Home' Central Canterbury News : March 27th 2013 Contents 6 CENTRAL CANTERBURY NEWS, MARCH 27, 2013
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By KATRINE MANGOLD BVSC
Nasty to clean up, worrying for you and
unpleasant for your pet -- we see a lot of dogs
and cats with vomiting and/or diarrhoea.
There are so many causes of these signs we
do not have space here to describe them all.
In general, these problems can be split into
mild cases that can be managed at home with
veterinary advice, and more severe cases that
need to be hospitalised.
There are several serious emergencies that
can present with vomiting and/or diarrhoea
such as gastro-intestinal foreign body/
obstruction, twisted stomach, pancreatitis
Danger signs that may indicate serious
conditions include severe abdominal pain,
inability to get up or walk, sudden onset of
severe vomiting or diarrhoea, blood in vomit
or diarrhoea, tarry black diarrhoea, bringing
water and food straight back up again with-
out retching, or a bloated appearance.
Any of these signs means your pet should
see a vet quickly -- even if it is after-hours.
Usually, diagnostic work will have to be
done to determine what is the problem --
often blood tests and abdominal radiographs.
Importantly, there are a few things you can
do to help prevent some of the common cau-
ses of vomiting and diarrhoea.
Number one is being careful with bones
and dogs. There are far too many dogs that go
through needless misery and preventable
surgeries because they were fed chop bones.
Do not feed your dog any bones other than
large, raw beef thigh (femur) bones if you
really must feed bones.
Cooked bones become very brittle and
break into small, sharp pieces that are
Worming your pet regularly, preventing
access to rubbish or offal, and avoiding sud-
den changes in diet can help prevent many
mild tummy upsets.
Dig and store potatoes
This column is adapted from the
e-newsletter Get Growing from New Zealand
Gardener. To subscribe to get Growing (it's
free!) visit The NZ Gardener website at
nzgardener.co.nz, and click on the Get
Growing tab. To subscribe to NZ Gardener
visit mags4gifts.co.nz or call
0800 MAGS 4 GIFTS.
Main crop spuds, such as the ever-
popular Agria, are ready to dig
for winter storage when their
leafy tops have died down completely. By
then the skins will have cured and
hardened, so they'll keep well.
How can you tell?
Test by scraping the tubers with your
fingernail: if the papery skin comes
off easily, like a new season's Jersey
Benne, your spuds need more curing time
in the soil.
Harvest spuds with a large garden fork
and push it into the soil at least 30cm out
from the main stem to reduce the risk of
impaling the tubers.
Eat any accidental stabbing victims
or blemished tubers first because they
Brush off any loose soil and store in a
paper bag or sack in a dry, dark place,
as exposure to the light turns the
If summer's drought has seen autumn
arrive early in your neck of the woods,
start raking up the first fallen leaves
now. Pile them into your compost heap or
make mountains of leaf mould.
To make leaf mould, just stuff fallen
leaves into black garbage bags, puncture
a few holes for ventilation and, if the
leaves are very dry, add a squirt of water.
Tie off the tops of the bags and bung
them behind your garden shed until late
spring or summer, by which time they
should be nice and crumbly. Dig into
sandy or clay soils to improve their
structure, or lay it on thick as mulch.
Prune back summer flowering shrubs
that have finished blooming, and give
scruffy herbs and perennials a haircut.
Want free plants? Now's the time to
save your own seeds from annual crops
and flowers, and take cuttings from your
favourite roses and shrubs.
Dip the cut ends of your cuttings into
rooting hormone -- or try manuka honey
-- and poke into pots of potting mix. Keep
moist and keep your fingers crossed that,
come spring, they'll have grown roots and
be ready to plant out or grow on.
Sow cover crops. Also known as green
manure crops or living mulches, cover
crops are the best way to fill any empty
beds that are surplus to your require-
ments over winter. By sowing green crops
-- try blue lupins, mustard, oats, broad
beans or phacelia -- you reduce soil
erosion in heavy rain, provide a habitat
for beneficial bugs and produce oodles
of nitrogen-rich material to dig into
Sweeten your soil. If you have acidic soil
or you've had problems with clubroot in
your brassicas this year, dig in dolomite
lime now. Sprinkle it over the soil and
fork it in. Let the soil settle for a few
weeks before planting.
Order seeds to sow. Been waiting
impatiently for the drought to break, so
you can crack on with your winter plant-
ing? Indulge in a little retail therapy and
sow in trays to transplant later on.
THIN WINTER LEEKS
Thin leek seedlings to 4cm to 5cm apart.
It's too late to sow seed now, but you can
still plant punnets of seedlings from the
garden centre, although they won't fatten
up until spring.
Treat leeks -- and other cold-weather
crops such as celeriac and brassicas -- to
a weekly dose of liquid fertiliser, so
they grow quickly while the weather's
START A COMPOST HEAP
Autumn's an excellent time to start a
compost heap to take care of all those
The basic rule of composting is equal
quantities of carbon-rich brown stuff (fal-
len leaves, twigs, mulched branches) and
nitrogen-rich green stuff (food scraps,
grass clippings, weeds, vegie plants).
Locate your compost heap in a sunny
corner of your garden, as it is going to
need all the warmth it can get over the
Carrots aren't the fastest crop, but
they're definitely worth waiting for.
These vegies can tough it out in cold soil
through winter without bolting to seed,
or turning hollow or woody.
It's worth sowing a few different types:
try fancy purple heirlooms for wow fac-
tor; baby varieties to add crunch to
salads; or old-timers, like Manchester
Table' for soups and stews.
Like all root crops, carrots should be
sown direct in free-draining, friable soil
that's free of lumps and bumps. Don't
scatter seed too thickly as you'll only
have to thin the seedlings out later. The
seeds will germinate in 14 to 21 days.
Cover the seed trench with a piece of bent
chicken wire to keep pesky birds and cats
off your crop.
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