Saturday, 12 May 2018

Funky Fungi,, Garlicky Garlic and Gorgeous Gardenias

What’s On The Show Today?

Not just ordinary mushrooms but wild mushrooms on the Good Earth segment. Find out why you need to grow your own garlic in Vegetable Heroes, and plants the scramble as well as climb in design elements; Lastly, one of the most aromatic of flowers in Talking Flowers.


Preserving, Pickling, and Drying Wild Picked Mushrooms
If you want to pick wild mushrooms, then you only have one opportunity which is this Autumn.
Where do you go? Any State Pine Forest as they are open to the public.
Take a guide with you if your are new to wild picking mushrooms.
Saffron Milk Caps
 So what do you do with them if you pick 5 kg of mushrooms to take home? 
Let’s find out about this wonderful problem.
I'm talking with Margaret Mossakowska of

If you’re going wild picking, pick the ones with gills underneath, Saffron Milk Caps or ones with sponge underneath, which are the Slippery Jack. 
Slippery Jack Mushrooms
If you’re not sure, go with an experienced guide, like Margaret before you go foraging.
Slippery Jacks by the way taste similar to Porcini mushrooms.
Remember Margaret’s tip: microwave ovens don’t dry mushrooms.
Pickling mixture can be the same as for cucumbers. If you have any questions either for me or Margaret, you can email us or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.


Growing Your Own Garlic
Garlic-Allium sativum comes from the Onion family. Alliaceae

You might have guessed that in medieval times, hanging Garlic outside your door warded off vampires.
Not exactly in the same league as vampires but did you know that eating garlic helps keeps mosquitos away?
Growing Your Own Garlic
There’s even a fact sheet from the DPI about growing garlic
There’s also a website devoted entirely to garlic growing in Australia.
I'm talking with Dr Patrice Newell, Manager of Elmswood Farm in the Upper Hunter Valley.

 Dr Newell's farm has diversified into not only growing garlic commercially but also olives, and honey.
Best Tip: Plant out your garlic bulbs before they have sprouted so that the bulb can form roots before the vegetative growth.
However, if your little bulbs have already sprouted, don't throw them away, they will still grow for you. 

Types of Garlic to Grow

Like onions, there are early, mid season and late varieties available.

There are softneck and hardneck varieties.
  • Softnecks are the most common garlics grown, and are the ones found in supermarkets. 
  • Softneck garlic usually doesn’t have a flowerhead and have a longer shelf life (up to 9 months).There’s one called “Italian White” that’s available online. 
  • Monaro purple, and Rocambole- are Hardnecks variety and these do have flowerheads like onions, and usually bigger cloves. 
  • They don’t have as good a shelf life as the softnecks and prefer cooler winters. 
  • Rocamboles have excellent flavour, glamorous red-purple skins and easily peeled, with a single circle of 6-12 plump cloves. 
There’s also the extra large garlic called Elephant or Giant Russian garlic and has a milder flavour but is great for roasting.

This is actually a type of leek that you can get these from some markets that are around or from an online bulb company.
Remember most garlic in supermarkets comes from China and has been sprayed with Methyl Bromide in quarantine.
When to grow
Sow direct in garden where they are to grow.
Garlic grows best when the temperature is between 13º to 24ºC.
That’s why Garlic is traditionally planted in cold weather and harvested in summer ("plant on the shortest day, harvest on the longest").
You can plant Garlic blubs now in all districts of Australia, including cool temperate.
For cool districts, you’re right on the edge of when you can plant, so don’t delay, plant today.


Beautiful and Useful Scrambler Shrubs
When is a shrub not a shrub?

When it’s a climber shrub or is there such a thing?
You may have even heard of scrambling climbers such as Bougainvillea.
These are climbing plants that have much thicker stems and sort of support themselves partially, in fact I think of them as leaning against a support rather than twining, weaving or twisting into one.
Let’s find out about them.
I'm talking with Peter Nixon Garden Designer and Director of Paradisus Garden Design.

Peter mentioned Solandra longiflora, which has thick stems but a manageable habit.
Jasminum multipartitum or Jasminum nitidum for a shadier spot. 

There are plenty of scrambling climbers or climber shrubs in the rose family also as well as Pandorea jasminoides, or Bower vine, Hibbertia scandens sometimes called guinea or snake vine. 
Pandorea Jasminoides
If you have a question either for me or Peter, why not drop us a line to or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675


Gardenia is named in honour of Scottish born Alexander Garden (1730-1791) who moved to Charleston, South Carolina in the 1750’s and was a botanist, zoologist, and physician,
The Gardenia is a group that is made up of 142 species.
The most popular cultivated Gardenia species is Gardenia Jasminoides (also called Gardenia Augusta, Gardenia Grandiflora, Gardenia Schlechteri or Gardenia Florida), commonly known as Common Gardenia .

These are great flowering plants and they are actually going to be found mainly in tropical and subtropical climates.
The gardenia is actually an evergreen shrub, and is one of the most aromatic of garden flowers. The flowers are a waxy creamy white that contrasts with the dark green glossy leaves.
They love heat and are native to the tropical and sub-tropical regions of Africa, southern Asia, Australasia and Oceania.

BUT, they’re not the easiest shrubs to grow with “ my gardenia has yellow leaves” being one of the most asked questions on gardening talkback radio.
They grow best in frost free areas north of Sydney and Perth but will grow in Adelaide and Melbourne in a warm spot. 

I'm talking with Mercedes Sarmini of

Recorded live during broadcast of Real World Gardener radio program in Sydney. Unfortunately only the first two minutes came out.

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