Thursday, 15 March 2012

Broad Beans on Red Alert

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm Sat. 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network.
The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on Click on 2RRR
Design Elements is continuing the series on connecting home to garden and today Lesley simpson, garden designer and Marianne (host)are tackling design ideas for those gardens with mature trees and nothing much else.
Vegetable Heroes:Vicia faba or BROAD BEANS Fabaceae Family.
Broad beans grown into a large, upright, bushy plant up to about 1 metre. They tend to be bushy, with square, hollow stems and without beany tendrils.  They can be tall or dwarf growth habits and can produce long or short pods.
Like all beans, they fix atmospheric nitrogen and so, are also useful as a green manure.
Best of all, they are hardy, easy to grow. Plant them in early Autumn in warm temperate climates, and autumn and winter for milder temperate to cooler zones in Australia.
Broad beans prefer a sunny well-drained position in the garden.
Broad beans can be grown in soils with high salinity, as well as in clay soil, so they’re pretty adaptable.
Sow the seeds 5-10cm deep and your broad beans will start sprouting in about 2 weeks after sowing, but will be slower the later you sow towards winter.
Soaking seeds overnight in diluted liquid seaweed can speed this up….germination.
Water seeds well as soon as you’ve put them into the ground and, then, don’t water them…MOST IMPORTANT   until after germination, to prevent the seeds from rotting. Ok, YOU CAN’T DO MUCH ABOUT IT IF IT RAINS. 
Broad beans will need to be staked or supported to stop the plant collapsing under the weight of the mature beans.
If your district experiences a bit of frost, flowers formed during frosty weather are probably not going to set pods. Once spring arrives, pinch out the tips of the plants to encourage pod set.
Try to limit water stress as this will also affect pod set. That means don’t let them dry out!
In  3-5 months, depending on how cold the weather is, the beans will be ready.
Pick the pods when the seeds are looking about the right size but not hard. If left too long on the plant, beans are likely to be dry and less tasty.
Dig in the roots and leaves after harvest to add nitrogen to the soil.
Plant of the Week: Callistemon "Red Alert,"
Callistemon viminalis Red Alert™ is a compact Callistemon with  deep red new growth. It is a native alternative to exotic Photinia.
It has longer periods of red new growth than Photinia - bright red foliage for 2 months in autumn and 2 months in spring, and lighter new growth foliage in other months.
Red Alert™ grows 2-2.4m high x 1.5-2m wide unpruned and 50cm-2m high x 40cm-1.5m wide when pruned.
Position-Requires full sun to part shade and works in most soil types. Tough and drought tolerant. More drought tough and frost tolerant compared to exotic Photinia.
Water well until established -usualy 2 season are required for establishment of most plants.
Prune after red new growth in autumn and spring.
It is more drought tough, very frost tolerant, and has longer periods of red new growth compared to Photinia. 
Expect it to have a maximum height of 2-2.4 metres after 6 to 8 years, which is significantly
To keep Red Alert looking like a tightly pruned hedge it is suggested to prune it each 10-16months. Red Alert is a much better low hedge than Photinia.
Callistemons are generally less prone to drought stress, particularly when firstplanted. It works better in windy situations than Photinia as well.
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