Real World Gardener Growing Water Chestnuts in The Good Earth

December 1st, 2017

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water chestnuts photo Margaret Mossakowska

THE GOOD EARTH

Growing water chestnuts in the home garden

 

Do you remember biting into something crunchy when you tried some Chinese food for the very first time, probably when you were very young.

Did you ever wonder what that crunchy sensation actually was?

If you were clever enough to find out that they were water chestnuts you might have also discovered that you could only get the canned variety.

But now we can grow them ourselves.

Let’s find out how

I'm talking with Margaret Mossakowska, Director of Moss house www.mosshouse.com.au/

 

Water chestnut plants look very similar to reed rush.

You can grow water chestnuts in a waterproof pot, old laundry sink or bathtub in the home garden.

Allow for a depth of at least 20cm.

Like rice, water chestnuts need to be grown in a watery medium.

Margaret recommends flushing the pot with water every couple of weeks to get rid of mosquito wrigglers.

You can buy the corms from Diggers Seeds or Greenharvest

Harvest your chestnuts  by digging them up in June/;July Water chestnuts are just like the chestnuts that grow on trees in that they have shells which need to be peeled.

 

The good news is that you can grow them in cold climates if you have a nice warm or sheltered verandah.

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Water chestnuts and turmeric plant. photo M. Moxxakowska

If you have any questions about water chestnuts either for me or Margaret, why not email us realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

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Real World Gardener Citrus Pest Watch in Plant Doctor

November 24th, 2017

PLANT DOCTOR

Citrus Pest Watch

Hopefully you’ve finished your spring cleaning but now it’s time to check out that citrus tree you’ve got in your backyard.

Our plants put on lots of fast growth in the garden but so do the bugs good and bad.

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Being pro-active is the best way to beat the pests that seem to plague citrus more than any other plant in the garden.  

Some gardeners do this by spraying their citrus over the winter months with horticultural oil.

For a lot of insect pests, sprays are effective if you’ve timed it correctly, because as the pests mature or evolve into the next stage, sprays may become ineffective.

 

Let’s find out what to look out for. I'm talking with was Steve Falcioni from www.ecoorganicgarden.com.au

 

PLAY Citrus Pest Watch_15th November 2017

 

Two types of pests to watch out for and for some states, the extra pest of fruit fly.

Group 1 is the sap suckers which include aphids, mites, mealybugs and the citrus stink bug.

The best time to hit these pests in Spring, particularly the citrus stink bug. The reason being that coming out of winter, the juveniles are small, pale green and susceptible to the oil sprays such as Eco Oil.

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Citrus pests photo M Cannon

Group 2 are the chewing pests. such as citrus leaf miner and caterpillars. The leaf miner pest is actually a very small moth that lays its eggs on new leaf growth.

The hatching larvae then tunnel into the tissue causing the leaf disfigurement or curling and the silver trails.

Leaf miner can be organically controlled with pheremone traps that are hung in the trees.

As for the caterpillars, a lot of the will turn into beautiful butterflies, so decide what you would rather; a few chewed leaves or some orchard swallowtail butterflies?

If you have any questions about citrus pests either for me or

 

Steve, why not email us realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

 
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Real World Gardener Introduction to Acquaponics

October 19th, 2017

THE GOOD EARTH

Introduction to Acquaponics.

What is it?

Put simply, Aquaponics is the combination of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (the soil-less growing of plants) that grows fish and plants together in one integrated system. 

The fish waste provides an organic food source for the plants, and the plants naturally filter the water for the fish.

Start off with a fish tank, and buy your fingerlings ( baby fish) either Silver Perch or Barraminudi are a couple of excellent suggestions.

Attach plumbing to growing beds which contain a soilless medium such as Scoria, expanded clay balls ( Hydroton) even Perlite.

Each one has pros and cons for using it, for example, although Perlite is very light, it tends to wash away easily.

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Water is reticulated ( circulated ) around the system so that the beds fill up with water constantly, then the water level drops as it's fed back into the fish tank.


The fish provide fish waste that feeds the plants.

The plants use this fish waste and filter out the water which is recycled back into the fish tank.

Robyn, says in here system of 5-6 growing beds, she never needs to flush out or replace the water other than to top it up due to evaporation.

There's more to it than that of course.

 Find out by listening to the podcast.

I'm talking with Robyn Rosenfeldt, editor of Pip Magazine.

http://www.pipmagazine.com.au/

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Real World Gardener Australian Native Citrus is Plant of the Week

October 12th, 2017

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Australian Native Citrus: Citrus australasica

Citrus Gems

The lemon tree is ubiquitous to most home gardens but are you aware that Australia has its own native citrus?

The fruit from Australia’s citrus is so unique though that top chefs are using it as a garnish in their cuisine.

 

Still citrusy but not as we know it.

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

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The leaves are similar to Murraya Min a Min being much smaller and finer that the leaves of a regular citrus tree.

The inner fruit consist of vesicles that aren’t joined as in the segments of say a Mandarin, making them pop out like the finest of Beluga caviars.

The trees are thorny, as Karen says, they're not called nature's barbed wire for nothing.

Australian native citrus produce finger shaped fruit up to 12 cm long with a typically green-yellow skin and pulp. 

These citrus trees tolerate light frost; grows best in light shade or sunny spot.

Suits sub-tropical. Warm temperate, cool temperate and Mediterranean climates.

Prune: Lightly, in spring. Don't prune too hard when fruit is forming as you can accidentally cut off your upcoming crop.

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Real World Gardener How to Grow Turmeric in The Good Earth 2017

October 12th, 2017

THE GOOD EARTH

Growing Turmeric

Cucuma longa

Gardeners like to grow unusual herbs that are also useful.

But you won’t be planting out seeds to start this next plant because you need rhizomes.

Not only that, for this herb you won’t be using the leaves in cooking but the roots or rhizomes instead.

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Turmeric plants

What am I talking about?

Let’s find out all about Turmeric in the podcast. I'm talking with Margaret Mossakowska from www.mosshouse.com.au

PLAY : Growing Turmeric_4th October_2017

 

How To Grow

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Turmeric Flowers

There are a couple of different types of Turmeric available in Australia.

One has bright orange flesh and the other is more yetlllow.

Sourcing it all depends on if you have " Crop Swap" or Farmers' Markets in your district.

Once you have a fresh rhizome or root, all you need to do is plant it. 

A large root will have several branches or fingers to it.

You can cut these apart and start more than one plant if you like.

The easiest way to get it to sprout is to just bury the root under 5cms of potting mix. If there are any knobs or buds on the root, turn it so they are facing upwards. 

Turmeric grows downwards and spreads sideways, so don't plant it in a narrow pot.

You can harvest the whole clump when the leaves have died , usually at the beginning of Winter of late Autumn depending on your district's climate.

 

If you have any questions about growing your own turmeric, then why not email us realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

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Real World Gardener Crab Apple Trees Are Plant of the Week

October 6th, 2017

PLANT OF THE WEEK

CRABAPPLES Malus floribunda

 

Flowers on this tree are so spectacular that you’ll be wondering why you’ve never planted it in your garden. crabapple-fruit.jpg

 

Not only that, it’s easy to grow, is a small tree and is quite hardy.

But maybe you have one in your garden, and you’ve had it for years.

So instead you’re the envy of neighbours all around you but they’ve been either too afraid to ask you what it is or have been trying to sneak cuttings.

Let’s find out about this plant.

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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

 

PLAY: Malus floribunda Wychwood Ruby"_30th August_2017 

 

There’s quite a few other varieties of crabapples to choose from with enticing names like Sugar Tyme,  Showtime, Royal Raindrops and Golden Raindrops. 

 

The bonus is even though it’s a small ornamental tree, you get these crab apples and if you’re into masterchef or other cooking shows, you’ll be wanting to make crab apple jelly to use on your cooking creations. 

 

If you have any questions about growing crab apple trees, why not write in to realworldgardener@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Real World Gardener Poppy Seed in Spice it Up

October 6th, 2017

What's On The Show Today?

Illegal in some countries but we can safely use it in Spice it Up, beat that sugar addiction with this plant in Vegetable Heroes; a showstopper of a flowering tree in plant of the week, and flowers that bring your money in Talking Flowers segment.

SPICE IT UP

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Poppy Seed. Papaver somniferum

This next spice may have some people wondering as to how safe it is.

 

The reason is that the name suggests links with the underworld and drugs, but nothing could be further from the truth.

After all it’s there for all to see in the spice aisle of your supermarket, and is often seen as an ingredient in ready mix cakes.

did you know that poppy seeds have been used for thousands of years because of the wonderful, some say nutty flavour?

What am I talking about?

Let’s find out all about it

I'm talking with Ian Hemphill from www.herbies.com.au

 

PLAY : Poppy Seed_27th September_2017

 

Poppy seed is a beautifully culinary spice used in dishes of many countries.

Drugs are made from the latex of the poppy, however the seeds contain negligible amounts of any narcotic content.

The ones that Ian is talking about are the blue poppy seeds for your cakes, breads and sprinkling over pasta.

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Ian recommends sprinkling some poppy seeds over cooked pasta because it compliments carbohydrates so well.

There's also white poppy seeds which is used a lot in Indian cooking. 

The white poppy seeds are soaked in water and then macerated, before using in Indian dishes as a thickeners.

 

Be warned though, some countries in Asia, like China, Thailand, and the Arab Emirates, have banned poppy seeds of any kind, culinary or otherwise.

If you have any questions about poppy seeds, then why not email us realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

 
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Real World Gardener NEW Tomato Pest in Plant Doctor

September 29th, 2017

PLANT DOCTOR

New Pest: Tomato-potato psyllid

A new pest that could be coming to your garden soon is not something we gardeners would be glad to hear about.

But it has been detected in Australia and New Zealand so it’s something we need to be on the lookout for because it seems to combine the damage of a couple of pests.

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Worse than that, it attacks plants from the Solanaceae family, like tomatoes, eggplants and potatoes, and even some plants in the Lamiaceae like Catmint.

 

Let’s find out all about it….

I'm talking with Steve Falcioni, general manager of www.ecoorganicgarden.com.au

 

PLAY : Tomato_potato psyllid_20th September_2017

This new pest is something to watch out for and possibly a good time to take a hand lens with you out into the garden to have a closer look at the pests. 

The distinctive dame is when you see leaves that have curled up from the edge.

There is other damage as well that is similar to aphid and mite damage combined.

What does it look like?

The adults are 2-3mm in length or aphid size.

The main body is grey with some white markings. Click on the link below to see a photo.

Tomato-potato psyllid

The important distinction is the clear wings which sit at 45 degrees, almost like a mini cicadas wings or the peak of a house.

If you have any questions about this new pest; the tomato-potato psyllid, then why not email us realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

 
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Real World Gardener Mass Planting for the Tropics in Design Elements

September 21st, 2017

DESIGN ELEMENTS

Mass Planting for a Tropical Garden part 1

Tropical gardens have a different regime of wet and dry compared to other climate zones in Australia. 

The advantage is plants grow outside as if they’re in some huge greenhouse with perfect temperatures and irrigation or rainfall to make them grow like blazes.

But is the planting really all that different in tropical climates, and can we gardeners further south still grow these plants?

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Let’s find out about in part 1 of mass planting in the tropics-listen to the podcast

 

I'm talking with was Peter Nixon, landscape designer and Director of Paradisus garden design.

PLAY: Mass Planting_Tropical_13th September 2017

Peter mentioned plants for FNQ - wet tropics monsoon affected, Cairns  

Ground cover -  Canavalia rosea 

Tall Groundcovers 

Peperomia argyreia - Watermelon Peperomia 

Stroemanthe sanguinea tricolor

Sub-shrubs

Hedichium arundelliana - Wavy Leaf Native Ginger

Costus woodsonii ‘French Kiss’

Next week, we continue with part 2 of planting in the tropics.

If you have any questions about mass planting for tropical climates, why not email us realworldgardener@gmail.com

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Real World Gardener Mass Planting for Mediterranean Gardens part 2

September 7th, 2017

 

DESIGN ELEMENTS

Mass Planting for a Mediterranean Garden part 2.

This series is all about mass planting but so it’s not boring.

There’s different levels, different leaf shape and textures and different colours of green to make your garden all that more interesting.

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Warm temperate coast regions around Australia can look forward to these next plants.

There are so many plants for these regions that we’ve had done split it into two parts of this four part series. So this is part B

Let’s find out about what they are.

I'm talking with Peter Nixon, landscape designer and Director of Paradisus garden design.

PLAY: Mass Planting_Mediterranean_16th August 2017

 

Plants that are used to the sunny tropics may have a hard time in temperate winters s because often there’s rain, but weak sun, so plants can struggle.

Peter mentioned if you need weed suppression, something low but in semi-shade will suit Plectanthrus ciliatus, Carissa Desert Star with a dark green gloss leaf and starry perfumed flower or Acanthus mollis.

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Jasminum nitidum

For sub-shrubs try Jasmin nitidum, which is a sub-shrub to about 1.2 metres and not invasive.

For difficult banks with a slope of 1:5, then go for Helichrysum petiolare Limelight, sometimes called Licorice plant.

For the 3m tall shrubs, try Hibiscus rosa-sinensis varieties or Mackaya bella.

Small trees that suit would be Brachychiton bidwilli- a semi-deciduous tree with a reddy pink barrel shaped flower.

If you have any questions about mass planting for temperate climates, why not email us?

 
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