Sunday, 17 June 2012

Earthworks and Fragrant Gardens

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.
The Good Earth: This month's permaculture segment with Tafe teacher Penny Pyett, delves into the doing stage of your permaculture garden or "Earthworks." You might include a swale as part of your earthworks to collect or redirect water in your garden so it waters your garden beds rather than running off. Listen here to find out more.
Vegetable Heroes:  Shallots are Allium var aggregatum or the Aggregatum group.
They used to be classified in the onion in the Alliaceae family but now it’s in the Amaryllidaceae or lilly family.
  Unlike onions or leeks, shallots are made up of cloves – similar to garlic. Cloves. 
True Shallots grow in small, tight clusters so that when you break one open there may be two or three bunched together at the root. They have a brown skin and remind me of a giant garlic clove in shape only.
  Unlike garlic and onions shallots don’t have that strong sulphuric aroma and irritating fumes. They’re easy to grow, mature faster and  require less space than onions and garlic.
In temperate and sub-tropical climates you can plant them almost all year from February to September. 
In cool temperate climates you have all year except for June and July, and also for arid climates you can only grow them between September and February. So wait until then, although I saw a post from Arthur the mad gardener who says he lives in an arid part of Australia and he planted his shallots in May. 
Shallots are normally grown from small starter shallots or sest (immature bulbs) that you can either buy from a catalogue, online or your local garden centre. Plant shallots sets about 2cm deep with the tips slightly protruding from the soil’s surface.
Once you get shallots growing in your garden, you have them forever by just saving out a small part of each year's crop as next year's starters.
Some tips for growing shallots –give them a good watering once you’ve planted them but ease off the watering as they mature, unless your district has been overly dry.
If you want well-defined cloves of shallot, feed plants often.
This is where worm or compost tea come to the fore., because in cooler weather, liquid fertilisers are the only ones that actually do any good for your plants.
Planting in winter means that they should be ready around spring time.
When the bulbs are about a 1cm around and the leaves are starting to yellow, that’s the time to lift your shallot bulbs.
Shake off any soil dry them out in a warm dry area for a week before storing them in a cool dry place.
Online suppliers:
Design Elements: We can have Federation, Bush garden or Cottage garden styles, but we learnt last week that you can have different themes within these styles. Ever thought of a fragrant area in your style of garden? Let’s find out how.

Plant of the Week:Tristaniopsis laurina "Luscious." -    tolerates a wide range of soils and climate conditions except for very dry climates. Grows to 7-8 metres tall and about 4 metres wide with superb large green leaves and fragrant yellow flowers in Summer. new growth that starts out a distinctive copper colour. Over time branches develop a deep purple colour bark that peels back to reveal a cream smooth trunk. If you’re in the market for a new tree, don’t go past this one.
 Water Gums (common name) sound too big for most gardens, but not this new release that has it all. Unlike the traditional water gum, the Luscious Water Gum has a  dense form making an attractive hedge or screen. A great summer shade tree or feature tree.
For more information see

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