Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Black Gold Good 4 The Soil

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network.
The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s edition.
Compost Capers: all about different types of composting. Today we continue with worm farms and why are worms so good for the soil? What do they actually do? How do they actually eat those food scraps if they haven’t got any teeth? Listen here to Cameron Little, Director of talk about this topic.
Vegetable Heroes:Pass the Peas Please. Peapods are botanically a fruit, since they contain seeds developed from the ovary of a (pea) flower. However, peas are considered to be a vegetable in cooking. Peas belong to the Fabaceae family, which means they fix Nitrogen from the air into their roots.
The best time to sow Peas, if you are living on the East Coast is from April until September from April until august in arid climates, from April and until July in sub-tropical districts and for cool zones, late winter until October. On the Tablelands they should be sown after the last frosts.
Best planted at soil temperatures between 8°C and 24°C.
Sow the seeds directly into the soil 15mm to 20mm deep (1'' or knuckle deep) . Water in well and don't let them dry out.
I like to soak my Pea seeds over night. This helps achieve a better strike.
Some gardeners prefer to sow their seeds into tubs/punnets so they can keep a closer eye on them especially if there is a possible of a frost, once they have their second crop of leaves and no more frost, they can be transplanted out in the garden.
TIP: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.
Wait until they have started flowering and then give them a good feed of liquid fertilizer at least once a fortnight.
Liquid fertilizerS you will get a better result in a shorter time.
By watering Peas in the mornings will help to avoid mildew. Don’t overhead water late in the afternoon. If you do have mildew, try spraying with 1 part whole MILK tp 9 parts water.
Design Elements:       Today the problems “a couple of awkwardly shaped areas that the owners don’t know how tom make look attractive. Somewhere where the grass won’t grow properly? so pencils at the ready....!
Plant of the Week:Proteas, Protea nerifolia.
Proteas can grow in all parts of Australia but need great drainage, so if you’ve got clay soil, forget it. All Proteas love a sandy loam or open soil.    Do test your soil pH as most Proteas need acidic soil with a pH below 6.
Proteas need full sun with good air movement. Because they keel over with  humidity. The more sun they more flowers for all Proteas. Full sun by the way, means around 4-6 hours of sunlight and not dappled sunlight.
A few varieties will grow and flower in semi-shade-P. Nerifolia Cream Mink, P repens Honeyglow, P.magnifica x pudens Juliet,P. Frosted Fire and P. Pink Ice.
P. Pink Ice is the one you most see in floral displays.
Mulch your Proteas but only use a natural mulch such as bark or straw or leaves.
TIP:Don’t disturb the plants roots when weeding.
Proteas are pretty tough once they're established.
Water at least twice a week in the first summer, - daily when it's really hot. You can gradually reduce this as the plant becomes established.
TIP:Remember Sabina's litmus test for all plants, 2 seasons for establishment.
Proteas can be grown in tubs and containers but will need watering every day.     
Generally it is not necessary to feed Proteas planted in the garden unless your conditions are extremely severe, like in a sand belt. 
Proteas grown in tubs will need feeding with controlled release fertiliser, a low phosphorus variety.
Proteas become untidy looking if you don’t at least prune off the flowers when they’ve finished. Removing flowering stems helps keep the bush compact and looking great. 
With young bushes tip prune in spring and late summer. With mature plants prune immediately after flowering, usually leaving 10cm of healthy stem.
Varieties- King Pink Protea cynaroides. The King Protea is one of the most popular varieties, having one of the largest flower heads in the protea family. Nana

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Permaculture Made Easy and Solve Your Garden Design Problems

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network.
The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s edition.
The Good Earth:There’s no reason that an ornamental garden can’t have permaculture principles in it already? But generally permaculture includes being self-supporting, maybe not entirely, but  find out more how to start your garden with Tafe teacher and Director of Permaculture Sydney Institute, Penny Pyet.

Vegetable Heroes:   Angelica or Angelica archangelica.
   Although angelica is a hardy biennial herb-growing the first year and flowering the second-it will continue to live for several more years if you clip off the flower stems before they start flowering. 
 The bright green, feathery leaves look tropical and are large, becoming about 0.7-1m long, and are divided into 3 leaflets with toothed edges. Greenish white lightly scented flowers that hang in umbrella like clusters at the ends of the stalks which are 1-1.5m tall, hollow, and stiff. so it's not really a plant for all but the largest of pots. The roots are a yellowish-brown to a reddy-brown colour.
How to grow it-Angelica likes deep moist, rich soil that is slightly acid, growing best in semi-shade. As usual add home-made compost when first growing this plant.
So why grow this herb? The stems of home grown and then candied Angelica leaves  are better than any store bought stuff and Angelica leaves make a tea the is similar to China tea. Angelica will grow in all climates in Australia except the hot humid districts. One thing to note-it dies down in winter then pops up again in spring.
To get the flower seed, it’s just a matter of waiting after the flowers have died. One seed head has about 100 seeds. But you need to sow them within a few weeks after ripening or they lose their viability.
 Seeds need light to germinate. Ideal temperature for germination is 20C, and germination usually occurs in less than 2 weeks.
  TIP:When buying or ordering angelica, make sure to use the botanical name for it, as there are several species of angelica, and they are not used in the same ways. eg. There's Chinese Angelica, or Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis) American Angelica and Wild angelica.
 If they self seed, then keep the strongest as replacement stock. 
 You also can propagate angelica from root cuttings.

Design Elements:  Today the problems are My garden is a big boring square and my yard is too big or seems too big?.. That usually means you don’t know where to start, so pencils at the ready....!

Plant of the Week:Acer palmatum or   Japanese Maples make a statement on their own with fine delicate lacey foliage and strikingly coloured leaves. What could be better as a focal point in a small garden are using several in a large garden to highlight a different colour or to complement a colour scheme?
Plant for the red coloured leaves in Autumn
Native to Japan, China, Korea  :small deciduous tree 15' to 25' shape can be rounded to irregular.
Leaves can be fine to medium texture. Japanese maples have a slow  growth rate .is slow 
Summer Foliage :opposite, 2" to 5" long, medium green color,5, 7 or 9 lance-shaped lobes, palmately arranged.
 Autumn Foliage :turning yellow, orange, red or purple dependable for fall coloration color develops late and leaves hold well.
Bark :twigs have green and red, polished, shiny bark that is showy trunk and main branch bark is gray .stem and bark color is a valuable ornamental feature .    Grow in :full sun to partial shade is best; shade tolerant ,moist, slightly acidic, well-drained, high organic matter soil is ideal .often stated to be delicate plants, but probably more adaptable than given credit for.
Japanese Maples perform best when grown in quality, free draining organic soil, in a cooler environment. Light dappled shade can be beneficial, as is protection from hot winds. Good water and nutrient supply during the spring and summer growth phases is important, and mulching can be helpful.dislikes hot, dry locations ,avoid windswept winter locations    Make a great specimen plant, especially cultivars accent plant for artistic appearance ,rock gardens ,in mini-groves avoid over use of colored foliage selections .

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

White faced Heron and Rosemary Goes Coastal

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network.
The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s edition.
Wildlife in Focus:White faced Heron.This bird was once known as the White-fronted Heron, and incorrectly as the Grey Heron, or Blue Crane, is a common bird throughout most of Australia. Hear new co-presenter ecologist, Sue Stevens talk about this bird.
Vegetable Heroes: BOTANICAL NAME: Armoracia rusticana syn. A. lapathifolia.
 Horseradish is a member of the mustard or Brassicaceae family. 
The bite and aroma of horseradish root is totally missing until it’s grated or ground. That’s because as soon as the root cells are crushed, volatile oils known as isothiocyanate are released.
 Horseradish is a perennial to 1.5m high on a tapering, fleshy taproot to 60cm long and 5 cm thick, it has large basal leaves, 30-100 cm long, so that’s about 1-3 ruler lengths.
. It should be planted in a permanent position -   Vinegar stops this reaction and stabilizes the flavour.    Horseradish has white flowers in the middle of summer to mid-autumn. 
It tolerates damp soils and grows vigorously.
  TIP” This deep rooted plant can be used in orchards to open up compacted soils and return nutrients to the surface of the soil.
Now’s the time to get a piece from a friend or your friendly garden club members because Horseradish is propagated by root division in spring or autumn  for harvest the following year.
Grows in any soil and takes full sun or part-shade.
 Next year by mid autumn if you were lucky enough to have planted it last year either in autumn OR spring, the roots should be ready to harvest.  Dig up all the plants. 
 Use the larger roots to make horseradish sauce and store the smaller ones in sand for replanting next year. 
  You could plant some of the smaller shoots in pots – either give them away or sell them once they start into growth..
Design Elements:Garden problems solved-This month, Design Elements is starting a new about solving design problems in the garden. Today the problems are “How do I make my small garden seem bigger, and my garden is a very long and thin rectangle, what should I do?

Plant of the Week: Westringia fruticosa orCoastal Rosemary is not edible, it’s native and it’s flowers are attractive to native bees, but what else is it.It is an easily grown shrub of simple and neat appearance which grows wild near the coast of New South Wales. Stretches of it are seen hugging the cliffs and down to beach level, either prostrate or several feet high depending on situation.
  lt is useful as a large type of ground-cover plant. Sometimes it throws out one or two main branches to develop an irregular habit, but generally the plant is shapely. After reaching a mature size it does not deteriorate quickly with age as some species do, but maintains a good condition for years. During the coldest weather it keeps a fresh appearance and is also drought hardy, though adequate water should be given to avoid tendency to yellowing leaves and bare wood.