Sunday, 21 October 2012

Pepper and Spice and All Things Vertical

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.
Organic Rose spray for Black spot and powdery mildew at end of this blog.

Spice it Up

with Ian Hemphill from
Black pepper vine (Piper nigrum)
Would you be surprised to learn that black Pepper is one of the most used spices in the world and has been used in cooking for over 2000 years?
Pepper was mostly eaten by the wealthy in the past as it was so expensive and sought after.
Did you know that Pepper gets its kick from the compound peperine?
Pepper loses its flavour and aroma through evaporation so it’s best to keep it in an airtight container.
Consider using whole peppercorns and grinding just before use to maintain flavour or and add near the end of cooking.
You can of course grow some Australian pepper trees. They have the botanic name starting with Tasmannia. Don’t confuse this with the exotic large tree called the Peppercorn. That’s Schinus areira, and is a weed species in all states of Australia.
Let's hear more from Ian..

Vegetable Heroes:

  • Globe artichoke, Cynara ascolymus.
  • The globe artichoke (Cynara scolymus) belongs to the thistle family. It is also known as the French artichoke and the crown artichoke, but is not related to the Jerusalem artichoke, which is actually a tuber.
  • The artichoke ‘vegetable’ is actually the flower head which is picked and eaten before it flowers. Only the heart and the fleshy base of the leaves is edible. The floral parts in the centre and base of the flower (the choke) must be removed before eating.
  • When to grow you Globe artichoke -August until November for sub-tropical and temperate areas.
  • September through November in cool temperate areas and for Arid areas, June through to December. The only district that misses out, are the Tropical areas that can only grow Globe Artichokes from April to July.
  • Artichokes need a bit of space to grow - a mature plant will end up about 1.5m high and across.
  • Because the plants are perennial and will stay in the same place in the garden for a number of years, pick a spot you don’t mind them being for a few years. They look pretty good amongst your flowerbed.
  • For cold districts, Globe Artichokes won’t put up with the really cold winters. For these gardeners, choose a cold hardy variety from your local garden centre and grow it as an annual.
  • They prefer an open, sunny spot in the garden, with well-drained soil, and of course add some compost and decomposed manure or fertiliser.
  • Artichokes can be planted from seed in now, but it’s far easier to plant suckers.
  • A mature plant usually has a main stem and a number of lateral suckers. Carefully separate the sucker using a spade, trim back any woody leaves or roots and plant in a suitable place in mid-late winter.
  • Water plants well until they are established and protect them from water and heat stress when young. Once mature, they are fairly resilient.
  • Build up mulch in autumn, and cut stems back once the leaves go yellow. Mature plants will appreciate a boost of fertiliser and mulch each spring.
  • In the first year take off any flower heads so that the young plants have a chance to grow and produce leaves.
  • From the second year on, pick the artichokes (generally 10-12 heads) once they are swollen, but before the scales have started to open and turn brown on the tips.
  • When picking your artichoke, leave a few centimetres of stem.
  • Small buds can be picked early in the season and eaten whole.
  • Globe artichokes will get crown rot if the drainage isn’t any good, and give them a good rinse to get rid of any earwigs and other insects.

Design Elements

with Louise McDaid, Landscape Designer
Spring and summer are good times to walk around your neighbourhood looking at flowers on climbing plants, but also you need to look at where and how the plant’s growing.
If your garden is shady, don’t pick climbing plants that need full sun, and the reverse is also true.
The series on Living walls and vertical gardens, - great for small spaces, or even big spaces when we want to include an intimate or cosy part into our garden.
You can’t go wrong if you listen into Design Elements’ Living Walls and Vertical Garden Series.
Listen to this week's episode.

Plant of the Week

Grevilleas might attract birds to your garden, but if they’re the hybrid, large flowering showy types, you might get some birds that you don’t really want at the expense of smaller native birds.

Here’s some tips for you to get in those small birds to your garden.
Firstly, small birds need dense shrubbery to provide protective cover. Grevilleas with small flowers and prickly dense foliage attract small birds.
 Gardens must also have a wide range of vegetation to provide varied habitats e.g. mulch, grasses, rocks, trees and shrubs of different heights and density.
Thirdly, provide a bird bath that’s not too deep, and has an escape route to a nearby bush or tree in case of predators.
That’s a great start to creating a bird friendly garden, maybe in a corner or two.
If you have an questions about birdscaping, please email the RWG team
 RWG has two new release Grevilleas, where the flowers aren’t too small to be missed, but not too big to get the bossy birds.
Genus species-Grevillea rosmarinifolia selected form.  Cultivar Name-Rosy Posy™
Habit-Small compact shrub-1.2m H x 1.2m W
Genus species-Grevillea lavandulacea x G. alpine-Cultivar Name:Jelly Baby
Habit-Low mounding groundcover-40cm H x 80cm-1m W
Both of these Grevilleas will grown in full sun or part shade.
Tolerate medium frost and  will grow in moist well drained clay loam or sandy soils
Fertiliser-Low P required at around 1.6%
Climate-Cool temperate to subtropical and semi arid; 2nd line coastal
Flowers Winter through to early Summer.

Organic control of Blackspot and Powdery Mildew on Roses.

Mix 1 tablespoon baking soda, 2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil or white oil or even horticultural oil with 4 litres of water. Shake this up very thoroughly. To this mix add 1/2 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid and spray. Be sure to agitate your sprayer while you work to keep the ingredients from separating. Cover upper and lower leaf surfaces and spray some on the soil.
Repeat every 5-7 days as needed.

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