A Kiwi scientist has invented a unique spray that enhances plant performance but is not a fertiliser.
An experiment on weeds that had astonishing results led Auckland environmental scientist Nathan Balasingham to research and develop a natural spray that mimics Mother Nature to turn plants on.
Nature's Curator believes their certified organic creation could boost New Zealand’s “clean green” image.
Activating plant immunity
In what they say is a world first, Balasingham has created a compound of various natural products that activates plants’ immune systems.
He started with Agrizest for horticulture then, when friends became enthusiastic, developed Nature’s Curator for home gardens. He has now initiated trials on pasture.
He sees a future for his product in helping New Zealand comply with Kyoto Protocols, reducing chemical use, while improving productivity, quality, nutritional value and better managing the emissions trading deficit which threatens our environmental image.
Balasingham, a Master of Horticultural Science with first class honours in biochemistry and 36 years in research and development, stumbled on his new mission while researching herbicides. He found some weeds resisted the effects of herbicide even though they absorbed it.
Balasingham went on to research plants’ immunity systems. He was inspired by the World Plant Genome Project’s discovery of how organisms interact with each other and how foreign molecules landing on their surfaces cause internal reactions.
The molecules in Nature’s Curator “tell” the receptor molecules sitting on leaves or roots to “call on” the plant’s immune system to switch itself on to high. His compound fits into the new scientific system called “bio-mimicry” which studies nature and imitates the way it works.
Balasingham says the plant is effectively tricked into thinking it is under attack and marshals its resources by producing essential oils that improve its health and resist disease.
Activator not fertiliser
The compound – more accurately described as an activator - is not a fertiliser even though it includes extracts from various food products like coconut, aloe, kelp, palm oil, lecithin and soy beans.
Nature's Curator say horticulturalists round New Zealand trialling Agrizest in the past four years rave about brighter coloured, crunchier or more flavourful fruit.
The recently released Nature’s Curator is currently being trialled by garden writers and clubs.
"Already triallists are impressed by languishing plants that didn’t respond to other treatments suddenly bursting into renewed vigour or flowering like never before."
Balasingham describes his products as safe because he only uses food grade ingredients and the products and manufacturing are audited and certified as an organic agriculture compound. It only takes a few sprays to turn on a plant’s immunity and then maintenance sprays to keep it humming along.
But Balasingham can’t resist over-using it on his azaleas at home: “I spoil them but they have rewarded me with blooms even during the off season.”