http://www.cpod.org.au/The new theme is sung by Harry Hughes from his album Songs of the Garden. You can hear samples of the album from the website www.songsofthegarden.com
WILDLIFE IN FOCUSwith ecologist Sue Stevens
You mightn’t know this fact but Ravens are in fact native.
Ravens are all closely related and descended from one common ancestor.
When it comes to intelligence, these birds are as clever as chimpanzees and dolphins.
Many ravens got the food on the first try, some within 30 seconds.
In the wild, these birds have pushed rocks onto predataros to keep them from climbing to their nests, and played dead beside a carcass to scare other ravens away from a delicious feast.
If a raven knows another raven is watching it hide its food, it will pretend to put the food in one place while really hiding it in another.
Since the other ravens are smart too, this only works sometimes..
Let’s find out more about these clever birds..
As Sue mentioned, Ravens recognise people carrying guns, they avoid traps, and they follow and harass large predators for food, or follow trappers and steal bait from traps.
The best fact of all is Ravens have learnt to turn road-killed cane toads over and eat them from the belly, thus avoiding the dorsal poison glands.
You might this hard to believe but did you know that in captivity, ravens can learn to talk better than some parrots.
They also mimic other noises, like car engines, toilets flushing, and animal and birdcalls.They’re also as good a flyer as falcons and eagles.
Turns out that Ravens' family tree evolved in Australia.
They then radiated out into the rest of the world where they proceeded to become the world's most diverse and successful group of birds.
If you have any questions about Ravens or have a photo to send it, drop us a line to firstname.lastname@example.org or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.
Success with Raising Seeds and Seedlings
So, are there any sure fire
techniques that could work for you for some of those tricky seeds?
Some gardeners and horticulturalists keep a record of everything they sow.
Also keep track of where you bought the seeds, as their quality and reliability might vary.
- Seeds are a fragile commodity, and if not treated properly, their viability takes a dive.
- Did you know that some seeds can survive for thousands of years under the proper conditions, while others will lose viability quickly, even when properly stored. Parsnips is one that loses viability very quickly.
- The best way to store your precious seeds is to keep seeds in a cool, dark location with low humidity, like a cool laundry that won’t fluctuate in temperate that much.
- Some say put them in the fridge, but if you’re like me, you’d need a fridge just to keep the seeds in.
- Store the seeds in a plastic container, and label the top with the expiry date of the seeds.
- There is a test you can do for seed viability for many of your seed, although it’s not 100% bullet proof, and that is once you are ready to sow, you can soak them in water for a few hours.
- The seeds that are still living will sink to the bottom, while the dead ones will float on the surface. This test generally works better for larger seeds as a general rule. It’s worth a try in any case.
- When sowing seeds in punnets, especially if you’re re-using them, give them a good soak with a 10% solution containing bleach so that any pathogens that might kill of the seeds is killed.
- This’ll take about 15 minutes.
- You’re better of sowing plants that resent root disturbance when transplanted into small, individual containers like cell packs or plug trays. Recycled plastic containers, like empty yogurt or margarine tubs, work well, too, as long as you've poked holes in the bottom for drainage.
- It doesn’t matter what type of container you use as long as it’s clean and free of pathogens.
- Another big factor in seeds not germinating is covering them with too much or too little seed raising mix.
- If you’ve got an old kitchen sieve, use that to sprinkle the mix over the seeds after you’ve sown them into the punnets or vegetable garden.
- Very fine seeds that need light to germinate should be barely covered if at all.
|Vermicullite on seeds|
- In this case, I tend to light sprinkle some soaked vermiculite over the seeds, so they won’t dry out but are weighed down by the mix.
- Each seed must make good contact with the soil and the best way to do this isn’t with your fingers-the seeds might stick to them, but with a small piece of wood, or the bottom of a glass jar.
- Water in your seeds either from the bottom up, or with a spray bottle so the seeds aren’t dislodged.
- Then cover your seeds with a plastic bag, a cut off plastic drink bottle, or in a mini greenhouse.
- Don’t water again unless you that you need to rehydrate your seed container.
- The best way to do this is, place the entire punnet, pot or whatever you’re using in a basin with about 5-7 cm of luke-warm water and allow the planting medium to wick moisture from the bottom.
- If just the surface has dried, you can lift the plastic covering and spritz the surface with water from a spray bottle.
- As soon as the seeds germinate, remove the plastic covering..
- Most seeds like temperatures of around 18 ° to 25°C to germinate.
- If your put your seeds near a hot heater or use, a heating pad designed for germinating seeds, you’ll get a much fast germination rate in the cooler months.
- In this case be sure to check for moisture often, since the seed containers may dry out more quickly.
- Keep in mind that most seeds won’t germinate without sunlight.
- Once the seeds have germinated they’ll grow best if they have at least 8 hours of sunlight each day.
- Indoors, place seed trays in a sunny, north-facing window and give the tray or whatever a quarter turn each day to prevent the seedlings from overreaching toward the light and developing weak, elongated stems.
- Once your seedlings have grown at least 4 leaves, they’ll need some nutrients fairly regularly to keep your seedlings growing strong.
- When the embryo inside a seed is developing, it relies on food stored in the endosperm to fuel its growth. As the shoot emerges from the soil and the true leaves develop, the initial nutrients supplied by the endosperm will be depleted.
- Most seed-starting mixes contain a small amount of nutrients to help the initial seedling growth and not burn the developing roots.
- Once the true leaves emerge, it’s time to begin a half-strength liquid fertilizer regimen on a weekly basis and to get the most out of your seedlings, start using some kind of seaweed solution to get strong root growth.
|Conifers in the landscape|
Are you looking for something out of the ordinary to kickstart your garden?
Have all those gardening and lifestyle magazines left you a little bit bored with the same old same old?
Unique ideas are as rare as hen’s teeth but I think we've got some great ideas in part 2 of garden design with unusual themes-ground cover conifers.
Conifers are really tough and can take dry conditions – and there are some fantastic ground covers. Many of them spread to create carpet like covering over the soil which is an excellent weed suppressant.
For a large area or slope they are a very useful plant used en masse.
In a smaller garden situation, they perform well too and look best if used just like you would other ground covers, teamed with plants in a range of sizes and forms for a cohesive arrangement. Or use them as spillover over a retaining wall.
Let's hear all about part two and weeping and ground cover conifers....
PLANT OF THE WEEKBlueberry Burst
The best advantage of this cultivar is that it's a low chill variety with early flowering and fruit harvest.
Grab one or two, and if you don’t have room in the garden, they grow especially well in pots. Keep them in full sun and fertilise them with either Fruit and Citrus Food or Camellia and Azalea Food and you’ll be picking more blueberries than you can possibly eat.
Because this new Blueberry is cutting grown, it will produce fruit the first season. The plants are flowering now so you will be picking sweet tasting juicy fruit this August / September. There are no nasty chemicals required but you may need to protect it from the birds as the fruit turn purple.