grapesReclaimed wastewater - domestic wastewater that has been filtered, treated and disinfected - is healthier for vines than fresh mains water according to a new study by The South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI). They found that soil irrigated with reclaimed water had fewer harmful pathogens and higher microbial activity than soil watered with mains water in a McLaren Vale vineyard.

“Not only is reclaimed water a sustainable source, but viticulturists can use less fertiliser - higher levels of microbes improve the transfer of nutrients to the vines,” said lead scientist Dr Belinda Rawnsley.

harvest grapesReclaimed waste water, or greywater as it is more commonly known in the UK, is water that's first been used for washing. Washing leaves behind soap residue which tends to make the water alkaline (having a pH above neutral tap water's 7). Alkaline water helps soil to:

  • set free elements needed for healthy plant growth

  • helps breaks up heavy clay soil

  • discourages soil diseases (particularly club root, the bane of brassicas)

  • discourages pests (slugs, leatherjackets and wireworms all hate alkaline conditions)

As well as your grapevines, your carnations, wallflowers, delphiniums, cabbages and Brussel sprouts will all enjoy greywater.

PG wateringDon't water your lettuce or herbs with groundwater though. As greywater can contain disease-causing pathogens you don't want to water it onto crops you'll eat raw or lightly cook. These harmful pathogens can however be easily removed by first filtering the water through a sand bed and then disinfecting the water with bleach. For more information visit Renewable Energy UK

Wine Show logoThanks to all all paulagoddard.com readers who entered the Win tickets to The Wine Show competition. This competition has now closed. Take a look to see if your name is among the 10 winners of pairs of tickets for The Wine Show on Sunday 28 October. If your name isn't listed, don't despair - why not enter my new competition to win Black Magic's new range of dark chocolates.

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Black Magic barsWant to taste the complete range of Black Magic's new deliciously indulgent dark chocolates? And let your palate explore the mellow, creamier taste of Black Magic Dark Chocolate Collection with its almost bitter-free dark chocolate coating and mocha truffle, amaretto crunch and orange zest fillings? Then enter my competition and win one of 10 sets of Black Magic's complete new range of chocolates.

STOP PRESS: THIS COMPETITION HAS NOW CLOSED - WINNERS ANNOUNCED

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messy babyHave you got what it takes to be an official chocolate taster? Black Magic needs eight new chocolate tasters from across the country. They are looking for someone who likes dark chocolate but who doesn’t necessarily have to be a huge dark chocolate fan. The chosen eight will be the first people to try out Black Magic's new chocolate products and their opinions will help develop further flavours and taste sensations. To apply to be an Official Black Magic Chocolate Taster explain in no more than 50 words why you think you should be given the role. Closing date 23rd November 2007.