Sunday, 23 November 2008

Waitati Edible Gardeners (column)

Waitati Edible Gardeners

Spring tidings! A quick reminder about harvest markets next year - for
local folk to trade local produce. This includes veggies, seedlings, eggs,
dairy, honey, poultry, and all things made from above (jam, drinks, cake,
pickles). Markets will be at the Old Stores, Harvey St Waitati, on every
third Sunday of the month starting in February, so get planting extra
veggies to bring along. For more info, to help or to book a space email
misslucyjack@hotmail.com or call Lucy (4821773) or Rayna (4822504). If
not, just bring a basket or a barrow and show up.

I hope you are all polishing your green thumbs after consulting your newly
acquired planting calendars made by Jason Ross and available at Taste
Nature or the Blueskin Bay Library for a meagre sum. Described by one shrewd
reviewer as 'a consummate synthesis and fundamental contrivance for all
true Waititians'. I have stuck mine on the fridge so all my friends know
how truly eco-chic we really are round here.

And now back by popular demand:

Dear Aunt Lucy

I have recently decided to go "no-dig" and have painstakingly installed
raised beds, lovingly filled with mulch and pea straw. I did it by the
book, but everything I put in there gets eaten by slugs. Its slug heaven,
what will I do? Mulch love, A Keen reader

Dear Keen reader,
I have consulted my dear friend Dell, who once experienced the same
problem but overcame it with devious cunning and great skill. Dell says
that when one first mulches, one changes one's ecosystem balance by
creating a haven for slugs, in the damp and cool, under the mulch. These
pernicious Sigmurethra will prefer one's tender vegetablings over mulch,
if given the chance (they're not stupid you know). Slugs are naturally
eaten by carnivorous insects like voracious centipedes and beetles, which
will cotton on and move in to one's plots in quick succession. Then, one's
slug infestation will be roped under control and subside (sigh). The trick
is not to plant anything until one's ecosystem balance has returned. This
means, put down the mulch, wait a couple of months, then plant stuff. If
you can't wait ('I want, I want') you can use Tui 'Quash' Slug Pellets,
which apparently are made of Bran and Iron EDTA Complex (less toxic than
salt). They don't contain methaldehyde or methiocarb and don't kill other
beneficial invertebrates or your dog - Bonus!

Mulch love,

Aunt Lucy

P.S. Did you know that Zostera (sea grass) makes great mulch and brings sea
minerals into your soil? It banks up along the inside of the harbor if you
are ever that way.

by Lucy Jack

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