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
WILDLIFE IN FOCUSwith ecologist Sue Stevens
You might recall that in days gone by, anybody who was driving badly, or being silly, was often called a'galah'.
Then, most human galahs are young. If their galah habits persist, they may graduate, and become dills, or nongs.These parrots are easy to spot and you would think they like to hang in large groups, but this fascinating parrot is often misunderstood and under-estimated. The Australian galah is not only intelligent but also a loving social animal that mates for life.
Let's find out more about them...
Did you know that Americans pay $1000 for a Galah on the illegal market and many Australians keep galahs as pets because they just love their antics?
But for Australian farmers they can’t get rid of this grain-destroying bird fast enough.
Another fact you mightn’t have heard of is that Galahs weren’t all that common before British settlement.
But now, because of all the grain growing, their numbers of increased dramatically.
Sadly, Galahs aren’t protected in most states of Australia because of their love of eating grains.
If you have any questions about Galahs why don’t you drop us a line to firstname.lastname@example.org or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.
Well it’s TIME FOR VEGETABLE HEROES
Asparagus or Asparagus officinalis from the Liliaceae or lily Family.
Asparagus is a perennial plant that is native to the eastern Mediterranean and Asia Minor areas. The name “asparagus” comes from the Greek language meaning “sprout” or “shoot. It’s been around for at least 2,000 years.
Did you know that Asparagus is often called the “Food of Kings”
Because King Louis XIV of France loved them so much that he ordered special greenhouses built so he could enjoy asparagus all year-round?
According to some, Asparagus is considered an Aphrodisiac, possibly because of its shape more than any other reason.
There have been asparagus recipes found in Arabian love manuals as far back as the 16th century, and experts say you need to it over three consecutive days to get the full effect. Heh Heh.
Asparagus was so highly regarded in England that the thought of setting up a colony in Australia without asparagus was unthinkable, so seed was included in the list of vegetables carried by Sirius, one of the ships of the First Fleet.
If you look in old seed catalogues that date back as far as the 19th century you’ll find that Asparagus was popular with Australians even back then.
What is Asparagus exactly?The plant has a crown that is actually an underground stem from which asparagus spears shoots
The roots are called rhizomes (pronounced rye-zomes).
On top of these rhizomes grow spears, which are tender and succulent to eat, are slightly glossy, about 18-25cm long and 1.5-2cm wide, with many small, bumpy, triangular scales (called bracts) concentrated in the top quarter of the stem.
Some gardener might be thinking where can I buy Asparagus to grow?
In fact, do I buy seed, or tubers or what?
I’m here to tell you all that.
You can in fact buy Asparagus seed, including Purple Asparagus seed from online companies such as Green Harvest or diggers seeds. www.diggers.com.au
But now’s the time to buy something called Asparagus Crowns, and you can buy these from just about anywhere even some supermarkets.
I saw some this week in a supermarket, they were the Mary Washington variety.
You can buy the Crowns online or from mail order catalogs as well
WHEN TO PLANTIn temperate and sub-tropical districts, plant Asparagus crowns from August right through to November. In cool temperate zones, you have from September until November, and unfortunately for arid zones, you had June, July, and will now have to wait until January.
Asparagus is a perennial so if you haven’t a perennial veggie patch find somewhere else in the garden, maybe near those rhubarb crowns, because the crowns last for many years, and need to be left in the one spot. Normally, your veggie patch gets a makeover every 6 months or so, -not that good for the crowns of these plants.
So find a sunny spot in the garden where you don’t mind some veggies growing there year after year.
Preferably with soil that’s been given some Dolomite and heaps and heaps of compost and complete plant food.
To plant, dig out a shallow trench 30cm wide and 20cm deep. Incorporate well-rotted manure to the base of the trench and cover the base with a 5cm layer of excavated soil. Be sure to buy fresh crowns, as they often dry out while on display.
Place the crowns onto a small mound in the centre of the furrow, so that the roots point down at about 45°, spread the roots out carefully. Backfill with compost to a depth of 7.5 cm.
Space the plants 45cm apart, with 1.2 m between rows.
Fill in the trench gradually as growth progresses. Doesn’t sound too hard does it?
In spring Asparagus will grow long and slender with soft fernlike foliage. Don’t cut any spears in the first Spring, because this is when the crowns are developing.
Spring is also the time you need to add 100g per sq m of fertiliser like fish meal or blood and bone.
Then top with a thick hay mulch.
Asparagus produces both male and female plants shoots as male plants.
Modern cultivars are all male, as male plants produce more and better spears. If you have any Female plants, which have berries, pull these out because the red berries are poisonous and don’t produce as many edible spears.
During Autumn and Winter the tops will go yellow and brown off, cut off the old tops about 7.5 cm from the soil surface.
Frost damage causes distorted or dead spears, often some time afterwards if the tips are just below soil level.
Straw mulch or fleece can hold off light frosts.
PICKING THAT ASPARAGUSDon’t cut any spears for the first two years after planting. In the third year, gather spears for the first month of the growing season, but in following years, if the plants are strong, cut for eight weeks.
Slice off spears with a sharp knife just below the soil before they exceed 18cm tall. In warm weather, this may mean cutting every few days.
Don’t cut any more after late December so that plants have enough time to build up their growth reserves for winter.
In the following years, mulch the beds
thickly with compost and manure in late winter. Remember patience in the early stages will help to get a life span of 15 years or even longer for your asparagus.
Spears are harvested in two ways which gives them a different colour. White asparagus is grown below the ground and not exposed to light. When harvested it is cut below the surface before being lifted out of the soil. If spears are allowed grow in sunlight they turn a green colour.
For green, only hill about 10cm (4”) and allow the spear to grow 15cm (6”) above the soil, making sure to cut the spear just below ground level. Green asparagus is recommended.
Asparagus is most delicious when the time between cutting and serving is kept to a minimum.
When you’re cutting the spears, do it carefully to avoid injuring the crown.
Farmers harvest by a rule-of-thumb, if the spears are thicker than a pencil cut them before the spears branch, usually at approx. 20 cm high, if they are skinnier, leave them to develop and feed the crown.
Why Is It Good For You?
Asparagus has a great flavour and is Asparagus is low in kilojoules, without fat or cholesterol, while providing fibre. That makes it a must for any diet, including a weight loss diet.
Asparagus contains B group vitamins and a serve of asparagus has ¼ of your RDI of vitamin C .AND THAT WAS OUR VEGETABLE HERO SEGMENT for today
with Landscape Designer Jason CornishLast week, we started part 1 of pool conversions and what was involved.
We discussed why Swimming pools get a bad rap in enviro-circles-they cost a great deal to build, waste huge amounts of water and energy for maintenance, use chemicals to keep them clear and ‘safe’, and they take up a lot of space. Many people also just find them a lot of work to look after, which is especially annoying when they use them only for a couple of months of the year at best.
But, what if you’re already lumbered with a pool and are trying to make the best of the situation? Maybe it came with your property, or hindsight has kicked in after you’ve shelled out thousands to install something you almost never use…. What then?
Today we’re looking at what will actually happen to the pool itself, and allay your worries about insect pests that might come about from doing this type of pool conversion.
Let’s find out what this is all about.
Something to think about if you don’t want that pool anymore.
Simply draining the pool isn’t the answer either, because the pool interior will still require periodic sweeping and cleaning if you want to avoid raised eyebrows from your mother-in-law and other guests.
Pool conversions are more practical than just filling in the hole and you have something aesthetic too.
PLANT OF THE WEEKSTONE PINE Pinus pinea
Nuts are quite expensive to buy so a nut tree of some kind should probably be in most people’s backyard along with the ubiquitous lemon tree.
Seems like it’s not the case though and I’m not sure why.
Nut trees are as easy or as hard to grow as lemon trees-depending on your take on growing productive trees.
If anything, lemon trees have more than their fair share of problems.
Today, this particular nut tree has been around for thousands of years
Do you love cooking with pine nuts? Or would you use pine nuts more if they weren’t so expensive?
Well now you can grow your own and in fact they come from a pine tree.
If you haven’t tried pine nuts, these ones only come from the one tree, not just any pine.
Stone pine is an attractive large pine tree that bears cones of edible nuts considered a delicacy.
A stately, rugged pine with distinctively domed canopy or some say a distinctive umbrella shape and clear trunk. Provides dense but well delineated shade.
Pinus pinea or Stone pine certainly will make a statement in any garden, plus you have the added benefit of those nuts in every pine cone,
People of the Mediterranean region have been eating the nuts of Pinus pinea (also called pignolia) for thousands of years — there is evidence that pignolia were eaten and used to make wine in ancient Rome.