Home' NewsLink : November 15th 2012 Contents 18
with Jane Wrigglesworth
Bird houses built
as maths project
Angles covered: Otama School students Laura Whyte, 10, left, and Megan
Whyte, 12, with above them Georgia Kelly and Bea Gorospe, both 11, with
the bird houses they made.
Solving maths problems
became fun at Otama School
when students got to make bird
Students had to learn different
angles and measurements,
making sure everything was
drawn to exact scale.
''It ties in with enviro schools,''
principal Natasha Houlahan
''We have a lot of native birds
and we wanted something to
attract them. It also ties in with
our measurement units.''
Students first had to design
their bird house on paper,
working out all the measure-
ments and angles, then they
measured out the wood and
their parents helped them to
cut out the wood at home.
Megan Whyte, 12, said she had
to make sure everything was
drawn out exact, otherwise it
would not come together in the
''The hardest part was cutting
out the different shapes,'' she
Megan said the best part was
nailing it all together.
Ms Houlahan said doing practi-
cal work was a good oppor-
tunity for students to put what
they learn from a text book into
real life situations.
Students have already made
two bird houses, which will be
placed in trees around the
school, and will make two more
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
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 tubers.
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 the potato.
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 several days.
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-dwelling insects.
Q. I love growing herbs, especially
parsley, and would like to learn
how to collect my own seeds for
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
Place the seed heads in a paper
bag and leave in a warm room for
the seeds to fall out naturally.
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
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 two years. Parsley is
best sown within the year. French
tarragon does not produce viable
seeds at all, though Russian
Note also that some herbs self-sow
very easily, including coriander,
dill, mustard, borage, rocket,
lemon balm and fennel.
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