Saturday, 26 March 2016

Trumpets of Angels and Herbs of Love


Tomatoes are almost the number one plant to grow in the vegetable garden.
Shall we say, botanically a fruit, but we call it a vegetable?
Home grown tomatoes. photo M. Cannon
Last week Plant Doctor looked at the pests that are attracted to your tomatoes, but today we’re looking at the diseases that your tomatoes can succumb to.
Not that you can’t grow healthy plants but in case you’ve had problems and are on the point of giving up, here’s how to deal with some of these diseases.
I'm talking with Steve Falcioni, General Manager of

Some of the disease problems we talked about are the wilts:-Verticillium wilt which prefers cooler conditions and has a dark brown centre if you cut the stem; Fusarium wilt which occurs more in warmer conditions and has a pinky brown centre when you cut through the stem.
Basically you have to pull out and destroy the plants and not put them into the compost because they will the disease will spread.
Then there's the spotty problems like Septoria or Target Spot which are a combination of fungal and bacterial disease. This can cause spotting on both the leaves and the fruit.
You might be starting to think that there’s too many pests and diseases that go for your tomatoes, but don’t let that stop you from growing them, because they are enjoyable to grow.
Prevention where possible is always best and fortnightly sprays of seaweed solution strengthens the cell walls of the plant. 
Blossom end rot is not a disease but a calcium deficiency. Sometimes caused by lack of sufficient water or irregular watering during dry times.
Adding a sprinkle of Dolomite around the plant when first putting them in will help solve this problem.
Blossom end rot. photo M Cannon

Another tip is to not have the plants flopping around but staked up and remove the lower leaves.
The biggest tip is to rotate where you grow your tomato plants rather than planting them in the same spot year after year.
If you’ve only got one dedicated spot for your veggie bed, then you may have to rethink where you put these tomatoes, say in the front garden amongst your perennial flowers.
If you have any questions about pests of tomatoes or have some information to share, drop us a line to or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675


Well it’s TIME FOR VEGETABLE HERO a herb today, and it’s Savory, The Herb of Love.
Winter savory (Satureja montana) is a perennial herb in the mint family (Lamiaceae,) and it’s native to warm temperate regions of southern Europe.
How many times have you heard the phrase "a savory stew?"
Savory is used in herb combinations, such as Herbes de Provence, a French combination of herbs used for seasoning.
Savory is an annual or perennial herb, Satureja hortenis, for Summer Savory, or Saturejo montana being for Winter Savory.
Winter savory is now little used

Winter Savory

in Australia, but for hundreds of years both winter and summer savory have been grown and used, virtually side by side.
Both have strong spicy flavour.
What do they look like?
They have dark-green, narrow leaves for winter savory and light green narrow leaves for summer savory.
The savories can be used fresh or dried and crushed.
The history of savory goes back about 2000 years and it’s one of the oldest culinary herbs.
Here’s a surprising fact, the genus or first part of the latin name Satureja is derived from the word satyr, the half-man, half-goat creature in mythology who owned the savories.
It has been associated with love potions for centuries.
Romans used savory as a medicinal and culinary herb long before they discovered pepper.
In medicine they used it for bee stings, and as an aphrodisiac.
When the Romans brought savory to England, it was used there as an herb for chicken stuffing instead of a medicinal herb.
I have an English friend who says she grew this herb back in England and used it often in her cooking, especially with chicken.
As previously mentioned there are two distinct varieties of savory - summer and winter.
Summer Savory
Summer Savory

Summer savory is most often used for healing.
Summer savory is said to increase sex drive, while winter savory decreases it.
Make sure you get your savories right.
The active ingredients of savory are carvacrol, p-cymene and tannins. It’s an astringent and mild antiseptic. A tea made from summer savory is said to control a mild sore throat.
Rubbing a sprig of savory on an insect bite will bring instant relief.
What does Summer or Winter Savory like?
Well, it’s no different than growing Thyme, it likes full sun with well-draining soil.
Savory prefers to be planted in soil that's slightly alkaline.
Give it a side-dressing of compost or worm castings whenever possible. Summer savory is bushy and low-growing so it makes an excellent edging plant for a kitchen garden, herb bed, or vegetable garden.
Summer savory likes regular water. I have some growing in a strawberry pot so that it cascades out of one of the holes. It seems to like that spot better than the strawberries. As far as the soil in my container goes, well it’s just potting mix with soil wetter crystals added to it. So you see it's well-suited to container gardening, as well.
Summer Savory can be grown from seed sown in spring, but that’s if you can get the seed. Some say these tiny plants resent being transplanted, but I’ve taken pieces from my stock plant and transplanted it into other containers no problems at all/
If you know of someone with this plant, now’s the time to take soft-stem cuttings of about 2-3 cm long and put them in some seed raising or propagating mix. You probably don’t even need to cover it, because, just like the herb Thyme, it strikes very easily.
Savory flowers in mid-January with white or pale pink 5mm flowers grouped in terminal spikes.
You can begin to take the leaves from your savory plant as soon as it reaches 13cm or about 6 inches in height.
Savory Herb

Keeping the plant pruned means you’ll always have some.
My plant dies down a bit in winter, but always regrows, so that’s a good reason to get some summer savory for your herb garden.
Tips For The Chef
Summer savory, Satureja hortensis, is a nice herb to use when you are cutting back on salt-it's flavour is mild, a little bit similar to thyme, but with it's own unique flavour.
To me, it has a slightly peppery flavour, but a piney fragrance when you crush it in your hand.
You can mince summer savory and combine with bread crumbs for coating fish or vegetables such as squash before sauteing. Use it in potato dishes, tomato sauces, meatballs or vegetable juices. It's also great in egg dishes such as omelets and frittatas.
Savory is popular in teas, herbed butters, and flavoored vinegars. It complements beef soup and stews, chicken soup, eggs, green beans, peas, rutabagas, asparagus, onions, cabbage, and lentils.
Use savory when cooking liver, fish and game.
Mince fresh summer savory leaves and combine with garlic, bay and lemon for a good marinade for fish.
Savory blends well with other herbs such as basil, bay leaf, marjoram, thyme and rosemary.
Chefs and cooks say that the taste of savory brings all these herbs together in a unique taste that makes savory an Amalgamating herb.
Why is it good for you?
Savory herb is an excellent source of minerals and vitamins -.
Its leaves and tender shoots are one of the richest sources of potasium, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc and selenium.
This herb also has dietary fibre. Who would believe?
Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure.


Living Fences and Garden Loopers
This garden series with Garden Designer Peter Nixon, is all about garden challenges thrown at us mostly by nature but also due to a situation in your garden that you might need to fix.Today’s garden challenge is twofold.
Living Fence with Murraya paniculata
 Firstly white cabbage moths can lead to big troubles not just in your veggie patch and secondly; you may have inherited a few things that you don’t necessarily like, in particular that front boundary fence. 
You can change that without it costing too much. 
What about a front living fence:Let’s find out. I'm talking with Peter Nixon, garden designer. 
Living fence-Muehlenbeckia and Plumbago. photo M Cannon
For a living fence some of the plant suggestions were Solanum longiflora, Plumbago and Muehlenbeckia, Hibbertia scandens, 


Brugmansia sp. Angel Trumpets.
Want to grow a showstopper that stops people in their tracks and even gets them out of their cars taking photos?Well this tree is one of those, because when it’s in full flower, it’s spectacular. Plus in the evening there’s a sweetly scented perfume that wafts through your bedroom window.Let’s find out more.
Angel Trumpet. Brugmansia versicolour photo M Cannon

I'm talking with the plant panel:-Karen Smith editor of Hort Journal,  and Jeremy Critchley, the owner of the Green Gallery Nursery

Most Brugmansia are fragrant in the evenings which is an adaptation to attract pollinating moths in the country of origin being the tropical regions of South America.
Brugmansia are mostly woody trees or shrubs growing to 3-5 metres, with pendulous, trumpet like, flowers.
They come in shades of white, yellow, pink, orange, green, or red.
Flowers may be single, double, or more.
Brugmansia are easily grown in a moist, fertile, well-drained soil, in sun to part shade, in frost-free climates. 
Morning sun is an ideal position for your Angel Trumpet. 
Fertilise with an organic fertiliser during the warm months.
Until recently only a few pale coloured common varieties were available in Australia.
Now plant breeders have dreamed up a whole new range. 
Here’s some to get you started; Aztec Gold with strong lemon yellow flowers and Hot Pink with deep lolly or hot pink flowers and My Clementine with deep golden yellow frilly double flowers. Mmmm, must get that one.
For lovers of gardening books, Alistair Hay's book "Huanduj" has all the new cultivars.

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