THE GOOD EARTH
|Plant out your winter vegetables now.|
Sure, gardeners are pretty busy in those times, but in winter, there’s still plenty to do.
For starters, your garden’s pests and weeds don’t take a break.
Let’s find out what gardeners can get up to in winter. Talking with Margaret Mossakowska of www.mosshouse.com.au
|Broadbeans for a winter crop|
Pruning dormant plants is something that you can do on sunny winter days.
It also lets you see if there’s some problem with the plant, like die back or borer on the stems.
In the coldest month of the year when soil temperatures are starting to dip, few vegies will germinate from seed in cold soil.
But, if you’re keen to do some planting you could try sowing spinach, onions, leeks, peas, turnips, kale, broccoli, cabbage and broad beans.
Don’t overwater at this time of year because the combination of cold and wet will cause your seeds to rot.
Keep the soil just moist until germination occurs. If you have any questions about winter tasks in your garden, why not write in to firstname.lastname@example.org or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.
Well it’s TIME FOR VEGETABLE HERO- Horseradish
The answer to that tricky question “what comic book character loved this veggie and what country adds it to their beer and make Schnapps with it?”
If you were a fan of the comic strip that featured Dagwood Bumstead, well you would know that Dagwood ate horseradish regularly in the popular comic strip, "Blondie," by Dean Young and Stan Drake?
But did you also know that Germans still brew horseradish schnapps and some also add it to their beer?
Apparently the Egyptians knew about horseradish as far back as 1500 B.C.
And early Greeks used it as a rub for lower back pain and as an aphrodisiac.
In Germany, it’s called "meerrettich"
Meerrettich literally means “more radish” or “greater radish”, and supposedly that’s the comparison of horseradish to garden radish (Raphanus sativus).
"Radish" comes from the Latin radix meaning root.
In the 1600s, Englishmen loved to eat their beef and oysters with horseradish.
But not only that, the loved it so much, that the English, grew it at inns and coach stations, to make cordials to revive exhausted travellers.
BOTANICAL NAME: Armoracia rusticana syn. A. lapathifolia
Horseradish is a member of the mustard family or Brassicaceae.
This family used to be called the crucifer family and contains kale, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts and the common radish.
Gardeners grow horseradish for its thick, fleshy white roots.
Did you know that the bite and aroma of horseradish root is totally missing until it’s grated or ground?
That’s because as soon as the root cells are crushed, volatile oils known as isothiocyanate (ISO-THIGH-O SIGH-A-NATE) are released.
Vinegar stops this reaction and stabilizes the flavour.
If you’re interested in making your own horseradish, and you don’t want it too hot and bitey, just add the vinegar straight away..
Growing horseradish is easy – the tricky bit is stopping it taking over your garden.
Horseradish is a perennial to 1.5m high above ground but below ground there is a parsnip like tapering, fleshy taproot to 60cm long and 5 cm thick
The above ground parts look like lime green large rough textured leaves, 30-90 cm long, so that’s about 1-3 ruler lengths.
The edges of the leaves are extremely saw tooth, or serrated and as botanists and horticulturalists say, that is, leaves with toothed margins.
Horseradish has white flowers in the middle of summer to mid-autumn.
Plant your horseradish in a permanent position and don’t disturb it because new plants will spring up from any broken roots and will quickly spread throughout the garden bed.
Horseradish can grow in most soils even damp soils and grows quite quickly.
TIP: This deep rooted plant can be used in orchards to open up compacted soils and return nutrients to the surface of the soil.
By far the easiest way to grow Horseradish is from root cuttings.
Now’s the time to get a piece from a friend, or your friendly garden club members because Horseradish is propagated by root division in spring or autumn for harvest the following year.
If you know someone who has it in their garden, just one piece of root will start off for you.
Yes it’s winter now, but you can start your piece off in a pot ready for spring sowing.
Don't worry too much about soil or position, because it won’t although too much shade and it’ll die off.
If you want to you can dig out a trench at least 60cm deep – horseradish has extremely long tap roots.
Replace about 40cm of topsoil and then add some compost .
Lay the roots of horseradish on this about 30cm apart and then cover with more soil.
Firm down the soil.
Really, if you’ve got anything other than heavy clay soil, you don’t have to go to all that trouble.
Another way is with seed.
If you can get seed, the time to sow it is in early spring.
Keep your horseradish well watered.
Next year by mid-autumn if you were lucky enough to have planted it last year either in autumn OR spring, the roots should be ready to harvest.
Dig up all the plants.
Use the larger roots to make horseradish sauce and store the smaller ones in sand for replanting next year.
You could plant some of the smaller shoots in pots – either give them away or sell them once they start showing signs of growth.
By digging up all the plants, you’ll prevent the horseradish from getting out of control and taking over your garden.
Although I must say, in my garden it’s extremely well behaved.
I have found suggestions that sinking half of an old rubbish bin into the ground, with its bottom removed stops its spread.
Horseradish is very versatile – not just as a sauce with beef, but it goes well with smoked fish, sausages, ham, trout, eggs and avocado.
Why is horseradish good for you?
Horseradish is a natural antibiotic.
If you’re on a low salt diet, then horseradish is really useful as a seasoning.
Horseradish has only 2 calories a teaspoon, is low in sodium and provides dietary fibre.
Where do you get it? Well there’s an online company that has divisions, but they won’t be available until July. Otherwise, the herb section of most nurseries and garden centres do stock this plant.
DESIGN ELEMENTSwith garden designer Lesley Simpson
Using Hot Colours
This series is all about colour in the garden.
The best way to learn how to use colour in the garden is to try different combinations and decide what you like and don't like.
Red adds energy and excitement and this colour works well as an accent and to highlight an area. But not everyone likes red in the garden.
On the other hand perhaps you’re after a garden where the colours jump out at you?
If you do, this segment’s for you.
Let’s find out more.
There are many ways of combining colours for different effects.
Colours change constantly depending on their surroundings and colours seem to change depending on what they’re next to, as well as how much light they receive, what texture the flower is, and so on.
|Hot colours can look cool when teamed with white.|
A colour’s intensity gets less when placed next to a colour that lies next to it on the colour wheel).
with Jeremy Critchley owner of www.thegreengallery.com.au
PLANT OF THE WEEK
and Karen Smith editor of www.hortjournal.c
The Tuckeroo is an Australian native tree is a good all-rounder that doesn’t grow too tall.
It’s not known for its flower but more for the decorative fruit that is the favourite food of many fruit eating birds.
It’s the fruit which will catch your eye.
Rather large three sided orange berries, in bunches all over the tips of the branches.
Not only birds like the fruit but it’s the food plant for the larval stages of many butterflies such as Pale Ciliate Blue, Dark Ciliate Blue, Marginata Blue, Hairy Blue, Fiery Jewel, Common Oakblue, Fielder's Lineblue and Glistening Blue Butterflies.
Let's find out more...
There’s a listener question about transplanting Tuckeroo trees.
The short answer is transplanting of the Tuckeroos isn’t successful.
The plants throw down a fairly large tap root and on plants up to 50cm in size the tap root is about 40cm. At that size they’re just about all tap root and no laterals, so that if you dig them up you’re likely to break that tap root and the plant won’t survive.