Thursday, 26 July 2012

Mixing It Up in the Vegetable Garden

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

 with Permaculture Sydney Institute Director, Penny Pyett. The 6 bed rotation system is good if you've got the room or energy, but permaculture principles show us that there are other less back breaking ways. On today's show Penny outlines the backbone of a vegetable garden in permaculture-neither hard or messy. These principles even include IPM or integrated pest management, so that's got to be good.

Podcast Powered By Podbean Without realising it, I was following permaculture principles in my vegetable garden because I don’t have that many areas to grow produce. Mixing perennial plants, like perennial basil with your normal vegetables, like Penny said, can save you work when it comes to pest management. Self-seeding is another great idea, because a lot of the time, seeds of lettuce and parsley can be easily transplanted to other places in the garden. So I hope that’s given you some food for thought anyway.

Vegetable Heroes:

Potatoes or Solanum tuberosum. Always grow potatoes from Certified Seed Potatoes from reputable suppliers. Yes it is possible to simply buy some from a specialist green grocer and keep them for seed, or use leftover potato peelings. What’s wrong with that? You run the risk of introducing diseases such as Potato Virus Y, Potato Blight or Potato cyst Nematode. If you use ones that have sprouted from the supermarket or green grocers. You might think it’s only a small risk, but once you get potato blight into your soil, it’s their forever. No chemical will shift it.   Potatoes can be planted now all over Australia, in temperate and sub-tropical districts, August to October is the best time, in cool temperate zones, September through to January, and in arid areas August until December is your best time. Potatoes like to grow in a deep rich soil,  so plant seedling potatoes in a trench and as they grow pile the earth up around them. You will need to hill the rows or potato container several times until the potatoes have flowered To stop the greening of tubers and also protect them from potato moth. Doing this will give you more potatoes as they tend to form on roots near the surface, as you pile up the soil, you get new roots, , more potatoes.... I should have said earlier, pile in lots of cchicken manure or blood and bone  through the bed as potatoes need a lot of phosphorus but not too much nitrogen.  Too much nitrogen will mean lots of leaves rather than potatoes.  Keep the water up, but only water moderately as potatoes will rot in soil that is too wet. You can add fish emulsion and seaweed extract when you’re watering too. Potatoes can also be grown in your black compost bin if you’re not using it for compost. Plant the seed potatoes at the bottom, let them grow to about 50cm,( so with your ruler that’s  almost 2 x ruler heights) then, over the top and add 8cm of soil, let them grow a little more, add some more soil, and so on, in the end a stack of potatoes. Pick your potatoes when the vine has died down to the ground, that’s if you want the most potatoes, but they can be harvested from when the first baby potatoes are formed.  The lower leaves should be turning yellow – this happens about 3 to 4 weeks after flowering. For mail order or online, try              

    Design Elements:

Some people don't like too many plants in their garden thinking that it's too much maintenance.  Here's a suggestion for built structures in the garden for that ordered look.

Plant of the Week:

Grevillea "Superb" vs Grevillea "Ned Kelly."
Grevillea "Ned Kelly."
What's the difference?
Grevillea "superb."
In the 1970's, two hybrid grevilleas came out. One a cross from Grevillea banksii and Grevillea bipinnatifida. This was Grevillea "Ned Kelly." Grows to 2 metres high and wide and seen in many older gardens. The flowers, or more correctly, the racemes, have reasonably distinct bands of colour, starting as red, and fading to yellow. This shrub was successful because it attracted so many mainly larger birds like rainbow lorikeets, plus it's pretty hardy.  G. "Ned Kelly," can take light frost and grows best in full sun but any soil type. It flowers all year, and birds love it. Grevillea "Superb," was was created by Grevillea grower Merv Hodge. One of the parent plants is the white form of Grevillea banskii. The main difference is the foliage is a little darker, and the flowers a deeper colour- more red-apricot at the base fading to light pink. The third main difference is the floral tube is nearly always yellow. To me this is a neater shrub, growing to 1.5metres My preference is Grevillea 'Superb," but both flower all year long and don't need too much trimming to keep them bushy. You can prune them back reasonably hard if you have an old plant that's become overgrown and straggly looking. As with all grevilleas, if you fertilize your garden, these plants are phosphorous sensitive, so only use a native fertilizer or blood'n'bone around them. Why not send in a photo of your Grevillea?  c/- 2RRR PO Box 644, Gladesville NSW, 1675 Win a garden hat or some seeds with your gardening question, or simply fill in the survey below.
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1 comment:

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