Sunday Digest

Vicky Schulze of Rotorua wants to start gardening classes including for those who live in flats with small or no gardens. “You will be amazed what you can grow in pots … you don’t need a huge paddock to grow vegetables,” she says.

Classes will include how to save seeds, how to grow from seed, how to care for plants and how to save the harvest, including freezing, preserving and making jams and chutneys. To find out more call or text Vicky on 027 782 9145.

There are a couple of local garden events coming up – the BOP Bromeliad Group Open Day is on February 13 and on February 15 Gerard Martin at Kings Seeds is looking for some human guinea pigs to help him choose some new microgreen mixes for spring. Full details on the Events page.

Flaming Petal is the blog of Jane Wrigglesworth, “writer, editor and grower of cut flowers”. You may know her name from NZ Gardener magazine or NZ House & Garden. The blog features to-die for photos and short posts.

Federated Farmers, bless their corduroy trews, have decided there is nothing wrong with pesticides containing neonicotinoids, saying there is no evidence the artificial compound has anything to do with the alarming fall in our honeybee population.

Meanwhile, this week three major British companies have taken products containing neonicotinoids off their shelves – prompting a call for chemicals to be banned in agriculture – after studying scientific evidence.

This article quotes Lord Peter Melchett, Policy Director at the Soil Association, as saying: “A recent EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) report labels neonicotinoids as an ‘unacceptable’ danger to bees.” However, British farmers are also denying a link.

Another report on the subject.

And while we’re on the subject of sprays and their use – a Roundup-resistant grass has been found in a Marlborough vineyard.

So here are some home-made natural sprays for the garden from Justin Newcombe, until last week the garden writer for the Herald on Sunday. Click on the “sprays” photo for a printable list of recipes (Adobe reader required and watch out for typos).

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