Sunday, 13 March 2011

Talking Turkey, Brush Turkey That Is!

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney Radio
Wildlife in Focus: Kurtis Lindsay, Honours Biology student at Macquarie University, talks about Alectura lathami, or Brush Turkey. Here the podcast, available until 13th April 2011.

Vegetable Hero: What is Parsnip? Pastinaca sativa, a member of the Apiaceae family-same as carrots, Parsley and Celeriac. For temperate areas around Australia, March is the last month you can sow the seeds of parsnip. Best planted at soil temperatures between 6°C and 21°C. Best grown in deep sandy, loamy soil. After planting keep seeds moist - can cover with a moist newspaper or mulch - until seeds germinate. Parsnips need to be started from seed. They resent being transplanted even more than Coriander. They just won’t grow. Fresh seed is a major requirement because the viability of Parsnip is about 12 months.  Tip: Soak the seeds overnight in a shallow saucer. There’s no need to drown them.  Keep your parsnip seedlings growing strongly with regular watering and applications of liquid seaweed, liquid manure or compost tea. Harvest in 17-20 weeks, that’s 4-5 months.

Design Elements: Playing With Plants. Lesley Simpson, Garden Designer talks about stage 6 of your garden design for a border. Whatever plants you have chosen, ornamental or herb or vegetable, today's the day to decide how to plant them. Listen hear to the podcast, available until April 13th 2011.

Plant of the Week: Melastoma affine, or Native Lasiandra.
Native lassiandra. This Australian plant is a brittle shrub to 2 m, having dark green leaves to about 10 cm with a few prominent veins. Flowers are large, 7 cm, with usually 5 mauve petals. These are followed by fruits which split open to reveal red to purple flesh with numerous small seeds. It is supposed to be edible and to make your tongue go purple! I have not found them to be tasty, but edible. The pollen of the flowers is in deep pores of the stamens and need the help of Australian native bees that are able to 'buzz' pollinate.  

Prune often to make this shrub compact. The leaves look very similar to other Tibouchinas. This plant is a fast grower and will tolerate most soils. Some watering is needed in very dry conditions. Grows best in warm temperate areas. For all other areas, a microclimate is recommended.
What's On:On March 19th Willoughby Council is running a workshop called Habitat Gardens from 9am to noon. This practical workshop looks at local native animals and explores different ways to provide or improve habitat for them in your backyard. It will include native plant species selection, planting strategies, and other natural elements that are important for habitat including simple structures you can build. RSVP by 11 March to Liz Powell at Willoughby Council on 9777 7871.Thursday 19th March the City of Ryde has a free guided walk,  People and Plants of the Lane Cove River. Cost: Free
Bookings: essential on 9952 8222. For more walks

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