THE GOOD EARTH
Winter time is when woodfires are burning in homes for warmth in all but tropical areas around the country.
Or perhaps you’ve been barbecuing or smoking some produce for the dinner table, and have some woodash?
- So what do you do with the leftover woodash and bits of charcoal?
- Would you be thinking that the woodash and charcoal from the fire can or cannot be used in the garden?
- Let’s find out .
- I'm talking with Margaret Mossakowska of www.mosshouse.com.au
It turns out the woodash and charcoal are great amendments for your soil in the garden.
Charcoal are the black bits left over when the fire has died down. Essentially, it's the wood that hasn't been fully combusted.
Woodash is alkaline, so it’s great for those plants, such as from the onion family but not for Azaleas, Camellias, Rhododendrons and other acid loving plants.
Charcoal, on the other hand, is great for increasing the water holding capacity of your soil, and potting mix, plus it’s a home for microbes and fungi.
- You can put your crushed charcoal in the worm farm, but not too much, otherwise the worms will be dessicated.
If you have any questions for me or for Margaret, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or you can write in to 2RRR PO Box 644, Gladesville NSW
- The Latin name Brassica oleracea variety acephala, the last term meaning "without a head.
- Another interesting fact is that in nineteenth
century Scotland kail was used as a generic term for 'dinner' and all kitchens
featured a kail-pot for cooking.
- Some gardeners would say that it’s mainly used for show in the garden, displacing other green decorations, thanks to the plant’s wilt resistance.
- Flowering kale, is closely related plant, but smaller in size with tight rosettes on the ground rather than upright, leafy growth.
- I’ve seen it used as a bedding plant.Yes you can eat those too!
- By the way, Kale doesn’t form a central head but rather grows upwards like a palm tree.
- Leaves are narrow, crinkled, dark green, highly nutritious & will continue to grow even when covered with snow.
- Kale can be planted all year round in most districts but some people prefer to avoid the cabbage white butterfly and plant it in Autumn.
- For the best tasting Kale though, you should aim to plant kale so that it matures and is ready to pick while the weather is still cold.
- This means that in northern Australian locations, you could plant in early July whereas in southern regions, you could plant as late as September.
- Also it’s apparently winter hardy and its flavour is improved by frost.
- How does that work? Well a frost or even several frosts, will help break down starches into sugars making the Kale a whole lot sweeter.
- The leaves take on a strong flavour if stored longer than two weeks in the fridge, so picking the leaves only as you need them.
- By stripping the lower leaves from the base of the plant you will encourage new growth and get a much longer harvest.
- TIP: Tread around the base of the stem every so often to prevent the larger varieties from toppling over.
- During the winter months, apply liquid fertiliser from your worm farm or you can buy fish emulsion which is great too!
- Kale – Is rarely bothered by the dreaded banes of the brassica family like snails and slugs so that’s a plus.
- Kale is a cool weather crop and takes a full two months to reach harvest.
- Eat the young leaves chopped in salads, grind the old leaves for juice or feed to chooks.
- Tip: If you have chooks they prefer kale leaves to anything else!
|Vates Blue Kale|
|Red Russian Kale|
The biggest issue for new gardeners, is “how much, and how often do I water?”
Almost like asking how long is a piece of string?
This and other vexing questions are answered.
Let’s find out what needs doing.
PLAY:Grow It Part 1_24th July 2019
Not so much digging now, other than weeding but looking after your plant because, after all, it’s not plastic.
|photo Glenice Buck|
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PLANT OF THE WEEKAlbany Woolly Bush : Adenanthos sericeus
Are you a fan of Western Australian plants?
They grow so many wildflowers, banksias, and Eucalypts with huge inflorescences or inflo’s as those in the now like to call them.
But how do they do in other parts of Australia, particularly if they’re grey and fluffy and have been used mostly as a Christmas tree?
I'm talking with Karen Smith, editor of Hort Journal www.hortjournal.com.au and Jeremy Critchley, The Green Gallery wholesale nursery owner. www.thegreengallery.com.au
Let’s find out …
The greyness and upright growth of the Albany woolly bush makes it look sort of snow covered making it the perfect choice if you want a real Australian Christmas tree.
- If you want to grow this well, choose a rocky sandy spot in your garden because that’s the kind of environment it comes from.
- Otherwise grow it in a pot