Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Black Gold Good 4 The Soil

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.
Compost Capers: all about different types of composting. Today we continue with worm farms and why are worms so good for the soil? What do they actually do? How do they actually eat those food scraps if they haven’t got any teeth? Listen here to Cameron Little, Director of talk about this topic.
Vegetable Heroes:Pass the Peas Please. Peapods are botanically a fruit, since they contain seeds developed from the ovary of a (pea) flower. However, peas are considered to be a vegetable in cooking. Peas belong to the Fabaceae family, which means they fix Nitrogen from the air into their roots.
The best time to sow Peas, if you are living on the East Coast is from April until September from April until august in arid climates, from April and until July in sub-tropical districts and for cool zones, late winter until October. On the Tablelands they should be sown after the last frosts.
Best planted at soil temperatures between 8°C and 24°C.
Sow the seeds directly into the soil 15mm to 20mm deep (1'' or knuckle deep) . Water in well and don't let them dry out.
I like to soak my Pea seeds over night. This helps achieve a better strike.
Some gardeners prefer to sow their seeds into tubs/punnets so they can keep a closer eye on them especially if there is a possible of a frost, once they have their second crop of leaves and no more frost, they can be transplanted out in the garden.
TIP:Peas  don’t  seem to grow well near Onions, Chives, Garlic.  Peas  don’t like a lot of mulch or manure especially up against the stalk/stem, or being over-watered as they tend to rot off at the base of the stem.
Wait until they have started flowering and then give them a good feed of liquid fertilizer at least once a fortnight.
Liquid fertilizerS you will get a better result in a shorter time.
By watering Peas in the mornings will help to avoid mildew. Don’t overhead water late in the afternoon. If you do have mildew, try spraying with 1 part whole MILK tp 9 parts water.
Design Elements:       Today the problems “a couple of awkwardly shaped areas that the owners don’t know how tom make look attractive. Somewhere where the grass won’t grow properly? so pencils at the ready....!
Plant of the Week:Proteas, Protea nerifolia.
Proteas can grow in all parts of Australia but need great drainage, so if you’ve got clay soil, forget it. All Proteas love a sandy loam or open soil.    Do test your soil pH as most Proteas need acidic soil with a pH below 6.
Proteas need full sun with good air movement. Because they keel over with  humidity. The more sun they more flowers for all Proteas. Full sun by the way, means around 4-6 hours of sunlight and not dappled sunlight.
A few varieties will grow and flower in semi-shade-P. Nerifolia Cream Mink, P repens Honeyglow, P.magnifica x pudens Juliet,P. Frosted Fire and P. Pink Ice.
P. Pink Ice is the one you most see in floral displays.
Mulch your Proteas but only use a natural mulch such as bark or straw or leaves.
TIP:Don’t disturb the plants roots when weeding.
Proteas are pretty tough once they're established.
Water at least twice a week in the first summer, - daily when it's really hot. You can gradually reduce this as the plant becomes established.
TIP:Remember Sabina's litmus test for all plants, 2 seasons for establishment.
Proteas can be grown in tubs and containers but will need watering every day.     
Generally it is not necessary to feed Proteas planted in the garden unless your conditions are extremely severe, like in a sand belt. 
Proteas grown in tubs will need feeding with controlled release fertiliser, a low phosphorus variety.
Proteas become untidy looking if you don’t at least prune off the flowers when they’ve finished. Removing flowering stems helps keep the bush compact and looking great. 
With young bushes tip prune in spring and late summer. With mature plants prune immediately after flowering, usually leaving 10cm of healthy stem.
Varieties- King Pink Protea cynaroides. The King Protea is one of the most popular varieties, having one of the largest flower heads in the protea family. Nana


  1. I always use natural mulch from Perth because it is safer and better from other kinds of mulch. Leaves are the best and it is easy to collect.

    1. Thanks for your comment Sheila, it may surprise you that many gardens still don't mulch. Let's hope they take up your tip.