Sunday, 18 January 2015

Sap Suckers and Succulents in the Garden

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney, streaming live at 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. 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
Real World Gardener is funded by the Community Broadcasting Foundation (CBF)


with Steve Falcioni, general manager
One of the most easily recognised pests in the garden and one of the most prolific, especially when the really warm weather hits and that's aphids.

Aphids also one of the pests that most likely has the most amount of chemicals you can buy to kill it.

Did you know though, it’s one of the pests that also has the most amount of beneficial insects that attack it?

There’s at least four so before you go out into the garden armed with garden gloves and sprayers, you need to know what you’re really squashing or squirting, because it may just be one of the good guys.

Let’s find out in part 1 what these good guys look like.

Learning to recognise the difference between pests and good bugs might sound a bit challenging, but there are books on predatory bugs that you can either buy or borrow from your library.
You can also research them on the internet.

We mentioned, lacewings, hoverflies, ladybirds, and parasitic wasps,-in particular their larval stage which does the eating of the pests in your garden.
These four would be a good start to get to know.
Not only will you be saving your good or predatory bugs but you’ll be saving money from not having to buy so many insect sprays.
Mummified aphids
If you have any questions about your good bugs or aphids or a photo, send it in to or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.


Today’s vegetable hero is Moringa oleifera known as the drumstick tree, tree of life or even horseradish tree.

Moringa oleifera is believed to be native to sub-Himalayan tracts of northern India but is now found worldwide in the tropics and sub-tropics.
Just a note for Queensland listeners, according to DAFF (Dept of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.) website, this species is regarded as potentially invasive or moderately invasive in tropical regions of the world.
It's escaped from gardens in northern Australia, and is currently naturalised in north Queensland and northern Western Australia.
Moringa is currently considered a minor weed in northern Australia.

So what is a horse radish tree exactly?
Not having grown the tree myself I researched some great information that might get you interested in getting a tree for yourself.
Moringa leaves

Moringa oleifera tree is an extremely fast growing deciduous tree with corky bark that can get to 10 metres.
The leaves look ferny and rounded, and the flowers are a pale yellow and fragrant. The green seed pods are hard and can be as long as 30cm and are called drumsticks in some countries.
Each  pod can contain up to 10 dark brown seeds that are large and circular-shaped.
The leaves, flowers seedpods and roots are all edible.

Did you know there’s websites in Australia that are dedicated to this tree?
Not only do they sell the seeds of Moringa, but they also supply Moringa oil, Moringa powders, Moringa multi-vitamin capsules, Moringa tea and Moringa soap.

Moringa seed pods
Any leaves that you’re not going to eat  make a fantastic fertiliser not just for your Moringa tree but for other plants as well.
Horse-radish tree has a deep tap root that not only searches out nutrients but makes it resistant to drought.  
Moringa oleifera trees grow well in warm to hot climates, because they’re a tropical to sub-tropical plant.
Planted in these zones Moringa will produce leaf or pods year round.
Moringa doesn’t like to grow much in cold climates and goes dormant below 18 0 C .
In temperate zones it’s completely deciduous.
Having said that, people tell me that Moringa can handle a light frost when the branches have hardened and become woody.
It grows best between temperatures of between 25 to 350C however, in semi-arid areas, you can grow Moringa or horse-radish tree because once it’s established, it can handle temperatures up to 480 C as long as it gets watered every few days.
If the leaves look a little dehydrated and dry, it's time for some water.

When is the best time to grow Moringa?
Spring, Summer and Autumn are the best times to plant our your Horse radish tree.

I know some gardeners use horse radish for various health benefits, and if you live in a cold climate, you may just well try to grow it in a deep  pot on your verandah. Or just try and grow it in a sheltered spot in your garden.
They can be grown inside for a short period of time to shelter them from cold weather.
You can buy Moringa as a seedling or as seeds in Australia.
Moringa seeds

These seeds only stay viable for about a year, after that germination rate is hit and miss.
The seeds come in seed pods, crack the shells before planting and soak the seeds in water overnight.
Plant your seeds about 1 cm deep.

What do Moringa plants love?
Moringa likes a well-drained soil but can cope with temporary inundation.
Moringa can also grow in just about any soil-dry, sandy or poor soils are no problem.
Moringa can grow without fertiliser, but regular feeding with a good organic fertiliser will make the tree power grow strongly and produce lots of nutrient rich leaves.
During the first year, your Moringa tree can get to as much as 5 metres.
Don’t worry, if you don’t want a tall tree, pruning to keep it as a shrub is no problem.
When your seedling gets to about 60cm tall, start pinching out the top grow by about 10 cm.
Do this about four times in the first couple of months.
In fact, in countries where they harvest the trees for leaves and seed pods, they cut their Moringa trees down to 1 metre from the ground each year.
But for all you hard pruners, you can cut it to the ground-called coppicing.
That way you can get a shrub instead of a tree.

IMPORTANT TIP: The timber is soft so in the early stages this tree will need support as it will bend over in windy conditions.
What do you do with Moringa plant?
You’re now probably wondering what parts of the plant you can eat?
You can steam and eat the leaves like you would spinach.
Moringa flowers
When your tree’s about two years old, you’ll start seeing flowers and pods.. If you pick off the pods when they are young, tender, and green, you can eat them as green beans.
Older pods apparently get fibrous and develop a tough shell, but their pulp and immature seeds remain edible for a while before they start to ripen.
You can use the immature seeds like you would green peas.
As for the flowers, use them fresh or dried flowers to make teas.
You can also eat the fresh flowers-said to taste like mushrooms.
Why not try sautéed flowers with onions and a pinch of tumeric, or added to your omelette.
The peeled roots have been used as a substitute for horseradish.
Why are they good for you?
The benefits of Moringa read like it’s a super food.
Moringa has 90 nutrients , 46 antioxidants and much more.
Moringa has 17 times more calcium than milk, 15 times more potassium than bananas and 4 times more vitamin A than a carrot and 25 times more iron than Spinach.


Create a Succulent Garden
photo M Cannon

Do hot dry summers leave you despairing with all or parts of your garden?
Maybe it’s time to choose some plants that can withstand dry hot weather a bit better.
Succulents can provide a point of interest all year because of the different shapes, colours and textures of their leaves and their colourful flowers.
In the garden, they can be used for contrast, repetition, and texture.
Let’s find out about how create one of these gardens.
PLAY:Create a succulent garden _14th January 2015
Instead of just planting them straight into the ground there are other ways to incorporate succulents into the landscape to provide year round interest.
Some wonderful effects can be achieved by planting succulents in pots, troughs or other objects and placed in strategic places around the garden.


It’s time to get Frangipani fever again. If you can't get enough of Frangipani flowers, and need to learn how to propagate more.
 I've got just the right information for you
Frangipani rubra photo M Cannon

Join me and Anthony Grassi from the Frangipani Society of Australia for an in depth look at ways to propagate the Frangi successfully.
Let's find out some great information about Frangipani propagation.

photo M Cannon

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