Saturday, 5 November 2011

Life's A Town Garden

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm Sat. 12noon, 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network.

Design Elements:At first gardens were just vegetable plots in front of the town walls, and the produce was sold in the horticultural  markets. It was quite a few centuries before the town garden evolved to what it is today. Listen here to garden designer, Lesley Simpson and host Marianne discuss what's needed in designing today's "Town Garden."

Vegetable Heroes: Eggplants, Aubergines or Solanum melongena.
When to sow: In tropical areas, eggplants can be sown in spring through to autumn, in temperate areas spring through to early summer and only during late spring in cool climates.
Eggplant is a short lived perennial plant that grows to about 1metre bush and is treated mostly as an annual. So far my plants from previous years never survive the cold and I have to start all over again.
Eggplants need warm soils temperatures to germinate-around 200C. 
In cold areas start your seeds in a small pot—about 100mm four inches big—for each seed. Plant the seeds about half an inch into the soil and add a bit of water. Cover with a plastic bag or put the seeds into a  mini-greenhouse and put the greenhouse where it will get sunlight. After about a few weeks you should notice a little seedling popping up from the soil. You can now transplant this into its permanent place in the garden. 
Before transplanting your eggplants, mix  some pelleted chicken manure, or blood/n/bon and compost in with the soil before planting your eggplants. A good ratio is about 20% manure/compost to 80% soil.
TIP: If you think your soil is too cold, transplant into a bigger pot. Cold soils set the plant back and they’ll grow just fine in pots.
Eggplants have to have full sunlight or they simply won’t thrive. 
Any spot that gets about six to eight  hours of full sun (meaning no shady plants or structures nearby to block the sun) would do well. 
 After the seedlings have been transplanted, give them a little water and leave them to grow.          Make sure to add a little mulch to the top of the soil to help keep soil in. This is useful in areas that get quite warm or are prone to drought.
  Eggplants are ready for picking in about sixty days, you should notice the fruit popping up on your eggplants.
Plant of the Week:      PHALAENOPSIS.Orchid.
The flower is exotic and fragrant; the plant is considered a good air-purifying house plant. Moth orchids are usually planted in pots with good drainage.

A well-grown Phalaenopsis is not rich green. But when grown to perfection the plant is a medium green with a hint of yellow or red lurking in the background. Using leaf color is a good simple way to tell if your plant is getting the correct amount of light.
Rich green, more light! Keep trying for that hint of red or yellow if you want lots of FLOWER.
The flowers appear on a spike from the stem between the leaves and, depending on the type, there may be anything from a single flower to over a hundred.
RWG Tip: Don't cut the flower spike unless it turns brown. New flowers will continually appear on the spike for quite a while. When a flower bud develops into a small plant with roots, cut off this part  and pot it up. These propagations may flower within a couple of years.
Watering and feeding. -As they do not have storage pseudobulbs, their compost should he kept evenly moist using tepid rainwater, or reasonably pure tap water if you are lucky enough to have it. Do not let it dry out.
Phalaenopsis like a minimum temperature of 20°C but can tolerate 15°C as an adult plants and may actually flower better after a few weeks at this night temperature in autumn.
Avoid using cold water and don't allow water to remain in the crown of the plants for more than a couple of hours as it can induce rotting. Give a quarter strength fertiliser once a month.  Your African violet fertilizer will be adequate, after all, African Violets and Phalaenopsis like the same conditions. Oversimplifying it because in actual fact, the Moth Orchid likes a bit less light.
Moth Orchids are both beautiful and useful. The flower is exotic and fragrant; the plant is considered a good air-purifying house plant. Moth orchids are usually planted in pots or baskets (sometimes hanging) with good drainage; some suggest fir bark is the best soil

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