Friday, 30 September 2011

Spot The Diamond Bird

REAL WORLD GARDENER ON 2RRR 88.5 FM and across Australia on the Community Radio Network
Wildlife in Focus:Pardalotus punctatus, sounds like it’s a funny way of excusing yourself, but it’s actually the botanical name of the Spotted Pardalote. Pardalotus means spotted and is one of Australia’s smallest birds. The pardalote family, there’s more than one you see, are sometimes called diamond birds, listen here to the full segment. The call of the Spotted Pardalote is provided by Tony Baylis from

Vegetable Heroes:Tomatoes - Lycopersicon lycopersicum.
 RULE NO. 1-Tomatoes has to be in full sun at least 6 hours.
RULE NO 2 -When you plant your seedling, this is about the only plant I know that you pile the soil higher than it was in the pot.That way, it grows extra roots to support the plant.  At the same time, put in a tomato stake of some kind and sprinkle some Dolomite around the plant.
REMEMBER THE GOLDEN RULE- Keep the soil moist by regular watering and using a mulch of some kind.    Sometimes it’s hard to keep the water up to them but I no longer recommend putting water crystals in the planting hole because when the soil dries out, the crystals actually draw water away from the plant and make it dry out faster.
 Just make sure they don’t dry out to prevent a problem called “blossom end” rot, when they get a black bottom. Which also means a lack of Calcium. 
 Another problem with not enough watering or drying out of the soil or compost is that in very hot weather you will get the fruits splitting. The inside grows faster than the skin, splits and unless eaten quickly, disease very quickly enters the damaged area and the tomato disposed of.
  Mulch with Hay, lucerne tea tree or some home made compost, which will break down over the next few weeks. As soon as your tomato gets the first yellow flower, you need to start fortnightly feeds with a liquid tomato food. Cow Manure is not enough…it doesn’t have anywhere near the right amount of Potassium.
 That’s needed to bring on the flowers and fruit.
 When you get to four trusses (or branches of flowers) nip out top of the plant. By this stage you should have plenty of fruits forming that need to grow and ripen. 
 Whether it’s  Tomato Riesentraube For Tasmania, Black Russian Oxheart, Mortgage lifter,Golden Roma, Graf Zeppelin,Longkeeper, Mr Stripey and Banana Legs, just to name a few, you can’t go past growing your own.
Design Elements: How do you grow a garden on a deck? Find out by listening to Mariane and Lesley Simpson, garden designer give you the nuts and bolts of this project, Listen here. 

Plant of the Week: Judas Tree-Cercis siliquastrum.  A slow growing deciduous tree that belongs to Fabaceae family with heart shaped leaves and pea like purplish flowers that start in Spring.
a)  I first noticed the tree growing in clay soil at the college where I studied horticulture. The flowers cover the trunk of the tree, making it a very striking specimen tree for the garden. The deep pink flowers are produced on year-old or older growth, including the trunk in late spring (cauliflory). The leaves appear shortly after the first flowers emerge. These are heart-shaped with a blunt apex, which occasionally has a shallow notch at the tip. The tree produces long flat pods that hang vertically.
b)    Cercis grows to 6-10 metres so will suit a smaller garden or courtyard.
c)    This tree usually has a short main trunk with several main branches 1-2m from the base.d)  Cultivars include:   'Alba' - white flowers 'Bodnant' - dark pink-purple flowers and 'Rubra' - dark pink-purple flowers. I have seen the white variety advertised in Diggers plant catalog.

e) prefers deep, fertile, well-drained soils and a position in full sun or partial shade. It is drought tolerant. Best foliage colour in full sun, but avoid hot, exposed and windy sites .

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