Monday, 26 November 2012

Spice Up Your Life with Chilli

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.
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In the Garden this week:

For those of you who are thinking of doing some planting this week, now’s a good time to be planting Zucchinis, tomatoes, capsicums, chillies, cucumbers beans and beetroot, and sweet corn for most of Australia.
Add a handful of dolomite per square metre where you’re going to plant tomatoes, capsicums and chillies.
This is also the time of year, if you haven’t already, check your irrigation system.
Over the years plants grow bigger and might block the path of one of your sprayers, or perhaps some of the drippers have become blocked. That happens all too often.

Spice it Up

with Ian Hemphill
Chilli is a health food.If you’ve ever avoided chillies because you think they’re too hot, you’ve been missing out on some of the health benefits. Not only that, there are some pretty mild chillies around that you could use instead. A green chili pod has as much Vitamin C as 6 oranges.
Let’s go to the herb expert for some more stuff on chillies….

There are some other facts and maybe’s about Chillies.
Chilli peppers are good sources of Iron, Potassium and Dietary Fibre. Aids in many skin conditions including psoriasis, itching and bruising. Some cultures put chilli powder in their shoes to keep their feet warm.
If you have a great chilli recipe, send it in, because we’d love to hear from you. or write in to 2RRR po Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

Vegetable Heroes:

    ...yes today it's actually a fruit.
    They grown in clusters and range in size from that of a pea to a small marble. Well, the second most popular berry after Strawberries are Blueberries. Blueberries are the fruit of a shrub that belongs to the heath family includes cranberries, azaleas and rhododendrons. They are sort of a bluey purple colour have a waxy ‘bloom’ that covers the surface serving as a protective coat.
  • Blueberries like a sunny position but will also get by in some shade (but not too much, otherwise flowering might be effected.
  • The best time for planting is between late autumn and spring, when plants are sold bare-rooted and are less likely to suffer from transplant shock than at other times of the year.
  • You can buy containerised blueberry plants all year-round.
  • Phil has written in about his tips on growing Blueberries.
  • Phil spoke to a blueberry grower last year and was told to let the shrub establish first.
  • That means, you must pluck off the flowers in spring so it doesn't set fruit, but the 3rd year you can let it flower.
  • If you let them establish for the first two years apparently the plants will last a lifetime!
  • Now for the tricky part. After hearing the next bit you’ll probably understand why they are so expensive. Apart from the fact that berries have to be picked one by one and not in bunches.
  • Blueberries need moist soil, good drainage and lots of organic material. Blueberries are acid loving plants that do best in soils with a pH between 4.5 to 5.5
  • If you don’t have that ph you will have to add either elemental sulphur (where the pH is too alkaline) or lime / dolomite (where the pH is too acid). If the soil pH is higher the plants may show signs of iron deficiency.
  •  If that sounds too hard, grow you blueberry plant in a pot.

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  • Tip:Very important when growing blueberries. they have a very fine fibrousy root system, just like Azaleas,  and this root system needs a porous medium in which to grow, a bit like coarse sand from where they came from.
  • If you have poor drainage, then grow them in a raised bed or at the very least, on a mound of soil and use lots of mulch.
  • Or again, like me, grow them in a pot, but grow a couple to increase pollination.
  • So, fussy, fussy, fussy.
  • For temperate areas which don’t get too cold in winter, we need to grow a variety which is low chill. Gardeners in the know about chill factor will now know, that means a certain amount of hours below 7 C.
  • Gardeners in cool temperate areas can grow the low bush variety As the name suggests, the low bush variety- a dwarf shrub that only grows to height of between 30-60 cm. The lowbush produces lots of small and flavoursomeberries. They love colder climates and need very low temperatures for the fertilised flowers to “set” and form berries. For this reason, they are not suitable for Australia’s milder climate and are not grown in commercial quantities.
  • The highbush variety, grows to 1.5–3 metres, has many different cultivars that are well suited to the Australian climate.
  •  In Victoria, Tasmania and Southern New South Wales, you are more likely to find the Northern Highbush, high chill variety. This cultivar has a higher requirement for winter chilling (over 1000 hours below 2°C) but they are still able to tolerate high summer temperatures. The fruit of the Northern Highbush is harvested later in the season, from December to April.
  • Rabbiteye is a low chill, late season variety.
  • The rabbiteye is best at coping with warm and humid summers and tolerates dry conditions, making it right at home in Northern NSW and Queensland. And where does the name come from? During the ripening stage when the blueberry is pink, if you look closely you will notice the calyx appears to be little rabbit eyes looking right back at you.
  • Once your Blueberry shrub is established new stems will come up and fruit for up to four years initially from the tip to down the whole branch.
  • From the third winter onwards, cut back old, dry stems every winter.
  • Cut them back either down to ground level or to a vigorous new shoot near the ground.
  • Blueberries fruit on the tips of the previous season’s growth. They first produce sideshoots from the base of the plant soon after flowering in spring. Then in early to midsummer, vigorous growths push up from the base of the bush.
  • Hard pruning in winter will encourage this renewed growth and result in larger, earlier fruit. Blueberries are pest free apart from caterpillars and birds, and if you prune the shrub so its open in the middle it reduces fungal disease.

Design Elements

with Louise McDaid, Landscape Designer.
Tropical gardens seem to fit, hand in glove in coastal areas, because when we think of beach, we might like to imagine that we’re in an exotic location with the lushness of a tropical oasis.
It’s important to remember that windbreaks and creating microclimates will help establish large leaved plants that might not thrive or do that well to start off with. But with a bit of planning, I’m sure you can get that tropical look for your coastal garden. Close planting is the key, and layering.
Let’s find out how to create this near the coast…

Plant of the Week:

Correa "Canberra Bells" New release for 2013!
I’ve known it to be called Native fuchsia, probably because of the flowers looking much like the real Fuchsia plants. Correas are mainly prostrate to small or medium shrubs, growing to a height of plus or minus approximately 2 metres as a general guide with a similar spread.
Because the leave shape, and colour varies so much between species as well as hybrids, you would be best advised to go to your garden centre, or look up gardening books and websites if you’re fussy about whether the leaves are shiny, or matt, smooth or hairy, white or rust coloured underneath.
The leaves are opposite with oil dots being visible on the leaves. Yes, they’re aromatic when crushed.
Flowers are tubular/funnel form then splitting into 4 petals.
Species plants tend to sprawl and have twiggy growth, but light pruning will give them a more compact shape. There’s Correa ‘alba’,  Correa calycina, Correa glabra,C. reflexa’.
Correas can be hard pruning but prefer a little and often. This promotes and stimulates new growth and of course flowers.
Plants grow really well drained loam with an acid pH of 5.6. Good drainage is the key so that raised beds are suggested for heavy soil conditions.
The application of gypsum to the soil aids texture and promotes drainage. Root rot may occur in constantly wet situations.
So many hybrids and cultivars., C. Ice Maiden’, C. Dusky Bells,C.white Tips,  Pink Lips, Pink Panther, Pink Pixie, Lemon Twist, Ivory Bells, Sky Belles, Katie Bells and now Canberra Bells.
These are mainly hybrid forms that have been crossed with species plants.
Hybrid Correas have a tendency to be more compact and heavy flowering than the wild species, which makes them a desirable gardening plant.
EG, Correa ‘Dusky Bells’ is drought and frost tolerant. It is great for a shaded environment. It prefers  shady situations rather than full sun. It also attracts birds to the gardens.  Flowers from March until September.
Many of the Correa species are pollinated by birds such as honey eaters as it normally has a lot of nectar.
Many of the Correas flower over the winter months and their flowers can provide an important source of nectar to birds at this time.
Canberra Bells Parentage: one of its parent plants is appropriately called Federation Belle, while the other is Correa Mannii.
NEW:Correa ‘Canberra Bells” grows 1m x 1m.  Two-tone red and cream bell-like flowers.
Canberra Bells is the official plant commemorating the Centenary of Canberra and now, this hardy but attractive native shrub is available for purchase.
Tolerates part shade but grows in full sun.Correa 'Canberra Bells' has very low water requirements.
 It will tolerate periods of dryness, however occasional deep watering is recommended through extended periods of drought.
Prune lightly after flowering and keep soil moist during flowering for maximum displays.
Hardy - dry and frost tolerant and is an Australian native.

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