Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Bushland Gardens and Red Banskias

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm, 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network.
The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on
Design Elements:So you live near the bush, or your garden is all bush. How do you connect the house and the garden so that they’re not two separate entities. Do you see the best part of the garden from your house? Well you can’t move the house around, but maybe you can do something about the garden.

Vegetable Heroes:     Leeks, known scientifically as Allium ampeloprasum var. Porrum, are related to garlic, onions, shallots, and scallions.
Sow the seeds of Leeks from Spring until the end of Autumn in cool temperate climates, and late summer and autumn in warm and tropical zones,  and in arid districts, seeds must be sown in February/early March and then you can transplant them in April and May. 
I sowed some seed a several weeks ago and have already transplanted them into the veggie bed because they were a couple of inches-about 20cm high and were the thickness of a pencil.
Using some kind of dibble tool or the end of a rake handle to make a hole that's just deep enough to leave only the top inch of the seedling exposed. Set the leek seedling into the hole and fill it loosely with soil. Space seedlings a handspan apart.
So that the lower portion of the leeks are nice and white, you need to blanch them with either soil or mulch.         When they’re 4 weeks old in the veggie bed, use a thick mulch of sugar cane or similar. In another 4 weeks or when they reach about 10” that’s 24cm, do the same again, or you can use shredded newspaper.      
To be honest you can do all this, but if you don’t the leeks are just as tasty.
Make sure the plants get at least an inch of water a week; otherwise the stems will toughen.
Begin harvesting leeks as soon as they're big enough to use.
They usually take 16-18 weeks--4 ½ months.
Online seed suppliers_- and
Plant of the Week:Banksia Coccinea or Scarlet Banksia grows to about 5m. this is a spectacular W.A Banksia that most people in the eastern states would love to grow. It’s always featured in books about Australian plants. The flower spikes themselves aren’t big, but they’re just so spectacular looking that everyone wants one for their garden.

The leaves are leathery ovate and toothed margins, light green above and greyish white below.
The flowers are small and tubular grey with bright scarlet straight protruding styles tipped with gold and arranged in vertical rows. On a terminal short cyclindrical spike of about 6cm long set in rosette of leaves. This Banksia flowers in winter.
It naturally grows in sandy or marshy areas on the south coast of W.A. However, in the book on Australian Native Plants by Wriggley and Fagg, the author notes that this plant is difficult to establish in the eastern states except in Millicient in S.A. where it’s thriving in acid sandy soils over limestone. So if you’re area has underlying limestone, it’s well worth a try.
It has been grown with some success on the sandy soils of the Mornington Peninsula, southeast of Melbourne, as well as in Adelaide.

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