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 Sue Stevens, ecologist
Not all brightly coloured birds are Lorikeets in Australia.
|Crijmson Rosella photo Ralph de Zilva|
Rosellas are great whistlers and can learn to whistle songs.
Have you ever heard of the Red Lowry, Mountain Lowry or Pennant's Parakeet? Not sure what that could be?
Let’s find out ?
|photo Ralph de Zilva|
The following research is from Prof. Andy Bennett of Deakin University.
Prof. Bennett says (Beak & Feather Disease virus) BFDV is only found in parrots and how nasty it is varies from species to species. In some species it can be really nasty – leading to extensive feather loss and death.
The Australian Government lists BFDV as a Key Threatening Process to biodiversity under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
Fortunately, it currently appears that BFDV in Crimson Rosellas is rather benign.
If you have any questions about crimson rosellas or have a photo , send it in to firstname.lastname@example.org or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.
Today’s vegetable hero Carrots!
Carrots or Daucus carota var. sativus were one of the first vegetables grown by man and are related to parsley.
Think about it? Carrot tops look similar to Parsley don’t they.
Daucus is Latin for parsnip or carrot and carota is Greek for carrot.
Sativus simply means cultivated, so altogether we have the cultivated carrot!
Carrots were thought to have originated in present day Afghanistan about 5000 years ago.
Did you know that the first carrots were mainly purple, with some white or black - not orange at all.
Another thing, in early times, carrots were grown for their aromatic leaves and seeds, not their roots and ancient Greek physicians only gave carrot juice as a stomach tonic.
Some relatives of the carrot are still grown for these, such as parsley, fennel, dill and cumin.
So where did the orange carrot come from?
It seems that in the 1500s, some farmers in the northern Dutch town of Hoorn seemed to have preferred orange carrots.
These farmers selectively bred the orange carrots which ended up dominating the carrot market.
Did you know that William of Orange who was a German nobleman, founded the House of Orange- which later became the royal family of the Netherlands? "
This explains why in the Netherlands orange is a very special colour and a more likely reason why those farmers bred an orange carrot.
Carrots are cheap and easy to grow carrot but did you know carrots were a staple food during Victorian times especially between the two World Wars when other food sources became scarce?
When to SowSow them all year round in arid climates, February through to November in sub-tropical areas, April to June in the tropics, September through to mid-June in Temperate districts, and September through February in cool temperate districts unless you have a greenhouse or shadehouse,
Carrots are cold tolerant .- but are best not sown in heavy frost.
Here’s another one of these vegetables that even though they prefer full sun they can also grow in partial shade.
Carrots take about 10 weeks from sowing to harvest.
Important tip: Unless you want funny shaped carrots, don’t add fertilisers and manures to the soil just before sowing, or you’ll get carrots that will fork and become hairy.
They like beds manured in the previous season.
Make sure the soil has been worked over with no stones or sticks otherwise the carrots will grow into funny shapes or be stunted as well.
Why aren’t carrots sold as seedling?
The reason is because carrots must be directly sown into your veggie bed. This is because carrots resent being transplanted and won’t grow properly for you. Probably get stunted and funny shapes too.
The easiest way to sow carrots is to mix a packet of seed with one cup of river sand, pouring the contents into seed drills or just broadcasting them in 10 cm wide row.
Cover the seed with finely sieved compost or a drizzle of sugar cane mulch. Not too thick or they won’t germinate.
The sand makes germination easier; but because sand drains so quickly you need to make sure the carrot seedlings don't dry out at this crucial stage.
If you have trouble germinating them, cover with hessian or something like that until they germinate which is usually about 5-6 days
Another tip, add a packet of radishes.
These germinate in 4-5 days, and help break the surface crust of the soil. The radishes will be gone in a few weeks so no problems with overcrowding there.
Thin the carrot seedlings out when they're about 5cms (2 inches) tall, when they have 4 little leaves.
Carrots need about 5cm between plants so they can grow the root without pushing onto other carrots, otherwise you will get stunted growth.
Watering is fairly particular for carrots.
Too much water and the roots might crack so only give carrots small amounts in the first eight weeks of growth.
If the soil dries out near harvest time, you can water more heavily then.
How do you know when they’re ready?
The good thing about carrots is that you can pick them at whatever size you want them and they’ll still taste good.
If you’ve forgotten how long they’ve been there, scratch away the soil surface to see how wide the carrots have grown.
When they’re ready to pick, use a garden fork to lift them gently out of the ground so the roots don’t snap.
Here are some varieties to get you interested;
All Seasons mainly for Queensland and NSW, and
Royal Chantenay suits heavy soils, both need 10-11 weeks.
Carrots Little Fingers-are sweet baby carrots about 10cm long-8weeks.
-and another one for pots Chantenay Red-is very short, an orangey-red colour and sweet. Suited to heavy soils. 7-10 weeks.
Round and short varieties can be grown in planters or pots, but the long types need about 20cm of soil depth in the open garden.
Why Carrots Are Good To Eat
Carrots are the reason why the whole family of brightly coloured compounds in foods are called carotenoids – they’re such a rich source, especially of beta carotene. Beta carotene gets converted to to vitamin A in our bodies.
With many vegetables cooking destroys some of their vitamins, but you can absorb more beta carotene from cooked carrots than from raw ones. If you prefer to eat carrots raw, that’s fine because even one carrot has two day’s supply of beta carotene.
Carrots are sweet because they have some natural sugars, but younger carrots have more folate, one of the B vitamins
Carrots are also good source of dietary fibre
DESIGN ELEMENTSwith Lesley Simpson garden designer.
Do you like fragrance in the garden?
Have you a lot of plants with fragrance?
That includes anything from Lavender and Jasmine to the more exotic like Magnolia champaca or Stephanotis and of course roses.
Do you have enough plants with smell or could you add a whole lot more?
Let’s find out what you can do to make your garden more fragrant.
Some plants are no trouble to grow and have the added bonus of perfume.
The perfume is of course an adaption by the plant over time, to attract pollinators to the plant in the first place.
Not all perfumed plants have fragrance that pleases.
Some people detest the common jasmine because of it’s overwhelming scent, and others find that their noses can’t tolerate jonquils if they’re brought into the house.
You just need to find the scents that best suits you and your garden.
If you have any questions about how to create a fragrant garden why not write in?
PLANT OF THE WEEK
with Karen Smith editor Hort Journal magazine. www.hortjournal.com.au
|Stephanotis floribunda photo M Cannon|
Even though it prefers warmer climates gardeners is Europe love it so much that it’s sold as an indoor pot plant, even though it prefers to climb.
In fact it’s available there from florists climbing attractively over small frames in pots.
Also known as the Hawaiian Wedding Plant, this plant’s a must for the fragrant garden.
Let’s find out more about this plant.
Stephanotis does really well in pots-in fact flowers more if it's pot bound.
Full sun is best for having repeat flowering during the warm months of the year, but on really hot days over 30 deg. C, give it some shelter either with an umbrella or move it under shade.
Of course if it's in the ground, you will get scorched leaves but the plant will recover.
If growing Stephanotis in a pot, tip prune the tendrils often to promote branching, otherwise you'll have no leaves on the bottom third of your climber.
Stephanotis looks lovely all year round and flowers more than once.
Did you know that the genus name-Stephanotis comes from the Greek words stephanos (crown) and otos (ear), supposedly because the flower tube looks like an ear canal surrounded by a crown of five ear-like lobes.
|Stephanotis flowers photo M Cannon|
If you have any questions about growing Stephanotis, why not write in to email@example.com