Saturday, 26 May 2018

Sweet Peas and All Things Purple

What’s On The Show Today?

What to grow in tight spaces part 1 in the Backyard Biodynamic segment, purple veggies, but why? in. Vegetable Heroes, and plants that suppress weeds in Design Elements, plus the sweetest of flowers in Talking Flowers.


Gardening in Tight Spaces.
More and more gardeners across Australia have downsized and only have only a very small patch of dirt, or just a balcony.
You might only have a window ledge or a couple of steps but you still want some sort of garden.
Pity that apartments weren’t designed to follow the sun, can you imagine if they did?
You might have a beautiful sunny balcony in warm weather but it's dark, and cold in the cooler months. The reverse is true of course.
So what can the hungry gardener do to grow a few plants on their balcony?
Let’s find out. I'm talking with Diane Watkin, Principle founder and member of Bioydnamics Sydney.

Diane shifts her pots from one side of the garden to the other every 6 months so she can catch 4-5 hours of sunlight to grow her herbs and veggies in pots.

It’s up to you really as to whether or not you choose plastic pots, some garden centres do accept plastic pots, but I’m not sure what they do with them. 
To keep the heat off your terracotta pots, before planting them up, soak them in water for about twenty minutes.
After potting, wrap an old tea towel or piece of hessian that you have wetted.
Spray the outer material every day when it has dried to keep up the moisture.

Diane has a particular recipe for filling garden pots, however, this may not be feasible, and too heavy for your particular situation. 

Remember, find out the weight bearing load of your balcony before you start filling tip with terracotta pots and garden soil. 

If you have any questions either for me or Diane you can email us or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.


Purple Vegetables are Go!

Today it’s about growing purple veggies.
What veggie can you think of that’s purple?
Did you say eggplants and then were a bit stumped? 

  • What about purple carrots and beetroot?
  • Ok beetroot is sort of a reddish purple, but it can be considered purple, I’ll tell you why in a minute.
  • There’s also purple cauliflower and purple sweet potato not to mention purple chilli peppers.
  • Let’s not forget purple podded peas and purple king beans, red/purple mizuna, red Russian Kale, Red/purple cabbages. Need I go on?
  • So there are a few purple veggies out there.

Why should we grow purple veggies and why are they purple in the first place?
They’re purple is because purple vegetables contain pigments called anthocyanins, the same antioxidants found in red wine.
Think blueberries that are marketed as a superfood.
They also contain other health-promoting pigments such as betacyanins and carotenes.
Those anthocyanins and other pigments are good for our health.
Did you know though that anthocyanins are not the only cause of red colour in fruit and vegetables.
Betacyanins, members of the betalain family, are distinct from anthocyanins and the two pigments are not found in the same plants together.
Betacyanins also have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which contribute to health.
Here are some growing information for some of these purple veggies.

Purple cauliflower
In Arid zones, plant direct into the garden from April until June.

In cool temperate and temperate zones, February was the recommended time to sow seeds but you can sow seedlings until the end of May.
If your district is sub-tropical, transplant seedlings until the end of June also.
Purple caulie is a lovely coloured vegetable that contains all of the health properties of white cauliflower with the added bonus of extra anthocyanin (that lovely antioxidant that's so great for you!).
Just don't be surprised when it turns green once cooked. You can use purple cauliflower in any recipe that calls for cauliflower.

Purple Cabbage.
To sow cabbage, in temperate, sub-tropical and arid districts, March until June is the best time, but temperate and sub tropical districts can have another go from August until November,
In cool temperate areas March until May is best then again in August.
Purple cabbages are not only lovely in colour, but extra good for you with more than double the amount polyphenols than green cabbage.
Purple Vegetables: Shutterstock
Purple Carrots.
Purple carrots can grow year round in subtropical and arid climates.
In Temperate zones, you have from September through to May,.
In Cool temperate districts, September through to February, and in the tropics you can grow carrots from April to June.
Different-coloured carrots carry different health properties. The purple carrot specifically has 28 percent more of the antioxidant anthocyanin than orange carrots.

Eggplant seeds/seedlings can be planted in spring to autumn in tropical areas, spring to early summer in temperate zones and during late spring in cool climates.
This pretty, purple-skinned vegetable also contains some of the most potent antioxidants: phytonutrients found in the skin.
Eggplant is also a good source of iron, calcium and a host of other vitamins.

Purple Potatoes.
Purple Potatoes can be planted August to October, in temperate and sub-tropical districts.
Arid areas August until December is your best time.
In cool temperate zones, September through to January.

These potatoes add more than four times the antioxidants in comparison to regular potatoes, according to reasearch, and score as high as kale and Brussels sprouts in antioxidants.
Purple potatoes were once considered the "food of the gods,

Why are they good for you?
Did I mention the anthocyanins? Of course.
Why grow them? Let's take a look at Cabbages: contain 90% water and are really low in kilojoules.
Also high in vitamin C, you need only eat 100g to get your daily requirement.
They also have dietary fibre, folate, potassium and help balance fluids when you’ve eaten too much sodium-salty foods. 



Plants That Suppress Weeds

We all lead busy lives and want a garden that not so much low maintenance, after all I’m not sure that exists, but want a garden that doesn’t need so much work.
Cyanotis somaliensis
Garden designer Peter Nixon suggests it’s all in the choice of our plants, but our heart often rules over our head and we end up buying plants that need plenty of maintenance.
So what can we do to make gardening tasks easier?
I'm talking withPeter Nixon Garden Designer and Director of Paradisus Garden Design.
Let’s find out.

Peter mentioned Diclipetera suberecta
Dicliptera sub-erecta syn. sericea – with sage green leaves and orange trumpet flowers;this plant takes sun or shade so it can grow in the hot west or the southern side of the house.
Cyanotis somaliensis-you may have heard it called furry kittens or pussy ears.
Polia cristata - Commelina relative

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


Lathyrus odorota: Sweet Pea: 
Queen of annuals: Sweet pea's history can be traced back to 17th century Italy, when a Sicilian monk, Franciscus Cupani, sent its seeds to England. 

Sweet peas come in over 250 varieties. Annual varieties prefer full sun, regular watering and soil with plenty of humus.
Perennial sweet peas survive in average soils with moderate watering.
Sweet peas are wonderfully fragrant and were originally grown in the fields of Sicily.
Most types grow from 1-5' tall, though some may reach 2m+
Sweet peas are climbing plants that do well on supporting structures.

Growing Sweet PeasT
here are few pests or problems associated with sweet peas, but they are sensitive to too much heat. According to superstition, seeds sown before sunrise on Saint Patrick's day will have larger and more fragrant blossoms. Unlike their edible relatives, sweet peas can be toxic in large quantities.

I'm talking with florist Mercedes Sarmini of 

Recorded live during radio broadcast of Real World Gardener show on 2rrr  88.5 fm in Sydney

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