THE GOOD EARTH
|Lovely cabbages Photo: Margaret Mossakowska|
So what’s needed to grow the best brassicas? Let’s find out more.
TIPS: Don't overdo high nitrogen fertilisers for the heading brassicas such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflowers. That means blood 'n' bone, and chook poo pellets.
- Be careful what you use to control pests on your brassicas, so that you don’t kill ladybird, hoverfly and lacewing larvae which are all beneficial insects.
- Margaret's tip is to use upturned wire baskets that you may have seen in offices from days gone by.
- These may be obtained from recycle stores or from the $2 shop.
- When the cabbages or other brassicas have outgrown these baskets, you can then cover them with exclusion netting.
|Exclusion netting photo: Margaret Mossakowska www.mosshouse.com.au|
- Peapods are botanically a fruit, since they contain seeds developed from the ovary of a (pea) flower.
- But as always, cooks don’t stick to Science and peas are considered to be a vegetable in cooking.
- Did you know that both dwarf and field peas were part of the cargo of the First Fleet to Australia in 1788 and, on arrival at Sydney Cove, each convict and marine was given a weekly ration of three pints of ‘pease’.By 1802 Peas were growing in Port Jackson and in Parramatta gardens.
- The best time to sow Peas, if you are living on the East Coast is from April until September;
- In arid climates from April until August.
- In sub-tropical districts, from April and until July and for cool zones, late winter until October. On the Tablelands they should be sown after the last frosts.
- Peas are best planted at soil temperatures between 8°C and 24°C.
- Sow the seeds directly into the soil 15mm to 20mm deep (knuckle deep) and 75mm to 100mm apart . Water in well and don't let them dry out.
- I like to soak my Pea seeds overnight because this gives a better strike rate.
- Some gardeners prefer to sow their seeds into tubs/punnets so they can keep a closer eye on them especially if there is a possibility of a frost.
- Once they have their second crop of leaves and no more frost, they can be transplanted out in the garden.
- Have you ever found that Peas don’t seem to grow well near Onions, Chives, Garlic?
- Peas don’t like a lot of mulch or manure especially up against the stalk/stem, or being over-watered as they tend to rot off at the base of the stem.
- Don’t over-feed young plants or they’ll grow lanky and you won’t get too many pea pods.
- Wait until they’ve started flowering and then give them a good feed of liquid fertilizer at least once a fortnight.
- I prefer to feed my plants with liquid fertilisers in winter because in the cold weather, plants can use liquid fertilisers, easier and faster than the granular type.
- TIP: Water your Peas in the mornings to avoid mildew.
- Don’t overhead water late in the afternoon.
- If you’re bothered with snails and slugs, a good idea is to place a bottomless container around the young seedlings to stop the pests, or in my case the dragon lizard, from cutting/biting the tops off the new shoots; this will also give the new plants some protection from the wind.
- Dwarf Peas only grow about 300mm to 600mm high but need some support.
- You can use pretty much anything from wire/mesh, string and bamboo.
- The support or trellis should be facing towards the midday sun, (that’s north).
- Climbing Peas grow to about 2m and crop for quite a long time.
- If you pick them regularly, your pea plants will grow like mad and you’ll get a bigger crop.
- After the Peas have stopped producing the trellis can also be used for growing cucumbers, pumpkins or tomatoes.
- Before you start ripping the pea vines off the trellis cut the stems off at ground level; leave the roots in the ground as pea roots produce nitrogen nodules.
- These roots will break down and give your next seedlings a good kick start.
What to plant in those parts of Australia which have no rain for months, and then never ending rain in others?
What if they don’t get rain for 12 months like in Madagascar?
You need plants that can store water but look good.
What is on offer for the hot dry sub-tropics. Let’s find out.
Epiphyllum oxypetalum_Queen of the Night
- Cussonia paniculata-the Mountain Cabbage tree from Sth Africa
- Brachychiton bidwillii-exceeds 10m over a long time.
- Brachychiton rupestris-Qld Bottle tree
- Pachypodoium geayi or P lamerei -similar white flowers to Frangipani
- Gardenia aubreyi-white flower- a small gardenia like tree
- Adenium obesum-the Desert Rose- with a swollen base or caudex and fleuro coloured flowers.
- Zamiocalcus zamiifolia-ZZ plant, no water in winter for semi-shade.
- Ephipyllum oxypetalum-queen of the night.
- E. anguliger and Epiphyllum 'Curly Sue' Guatemalense Monstrose.
PLANT OF THE WEEK
Some are called butterfly bush because they attract butterflies in that they have heaps of nectar and a landing pad for the butterflies to rest on while they’re having a drink.
Others are called butterfly bush because the flowers look like little butterflies.
But first, let’s find out about this plant.
I'm talking with the plant panel: Karen Smith, editor of Hort Journal www.hortjournal.com.au and Jeremy Critchley, The Green Gallery wholesale nursery owner. www.thegreengallery.com.au
- Clerodendron thomsonii, the white flowered climber,
- Clerodendron schmidtii _white flowered shrub
- Clerodendron ugandense-the blue flowered shrub