What’s On The Show Today?Join permaculture guru Margaret Mossakowska talking about beeswax in the Good Earth segment; how best to look after those saved seeds in Vegetable Heroes; brighten up dark corners in the garden with this new groundcover in Plant of the Week.
Lastly, a flower that’s strongly linked with perfume in Talking Flowers.
THE GOOD EARTH
Beeswax is a by product of honey making.
So how can we use around the home other than for making beeswax candles?
Let’s find out I'm talking with Margaret Mossakowska from www.mosshouse.com.au
Margaret mentioned that you can make Florentine Wax tablets with pieces of melted wax in a muffin tray.
Making Florentine Wax Tablets:
You can even rub beeswax on the wooden handle of your shovel to help protect against wear and tear.
NSW amateur beekeepers associations https://www.beekeepers.asn.au/
The ABA currently has 20 clubs/branches around NSW.
There are also a number of areas where new clubs are being started.
If you need any help finding a club near you, please contact the ABA Secretary.
For listeners outside NSW there’s also a national body, http://www.honeybee.com.au/beeinfo/assn.html
If you have any questions either for me or for Margaret you can email us Realworldgardener@gmail.com 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.
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 who’se 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.
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?
- 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.
- Germination test: Take around 10 of your seeds, and place them in a row on top of a damp paper towel.
- 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.
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.
These definitely have a very short shelf life.
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. Parsely 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.
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.
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.
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.
Seeds are best sown fresh.
Even stored in a fridge or freezer, the germination percentage and vigour will reduce over time.
AND THAT WAS OUR VEGETABLE HERO SEGMENT
PLANT OF THE WEEK
Would you like something with more colour where nothing colourful grows?
Something different perhaps than native violets, dichondra or ferns.
Dry shade tends to be dark, and the main way of enhancing a dark spot is planting something with either pale or white flowers or pale or silver foliage.
Cheer up the gloomiest of corners in your garden with this suggestion.
Let’s find out how to grow it.
I'm talking with Karen Smith, editor of www.hortjournal.com.au and Jeremy Critchley owner of www.thegreengallery.com.au
Its silver, heart-shaped leaves with a green rim lighten up dreary corners, and the mauve (OK, "Mega Purple", if you must) flowers appear reliably throughout Summer.
This is a ground hugger, though, reaching a height and spread of just 30cm x 45cm
If you have any questions about Lamium mega , either for me or for the plant panel or have some information to share, why not drop us a line to firstname.lastname@example.org or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675
TIP: Don't forget to pre-chill them in a brown paper bag in the fridge crisper for 6 weeks. but away from fruits and veg.
This will allow the stems to grow nice and long
I'm talking with florist, floral therapist, and floraholic, Mercedes Sarmini of www.flowersbymercedes.com.au
Recorded live during broadcast of Real World Gardener radio show on 2rrr 88.5fm Sydney