Saturday, 25 March 2017

Wasps and All Things Citrus


Pests of Citrus-Citrus Gall Wasp

If you though that all you had to contend with on Citrus, was the curling, silvery leaves, the Bronze-Orange stink bugs, the citrus scale on the trunk, then think again, because there's at least one more.
Citrus Gall Wasp-image Dept. of Ag. W.A.
This is a native pest of all citrus, which does include native citrus trees like finger limes, and now is the time when you can notice the damage that this pest has done to your tree. As in a other citrus pests, the damage is done by a tiny moth, about 2-3mm that usually comes out late in the evening and then promptly dies after a very short time.
The damage starts of green and then over time, turns to a grey-brown coloured lump.
The lifecyle of the wasp larvae is quite long, from when the wasp stings the branch and lays its eggs to when the wasp emerges, is about one year.
Initially, you may not notice the bumps, but from Autumn onwards, they are becoming much more noticeable on the citrus trees.

Let’s find out what can be done about this problem
I'm talking with Steve Falcioni, General Manager of
Citrus Gall Wasp damage-image Dept. of Ag. W.A.

We certainly imported a few citrus pasts in the short time that white Australians have been here, but this pest is a native that mainly only attacked finger limes.
Originally only being found in Queensland and northern NSW, but with all the movement of plants from state to state, this pest can now be found as far south as Melbourne.
If you have any questions about Citrus Gall wasps, drop us a line to or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.


Lemon Grass or  Cymbopogon citratus is in the Poaceae Family
Lemongrass is a perennial grass native to tropical southeast Asia.
You may have heard of lemongrass and even seen it sold in the fruit and veg section of the supermarket, but what you may not know is that there are two main types of lemongrass.
There’s East Indian, Cymbopogon flexuosus , and West Indian, Cymbopogon citratus.
In India, it’s used as a medical herb and for perfumes, but not used as a spice; in the rest of tropical Asia (Sri Lanka and even more South East Asia), it’s an important culinary herb and spice.

What does it look like?
Lemon grass grows in a bushy like clumps to 1 m tall with long narrow pale green leaves.
The slender stalks are about 30cm long and are rough to the touch, especially the leaf blade edges which feel quite sharp.

The common name gives it away but lemongrass has a wonderful lemony scent and taste because of the citral , the aldehyde that gives it the lemon odour. 
It can be easily propagated by division and when you pick the Lemon Grass to use in cooking or teas, cut off the bottom part leaving just the roots - put this piece into a glass of water and it will shoot very quickly.
You can then replant it and you’ll definitely always have Lemon Grass in your garden.
For companion plant aficionados, growing a clump of Lemon Grass in the vegetable garden has a good influence on all the plants around it and the vegetables will be much more flavoursome.
Bit a hint on planting that later.
Lemongrass is adapted to hot wet summers and dry warm winters, is drought tolerant and will grow on a wide range of soils but prefers rich, moist loams.
It dislikes wet feet but it does like regular watering in summer.
If it’s damaged by frost in cooler areas, the tops should not be cut until all danger of frost has passed.

How to control that lemongrass.

Cut back the old leaves in early Spring to strengthen the bush as well as tidy it up because invariably if it has dried out , there’ll be plenty of dead stalks which aren’t much good for cooking.
This helps to protect the centre of the plant from further cold damage. 
A listener wrote in asking “How do I go about returning my massive clump of lemongrass to a manageable plant? Or should I dig it out & start off again with a new seedling & keep chopping at it to keep it under control right from the start or in a pot?”

It’s been said about lemongrass, that you need a whip and a chair to keep it under control because left to its own devices in the garden bed, lemongrass really isn't manageable.
You need a pretty big pot to contain it.
In a small pot, it gets too cramped too quickly and as I’ve discovered, get little green growth and lots of dead leaves.
You can divide the clump, but it will soon be just as massive as it is now.
It's jolly hard work digging it, and every single piece with roots on it will in no time flat be just as big as the parent.
TIP:So putting it in the vegetable garden will only work if you contain it in perhaps a bottomless pot.
The leaves can be picked at any time of the year and the stems can be used fresh or dried.

So why Is It Good For You?
Medicinally Lemon Grass can be drunk as a tea as can taken either hot or cold.
Iced Lemongrass is a mild sedative.
Try it for your insomnia, or when you are under stress, or even if you need help to calm a nervous or upset stomach.
The herb is also said to relieve headaches.
Lemon Grass tea in summer is not only extremely refreshing but it’s good for the skin as the oil contains Vitamin A. 
Cooking with Lemongrass
For cooking use the stalks only and pick the thick, light green ones that feel firm and aren’t dried out and wilted.
Cut off the woody root tip of each stalk until the purplish-tinted rings begin to show and remove the loose, dry outer layer(s).
Also, if the top of the stalk is dry and fibrous cut this off too.
When using it in cooked dishes, bang it with a cleaver to bruise the membranes and release more flavour.
Put a handful of the leaves into the saucepan when steaming or simmering chicken or fish to give a delicate but delicious taste of lemon.
It can be used in many dishes as a substitute for lemon.
To store fresh lemon grass, wrap well in clingfilm and refrigerate
This will keep for up to three weeks.


Autumn Gardening Series Part 1

Autumn gardening –is a favourite time for many gardeners around Australia because it’s a much milder time of year compared with the heat of Summer.
In some districts the leaves on deciduous trees are starting to change colours to Autumn buttery yellow tones, or flame red, other plants are putting on a new flush of growth and budding up for the last hurrah before the cold sets in.
Bodnant Garden, England photo M Cannon

During Summer, many of us stayed indoors under the fan or in the air-conditioning while the plants in the garden sweltered.
So, if you haven’t already gone out to assess your plants, you need to act soon
Let’s find out why. I'm talking with Glenice Buck consulting arborist and landscape designer from

Even though some of your plants were being attacked by various pests and diseases, the heat of Summer has meant it’s been too hot to spray with anything because of the risk of burning the leaves.
Also,Summer rains in some districts would’ve meant that the sprays would’ve been washed off anyway.
So over the next few months, seize the opportunity to follow Glenice’s autumn gardening plan.
Glenice says 
" I firstly weed out all beds then I look at what shrubs and perennials need cutting back or deadheading.  Sometime shrubs have grown out of shape or spread out too far across or over other plants prune these plants back into their own shape.  Give everything their own space.  If there are plants not looking healthy try and investigate reason why – it may have a pest or disease it may have dried out through summer."


Native Holly
Alcornea ilicifolia

The holiday season is over but in case you thought you can improve on next year’s celebrations, what about planting something that is reminiscent of this time of year and it’s a native.
Not only that it good for little native birds because of it’s dense foliage.
Let’s find out about this plant.
I'm talking with the plant panel: Karen Smith, editor of Hort Journal and Jeremy Critchley, The Green Gallery wholesale nursery owner.

This plant would discourage intruders if you planted it under your bedroom window or along the front fence line.
Remembering of course that there are 17 plants called native holly in Australia so do ask for Alcornea ilicifolia.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Everlasting Flowers. Some Seeds and Fairy Wrens


Red Backed Fairy Wren and Superb Fairy Wren, What's the Difference?

This little bird is the smallest of the wren species in Australia.
In fact it’s smaller than a sparrow and because it’s so small, that it’s called the Elfin wren.
Red Backed Fairy Wren
The males of course have all the colour being a glossy black with a scarlet patch, while the females are brown.
They can't be mistaken for a sparrow because they're smaller and have that characteristic pointing up tail, bouncing around like little ping pong balls.
Let’s find out what’s great about this bird.

Here's the difference.
The Red Backed Fairy Wren is smaller and shyer than the Superb Fairy Wren , but has a similar call.
Female Red Backed Fairy Wren, not red at all.
Most of us won’t see this Fairy Wren because Red-backed Fairy-wrens are essentially birds of Australia's north where they are mainly restricted to the more humid zones closer to the coast.
In eastern Australia they do extend south  all the way down the NSW north coast to near Newcastle and in W.A. south to Cape Keraudren, again along the coast.
Apparently they’re common around the outskirts of Brisbane and Darwin.
If you have any questions about Red Back Fairy Wrens, drop us a line to or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.


Making Your Own Seed Tape, seed mats or discs is today’s topic.

Would you believe that it was only twenty-plus years ago, several seed companies started making and selling seed tapes - Seed tapes are strips of dissolving or quickly decomposing material that have imbedded seeds spaced at regular intervals.
They’re used to make dispersal and spacing of difficult-to-handle seeds .
The tapes also make it easier to make straight rows.
Planting seed tapes or mats is easy because the arranging of seeds is already done, or if you are making your own you can do it indoors.

Why have seed tapes?
Is it only for beginner gardeners?
Seed tape has several advantages.
No seed is wasted; the seeds are embedded into the paper tape one at a time and are perfectly spaced and ready to go into the garden.
This also means that no thinning is required.
They’re especially useful for tiny seeds which can be difficult to plant such as radish, carrot, lettuce or parsnip. 

Just about any seed can be put onto a seed tape, however, so if you wish to make one with larger seeds, there’s no stopping you!

Seed tapes also stabilise the seeds positions in the soil, keeping them in place even when they are hammered by heavy rains.
And, if you cover seed tapes with weed-free potting soil, the seeds can germinate with no aggravation from weeds.
Several seed companies in Australia sell a variety of seeded tapes that are incredibly easy to plant, or you can make your own.

That’s right, gardeners can make their own seed tapes!
Seed tapes are long and skinny, and intended to do a superior job of spacing seeds uniformly in the row.
They do this quite well, although some experienced gardeners have said that the seeds on most seed tapes are too close together.
This may be true for some crops, like radishes, but not for small, slow-sprouting carrots.

How to make this tape then?

You can use unbleached toilet paper to make my seed tape.
I think that paper towels or even newsprint would work as well, although I haven’t tried them.
Begin by mixing approximately 2 Tablespoons of white flour with 1 Tablespoon of water to make a thick paste.
This will act as the glue to hold the seed in place.
You don’t want this to be watery and thin because you want it to dry quickly so that the seed does not have a chance to absorb the water.
Unroll the toilet paper until you have about 1 metre of it are lying flat on the table in front of you.
Fold the toilet paper in half the long way, and then unfold.
You’ll be placing the seed in the middle of one half of the toilet paper (about 2.5 cm or 1″ from the edge of the toilet paper).
From the seed packet, figure out how far apart you need to space your seeds.
Don’t use the distance given on the packet for planting – use the distance that the packet suggests for thinning.
For carrots, I placed my seeds 5cm apart.
Use a ruler to guide you as you space seeds
If it helps, you can use a pen or marker to mark the spot on the toilet paper where the seed will go.
Now, dip a tooth pick, cotton bud or artists paint brush into the flour paste to get a small amount of paste on its tip.
Use this to pick up just one seed.
Sounds fiddly I know, but be determined. You can do it.
Using a ruler as a guide, place the seed onto the toilet paper at the proper distance apart for the seed you are working with.
When you’ve “embedded” all of the toilet paper, add a few dots of your flour paste every few cms near the edge of the toilet paper and fold the toilet paper back in half.
Rub gently to allow the paste to glue the two sides of toilet paper together.
Continue working in the same manner until you’ve used all your seeds, or until you’ve made as much seed tape as you need.
Be sure to leave the toilet paper spread out until the paste is completely dry. Write the name of the seed on one end of your seed tape, and then you can roll it up and store in a cool, dry spot until you’re ready to plant.
The faster it dries, the better, since you don’t want the wet glue to trigger germination (it shouldn’t be wet long enough for this, but better safe than sorry).
When dry, roll them up and store them in plastic bags, along with the seed packet, until it is time to plant.
Now your tape is ready to use!
I heard of other gardeners making their seed tape using paper towels and the flour and water glue.
Just make a paste of flour and water and spread a thin layer of it onto the paper towel. Then put the seeds on and a second layer of the towel.
Works great and the paper towels hold up just a little bit better than the toilet paper. You do have to make sure you dry it well after making it if you aren't going to plant immediately, but that usually just takes a day out in a dry place.
How To Use Seed Tape
Use your seed tape in long flower boxes, raised beds, or right in the garden.
All that you have to do is dig a trench the recommended depth for that seed, lay the tape down, cover with garden soil and water gently.
The paper biodegrades into the soil as the seeds germinate and grow.
For best results, be sure to keep the seed consistently moist.


Preserving Summer Fruits

Do you have fruit trees in your garden?
Citrus are fruits so you probably answered yes to that.

So what do you do when the fruits all come ripe at once?
Jams and preserves and possibly pickles are the first things that come to mind for most people, but there are a lot more methods of preserving fruit to use later on in the year. Let’s find out about this preserving business.
I'm talking with Margaret Mossakowska from

I hope that’s inspired you to try several different methods of preserving your fruit.
We didn’t even cover making pasta sauce with all those tomatoes that you’re growing right now.
If you have any questions about preserving summer produce or have some information you’d like to share, why not email


NEW Everlasting Daisies.

Bracteantha bracteata
Have you ever been to see the wildflowers in Western Australia?
It’s on my bucket list.
In the wild, these fast-growing annuals perform brilliantly under extreme conditions. They germinate with the first rains in winter and by late August are in full flower, adding bright colour to the otherwise harsh landscape of outback Australia.
But it’s one particular wildflower that we’re focussing on toda

Let’s find out about this plant.
I'm talking with the plant panel: Karen Smith, editor of Hort Journal and Jeremy Critchley, The Green Gallery wholesale nursery owner.

Everlasting Daisies at Wittunga Botanic Garden, Adelaide. photo M Cannon
Here’s a tip to keep those everlastings for longer in the vase.
The trick is to pick the flowers when they are young and just opening.  
Then hang upside down in a cool, dark room.
Once dried, the stems can be trimmed and they can be placed in vases or you can replace the stems with florists wire.
If you pick the flowers when they are fully open the petals will fold back towards the stem and the flowers will fall apart.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Orchids and Sweet Leaves.


Vanilla Bean Orchid Vanilla planifolia
The plant that this next spice comes from originates in the highland forests of Mexico, so that gives you some idea of where it grows best.
Somewhere warm and humid.
But hey, don’t let that stop you from trying to grow it, after all it’s an orchid.
Let’s find out what’s great about this spice.
I'm talking with spice expert and owner of Ian Hemphill
If you buy imitation vanilla essence then you’re buying a mixture made from synthetic substances which imitate the vanilla smell and flavour.
This often contains propylene glycol which is also found in automotive antifreeze!
It’s mass produced and relatively cheap but, of course, not in the same class as true vanilla extract.
Growing Vanilla planifolia
If you want to try to grow this orchid, you must be sure to get Vanilla planifolia-used to be called Vanilla fragrans.
The flowers are like a skinny Cattleya (that’s an orchid) flower and they’re yellow.
The plant usually doesn’t flower until it’s at least 3 metres tall and it can reach a size of 20 metres and more.
A friend of mine has the variegated one growing in his laundry that faces north.
Seems to be doing pretty well.
If you're in an area where you can grow this orchid and have it flower, then you'll have to pollinate it yourself to get the vanilla bean.
The only natural pollinator is the Melipone Bee which is native to Mexico and thought to be extinct.
Should your vanilla bean orchid produce a green bean, luck you, but this will have no vanilla flavour.
It takes many weeks of drying and sweating before the pod is ready to be used in cooking.
If you have any questions about growing Vanilla orchids, drop us a line to or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.


Stevia is the sugar plant
Stevia rebaudiana

Native to Paraguay and other tropical areas of the Americas, the stevia plant (Stevia rebaudiana) has leaves packed with super-sweet compounds that remain stable even after the leaves have been dried.

Stevia is a member of the chrysanthemum family and the Stevia leaves have been used to sweeten teas and other drinks throughout South America for centuries.

So why are Stevia leaves’ so sweet? Because the leaves contain something called steviol glycosides.
Steviol glycosoides are high intensity natural sweeteners, 200-300 times sweeter than sugar.
The leaves of the stevia plant contain many different steviol glycosides and each one varies in sweetness and aftertaste.

So what does Stevia plant look like?

Stevia is a small perennial shrub with lime green leaves that do best in a rich, loamy soil — the same kind that most of your plants in the garden like.

Stevia is evergreen in temperate, sub-tropical and tropical climates, but in cold and arid districts, it’ll lose its leaves in Autumn.
Stevia is native to semi-humid, sub-tropical climates where temperatures typically range from -6°C to 43°C.
Stevia tolerates mild frost, but heavy frosts will kill the roots of the plant.
Since the feeder roots tend to be quite near the surface add compost for extra nutrients if the soil in your area is sandy. 

TIP: Stevia plants also hate being water logged.

By the way, I’ve grow my stevia plant in a pot for several years now without any problems and it’s survived several bouts of dry hot summers and lack of watering during spells with a house sitter.
But, it really isn’t drought tolerant like a succulent or a cactus and won’t tolerate long term neglect.
During warm weather don’t forget to water it and if you’re going away for a few weeks put in a dripper system, otherwise you’ll lose your Stevia plant.

Stevia plants do best with fertilizers with a lower nitrogen content than the phosphorus or potassium content.
Which means the artificial fertiliser aren’t your best bet, but most organic fertilizers are because they release nitrogen slowly.
Stevia flowers

HINT: Stevia leaves have the most sweetness in autumn when temperatures are cooler and the days shorter.
Definitely the best time to pick those stevia leaves.
If your district is prone to frosts in Autumn, make sure you cover the Stevia plant for another few weeks’ growth and more sweetness.
How do you store Stevia leaves? If you Stevia plant is big enough, the easiest technique is to cut the branches off with secauteurs before stripping the leaves.
TIP:As an extra bonus, you might also want to clip off the stem tips and add them to your harvest, because they have as much stevio-side as do the leaves.
If you live in a mostly frost-free climate, your plants will probably cope with winter outside, as long as you don’t cut the branches too short (leaving about 10cms of stem at the base during pruning).
These plants do last a few years in temperate and warmer climates.
In cool temperate districts, it might be a good idea to take cuttings that you’ll use for next year’s crop.
Cuttings need to be rooted before planting, using either commercial rooting hormones or a natural base like honey.
Stevia seed is apparently very tricky to germinate, and the cutting method is your best option.


I should mention that the stevioside content is only 12% in the leaves you grow compared with the 80-90% that commercially extracted stevia has.
It’s still had a decent amount of sweetness all the same.

So you’ve picked the leaves now you need to dry them.

As with drying all herbs you can hang your bunch of leaves upside down in a warm dry place.
Otherwise, on a moderately warm day, your stevia crop can be quick dried in the full sun in about 12 hours. (Drying times longer than that will lower the stevioside content of the final product.)

If you have a home dehydrator use that instead.
Finally crush the leaves either by hand, in a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle that you use for spices and herbs.
The dried leaves last indefinitely!
If you add two or three leaves added whole or powdered, that’s enough to sweeten a cup of tea or coffee.
HOT TIP: Another way is to make your own liquid stevia extract by adding a cup of warm water to 1/4 cup of fresh, finely-crushed stevia leaves. This mixture should set for 24 hours and then be refrigerated.

Why are they good for you?
Stevia is a natural sweetener that has zero calories and isn't metabolised by the body.
Stevia isn’t suitable for everything in cooking but you can use it to sweeten drinks, fruits, salad dressings, stewed fruit, yogurt and most creamy desserts.
The processed Stevia that you buy in the shops has been stripped of all the natural goodness that Stevia contains, so it’s better to grow your own Stevia.



Summer Limb Drop

Most people would be wary of various species of Eucalypt trees, which can drop limbs without any warning.
But what about other trees that drop limbs?
Muogumarra Nature Reserve photo M Cannon
When the Summer’s are long and hot without much rainfall, trees are stressed.
How can you tell then if a tree is so stressed that a big branch is about to fall off?
I'm talking with Glenice Buck, Consulting Arborist and Landscape Designer of

Glenice noticed plenty of fallen branches in paddocks near where she lives in Young.
Unfortunately the answer to the question how can you tell when a tree is going to drop a healthy limb, and that is, you can’t tell at all if a tree limb is going to fall.
Perfectly good branches just seem to break off.
The trees are perfectly fine [on the outside] and the inside, they seem to be structurally sound - a lot of the trees that have dropped limbs, you could not pick that they were going to fall.
You would expect that trees that are structurally unsound, are more likely to drop limbs, but as a rule, the normal eucalypts that drop limbs like the red gums and a lot of our box trees, have been dropping limbs with no sign of structural damage at all.

If you have any questions about trees for Glenice, why not write in or ask for a fact sheet.


What Went Wrong with My Worm Farm?

So you’ve now got a worm farm but you open the lid one morning and there’s a mass of short fat white wriggling things?
Too awful to contemplate so I'm not posting a picture of the maggots.
Instead, here's a photo of the nice worms that you should have in your worm farm.]

You’re of course horrified and think “How did they get there and why? "
So now let’s find out. '
I'm talking with Sophie Goulding, environment project officer with a local council.

You need to get rid of those wriggling things because they’re maggots and they're there because probably you put that dairy or meat product into the worm farm.
Perhaps you did it on purpose knowing that your chooks will really appreciate a feast of protein that those white maggoty things have plenty of.
But if you didn’t, you’re best bet is to remove the maggots and put them into a small bucket.
Leave them to fry in the sun before adding them back to the compost.
If you don't get rid of them they'll get rid of your worms and there goes your worm farm.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Food to Go and Dragon Wings

Facebook for Gardeners_Feature Interview

Facebook can definitely be for gardeners in this feature interview,
There are a lot of gardening groups around Australia but a lot of them exist in the virtual world.

Yes, they exist online and are waiting for you to join them.

Here’s a few reasons why….

I'm speaking with Chantelle Leenstra, garden designer and principal at Garden Atelier
One of the first groups Chantelle joined was called Plant Idents.  
Simple concept. 
You take a photo of a plant you don’t know the name of, and people respond with the name of the plant. 
It’s full of professional horticulturists as well as just people who love gardens but don’t do it professionally.
You can start joining other groups as well, like cactus and succulent groups, rare and unusual plant groups, and lots more. 
And then through these little discussions in these groups, you can form friendships with more and more garden lovers, and it will transform facebook for you, because won't see random rubbish any more on facebook, 

 You will be personalising facebook so it is all about things that you love.

Here are some groups for you to join.
Australian Garden Enthusiasts – because I love having a sticky beak into people’s gardens! Lots of people sharing pictures of their beautiful gardens.
All Horts – for professional horts + garden lovers. Members are focused in Britain so I get an insight into what’s going on over there.
Succulents and Cacti Collectors Australia 
Planet Begonia-all about Begonias of course.
Planet Tillandsia – all about air plants, you know that don’t need soil to grow like Spanish Moss, but there are heaps of really cool interesting Tillandsias too.

If you have a garden club that could do with some social media advice on how to get started, why not drop us a line to or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675 
You can catch up that segment by listening to the podcast


Easy Vegetables to Grow for Beginner Gardeners
Ever wondered what the 10 easiest to grow veggie are?
Today, we’re going to find out just that but first some basics.
For all the veggies recommended you will likely need around 25-30cm of soil.
If you’re not planting in your backyard, but say, a rooftop, the recommended mix is one of soil with peat moss, perlite and vermiculite.
Also, a lot of planting timing goes based on your climate zone, so be sure to look them up before you start.
One last thing, vegetables generally need a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight every day for the plants to thrive and produce well.
So what shall we start with?
Freckles lettuce

Greens to Go:
For first-time gardeners start by planting a bed of greens.
After just three weeks, your greens will be ready to harvest.
Go for spinach, arugula or rocket, mustard greens, mizuna or asian greens.
You can literally go out with a pair of scissors and snip of the leaves into a basket and two weeks later, that section you just harvested will have re-grown.
Growing your own greens also has health benefits. Lettuce can lose about half its nutrient value in just 48 hours after its been picked. 
Bok choy grows well in the spring sun, and in light shade during the summer heat. The best time to plant is early spring through midsummer and bok choy seeds should be planted eight to 10 inches apart, with about 1/4 inch of soil coverage. Once the plant reaches about three inches, you can start cutting small leaves for eating, or cut the entire head for a one-time harvest.
Kale, but you have to like Kale and not everyone does or knows what to do with it.
Leafy greens like kale are good for gardeners since they can grow all season long.
I know some people don’t get the whole kale craze, but it has the highest nutrient and protein density of any green.
photo M Cannon
If you are getting a salad and it’s coming 1,000 kilometres away, it’s basically just chlorophyll.
 Rainbow Chard is another green that's a colourful leafy addition to a garden and can reach up to 1 metre tall with bright red stems. 

Growing chard yourself is a good idea since this veggie is not known to ship well and finding it in good quality in a grocery store can be difficult.

Nasturtiums are easy:
Edible flowers like nasturium are a simple and tasty addition to a garden.
There are varieties of nasturtium that are deep dark red and there are varieties that are orange streaked with yellow. “A nasturtium tastes something like a floral version of arugula. It has this intense heat to it.

Herbs for everyone:
Every new gardener should start out with some simple herbs like basil, chives, coriander parsley, thyme and dill. They require very little space and can make all the difference in a meal.
Even if you take a little of your windowsill, that’s enough—grow some herbs.”
Herbs can be expensive to buy in the store, but they’re cheap and simple to grow.
 veggie high in antioxidants and vitamin A, and depending on the variety, it can add some color to your plate. Some bok choy varieties can have deep purple leaves.

Tomatoes for Beginners:

Cherry tomatoes photo M Cannon
Cherry Tomatoes are easy to grow, and cherry tomatoes are a good place to start. 
Regular tomatoes can be prone to pests and diseases which can be tricky for gardening newbies to navigate. 
Cherry tomatoes on the other hand are a tough and seem to be able to avoid all those problems that regular tomatoes get.  “

Cucumbers grow easily in warm times of the year and can be grown all year in tropical and sub-tropical climates.

Snap peas also grow easily. You want to be as vertical as you can when you’re growing in a small space. And peas fit that bill.

Carrots will always be a garden mainstay, and though root vegetables may seem more intimidating, new gardeners can find them worthwhile and easier than expected.
When sowing carrot seed remember to keep the soil moist. 
Seeds can take around three weeks to start to sprout.
Radish is another super easy one for beginner gardeners.
Grow them amongst your carrots as a companion plant, and they'll be gone well before the carrots are ready.



Are you still wondering whether or not to start a worm farm?
Here’s some food for thought.
Worm farming allows us to recycle our food scraps and significantly reduce the amount of organic waste sent to landfill as part of our everyday rubbish.

By reducing organic waste to landfill we can reduce the potential for landfills
to create liquid ‘leachate’ which can pollute our streams, oceans and underground water, and reduce the production of methane gas which is a powerful greenhouse gas.
So now let’s find out what to put in them.

PLAY: Worm farms part 3_8th February 2017

I'm talking with Sophie Goulding, environment project officer with a local council. 

Place your worm farm in a shady spot and always check your worm farm after heavy rain to make sure that it hasn't flooded with water and is drowning your worms.
The worms don’t create the minerals out of thin air but change their form from insoluble to soluble by digesting them.
That’s reason enough to get into worm farming.


Begonia Dragon Wings.
Red is the main colour of the flowers this week and boy does this plant stay in flower.
If you want constant colour but something different from Petunias , then go for this flowering plant that can flower almost all year round.
Let’s find out about this plant.
I'm talking with the plant panel were Karen Smith, editor of Hort Journal and Jeremy Critchley, The Green Gallery wholesale nursery owner.

For Begonias, the more light, the more brilliant the colour of the leaves.
Angel Wing Begonias will grow well under shade cloth, lattice, or in early morning/late afternoon sun.
They’ll burn if grown in direct mid-day sun.
Did you know that the flowers are edible, with a sweet tart taste?Jeremy also mentioned to NEW Begonia cultivars: Begonia "Big." and a variety of Begonia semperflorens called Doublet. 

Begonia Big  is said to take full sun, but we think it applies for northern hemisphere sun rather than the bleaching sun in Australia.
B. Doublet seems to be a cross between a bedding begonia and B. Dragon Wings and the flower colours comes in red, white, pink and rose. This one is cutting grown and quite tough, being able to withstand full sun, but will need time to adjust when you first bring it home from the nursery or garden centre.