Sunday, 10 July 2011

One Potato, Two Potatoes, Three Potatoes, Four!

REAL WORLD GARDENER for 6th July 2011 2RRR 88.5fm
Feature Interview: Talking to Noel Plumb, Ryde Bush regeneration convener. Contact more info email
Vegetable Heroes:Potatoes like to grow in a deep rich soil, plant seedling potatoes in a trench and as they grow pile the earth up around them. You will need to hill the the rows or potato container several times until the potatoes have flowered to stop the greening of tubers and also protect them from potato moth. Doing this will give you more potatoes as they tend to form on roots near the surface, as you pile up the soil, you get new roots, , more potatoes.... Chicken manure or blood and bone should be dug through the bed as potatoes need a lot of phosphorus but not too much nitrogen.  Pick your potatoes when the vine has died down to the ground, that’s if you want the most potatoes, but they can be harvested from when the first baby potatoes are formed.  The lower leaves should be turning yellow – this happens about 3 to 4 weeks after flowering.  For more info on potatoe growing go to
Design Elements: Lesley Simpson, garden designer and Marianne (host) give an overview of the 2011 Chelsea Flower Show. Listen here.

Plant of the Week: Azalea spp.
a)      SITE and SOIL: Plant in an area of semi-shade - the dappled shade beneath open-branched trees is a favourite location. Azaleas will grow in more open situations, but they prefer morning sun, with protection from hot afternoon sun in summer. They like a mildly acidic, organically enriched soil (pH 5-6), so avoid applying lime or fresh manures. Before planting, feed soil with compost and aged manure to improve moisture retention. Don't plant azaleas in cement pots or near new brickwork as the lime from the pot or mortar can leach into the soil, making it alkaline.     
(b)Azaleas are surface-rooting plants, so they don't need very deep soil to thrive - about 30-40cm is adequate.  Make sure they have good drainage and the roots must be cool and moist.
In the sustainable garden, pick off the mushy brown blooms daily if you encounter the fungal disease -Petal Blight. Doing this will reduce the spread, and next year, you'll have less of a problem.
Trim off leaves affected by Azalea lace bug-that gives the leaves a mottled silvery look.

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