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The new theme is sung by Harry Hughes from his album Songs of the Garden. You can hear samples of the album from the website www.songsofthegarden.com
Wildlife in Focuswith ecologist Sue Stevens
If I said to you there is a group of birds that belong to Megaphidae, would you think that meant that had something big about them? Mega after sounds big.
In fact, this rather imposing name simply means that this group of birds belongs to honeyeaters.
One of the smallest of these honey-eaters sings with one note when it’s perched, and only twitters when it’s flying.
Let’s find out a bit more about the bird with one note.
Louise who lives in the lower Blue Mountains, wrote in to say that this bird with one note, visits Louise’s garden quite regularly, around 8am in the morning and again in the afternoon around 3pm.
But, being a small bird, she hasn’t been able to spot it.
Did you know that many honeyeaters have is a distinctive brush-tipped tongue, which varies by species in length and is specially adapted to soak up liquids.
These birds lap nectar from flowers much as cats lap milk from a dish, although the birds' lapping movements are much faster.
When the liquid-moistened brush is pulled back into the bird's mouth, the brush is squeezed against the upper mandible to push all fluid out so the bird can swallow it.
If you’ve seen this bird, taken a photo, or want to know more about it, why not drop us a line. to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675, or post them on Real World Gardeners facebook page, we’d love to hear from you.
This weeks Vegetable Hero is the Capsicum or botanically-Caspicum annuum or Bell Pepper if you’re from the Northern Hemisphere. And Pimento if you’re from Spain.
- Capsicums take ages to grow so we need to give a good head-start.
- If you live in temperate zones around Australia, zones you have from August until the end of December to sow the seeds of capsicums because of the long lead up time before the capsicum is ready to eat.
- If you live in cool temperate districts, September until November, are the times you start you capsicums from seed, preferably undercover somewhere.In arid areas, September is a good time to sow the seeds under cover, but from then on you can plant them directly into the ground right until next April.
- In warmer sub-tropical and tropical areas, you can sow Capsicums almost all year, from June until next March.
- Did you know that commercial growers can either buy in seedlings or sow seed. Container-grown seedlings from commercial nurseries cost about $90 per thousand plus the cost of the seed, especially for new hybrid varieties may be up to $9000 per kilogram.
- All capsicum seeds need higher temperatures than tomatoes to germinate-in the 230C to 280C range.
- Capsicum seeds can be a difficult seed germinate, and seedlings grow slowly. The other drawback is that it takes 70-90 days or 2 1/2 to 3 months for your capsicum to mature, depending on the variety you’re growing.
The sweetest capsicums are those that have been allowed to ripen fully on the plant in full sunshine, while those that are picked when green and ripened in storage are less sweet.
After you get your seedlings going, pick a spot in the got that is the hottest-with the longest hours of sunshine.
Do the usual by, adding plenty of compost, manure, and a general fertilizer.
When to Plant:
- In cooler districts, transplant young seedlings outdoors after the last chance of frost.
- If the weather is still cool, delay transplanting a few days, and keep them in a cold-frame, indoors or next to the house.
- Capsicums don’t like to dry out and actually prefer moist but not wet soil. It might not seem important now, but months down the track, water regularly as the weather warms up..
- When your capsicum plants start to get bigger and small flowers appear, switch over to a fertilizer higher in Phosphorous and Potassium.
- Something like tomato feed should do the trick.
- You don’t want just all bush and no plants do you?
Plant of the Week:
Pieris like a full sun to part shade position in cool temperate districts.
Choose a shady location in temperate to tropical areas, because the leaves burn easily in temperatures over 300 degrees C.
Pieris are low maintenance, and relatively pest free.
They can get white wax scale on their limbs.
Just rub these pests off with your fingers.