Saturday, 29 September 2018

Perfume, Sex of Flowers and Pesky White Flies

What’s on the show today?

Clouds of pests in the Plant Doctor segment, growing an ancient grain in Vegetable Heroes. Five senses gardening today’s it’s all about smell in Design Elements and the sex of flowers in the Talking Flowers segment with Mercedes.


White Fly Control
Are you experiencing a cloud of insects fly up when you disturb some of your plants?
Maybe you’ve had that in the past and haven’t been successful in removing them from a particular plant.
Whitefly infestation
Sweet Potato Whitefly
If that’s the case, there’s things you can do about it before that cloudburst of insects descends onto your garden.
Let’s find out .
I'm talking with Steve Falcioni, Marketing Manager of

Are you surprised that there’s several species of whiteflies?
Shooing them away every time you go out into the garden isn’t successful. 
The numbers will soon build up into the hundreds even thousands.

Symptoms:What To Look For:

  • Don't confuse them with scale, because the whitefly juvenile stage can look like scale.
  • If your not 100% sure that it's whitefly larvae that you're looking at,there are other symptomes to look for.
  • Whitefly are sap suckers and will ssuck the chorophyll ( green part) out of the leaves.
  • Whitefly also produce mass of honey dew to which, sooty mould will settle.
  1. You must take action because whiteflies suck the sap out of your plants’ leaves. 
  2. Botanical oils work the best but you need to be able to spray under the leaves. 
  3. Using a pump action sprayer with help with the underneath the leaves. 
  4. Do a follow up spray 3-5 days apart to get the juvenilies. 
  5. Neem is approved overseas for this problem on edibles but only on ornamentals in Australia. 
  6. Encourage lacewings into your garden because the love whitefly as much as they love aphids. 
If you have any questions about controlling whitefly either for me or for Steve, why not email or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.


Chenopodium quinoa: Quinoa
You’ll find it in bread, muffins, breakfast cereals and health bars, drinks and plenty more, but is it just a fad or is it something worth investing time in?
This is the ancient cereal grain, Quinoa (keen-wah) which some of us probably thought, should be pronounced like it’s spelt, and that is Quinn-o-ah. 

Botanical Bite

Quinoa is Chenopodium quinoa, in the Amaranth family ( Amaranthaceae).
It’s not a grass but rather a pseudocereal botanically related to spinach, amaranth. beets, and tumbleweeds
You might know the Amaranth flower and have even grown it in your garden.
Amaranth flower
Did you know that quinoa is related to some weeds and does in fact look a bit like the weed fleabane.
Quinoa’s origins dates back 3-4,000 years to Chile and Peru.
So what happened to this grain and why did it fall into obscurity until about the 1970’s?
Blame it on Spanish explorers who burned 99% of the quinoa fields in an attempt to eradicate Incan culture.
Because the seeds have a coating which contains bitter-tasting saponins, you won’t be able to eat them straight off the plant.
Most of the grain sold commercially has been processed to remove this coating.
The leaves are also high in oxalic acid, so best not to eat too much of them.
What Does It Look Like?
Quinoa grows to about 1-2m high, has big hairy lobed leaves around a woody central stem.
The flowers are like plume on top of a stem
After flowering you’ll see the fruits which are really small seeds, either black or red, depending on the cultivar of quinoa.
Chenopodium quinoa
How To Grow
  • Quinoa is easy to grow, which shouldn’t surprise you being related to a weed.
  • Direct sow the seeds in late September to the end of October, while night temperatures are still cool.
  • Keep in mind. Quinoa seedlings aren’t frost tolerant.
  • The best soil temperature for germination is 18-24°C.
  • Anything over 320 C and it won’t germinate.
  • Keep the soil most otherwise your seeds will fail to germinate.
  • Sow the seeds about 5mm deep (that’s ¼” in the old scale).
  • That means you’re barely covering the seeds, and thin then out when they reach 10 cm in height.
  • Here’s a tip: because they look like weeds when they first emerge, show them in rows so you don’t confuse them with real weeds.
  • If you’ve got the conditions right, then the seeds should germinate in 4-10 days.
  • The spacing should be around 25-35cm (10-14″) between plants.
  • Perhaps you want to grow them for baby leaf production, then plants can be spaced closer together.
  • They’re slow growing for the first 10cm then seem to take-off after that.
  • Liquid feed them if you want to give them a kick along.
Can I Grow Them In A Pot?
Not really because they grow too tall.
When to Pick the seeds?
Wait until leaves have fallen off, leaving just the dried seedheads.
Usually that’s 90 – 120 days after sowing seeds.
Seeds can be easily stripped upwards off the stalk with a gloved hand.
Best to do this when the weather is dry.
A god idea is to bend over the seed heads into a large bucket and clip them off.
Working in a dry place, strip off the seeds and spread the seeds on screens or trays to finish drying indoors.
It can be left on trays in the hot sun or placed near an indoor heat source. 
Stir the seeds occasionally until they’re as dry as possible.
Store seed in air-tight containers in a cool dry place.
How to Eat Quinoa
Pomegranate Quinoa salad
Before cooking and eating quinoa, it must be washed.
The bitter saponin seed coating that keeps pests away is unpleasant to taste.
So, don't skimp on the washing.
Here’s some other methods for washing your quinoa seeds.
Remember saponin is very soapy so you have to wash it until the water rinses clear.
One method is to whirl the grain in a blender with cool water on the lowest speed, changing the water until it is no longer frothy.
It may take five or six water changes to do this.
Another technique is to put a loose-weave muslin bag or small pillow case of quinoa in the washing machine and run a cool-water rinse cycle.
Being a grain or really pseudo-grain, cook it up like you would rice.
Equal parts water to quinoa and steam or boil 12-15 minutes.
Why are they good for you?
Quinoa is high in protein.
Quinoa is a nutrient-dense food.
The grain is lower in sodium and is higher in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, copper, manganese, and zinc than the more common grains, including corn, barley, and barley.

Five Senses Gardening: Smell or is it Perfume?
As gardeners you’ll already now that some plants have flowers that have smell or perfume, and some plants have leaves that have smell or perfume.
But if you want a really perfumed garden, you might want to think about including plants in the garden that you don’t necessarily need to crush, rub or touch to inhale their sweet perfume.
What does that mean you should do?
Let’s find out.
Magnolia Champaca
I'm talking with Chris Poulton, Sydney Convenor for the Australian Institute of Horticulture and an experienced horticultural lecturer and consultant.

Some suggestions for introducing more perfume into the garden that will pervade the whole garden.
  • Sweet Olive, (Osmanthus fragrans), 
  • Honeysuckle, 
  • Jasmines, 
  • Angel Trumpets, 
  • Michelia varieties, (now included in the Magnolia family) like Port Wine Magnolia; Magnolia Chamopaca, and many others.
All of these plants just throw their scent out into the garden without you having to lift a finger.
If you have any questions about five senses gardening or have a suggestion either for me or for Chris why not write in or email me at  


Sex of Flowers
Complete Flowers: Incomplete Flowers
Bisexual: Unisexual
Plants can have complete flowers or they can have flowers with only male or only female parts.

Complete flowers, also known as hermaphrodite, or bisexual flowers have all the reproductive parts: the Stamens and Pistil ( stigma, style and ovary) inside the flower.

Examples of complete flowers, are tomato flowers ( self-pollinating) Hibiscus ( pictured), roses, tulips, passion flowers. 
  • The pollinator visits the flower and brushes past the stamens. 
  • When the pollinator visits the next flower, the pollen is rubbed onto the sticky stigma. 
  • If it's the right type of pollen ( fits the opening) then the flower will be pollinated resulting in some sort of fruit.
Flowers which only have male or female or called Unisexual .
Some examples are watermelon, cucumber, zucchini, pumpkin,white mulberry,coconut flowers,and birch.
For fruits to occur, pollinators must visit the male flower first then transfer pollen onto the female flower. 
Can be problematic sometimes when only male flowers appear on some cucurbits for the first few weeks.

I'm talking  with Floral Therapist, Mercedes Sarmini.from
Recorded live during the broadcast of Real World Gardener show on Wednesday 5pm at 2RRR 88.5 fm studios in Sydney.

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