Home' Otago Southland Farmer : November 16th 2012 Contents 30
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Time to trap those
Renewable resource: Parsley and most other herbs can be left to flower and go to seed.
Q. For the past couple of years my entire
potato crop has been destroyed by worms
eating through the tubers. Is there some
way to stop them? I have planted my
potatoes in a different spot this year.
A. It sounds very much like wireworm,
which is the larvae of the common click
beetle. They have a shiny creamy-yellow
body with a reddy-brown blush at each end.
Adults lay their eggs in the soil and the
larvae emerge to feed on the roots and
As well as crop rotation, you can make a
trap using shop-bought potatoes. Cut a
potato in half, spear it with a sturdy stick or
skewer and bury the potato about five
centimetres deep so that the stick stands up
vertically out of the ground. That's your
marker to tell you where the potato is.
Place a few of these in your garden. This is
preferably done before you plant your
potatoes so you can clear the ground before
planting. After a few days, pull them up to
see if any wireworms are present, then bin
Plant more traps over the season.
Alternatively, take a 400 gram tin can,
punch holes in the bottom and sides with a
nail so the wireworms can crawl through,
then fill the can with cut potato. Dig a hole
in the ground and bury it. Check it after
Another option is to try growing a row of
corn in between your potatoes as a
sacrificial crop, as wireworm seem to
particularly like corn roots. These can be
dug up later and binned.
You could also try Kiwicare's No Insects
Lawngard Prills, which is specifically
formulated to control ground- and soil-
Q. I love growing herbs, especially parsley,
and would like to learn how to collect my
own seeds for resowing. Kim Harland
A. Parsley and most other herbs can be left
to flower and go to seed.
When the bulk of the seed has turned
brown, snip off the seed heads, taking care
not to shake them about or you'll lose most
of your seeds.
Place the seed heads in a paper bag and
leave in a warm room for the seeds to fall
Leave the seeds to dry for a couple of weeks
before storing or sowing.
When storing, your seeds must be protected
from light, heat and moisture, otherwise
you may kill them off.
Some herb seeds retain their viability
longer than others too. Basil and coriander
seeds, for example may last four to five
years, while chives and sage may last one to
Parsley is best sown within the year.
French tarragon does not produce viable
seeds at all, though Russian tarragon does.
Note also that some herbs self-sow very
easily, including coriander, dill, mustard,
borage, rocket, lemon balm and fennel.
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