Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Strawberries and Brown Cuckoo doves

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm Sat. 12noon, 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network.
The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on

Wildlife in Focus:Well it’s not a cuckoo and it’s not a dove so what is it? It even uses it’s tail to hang on branches of trees when it searches for food. Listen here for the full segment.
Vegetable Heroes:      Strawberries or Fragaria sp, meaning fragrance in Latin.     Strawberries are grown all year round in all states of Australia.  They are frost sensitive but a 10cm layer of mulch will be enough to protect the plants. Make sure you don't grow strawberries where other strawberries, raspberries, tomatoes, capsicums and chillies (peppers) or eggplants have grown in the last 3 years. Otherwise your strawberries might get verticillium wilt, a fungus that's starts in the soil. It attacks through the roots and eventually blocks up the water conductivity system in the plant. The plant dies, rots away and you think - what have I done? Just don’t replant in the same place with new strawberries. And don't forget nurseries do sell certified virus-free stock, and that's the safest way to grow new strawberry plants.  You'll find most strawberries flower in spring, set fruit which is harvested late spring/early summer, send runners out in summer and become dormant in winter.    There are also everbearing varieties available which can set a second crop in autumn . 
When planting a strawberry plant make sure that about a third of the crown is above the soil. If you plant too deep or shallow the plant might die.
 Varieties  include Redlands Crimson was developed  in south east Queensland so it does very well in subtropical climates  sending runners everywhere.
Tioga's - is better suited to a cooler climates and Torrey is suited to warmer climates.

Design Elements:      I have a friend that doesn’t like flowers. Strange as it might seem, there are a few people who might be like this whether is allergies or asthma. Perhaps a scheme that involves only green is the answer? Listen here to Lesley Simpson garden designer and Marianne discuss green in the garden as a design element.

Plant of the Week:      Grasses might sound a bit boring but the best of botanic gardens include ornamental grasses as a focal point in amongst their borders. Grasses come in all shapes, sizes and colours too.
Just to put your mind at rest, this Pennisetum alopecirpodes Pennstripe, that we just talked about is a native species to Australia and not Pennisetum setaceum or the highly invasive African species.
Some nurseries have apparently sold the African incorrectly labelled as native. Double check if you think there’s been a mix up. Pennstripe has never produced viable seed so it won’t spread into native bushland and cause a problem.
For more information on Penniseteum visit

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