Saturday, 5 August 2017

Weed the Weeds and Sow the Seeds


Hand Weeding Tools for Garden Beds

Weeding the garden is one of those chores that you either keep putting off or you like doing.
Perhaps you liked doing it when your back was stronger and your knees not so sore but now you’re finding it that much harder.
Sure there’s spraying the weeds with herbicide but in between those cabbage or broccoli plants or in between those flowering bulbs or annuals it’s a little bit difficult to prevent the spray from getting onto the plants you want to keep.
So that leaves mechanical weeding.
So let’s find how to make that weeding job a little bit easier..
I'm talking with Tony Mattson General Manager of

Weeding tools for mechanical weeding include, forks, all manner of hoes,, trowels cultivators and the NEW Garden Hook.
The "garden hook" along with cultivator and weeding tool. Handles sizes to help with weeding without kneeling.
The good news is there’s longer handles to help you do the weeding to which you can attach various cultivators or weeding hoes.
Don't bend over anymore, but purchase a long adjustable handle that can be fitted with different types of cultivators, and garden hooks.

Weeding is not only therapeutic but helps your plants stay healthy by removing competition plus weeds often harbour pests which then move onto your wanted plants.

This not only saves your back but your knees as well.
If you have any questions about weeding tools why not email us or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675


Shelf life of packet seeds.

We gardeners are guilty of buying too many seeds and realise, we just don’t have enough space to grow everything we would like to from seed.
Marketing gurus say that impulse buying is one big factor in seed sales.
That’s why they make the packets so attractive with those lovely photos on the front of the packet to entice your to buy them.

But what about the mail order companies?
No photos there, but we still go crazy buying up too many because the seed catalogues are so alluring.
Why? Because they’ve that alluring promise that you’re buying something no mainstream gardener will have.

 What to do with all those seed packets? 

Shall you throw them into the compost or give them a go? 

Now’s a good time to get out your seeds and take a look at the dates on the back usually.
You’ve probably got seeds lurking in a drawer, or maybe you’re more organised and they’re in a storage box.

Firstly let’s deal with how you’re storing your seeds.
If you’re keeping them in the garden shed that gets quite hot in summer, then the shelf life of your seeds is going to drop right down and possibly kill of your seeds.
Never store your seeds in a humid warm or sunny spot.
Seeds need to be kept cool and dry, ideally the temperature should be around 5°C and 10°C.
Keeping them in a tightly sealed jar in the fridge is good but whose going to have enough room in the fridge for all those seeds?
A dark place somewhere in the garage or laundry that stays cool in summer is the best place.
When properly stored in a cool, dry place, seed’s shelf life can be extended. - So how long do our veggie seeds last?

Simple Germination Test

If you want to be really sure that the seeds you’ve got will germinate and you’ve got quite a few to burn, why not do a simple germination test?
Germination test: Take around 10 of your seeds, and place them in a row on top of a damp paper towel.
Fold over the paper towel and place in a zip-lock plastic bag and seal it; this helps to keep the towel moist and protected.
Then put in a warm location, like a high shelf or on top of the fridge but make sure the spot you’ve picked is away from exposure to direct sunlight.
This can overheat your seeds.

Next, check the seeds often—around once a day—to see if they’ve begun to germinate and to check the moisture of the paper towel.

But don’t keep opening it everyday otherwise your experiment will go mouldy in not time.

Only open the zip lock bag if it needs more water, and carefully mist the towel so it’s only just damp, but not soggy.

Don’t apply too much water. 

I’ve recently heard that adding a drop of tea to the water helps with the germination rate.
TIP: Your seeds should begin to germinate in several days up to a couple of weeks, depending on the seed-type. A good rule of thumb is to wait roughly 10 days;
We know that the packet comes printed with the expiry date of seeds.
But we want to know can they last longer?
In Australia, seed companies are generally required by law to germination test seeds before they sell them. 
The longest lasting seeds that I’ve germinated well past their expiry date, let’s say 3-4 years past, without any problem, are Basil, Kohlrabi, Broccoli and Rocket.

But let’s talk in families of plants such as in the Brassicaceae family.

The long lasting seeds here are Beetroot, Silverbeet, Swish chard, Radish, Turnip, Cauliflower, Cabbage and Kale and Broccoli.

Next are those from the Solanaceae family, including tomato and eggplant.

Lastly, the Cucurbitaceae or Melon family.

Long lasting seeds in this family include cucumber, squash and watermelon.
Then there’s those seeds that aren’t so long lived but usually have a shelf life of 3-5 years like lettuce, and possibly parsley. Parsley is one herb that I don’t need to sow anymore.
By leaving a Parsley plant flower and set seed, you’ll have, like me, a continual supply of Parsley year round.
Until a regular visitor to the garden, a ringtail possum, decides they need something to eat in winter.
Then no Parsely.
There’s also the pea or Fabaceae family.
So yes, peas and beans are on the list.

A few seeds have a relatively short shelf life and are good for one to two years at the most.
These include onions, parsnips, chives, scorzonera and leeks.
That isn’t definitive and depending on who you ask, some will say that they were able to get their 10 year old bean seeds to germinate or some other vegetable.
The "sow by" date is based on the validity of the germination test and is not necessarily an accurate indication of the freshness or shelf-life of the seed.
So, that’s why, when you hear, beans can be viable for up to 10 years shelf life.
That means, 10 years if they were stored in a cool dry and dark place, and that the seed company put fresh seed into the packet in the first place.
Of course flower seeds are another category and I don’t have time to mention those other than to say, Pansies, Echinaceae, and Nasturtiums have germinated for me well past their use by date.
Before you start buying up seeds in the hope you’ll beat price rises and food shortages.
Seeds are best sown fresh.
Even stored in a fridge or freezer, the germination percentage and vigour will reduce over time.
Just a note on seed provenance.
According to the experts, cucumber mosaic virus is transmitted via the seed.
Also, from those in the know, they say that there are other viruses that are seed born, so that gardeners can’t afford to be complacent.



Indoor Plants for Cool Climates
It’s been said that indoor plants remove pollutants from inside your home but did you know that plants can help fight colds?
Yes, that’s right, indoor plants have been shown to reduce cold related illnesses by more than 30%.
This is due to their effect of increasing humidity levels and decreasing dust.
Chamaedora seffirzii can also be grown indoors in cool climates
This series on indoor plants is to suit everyone around Australia so this week we’re focusing on what plants that you can grow indoors if you live in a cool climate.
Let’s hear some more.
I'm talking withJulia Levitt Director of

Did you know also that plants can stop your headaches?
That’s right, because they’re removing those VOC;s(volatile organic compounds.) that your appliances, carpet, and furniture are giving off every day.
Plants in the home have also been shown to lower blood pressure.
PLANTS mentioned
Sago Palm can also be grown indoors in cool cliamtes
  • ·       Palms-Bamboo palm (Chamodorea seifrizii), Bangalow palm (Archontophoenix cunninghamiana) Dwarf Date Palm (Phoenix roebelenii), Fishtail Palm(Wodetia bifurcata), Parlour Palm, ( Chamaedorea elegans), Walking Stick Palm (Linospadic monostachyia)
  • ·    Snake plants (Sansevieria trifasciata) for clean air
  • ·    ZZ plant(Zamioculcas zamifolia)-minimal watering
  • ·     Sago palm ( Cycas revoluta) withstands cool winter temps.

There’s more, but I’ll fill you in next week.
If you have any questions about indoor plants for cool climates why not email us


Abelia grandiflora
Abelia grandiflora in my garden.
Fabulous shrub that is a must for most gardens either as a hedge, topiary or stand alone shrub.
The species grows 2 x 2 metres but there are also dwarf cultivars like Abelia Frances Mason.
Did you know that Abelia is named after British consul general in China 1817 - Dr Clarke Abel?
Abelias mainly flower in summer but can flower in autumn as well. 
Long flowering with the creamy white changing to a reddish color as they age, often have red calyces behind the flowers. 
Flowers have a nice sweet fragrance. They have trumpet shapes that form in little balls at the end of the stem. 
Flowers are bee attracting
Talking with Hugh Mandelidis and Lewi Beere, who are two young guys into gardening about Abelia grandiflora.

In autumn the leaves colour up to a reddish-bronze look but this depends on your climate.
If you live in a cold area such as Bathurst where temperates can fall to -10 C overnight, expect your Abelia bush to have the reddest of red leaves.

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