Real World Gardener is funded by the Community Broadcasting Foundation
http://www.cpod.org.au/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
Spice it Upwith Ian Hemphill from www.herbies.com.au
Sometimes, RWG’s herb expert searches the globe for one of those spices, shall we say, that come from only one place in the world.
Going to a remote Greek Island may seem like an ideal way of spending your days, but if it’s not on the tourist trail, it might lack some of the basics.
Leaving no stone unturned in his quest, listen to this yet another amazing tale from the spice trade.
As Ian said, the clear crystalline tears make up the Mastic spice.
You need to crush the Mastic tears into a powder before using it in cooking, unless you want to just chew on them of course.
If you’ve got an ice-cream maker, add some powdered Mastic to your next batch of ice-cream. Very Yummy!
I found a recipe that I can post on the web, but you only need to use half a teaspoon of powdered Mastic.
For those who don’t use computers, write in and I’ll send you a fact sheet.
If you have any questions about using Mastick in cooking, why not drop us a line by sending in your question to email@example.com or by post to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675
Vegetable HeroesSunflowers or Helianthus anuus from the Daisy or Asteraceae family.
Picture fields of sunflowers as you drive down the road? We could see more of them if a new plan to boost the amount of sunflowers grown in Australia is successful.
Did you know that Australia has a Sunflower Association?
Yes indeed, the Australian Sunflower Association is not in fact a group of plant lovers that love all types of sunflowers but a group of industry people and growers who decided an industry body should be established.
Because Sunflower growing was expanding at a fast rate back in the 1970’s, the Australian Sunflower Association was formed in June 1976.
Australia only produces about half the amount of sunflowers products consumed in this country.
Australian Sunflower Association chair Kevin Charlesworth says the oilseed crop has enormous potential.
"Central Queensland used to be a major growing area, then a disease came in that was unidentified for three years, which was later found to be Tobacco Strain Virus (TSV).
Know I ask you, “Who doesn’t love to grow sunflowers?”
I bet there’s listeners to the program, perhaps driving in their car, or their tractor in the field, or in their kitchen, who’ve grown sunflowers from when they were little.
Sunflower is a summer growing plant native to North America, and is produced in large quantities throughout the USA, Eastern Europe, China and South America.
Have you wondered why sunflowers follow the sun?
All plants reach out to the sun as they produce food with the help of the sun.
The sunflower seems to follow the sun when the stem of the flower is still supple, but as it gets older, the flower gets fixed in one direction.
Sunflowers are extremely drought tolerant and can be grown in areas with little or no rainfall over summer.
They have a similar soil temperature requirement to that of corn so that they can normally be sown from mid and late August onwards.
In temperate districts sow sunflower seeds from August through to January.
When to Grow
In Cool temperate areas, from October until December. Sunflower plants are susceptible to frost damage after the sixth leaf stage so that sowing earlier than 5-6 weeks prior to the last frost of the season isn’t a good idea.
In Arid areas, from September to March, subtropical zones, August to April but Tropical areas only from April to August.
So what makes a sunflower?
You may’ve heard me talking about the flower members of the daisy family before but here it is again.
All daisy flowers are not just one flower, but made up of lots and lots of flowers.
You probably didn’t realise that the outer petals are ray florets-these are sterile. These outer yellow florets we might as well call petals.
The inner parts are the disc florets and depending on the cultivar and size the main head of the sunflower might contain from 1,000 to 4,000 individual florets.
Did you know that pollination by bees is so important to sunflower growers that that Departments of Agriculture recommend 3-5 hives per hectare.
Tip:Bees are important for pollination of sunflowers, because if the sunflowers self pollinate, seed set is usually low, the seed undersized and sprout more slowly if re-sown.
Down in the Dirt
There isn’t that much to them really.
Something to get kids or beginner gardeners interested in gardening and certainly a sure fire way of succeeding in sowing seeds.
Sunflowers are annuals that can be sown where they are to grow and flower.
The better the soil, the bigger and taller your sunflower will be.
So a fertile, well-drained, sunny position in the garden will make you grow prize winning sunflowers.
Smooth over the top of the soil lightly to create a good surface for sowing the seeds.
Sow the seeds down into the soil to about triple the diameter of the seed.
Then just cover with more soil and water in.
Can you use sunflower seed from the pet or grain store?
Of course you can.
You might get a real mix of flowers, because the seed may have come from a hybrid plant but then again you may strike it lucky and get a really great crop too.
Or try some of these varieties:
Sunflower Evening Sun- orange, russet-bronze, mahogany-red and gold with dark centres. The multiple heads provide an extended bloom period. A great variety for cutting; the plants grow 1.8 - 2.4m tall.
SUNFLOWER - Giant Russian (Helianthus annus) OGA
Tall grower to 2m with large yellow flower head. Seeds are edible when hulled or great bird food. Sow Spring-Summer.
Why are they good for you?
Sunflowers are high in energy, protein, vitamin E and B complex vitamins including folic acid
Not only that, sunflower seeds contain many essential minerals like Calcium Iron and Magnesium.
100g of sunflower seeds gives you 21% of RDI of protein and 52% of Niacin.
You can use the seeds fresh or toasted. So not just for the birds.
So happy sunflower growing gardeners!
AND THAT WAS OUR VEGETABLE HERO SEGMENT FOR TODAY!
Design ElementsColour in Garden Design with Landscape Designer Louise Mc Daid
A couple of weeks ago, a new series was started on colour in garden design.
- Today we’re focusing on an Australian garden that’s follows a journey of water from the arid inland landscapes of central Australia, along dry river beds and down mighty rivers to the coastal fringes of the continent.
Plus, a section of the Hunter Valley Gardens in NSW, to illustrate uses of colour schemes in Australian Gardens.
Louise visited this garden recently and gives
you some insight to the design of this garden
Let’s find out what they are….
Why not visit the outstanding garden at Cranbourne or you could visit the Hunter Valley gardens about 2 hours north of Sydney
Did you know that the second and final stage of the Australian Garden was publically opened only in October 2012.
Key plants used in the garden are Weeping Myall, Acacia pendula, Eremophila spp, and Atriplex nummularia. or Old-man Saltbush.
Plant of the WeekOrnamental Grasses
Living mulch is very useful in gardens that want to be considered low maintenance. Although I don’t subscribe to the term low maintenance, because unless you’re concreting your yard, there’s always plenty of maintenance to be doing if you’re looking after your own garden properly.
Sabina's choice is Pennisetum alopecuroides "Nafray." Grows 60 x 60 cm
Lomandra, or mat rush is also useful if you’re into basket weaving, something that the traditional owners used to do. You first have to wet the grass stem of Lomandra, the split it and weave two strands onto themselves.
Pretty simple really.