chemicals in the garden
can I safely use and store chemicals that are to be used in the
you decide there's no other way, then you've got to know how to
use them and store them properly.
There's a wide variety
of chemicals available to kill insects, mites, fungi, bacteria and
weeds. All they've got in common is they kill living organisms,
so it pays to take some precautions.
Rule number one is to
protect yourself. Hat, good idea. If you've got some goggles, even
better. Gloves, of course. Cover your arms and your legs
don't spray in your togs!
Number two, always read
the instructions on the pack. Every pack of every chemical you buy
has instructions on how to mix them, how to use them, how many millilitres
per litre. Don't go using some more just for good measure, because
it won't work. It's as simple as that.
For the mixing, that's
a job in itself. Mixing's got to be done very carefully. The first
thing you do is put most of the water you're mixing into already
in your sprayer.
What I do is use 50 ml
of say moss killer per litre of water. I've got a lovely measuring
device. I pour 50 ml very carefully, no more, no less. The idea
is to get this into the water and mix it up thoroughly.
When you finally do go
and spray, don't do it on a windy day, because the wind will drift
all the spray particles everywhere except the place where you want
it to go. There's a chance the spray particles will come to your
Don't use agricultural
chemicals because they are usually a lot stronger and often require
When you're spraying
your veggie garden and food crops, take a note of the withholding
period stated on the back of the pack. It is the period you need
to leave the plants alone, between your last date of spray and the
date you can safely harvest them. If you don't know, or if you're
not sure, go to your garden centre and ask them.
Storing chemicals is
important too. They need a clean, dark, cool and dry place. It is
important to store chemicals in the original container with the
lid tightly on, and off the ground. Don't put stuff into old drink
bottles, either. Others might get their hands on it, especially
little ones, and not know what it is.
Keep your chemicals in
cool conditions. Hot conditions can make them vaporise and the fumes
can make you quite sick. Never store pool chemicals, like chlorine,
next to oily substances, such as lawnmower petrol. If they accidentally
mix, they can cause a fire. Failing a fire, they'll at least create
some really toxic fumes.
Buying chemicals is easy.
Getting rid of them is not so easy. Contact your local regional
or city council and enquire whether they've got a collection policy.
In Auckland, the regional
council, from time to time, collects hazardous or toxic waste free
of charge, so check in your local district if the same thing applies
by Dr Dan Blanchon from Unitec's Diploma in Sustainable Horticulture and Bachelor
of Resource Management.
with permission from NZOOM Home and Garden content,
from the previous
The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH