Posts Tagged ‘pesticide’

Why do I feel persecuted?

May 29, 2012 Leave a comment

A rainbow, or weather that can’t make up its mind

I don’t know what it is about me and the use of any kind of spray in the garden. As soon as I apply something that needs a given number of hours to dry and be effective, I can be absolutely sure that it will rain well within that timeframe, even when there was no rain forecast.

Today is a good example. I’ve been meaning for weeks to apply some weedkiller to a fast-growing patch of brambles which is threatening to invade my old vegetable patch, and today I finally did it. Good job done, I thought. It should at least slow it down a bit.

Two and a half hours later, when the minimum stated drying time for the product is six hours, it rained. It hasn’t rained for days prior to this!

It didn’t even have the good grace to to rain properly. It delivered a sharp shower – just enough to wash off all my weedkiller – and then stopped.

The same thing happens when I spray the orchard with insecticide and pesticide.

Could it be that in the high-up location where we live the weather is somehow sensing my intentions?

Some people would say it serves me right for using these products, but I say: you’re extremely welcome to come and tackle these brambles by hand!

Spraying the orchard

November 13, 2011 Leave a comment

My least favourite gardening job is spraying the orchard with fungicide and pesticide.

Even mixing the spray is fraught with possibilities of going wrong. I have to decide how many litres of spray to mix and then make calculations for each separate ingredient.

Ingredients and protective equipment for spraying

One ingredient is a viscous white oil that globs around and doesn’t want to wash in. Another is a vile-smelling fine powder which flies up, so I use a mask when pouring it.

The knapsack sprayer is awkward to get on my back and, according to how many litres I’ve put in it, makes me totter.

We planted the 43 fruit trees at random with some idea that diseases wouldn’t spread as easily if like species weren’t together. I don’t know if that’s been the case, but it does mean that the trees reach certain crucial stages at different times and so there are compromises to be made.

I always go along the rows in the same order. Some trees are small and easily manageable, while others are tall and the spray comes back in my eyes – for which I wear goggles. A few are to be left out altogether, like the fig trees – on instruction from Medifarm.

Medifarm is the shop where I get the ingredients for the spray. They also hand out a printed programme for the whole year, and ongoing advice.

If I ever report a disease or pest that has got hold, they wag a finger at me and say I must have left something out. Little it avails me to protest that I’ve stuck religiously to their regime.

Well, not quite religiously. If they had their way, I’d be spraying about 10 times a year. I do the main ones, like leaf fall (the one I did today), closed bud, pink bud and fruit set, but I excuse myself some of the summer ones.

I feel a little bit guilty about spraying at all, and agonise endlessly about getting the right moment.