Sunday, 7 August 2011

Thrifty By The Sea and Celery

REAL WORLD GARDENER 2RRR 88.5fm Wed 5pm SOON to be on the Community Radio Network! (CRN)

Feature Interview:  Interview with Jim Lykos, Camellia Research Society NSW past president and locator of missing Camellias extraordinaire.
Vegetable Heroes: Apium graveolens Celery.
Stop worrying about blanching your celery - it's all too hard, and most of us have ended with bitter, tough celery stalks. Now, just take the trouble of buying SELF-BLANCHING celery! Celery prefers moisture, well-drained soil in a sunny spot. Apart from Beetroot last week that can grow in partial shade-this is like a mantra to growing all vegetables. A short row can be squeezed into a garden, raised bed or you could even try dotting the odd plant into a border. If you have a tiny garden it's possible to grow celery in very deep, long pots.
Soil preparation•Dig the soil (in the spring before planting), removing big stones, weeds and incorporating plenty of garden compost or well-rotted manure. •A week or so before planting, rake a general purpose organic fertiliser (90g per square metre) into the surface layer of the bed.
How to sow seeds•The seeds take 1-2 weeks to germinate.•Celery seed is tiny, so best started off in punnets. Sow across the surface of the soil. Watering from the top is likely to disturb the seed, so fill a bowl with water and put in the punnet. It can be removed once the water has been drawn to the surface.
•Finish by covering with a thin layer of vermiculite and putting in a heated propagator on a windowsill, in a plastic bag or in a greenhouse. Water daily to so they don't dry out.
Plants will be ready to go outside about five weeks later, when they're 8cm tall with at least 4 true leaves.TIP: The secret to fresh crisp stalks is plenty of manure and water, don't let the soil dry out as it has shallow roots. Celery will be ready in about 5 months-so January for you. Lift Celery with a garden fork ot pick individual stems.
Buy Self Blanching Celery online from
Design Elements: Lesley Simpson, Garden Designer and Marianne (me-Host of RWG) talk about looking after Indoor Plants. Listen here to the podcast.
Plant of the Week: Armeria maritime or Bee’s Lilac or SeaThrift.  15cm x 30cm.Armerias are very hardy growing in full sun and frost hardy to -10C Find new releases of Armeria in you nursery or Garden Centre. a)      Armeria Pink Petite has a slightly larger spread of 40cm and will take full sun/part shade and coastal conditions.b)      Like a lot of drought tolerant plants, an occasional deep water keeps it looking its best, particularly if you want a nice border.c)   Low maintenance plant.d)    Propagate from seed or cuttings, or by the careful division of well-established clumps. TIP:Soak Armeria seeds in warm water for 6-8 hours before sowing! Sea Pink seeds can be sown in the garden during late spring and summer months, up until two months before the first frost.
Hunter's Hill and Lane Cove Councils will be launching the Food Waste Challenge at the Moocooboola Festival on Saturday 7 August and at various locations in Lane Cove. They are looking for 100 Champions in Hunters Hill and Lane Cove to attend three two hour workshops in which you will learn about ways to reduce your food waste. You can become a Food Waste Challenge Champion by registering at the Moocooboola Festival, or online  at

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