Saturday, 24 December 2016

Summer Squash and Mouthewatering Blueberries


War on Weeds part 1. 

Physical and Cultural weeding practises.
Why is it that if you have strappy leaved plants in your garden, then grassy weeds colonise that plant just so you don’t notice them?
It’s not until those weeds start showing their seed heads that you realise that there’s a weed growing amongst that clump of daylilies or agapanthus.
Weeds sprouting in your vegetable garden include clover, petty spurge and panic veldt.
Then sometimes you just have to get down to ground level to see how many weeds have infiltrated that garden bed that you thought was thick with plants.
What can we do about them.
Let’s find out I'm talking with Steve Falcioni, general Manager of

Not only do they look unsightly put the weeds are stealing sunlight, water and nutrients from your precious plants, plus they're harbouring pests.
Often pests overwinter on your weeds ready to jump onto your plants when Spring arrives.
Hand weeds of course is great for small areas but for larger areas, perhaps hoeing or solarisation using black plastic is beneficial.
That old saying of 1 years seed gives 7 years weed holds true.
If you’ve just put away all your garden tools and cleaned up and then notice that clump of onion weed that’s in flower, the best thing to do if you haven’t got time or are just too tired is snap off those flowers.
Stopping the seeds from forming is a good start and the weed will still be there when you next get out into the garden.
If you have any questions pruning saws or have some information to share, drop us a line to or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.


Summer Squash-Cucurbita pepo
Summer Button Squash is the yellow or green saucer shaped members of the Cucurbit family that includes pumpkins, melons and zucchinis. Cucurbita pepo.

If you don’t like the taste and texture of Button Squash, some even call patty pan squash, maybe you need to buy a different variety to zhuszh up your taste buds.
Did you know that squash comes from a native American word which means eaten raw or uncooked?
No surprises that archaeologists have traced squash origins to Mexico, dating back from 7,000 to 5,500 BC.

In terms of nutrients, button squash give bananas a run for their money.

Button squash are small veggies that look a bit like space ships with scalloped edges.
It’s a twining vine with large, broad, spiny, lobed leaves and an angled, prickly green stem.
Its yellow flowers are either male or female and the female flowers, after fertilisation, grow those little buttons.
They grow to between 3 and 5cm in diameter and although come in other colours, the most common are the pale green and the bright yellow ones.

The inside of the squash is pale white and the whole squash is eaten cooked, including the skin and seeds.

Button summer squash, particularly the yellow button squash, is a warm weather squash preferring temperate climates with a well drained soil.

When to grow squash.

Squash can be grown all year round in hot, subtropical climates, from spring onwards in temperate zones and only in early summer in cool temperate regions.
As for arid zones, from Spring until early Autumn.
For tropical areas, summer squash is a bit of a misnomer because for you, growing squash is only during the dry season.
So squash can be grown somewhere in all parts of Australia right now.
In fact, did you know that Squash is grown in all horticultural production
areas including Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia,
Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Tasmania?
Squash like to spread out, but will follow a trellis if the vines are tied to one.
Seeds can be planted individually into small holes or planted on small mounds, three to five to a mound.
This can take up a lot of space, but one squash plant can produce a lot of squash. Unless you’re feeding an army only plant one or two mounds of squash then.

Flowers on Squash, where are they?

Squash have male and female flowers that bees, flies, wasp or other creatures must pollinate it.
Do you only have male or just female flowers on your cucurbits?

Or did they fall down on the job for you last year?
If you got male and female flowers but not too many squash, plant plenty of flowers alongside your squash otherwise you’ll end up having to hand pollinate using an artist’s paintbrush.
Mostly gardeners start to worry when they see only male flower.
It is perfectly normal for the males to arrive first, and, they do so in big numbers.
A week or so goes by without any ladies appearing, and you are beginning to think there's a problem.
The female flowers usually arrive 10-14 days after you spot the first male. (Sometimes it takes a little longer than this).
Once the ladies appear, there’ll only be a few at a time.
The male flowers greatly out-number the female flowers.
It’s fairly uncommon for females flowers to arrive first but does occasionally happen.
Patience is all that's required.

Fertilising your squash
Squash are, like most vegetables, heavy feeders and need lots of fertilizer and water.
Don’t over fertilize with chook poo pellets or you’ll have big plants and no squash.
Water requirements are high and you really need to be on top of keeping up the watering for your button squash during hot weather and when fruit is filling out.
If you don’t you’re very likely get shedding of flowers and partly formed fruit.
Button squash grows very quickly and will start producing us in about 8 weeks.
Pick your button squash carefully by cutting them from the vine through their stem.
Fact File
Did you know that button squash need to be harvested often even commercially because of their very soft skin and so they’re very labour intensive to grow?
Picking should be done regularly, at least every day as the fruit develops. When the squash start appearing more and more, you’ll have to go out more often to the veggie patch to pick them.
If you leave your squash on the plants too long they’ll stop growing new ones altogether.
Picking your Summer squash at about 2 ½- 3 cms in size is when they’re at their most tasty.
If you plant an open pollinated type, (doesn’t have hybrid in its name) you can let one or two squash grow out until they are completely ripe and save the seeds from them at the end of the season.
Some varieties from various online seed suppliers.
There’s a French heirloom variety Squash Jaune Et Verte especially for those of you who are not convinced about the merits of growing squash. Picked young, the flesh is sweet and buttery and the skin cooks to lime green. Compact variety producing scallop shaped fruit over a long period. Takes 7 weeks from seed to harvest.
New Gippsland Seeds-Golden Ruffles Hybrid is a Yellow Button Squash- High quality button squash capable of tremendous yields. Fruit gold, often with a green end spot. Tasty and popular.
Eden seeds_EARLY WHITE BUSH SCALLOPED Known pre 1722
Greenish-white skin, with lots of round flat fruit on a bushy plant. Best when picked young. 46-60 days.

Scalloped patty pan squash, pale green, harvest 7.5cm—10cm, fine texture, medium sized bush, very productive over a long period, popular traditional variety for home gardens. 47-56 days.
Why are they good for you?
Summer squash is very low in calories and high in fibre.
Button squash is rich in beta-carotene an excellent source of vitamin C, folic acid and calcium.
One cup of summer squash has nearly as much potassium as a banana!
They also contain the valuable mineral nutrient phosphorus.
Button squash are vitamin C
The darker skinned squash supply some beta carotene.


Style of veggie patches
If you do want to have a dedicated area in the garden for growing your fruit and veg you need to think about actual layout for the planting areas
What are the options? 
Lyn Wood Vegetable Garden Ulverston Tasmania

You can have an in bed system where it is really just grown as you would any garden area or you can do raised beds either by building them up with materials such as timber sleepers or just by mounding the soil up …almost like a burrow and furrow style.
Have we convinced you yet to start a vegetable garden if you haven’t got one?
It might seem like a lot of hard work, but you don’t have to build it yourself.
There’s plenty of pre-packaged vegie beds read for you to install.
But in case you do want to build one, this segment has some tips.
Let’s find out…I'm talking withGlenice Buck, landscape designer and consulting arborist.

Those treated pinelogs that don’t have arsenic are called ACQ.(alkaline, copper quaternary.)
Vegie Pod
There’s also “ecowood,” that uses a different treatment method from ACQ and will last the distance too. If you do have CCA treated pine and are worried about the arsenic in the pine, the CSIRO recommends painting the logs both inside and out or line the bed with builders plastic.


Blueberry "Vitality." Vaccinium corymbosum Vitality (high bush variety)Are you looking for something to boost your vitamin C without eating all that Broccoli? 
I know some Broccoli haters that would love this next fruit.
There’s a place in every garden or outdoor space for this evergreen plant that makes a great pot specimen or a low hedge that will end up being full of fruit.
Let’s find out..more.
I'm talking with the plant panel Karen Smith, editor of Hort Journal and Jeremy Critchley, The Green Gallery wholesale nursery owner.

Blueberry vitality grows to 1m x 1m making a perfect low hedge and a great productive pot plant.
Light pink flowers appear during winter followed by fruit from late spring through to summer.
Blueberries have three common varieties: lowbush, highbush and rabbiteye.
Lowbush blueberries – This variety, which produces a big harvest of intensely flavoured blueberries, is not grown in Australia’s milder climate. It thrives in colder climates in the northern hemisphere.
Highbush blueberries – This is the most common variety in Australia, with many cultivars suited to the Australian climate. The two most popular cultivars grown here are the Northern Highbush and the Southern Highbush. Just to confuse things, the Northern Highbush is grown in Victoria, Tasmania and Southern NSW; while the Southern Highbush is grown in milder regions like Northern NSW and Southern Queensland.
Rabbiteye blueberries – This is another late season variety, which can cope with warm and humid summers and tolerate dry conditions like no other, making it right at home in Northern NSW and Queensland. Its name comes from the calyx, which when ripening looks just like little rabbit eyes looking back at you.
Grey green elliptic -ovate leaves (5 cm) growing 1m x 1 m.

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