

Vaporgard is mixed in warm water at the rate of 15 mils per litre of water and sprayed over the foliage of plants on a nice sunny day. (So the film will dry quicker)

This will give you down to minus 3 frost protection within 3 days of application for up to 3 months before it needs to be applied again.

The foliage will in the three days turn to a much richer green as Vaporgard acts as a sun screen from UV.

That allows to plant to gain more energy from the sun and also produce glycol which is anti-freeze.

The plant has then its own protection when the cells of the plant freeze.

As long as there is not two or more frosts in a row, night after night then no damage occurs.

If there is another frost the following night then the plant has not had sufficient time to recover and damage will occur.

In this case you need to use other frost protection for the second frost.

As long as there is a few days between each frost then Vaporgard should give satisfactory protection.

This winter there is a problem as supply chains are broken and Vaporgard is in short supply.

We have reasonable stock but to make sure what we have will go further we will only be able to supply 100mil bottles which is enough to make up 7 litres of frost protection spray.

Generally speaking that is about the right amount of spray for most gardeners to do their frost tender plants.

Best you order soon so you do not miss out.

Next step is to harden up the growth of your plants with a potash application and to also ensure that they have sufficient magnesium to maintain their green foliage colour as low levels of magnesium get locked out in cold times.

Wallys Fruit and Flower Power contains potash for hardening up foliage and magnesium for keeping foliage green.

This should be applied your gardens and plant now so they can take up the two elements making them hardy and green before the cold and frosts come.

A little preparation now will help your plants and gardens do better through winter.

A reader during the week emailed me with information that I was not aware of but had suspected could happen in NZ because of events like this happening in some other countries.

It is from an article published October 2020 and reads:

I was shocked to learn from a friend on the weekend that a new Food Bill is being brought in here in New Zealand. The new bill will make it a privilege and not a right to grow food.

I find two aspects of this bill alarming. The first is the scope and impact the new bill has, and secondly that it has all happened so quietly.

There has been VERY little media coverage, on a bill which promises to jeopardise the future food security of the country.

I read that the bill is being brought in because of the WTO, (World Trade Organisation) which of course has the US FDA behind it, and of course that is influenced by big business (Monsanto and other players).

It looks like this NZ food bill will pave the way to reduce the plant diversity and small owner operations in New Zealand, for example by way of controlling the legality of seed saving and trading/barter/giving away; all will be potentially illegal.

For any Government to even think of any of these aspects let alone pass a bill to implement them is shocking to say the least?

Maybe some readers know more about this and could inform me?

Fact is we have a major food problem in NZ as lack of fertilisers to grow vegetables and fruit and for farmers to grow wheat, maize and other crops as well as grass for the stock is a major problem.

Which would boil down to those that have been growing food naturally without man made fertiliser will be the major source of fresh vegetables.

Could under this pretext have ‘Food Police’ come and take your home grown vegetables ‘For the Good of All?’ (where have I heard that saying recently ‘for the good of all’) which turns out to be for the good of a few.

If you would like to see what points this Bill would have then send me an email.

I also have a copy of other things not mentioned by our Media for those that would like to be more informed.

Happy Gardening

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  1. Can Daily Telegraph do an article on this new food bill. Seems like it needs to be stopped before it goes any further.


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