Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Apples, Queen of Bulbs and Why Purple Veggies?

What affects apples, even those ballerina ones growing in pots in the Plant Doctor segment; growing purple veggies in vegetable heroes, why you need a green wall in Design Elements  and the queen of bulbs, in Plant of the Week.


Black Spot on Apples; Apple Scab
We all love to eat perfect apples but if you grow apple trees, then watch out for this.
If you’ve ever grown roses you would’ve heard about the fungal disease called black spot that starts of as black blotches on the leaves.
The spots become bigger, in some cases joining up, the leaves turn yellow, and then drop off.
Sound familiar?
Well you’ll be surprised to learn that there is another type of black spot, don’t worry, it’s not on roses, but it appears on apple trees.
In fact this disease is a serious problem for apple orchardists.
Let’s find out more.. 
I'm talking with Steve Falcioni, General Manager of

Black spot on apples looks different than black spot on roses because there isn’t the typical yellowing of the leaves.
The spots are also more irregular than blackspot on roses.
The problem with this fungal disease is that it also spreads to the apples, especially in humid weather.
Spotting on fruit develops a corky layer which resembles a scab. If this happens on young fruit it can also cause cracking. On mature fruit it's still a problem with the appearance of corky scabs on the surface, affecting the re-sale value.
Apple Scab
One thing to note, if your tree has had it in the past, be a good neighbour and spray your plants to prevent further spread because it’s a major problem for orchadists.

If you have any questions apple scab or apple black spot. or have some information to share, drop us a line to or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675 and I’ll send you a packet of seeds.



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 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,

Always steam your vegetables , not boil them.
The steaming process preserves the vitamins and minerals, rather than leaching out a portion into the water as in the boiling method.


Floriade Venlo photo M Cannon
Green Walls
You may not have thought of the idea of having a green wall in your garden.
You might’ve thought that they were really expensive.

Some facts first about green walls.
Green walls can provide:
• aesthetic improvements
• protect the building they are attached to because they shield the the building or fence from the sun.
• reduce building heating and cooling costs due to increased insulation
• increased property value
• a place to grow food
• rain water run-off management and water filtering/pollution reduction
• habitat creation and increased biodiversity
• cooling effect
• cleaner air, with less pollutants

But did you also know that green walls suit any size garden, even if you have a large garden?
How do you achieve this?

Let’s find out? I'm talking with Peter Nixon from Paradisus garden design.
You can make your own green wall using recycled material or you can buy ready made ones from the big box stores that have garden supplies.
They’re fine too.
If you have any questions about green walls, why not contact Peter or email us here at


Nerines; Guernsey Lily (Nerine bowdenii)

Some garden writers describe this next plant as one of the most exotic of bulbs for the Autumn garden.
Although it’s a bulb, it looks nothing like the flowers of regular common bulbs such as daffodils or tulips.
Instead in belongs in the Amaryllis family, which includes agapanthus and alstroemeria. 
Let’s find out more… 
I'm talking with the plant panel :Karen Smith, editor of Hort Journal and Jeremy Critchley, The Green Gallery wholesale nursery owner. 

 Did you know that exposure to cold temperatures can cause the flower heads to turn slightly blue?
If you like planting bulbs that you can set and forget, then Nerines are your thing.
Plant them with Cyclamens and Colchicums which are lower, as the stems of Nerine flowers are very tall, between 30 – 50 cms.

What Nerines Like
Nerines like a position in sun or part-shade.
Plant them in light, gritty, well-drained soil, with the neck of the bulb exposed.
Hardy to moderate frosts, even down to -15 C.
In cold areas, growing in pots is another option.
Water well during the growth period but keep dry when dormant.

Nerine varieties & flowering time:
Bowdenii: A softer, clear pink. Excellent colour for the Autumn garden. (Flowers April) Most frost tolerant. Can withstand -150 C
Gold `Nerine` (Which is actually a very closely related Lycoris): Flowers of golden, sunshine yellow. This variety is excellent for growing in warmer climates. 
In cool/cold climates, this variety likes a nice warm & sunny spot. Flowers Feb-March.
Fothergill Major: Brilliant tangerine with a golden sheen to each petal as if dusted with gold. Flowers Autumn (Feb-March)
Fothergill Minor: Brilliant florescent orange-red blooms that appear in March-April.
Note: In very cold climates (eg: Tasmania) plant the bulbs in a warm spot.. This is a new dwarf variety to only approximately 20cm- 25cm tall.
Salmonia: Salmon pink blooms. The many frilly petals (up to 30) make beautifully shaped umbels. Flowers April.
White: (Alba) Their Winter blooms appear whiter-than-white against the dull colours of Autumn. Flowers Autumn. (May)
Winter Cheer: The strong pink of these flowers which appear in in Winter do indeed add `Winter cheer` to the garden. Flowers June

No comments:

Post a comment