Saturday, 26 March 2011

Call Robbie?

Real World Gardener today (23rd March 2011) focuses on Bandicoots, an alien vegetable Kohlrabi, and a crazy creeper from Rangoon.:
Wildlife in Focus: Listen here to Kurtis Lindsay's exploits with the native Bandicoot.
Available to 31st April 2011
Vegetable Hero: Kohlrabi or Call robbie? Brassica olerace gongylodes, botanically speaking.  The seeds are availble at these sites   would suit community gardens because they’re offering specials on bulk purchases. Two varieties, Early Vienna White and Purple Globe from, and   
 Kohlrabi is a good choice for beginner gardeners because it’s fast and easy to grow of all the Brassicaceae family.Your kids will love kohlrabi because of it’s funny appearance. Sort of like little aliens from other space. The little round body with little "legs" coming out of the ground.     Kohlrabi grows well with Beetroot because they have the same water requirements. You can also fit Kohlrabi in between lettuce, onion and radicchio, because it sits above the ground and doesn’t take up as much room as cabbages and the like.  You can direct seed Kohlrabi or start them in punnets or seed trays because they don’t mind being transplanted. Sow the seeds about 1 cm deep January to March (temperate climates): Kohlrabi can be rather closely spaced (or interplanted) and is out of the garden in 60 days (2 ½ months)or so, leaving time to plant something else. Select small kohlrabi no larger than 2 1/2"or 6cm in diameter, with the greens still attached. The greens should be deep green all over with no yellowing.
Kohlrabi keeps up to 1 month in the fridge.
Design Elements: Creating a vegetable border. Lesley and Marianne (me) talk about what veggies suit a garden border. Listen here until April 31st.
Plant of the Week: Quisqualis indica or Rangoon Creeper.
From southern Asia the Rangoon creeper is a tender fast growing tvining plant. The leaves are simple. Leaves are opposite, elliptical with a pointed tip and a rounded base from 7 to 15 centimeters. It looks fantastic paired with another subtropical/tropical climber called Herald’s Trumpet or Beaumontia grandiflora. The very large white trumpet flowers contrast so well with the smaller but bigger bunches or clusters of white to dark red flowers. On seeing the combination you’re immediately inspired to want them for yourself. The pair which are located in the Sydney Botanic gardens near the Music Conservatorium.
The flower's fragrance is sometimes called fruity, or even like toasted coconut.
The growth rate is generally fast, and the plant does not need lots of fertilizer. Quisqualis does like medium to bright light. Under good conditions it will be necessary to prune the plant to keep it in under control.  When a leaf drops but the petiole remains this petiole stiffens, grows stronger, and becomes a very effective climbing hook. While not sharp, like a cactus thorn, these can make pruning a bit tedious, and can draw blood.
What's On: Earth Hour.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Talking Turkey, Brush Turkey That Is!

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney Radio
Wildlife in Focus: Kurtis Lindsay, Honours Biology student at Macquarie University, talks about Alectura lathami, or Brush Turkey. Here the podcast, available until 13th April 2011.

Vegetable Hero: What is Parsnip? Pastinaca sativa, a member of the Apiaceae family-same as carrots, Parsley and Celeriac. For temperate areas around Australia, March is the last month you can sow the seeds of parsnip. Best planted at soil temperatures between 6°C and 21°C. Best grown in deep sandy, loamy soil. After planting keep seeds moist - can cover with a moist newspaper or mulch - until seeds germinate. Parsnips need to be started from seed. They resent being transplanted even more than Coriander. They just won’t grow. Fresh seed is a major requirement because the viability of Parsnip is about 12 months.  Tip: Soak the seeds overnight in a shallow saucer. There’s no need to drown them.  Keep your parsnip seedlings growing strongly with regular watering and applications of liquid seaweed, liquid manure or compost tea. Harvest in 17-20 weeks, that’s 4-5 months.

Design Elements: Playing With Plants. Lesley Simpson, Garden Designer talks about stage 6 of your garden design for a border. Whatever plants you have chosen, ornamental or herb or vegetable, today's the day to decide how to plant them. Listen hear to the podcast, available until April 13th 2011.

Plant of the Week: Melastoma affine, or Native Lasiandra.
Native lassiandra. This Australian plant is a brittle shrub to 2 m, having dark green leaves to about 10 cm with a few prominent veins. Flowers are large, 7 cm, with usually 5 mauve petals. These are followed by fruits which split open to reveal red to purple flesh with numerous small seeds. It is supposed to be edible and to make your tongue go purple! I have not found them to be tasty, but edible. The pollen of the flowers is in deep pores of the stamens and need the help of Australian native bees that are able to 'buzz' pollinate.  

Prune often to make this shrub compact. The leaves look very similar to other Tibouchinas. This plant is a fast grower and will tolerate most soils. Some watering is needed in very dry conditions. Grows best in warm temperate areas. For all other areas, a microclimate is recommended.
What's On:On March 19th Willoughby Council is running a workshop called Habitat Gardens from 9am to noon. This practical workshop looks at local native animals and explores different ways to provide or improve habitat for them in your backyard. It will include native plant species selection, planting strategies, and other natural elements that are important for habitat including simple structures you can build. RSVP by 11 March to Liz Powell at Willoughby Council on 9777 7871.Thursday 19th March the City of Ryde has a free guided walk,  People and Plants of the Lane Cove River. Cost: Free
Bookings: essential on 9952 8222. For more walks