Things I Understand, and Some That I Don't!
by Frances Ballentine
(From The Charleston Rose, November 1999)

Flashback to chemistry labs, experimental cookery labs, and torturing hours while waiting for the delicate scales to stop shivering and deliver the answers Dr. Green wanted! Who would have thought these experiences as a student would haunt me (or help me) in my rose garden? The questions posed in the "When Is a Tablespoon Not a Tablespoon" article raised a red flag with me. It is now early November, and I have religiously sprayed my roses every two weeks with Banner-Maxx and Manzate 200, yet my blackspot problems persist -- probably the worst season ever for me!

I changed from Funginex to Banner Maxx this year, hoping I could get by with spraying every two weeks instead of every week. Other rosarians had found Banner Maxx effective. So why did I have major problems with the new fungicide?

Was it a "Tablespoon" issue? Was I delivering the right concentration of fungicide to my roses?

The puny squared off measuring device I was using for Banner-Maxx came from a DollarAMA sale. I liked it because it could be suspended by "the nail" on the pagoda post where I mixed up my rose brews. The other measuring device for powdered Manzate 200 came from a similar source. I liked it because it had a long handle, but it was hard to level off the dry chemical, so most often I didn't.

I decided to test the accuracy of the "Tablespoons" in the Ballentine household. Starting in the kitchen, I found my two favorites delivered much more than 1/2 ounce of water. (Here I remembered that Dr. Green insisted we level off liquids, just like dry ingredients.) Yup, my kitchen tablespoons delivered more than 1/2 fluid ounce, the standard. Lots more.

The cheapie measuring spoons I used for Banner Maxx and other rose chemicals delivered much less than the 1/2 fluid ounce of the Weights and Measures standard.

Had my tablespoons had failed me? Had I been applying less fungicide than needed?

I don't know, don't understand, but for sure will replace those tablespoons with some I have tested against the standard 1/2 fluid ounce for liquid measures. I'll also check the tablespoons used for dry chemicals. I will also try to have a better rose year in 2000.