Thursday, 17 November 2011

Tropical By Design

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm Sat. 12noon, 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network.
Design Elements:In the 17th Century Europeans interest in tropical gardens grew largely because people equated tropical gardens with their idea of paradise and perhaps the ‘garden of eden.’
Listen to Lesley Simpson, garden designer and Marianne (host) talk about  how you can create your own paradise.
Vegetable Heroes: Phaseolius vulgaris or CommonBeans, either climbing or Dwarf Beans, sometimes called French beans.
To grow beans you  need up to four months of warm weather.
In subtropical climates beans can be grow them  all year. For the rest of us, mid-spring through to late summer are the best times to plant. In colder districts, beans, don’t like the cold at all and they certainly don’t like frost. But you should be safe from any cold snaps now.
Beans are best planted at soil temperatures between 16°C and 30°C. so planting them from now on is good..
Beans are easy to grow. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. About 2.5cm or  1-inch or depending on the size of the bean .
Keep watered and watch for bugs and green caterpillars .
Pick the beans regularly to encourage new flowers.
Flowering will slow right down if you let the beans get too large (hard and stringy) on the plants.
For a continuous crop, plant more seed as soon as the previous planting starts to flower.
Protect against snails and slugs by laying down straw or sugar cane mulch and sprinkling coffee grounds around the edge of the veggie bed.
Slugs and snails will completely destroy newly sprouted beans.
Beans do poorly in very wet or humid tropical climates because they get bacterial and fungal diseases.
Pods won’t set at temperatures above 270 C.Go easy on the fertiliser or you’ll get lots of leaves and no beans.
When working with the mature plants and picking the beans, try to do so when they plants are dry. Working with them wet tends to cause them to have diseases.
When are beans ready pick?
Generally the green beans are ready to pick in about 10-12 weeks.
Pick them when they are about as thick as a pencil, smaller if you want a better, tender taste. Length is determined by the type you plant, but usually they will be at least four to six inches long.
Some online sources of heaps of varieites are .
Plant of the Week:Geraniums and Pelargoniums are great collector’s plants with many varieties available. They are a good source of vivid colour, even in winter if a warm spot is provided. There’s even Geranium & pelargonium societies like the one in S.A.  
Geranium sanguineum and Geranium himalayense-yes true Geraniums!  The stork’s bill family – geraniaceae has about 700 plants spread over temperate and subtropical countries. To buy online try this site.  
In this family we have two genera which probably started the confusion in most people’s mind. The genera Geranium and the genera Pelargonium.
What’s the difference I hear you ask? The first difference is that Geranium flowers are 5 petalled and have a radial symmetry or actinomorphic ie, can be divided into two exact parts if a line is drawn from one side to the other reaching the centre, no matter where the line is drawn.
Pelargoniums have two upper petals and three different lower petals, and  have a single symmetry plane or zygomorphic. Only two symmetrical parts are possible if a line is drawn from one side to the other reaching the centre, also known as bilateral symmetry.
What else is different? True Geraniums are sturdy yet refined, with five-petaled flowers on dainty stems close to the palmately-divided leaves.
Hardy Geraniums not as well known as Pelargoniums which people call Geraniums. True geraniums lovely flowers in a wide variety of colours, but they also have varied growing habits to suit gardeners in almost any climate.
True geraniums grow as low growing mounds of dark green leaves topped with pastel flowers make this variety an unequaled addition to the perennial border.
Geranium & Pelargonium tip for November is -Keep deadheading plants so they flower longer- Keep an eye out for white fly as the weather warms up,-          Don’t prune your plants until February.
Feature Interview: Host, Marianne is talking to Jenny Patterson, volunteer guide at -          What can we do to help scientific response to climate change? We can become a Citizen Scientist. Listen here for the interview.

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