Friday, 13 January 2012

Diamond Pythons and Nepenthes

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: Carpet Pythons get their names because their attractive patterns are supposed to look bit like some oriental carpets and not because they like to sleep on carpets. Listen heare to Kurtis Lindsay talk about Australia's Diamond Back Python.
Vegetable Heroes:      -LETTUCE or Lactuca sativa, The Lettuce (Lactuca sativa) is a temperate annual or biennial plant of the daisy family Asteraceae.. great in salads, tacos, hamburgers!
  Growing Lettuce
  • Lettuce can be planted all year round in all areas of Australia. In summer, only plant the loose leaf types of lettuce and. Not all kinds of lettuce are created alike! Sorry, Iceberg is out, as is the other hearting lettuce varieties, like Butterhead . 
These varieties  ok in the coolest months. (The upper temperature limit to grow heading lettuces is 28°C)   It’s just too warm for the hearting types. 
 Lettuces taste best when they are grown as fast as possible and for that they need water and food.
 I had visitors recently who noticed that my seedlings had doubled in size in 3 days! That’s good going.
 •If you can’t find a position that provides dappled shade in the afternoon, try interplanting between taller plants that will not totally shade them like capsicums/peppers or eggplants, staked tomatoes. •The most heat tolerant kinds of lettuce are the open leafed varieties (Looseleaf). All the pretty fancy lettuces you see in the shops, the frilly and curly varieties, they are your lettuce varieties you need to grow. 
  •Darker lettuce absorbs more sunlight than lighter colours, so it will wilt sooner (but they are prettier). Choose light green over dark red.

  •The most heat resistant kinds of lettuce in my experience are the oakleaf varieties.

Design Elements:The well planned pink garden isn't just pretty, but is soft restful and easy on the eyes.Since the time of the early Romans to the days of Shakespeare, gardeners have considered pink to be the finest colour in the garden. Find out how to design a garden using Pink, with Lesley Simpson garden designer.

Plant of the Week: Nepenthese spp or Pitcher Plants.
May I start with saying I’m a novice Nepethe grower. I have one medium sized plant and a couple of very small plants which have yet to show signs of growing. For a year my bigger plant grew taller and taller and the pitchers dropped off completely. I had it hanging under the shade of Native Frangipani.
Friends of mine were also puzzling over the same thing. About 5-6 weeks ago I placed it in full sun and to my amazement, not having read the manual, I came out one day and there was a new pitcher. Woo Hoo.
 It took about a week to open its lid, but there it is.
There are two types, Troical lowland and Montane or Highland pitcher plants. Lowland species prefer hot temperatures, and highland species prefer warm temperatures. 
Nepenthes require high humidity.  Traps will not form properly, abort, or die back in low humidity.
Tropical Pitcher Plants prefer good air circulation and a light, well-drained, porous soil.  A soil mix of 1 parts perlite, 1 part orchid bark, and 1 part coco peat works well.  Pure live sphagnum moss or “orchid mix” is a good soil alternative.  Nepenthes are tolerant of a variety of soil mixes.  Keep the soil evenly moist and well drained.  Water with mineral-free water from overhead.  Nepenthes prefer a hanging pot or basket.  They like bright, full sun and high humidity. If you live in a dry area, hand misting every day is essential.
You pitcher plant is carnivorous and will feed itself.
Even indoors they will attract and capture an occasional fly or other insect.  Don't feed them meat or cheese.  This will likely rot and kill the trap. 

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