Thursday, 19 April 2012

What is Permaculture and Where to Put That Sculpture?

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 , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s edition.

NEW SEGMENT:The Good Earth:The Good Earth segment with Penny Pyett will feature about once a month. Penny Pyett is the director of the Sydney Institute of Permaculture  to find a group near your, or just put in permaculture groups  into your search engine . Listen here to the introduction.
Vegetable Heroes: Mustard Lettuce/Greens, -  Brassica juncea
The flowers of Mustard Lettuce are very attractive to beneficial insects. And Mustard Greens tolerate light frost.
In all districts you can sow Mustard Lettuce seeds in spring and autumn. 
Mustard is grown like lettuce. Although it’s more heat tolerant than lettuce, long hot summer days will force the plant to bolt (go to seed) so it’s better to sow it in Autumn in warmer districts.
One of the mustard plant facts is that it loves cold. I have some popping up around my garden at the moment, not too many to make them a nuisance but enough for me to not have to save the seeds.         The variety I have is Red Giant. 
Red Giant has deep purplish-red, large, Savoy leaves with white mid-ribs. I would say about 25 to 30cm long and about half as wide.
The thick leaves have a medium spicy flavour and are excellent for adding to sandwiches with ham or other meats. 
 Supposedly all Red mustard varieties prefer cool climates for growing with full sun and rich soil with temperatures below 200 C. but I’ve found that they can tolerate heat a lot more than they’re supposed to.  I’d recommend them for all temperate climates as well.
Frost is tolerable, but freezing temperatures will kill crops.
TIP: Where to get the seed? If you’re wondering where to get the seed varieties like Red Giant, or Ruby Streak and Golden streaks that have finely serrated leaves, you can easily get them from online suppliers,  
Available in herb section of garden centres and nurseries.
Keep up the water to your plants during dry periods. 
Leaves get tough and have a strong flavour during hot, dry weather.
You Mustard lettuce should be ready in around 4-5 weeks.
I’ve gotta say, my Mustard lettuce pretty much looks after itself. I’ve always got a couple coming up in the veggie bed, and this year, only a couple of others in other spots in the garden.
Mustard lettuce leaves can be eaten raw, or cooked. For salads pick the leaves when they’re still small and tender. 
Either pick individual leaves just as you would any cut and come again lettuce, or the entire plant.            If you want to collect Mustard seeds, do this when the plants begin to yellow. You want to leave them on the plants as long as possible, but before the pods burst open and spill their seeds. That’s why last year I had hundreds of the little seedlings all over my veggie bed.
By the way, beneficial insects like lacewings and Predatory wasps like the yellow flowers of mustard plants.

Design Elements: Gardens shouldn’t be just a pretty place or a collection of plants, because it’s not a museum for plants, but a living thing. Demonstrate your personal design style and artistic interest with a garden sculpture. Use it as a complement to your plantings and landscape design or you can even use a specific piece of garden art as a focal point as you design your landscape. Listen here to the podcast with garden designer Lesley Simpson.

Plant of the Week:Grevillea "Cherry Pie."  We all know the garden is a living thing but few gardeners don’t want a host of other living things that make up our garden ecosystem. The bugs, the lizards, the butterflies and bees, sometimes a mammal or two, and the birds.
If you want to encourage small birds to your garden you need to plant shrubbery with small flowers that these birds enjoy, like in plant of the week.
For more information go to
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