PLANT DOCTORHow many pot plants do you have in the garden?
Are you always saying, ‘I’ve got to get rid of all those pot plants, I’ve got too many?”
Perhaps you’ve only got a couple of pot plants.
Either way, there’ll be a time when your plant in your pot starts to look unwell.
You plants could have anything from yellowing leaves, to semi-circular holes taken out the leaves.
So what can you do about this
problem and how can you be sure you’re treating the right problem?
Let’s find out, talking with Steve Falcioni, General Manager www.ecoorganicgarden.com.au
Leaf cutter bees are solitary native bees that nest inside cavities and build their egg cells with pieces of leaves.
They build multiple egg chambers per nest hole and in every one of them they lay an egg with a little bit of pollen, nectar and saliva so that the larvae can grow and develop.
|leaf cutter bee photo. theangryblender|
How can you recognize leaf cutter bees?
These bees look like your regular honey bee and to the untrained eye they might be mistaken for one.
But here is the tip: while honey bees carry pollen in their corbicula (special structures in the tibia of the hind leg), leaf cutter bees carry the pollen that they collect on their scopa (elongated hairs on the abdomen).
Also, many times you will see these bees carrying parts of leaves back to their nest and honey bees don’t do this at all.
If you have any questions about problems with your plants in pots, why not write in to firstname.lastname@example.org or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.
Vegetable HeroesPotatoes or Solanum tubersoum
It’s always interesting to find out where our vegetables started and how they became popular.
Did you know that potatoes were the first vegetable to be grown in space?
Did you know that farmers in the Andes Mountains of South America first discovered the potato 7,000 years ago?
Then in the1500’s when th
e Spanish Conquistadors invaded Peru the potato arrived in Spain.
The Spanish thought of potatoes for the underclasses, or feeding hospital inmates.
The status of the potato didn’t improve until around 1780 when the people of Ireland adopted the potato as a food crop.
You might be surprised to learn that potatoes contain most of the vitamins you need to survive?
So what is a potato really?
The potato is a tuber and member of the nightshade or Solanaceae family so its leaves are poisonous.
Have you ever wonder why a potato left too long in the light begins to turn green?
That’s because of chlorophyll in the plant.
Underground the chlorophyll can't develop, but exposed to sunlight for long enough and the potatoes start going green.
The green skin contains a substance called solanine which can cause the potato to taste bitter and green potatoes can also upset the stomach, so don’t try them.
Another tip: Always grow potatoes from Certified Seed Potatoes from reputable suppliers.
Yes it is possible to simply buy some from a specialist green grocer and keep them for seed, or use leftover potato peelings.
What’s wrong with that? You run the risk of introducing diseases such as Potato Virus Y, Potato Blight or Potato cyst Nematode, if you use leftovers or buy from supermarkets or green grocers.
You might think it’s only a small risk, but once you get potato blight into your soil, it’s their forever. No chemical will shift it.
When to SowPotatoes can be planted pretty soon all over Australia.
I’m giving you this information so that you can order all those really great varieties you don’t see in the shops.
In temperate and sub-tropical districts, August to October is the best time, in arid areas August until December is your best time.in cool temperate zones, and September through to January.
Cooler areas have a bit of extra time to order some of the more unusual varieties before they grow in the ground.
How about Cranberry Red?
Cranberry Red has red skin and red flesh, great in salads, for boiling and baking. These stay red, even after cooking.
|Cranberry Red Potatoes|
Purple Sapphire I’m sure is sold also as Purple Congo, is perfect for mashing, boiling and roasting, and yes, it stays purple after cooking.
Purple mash, Yum, and yes, I’ve cooked it.
And for a good all rounder, try growing Royal Blue.
Potato Royal Blue is oblong, with purple skin and dark yellow flesh.
If you’re buying through mail order or online, you have until the end of August to buy them. After that, they’re not available.
Growing PotatoesTo grow your Potatoes-put seedling potatoes into a trench in as deep and rich a soil as you can get.
Plenty of compost and manures please.
And as they grow pile the earth up around them.
You will need to hill the rows or potato container several times until the potatoes have flowered
You need to do this to stop the greening of tubers and also protect them from potato moth.
Also, hilling up the soil and mulch will give you more potatoes as they tend to form on roots near the surface.
That means, as you pile up the soil, you get new roots, and more potatoes....
Chicken manure or blood and bone should be dug through the bed because potatoes need a lot of phosphorus but not too much nitrogen.
Too much nitrogen will mean lots of leaves rather than potatoes.
Keep the water up and but only water moderately as potatoes will rot in soil that is too wet.
They can also get a fungus growing inside them if the soil’s too wet.
When you cut them open, they’ll have grey patches inside which actually do taste mouldy. Ewwww!
You can add fish emulsion and seaweed extract when you’re watering too.
Potatoes can also be grown in your black compost bin if you’re not using it for compost. Plant the seed potatoes at the bottom, let them grow to about 50cm, (so with your ruler that’s almost 2 x ruler heights) then, over the top and add 8cm of soil, let them grow a little more, add some more soil, and so on, in the end a stack of potatoes.
When are they ready?Pick your potatoes when the vine has died down to the ground, that’s if you want the most potatoes, but they can be harvested from when the first baby potatoes are formed.
The lower leaves should be turning yellow – this happens about 3 to 4 weeks after flowering.
If you plan to store your potatoes, cut off the foliage and let the potatoes rest in the ground for 3-4 weeks to allow the skin to 'set', they keep longer this way. Store in a dark, cool, well ventilated spot.
For a great article on growing potatoes visit DPIW Tasmania
Roasting Potatoes include: Arran, Royal Blue, Cara, Celine, Desiree, Maxine, Picasso, Ruby Lou, Romano, King Edward, Kondor, Maris Piper, Stemster and Valor.
For Chip Potatoes try: Nadine, Kestrel, King Edward, Desiree, Kennebec.
For Boiling Potatoes try: Nadine, Dutch Cream Kestrel, Desiree, King Edward.
For Mashing Potatoes try: Kestrel, Nadine, King Edward, Tasmanian Pinkeye.
For Salad Potatoes try: Nicola, Tasmanian Pinkeye, Ponfine.
Why are potatoes good for you?The potato is densely packed with nutrients.
The Irish couldn’t be wrong could they?
A medium potato provides vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B6 and trace amounts of thiamin, riboflavin, folate, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and zinc.
Potatoes are known as the foods people crave when they are stressed.
Why? because the carbs in potatoes (about 26%) help make space for tryptophan with a smooth passage into the brain.
This, in turn, boosts the serotonin level (the feel good hormone) in the brain.
High serotonin levels help boost your mood and help you feel calm.
To preserve these nutrients it is important to peel the potato just prior to cooking and not leave it exposed to the air or standing in water any longer than necessary.
AND THAT WAS YOUR VEGETABLE HERO SEGMENT FOR TODAY!
with garden designer Lesley Simpson
This series is all about colour in the garden.
Do you ever think about the colour of the leaves and grass in your garden as being part of your colour scheme?
Of course, green’s a colour and it’s in your garden. So unless you’re making the effort to only use grey or silver leaved plants in your garden, you will have some amount of green there. Possibly too much green.
Let’s find out about using green colours in your garden.
Did you know that the first colour wheel has been attributed to Sir Isaac Newton?
Newton in 1706 arranged red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet into a natural progression on a rotating disk.
But it was in 1810 that a Mr Goethe Farbkreis introduced the first systematically organized colour wheel?
His observations on the effect of opposed colours led him to a symmetric arrangement of his colour wheel, where he wrote "for the colours diametrically opposed to each other… are those which reciprocally evoke each other in the eye."
with Karen Smith editor www.hortjournal.com.au and Jeremy Critchley nursery owner www.thegreengallery.com.au
PLANT OF THE WEEK
Yellow Cottonwood Tree
Talipariti tiliaceum syn Hibiscus tiliaceus .
Would you like a small tree in your garden with beautiful heart shaped leaves and lemony yellow hibiscus like flowers with a maroon centre?
Better still, if you like butterflies, the leaves are the food plant for the larval stages of the Common Oakblue Butterfly.
What is this plant? Let’s find out …
|Gnarly trunk of mature Talipariti tiliaceum syn. Hibiscus tiliaceus|
|Talipariti tiliaceum Rubra|
For something different why not tree Bronze cottonwood that has the same yellow flowers but deep red foliage.
If you have any questions about growing