Real World Gardener Winter Care of Ornamental Plants in Plant Doctor

July 11th, 2018

PLANT DOCTOR

Winter Care of Ornamental Plants

Ornamental plants are those whose leaves, flowers and fruits we don't eat.

Autumn is meant to gently acclimatise most plants to the cold.

What if Autumn is just an extension of Summer and then, whoosh, cold weather arrives all too soon and it's winter?

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Snow damage on Eucalypts

That is one reason that during winter some of our trees and shrubs don’t look so healthy and gardeners start getting concerned that something is wrong with their particular plant.

Unsuspecting gardeners might even think that their plant is dying because the leaves have started dropping of, yet it’s supposed to be evergreen.

Could it be just a response to cold weather or is something untoward happening in the soil that is affecting the plant’s health?

Let’s find out.. 

I'm talking with was Steve Falcioni, General Manager of www.ecoorganicgarden.com.au

The leaves can change colour due to the cold, and it may be just a normal reaction or because the plant can't access nutrients that it needs.

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Frost Damagon Avocado. photo Dept of  Primary Industries W. A.

If you make a note in your garden diary that a particular plant did this or that in winter, you may discover that it’s quite normal during the cold months of the year. 

Seaweed extracts help plants reduce stress factors and one of them is coping with the cold.

Applying it regularly though is a must for this to be of benefit.

If you have any questions either for me or Steve, you can email us Realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

 
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Real World Gardener Native Lasiandra in Plant of the Week

July 5th, 2018

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Melastoma affine: Native Lasiandra: Blue Tongue

 

If you’re into your gardening and love the colour purple for flowers and perhaps fruits or foliage, then this little gem might surprise you.

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The reason is that it’s native to Australia but looks just like it’s exotic cousin from South America.

Let’s find out about it.

 

 

I'm talking with Karen Smith editor of www.hortjournal.com.au

 

Because this plant is indigenous to Australia, there are pollinators that can visit this plant successfully, unlike the Tibouchina which it resembles.

Here's how they do it.

Funnily enough, Melastoma produces no nectar - giving pollinators large amounts of pollen instead, which must be extracted through pores on the anthers.

The flowers are pollinated in the wild by carpenter bees - the Giant Carpenter Bee and the Metallic Green Carpenter Bee - they grab hold of the stamen (the bit that holds the pollen) and give it a good shake.

Introduced Honey Bees can't 'buzz pollinate' - they don't have the ability or technique to vibrate their wings while clasping the stamen.

So, they can only gather pollen if it has been already released onto the petals.

 

That’s why you’ll never see fruits on a Tibouchina but will, on a Native Lasiandra. 
Worth getting for that reason alone.

If you have a question either for me or the plant panel why not drop us a line to realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

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Real World Gardener Winter Care of Citrus in Plant Doctor

June 28th, 2018

PLANT DOCTOR

Citrus Winter Care

Are you wondering “what’s wrong with my citrus tree?” right now.

Perhaps the symptoms that you’re seeing now seem to happen every winter?

If that’s the case, then you’ll need to listen in closely to this next segment which is just about that.

Let’s find out.. I'm talking with Steve Falcioni, general manager of www.ecoorganicgarden.com.au

 

Steve offered quite a range of things to do for your citrus tree.

Firstly though, you need to assess your tree to determine what’s going on with it.

The number 1 problem to look out for is scale.

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Citrus scale ( white louse scale) will cover the stems, twigs and branches of your citrus tree in what looks like fine shredded coconut that has tuck fast.

To treat this problem spray with Eco Oil making sure all surfaces are covered well.

Spray again a week later as a follow up spray.

If it looks like nothing's happened try flicking off the scale with your finger. Live scale easily flicks off, whereas dead scale sticks fast.

If the scale problem is so bad that the oil spray doesn't seem to be working, then go for a lime-sulphur spray. Winter is the only time for this one on citrus.

Some districts that have warmer weather all year round need to hang a pheremone trap to control citrus leaf miner. 

The moth lays its eggs into the leaf where the larvae feed and finally tunnel out created leaf distortion and silvering.

One things for sure, and that is there’s no point in spreading granular citrus tree fertiliser around the tree in winter.

There is next to no if any, uptake of nutrients from the fertiliser because the tree isn’t in active growth, (unless you’re in subtropical areas) and the fertiliser won’t break down to release the nutrients because of the lack of microbial activity in the soil during winter.

 

If you have any questions either for me or Steve, you can email us Realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

 
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Real World Gardener Winter Garden in The Good Earth

June 21st, 2018

THE GOOD EARTH

Winter Gardening and Crop Rotation

 

How well do you know your plant families?

Did you know that you shouldn’t plant veggies from the same plant family in the same spot year after year?

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Created by Margaret Mossakowska

 

That’s all part of crop rotation which means of course you need to know your plant families.

There’s good reasons for practising crop rotation, but what if you only have enough room for a couple of veggie garden beds, what does a gardener do?

Let’s find out.. I'm talking with Margaret Mossakowska, director of www.mosshouse.com.au and Permaculture North Course coordinator.

 

PLAY: Preparing for winter veggies

Soon you’ll be saying things like Brassicas, Solanacea, and Fabaceae with ease and know what veggies belong to these families. 

If you don't have much room and only have one area for a veggie bed, you can still divide it into four sections and follow crop rotation.

Otherwise, planting in pots is an alternative especially for the Solanacea family; the recommendation being wait 5 years before replanting any veggie from this family.

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Brassicas: cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, kohlrabi

Allium: shallots, onions,garlic,

Solanaceae: tomatoes, chillies, capsicums, potatoes

Fabaceae: beans peas, snow peas,

Margaret’s tip to fertilise your garden is to use your homemade compost. and add things like chook poo, or other organic fertilisers.

If you have any questions either for me or Margaret, you can email us Realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

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Real World Gardener Gardening in Tight Spaces part 2

May 31st, 2018

BACKYARD BIODYNAMICS

Gardening in Tight Spaces part 2

Keeping Your Plants Warm.

Last segment was all about how to keep the heat off your pots, but now we’re in the depths of Autumn, soon to be Winter so we want that warmth. 

 

For every avid gardener, we want to use all the spaces we have to grow plants.

But what do we do with the cold to protect out plants especially if your space gets little sun?

Let’s find out. 

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I'm talking with Diane Watkin, Principle founder and member of Bioydnamics Sydney.

 

The same technique of keeping the sun off your pots is used to keep your plants warm.

the main difference is that you want the warmth during the day, so you are mostly reversing what you did in summer to keep the sun off.

Erect some sort of cover for your pots and put this on at night, but take it off during the day so the plant can enjoy the sun's rays.

You may have a glass cloche, but most likely you'll have to rig something up using sticks, twigs, shade-cloth, or other material.

TIP: Using diamotaceous earth, put a handful in a bucket of water, mix it up and then spray onto the soil. The silica in the diamotaceous earth will raise the temperature of the soil by 1-2 degrees, which may just make the difference.

If you have any questions either for me or Diane you can email us Realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

 
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Real World Gardener Gardening in Tight Spaces Part 1

May 24th, 2018

BACKYARD BIODYNAMICS

Gardening in Tight Spaces.

More and more gardeners across Australia have downsized and only have only a very small patch of dirt, or just a balcony.

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You might only have a window ledge or a couple of steps but you still want some sort of garden.

Pity that apartments weren’t designed to follow the sun, can you imagine if they did?

You might have a beautiful sunny balcony in warm weather but it's dark, and cold in the cooler months. The reverse is true of course.

So what can the hungry gardener do to grow a few plants on their balcony?

Let’s find out. I'm talking with Diane Watkin, Principle founder and member of Bioydnamics Sydney.

 

 

Balcony%2Bgarden.jpgDiane shifts her pots from one side of the garden to the other every 6 months so she can catch 4-5 hours of sunlight to grow her herbs and veggies in pots.

 

It’s up to you really as to whether or not you choose plastic pots, some garden centres do accept plastic pots, but I’m not sure what they do with them. 

To keep the heat off your terracotta pots, before planting them up, soak them in water for about twenty minutes.

After potting, wrap an old tea towel or piece of hessian that you have wetted.

Spray the outer material every day when it has dried to keep up the moisture.

 

Diane has a particular recipe for filling garden pots, however, this may not be feasible, and too heavy for your particular situation. 

 

Remember, find out the weight bearing load of your balcony before you start filling tip with terracotta pots and garden soil. 

 

If you have any questions either for me or Diane you can email us Realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

 
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Real World Gardener Plant Viruses on Plant Doctor

May 4th, 2018

PLANT DOCTOR

Plant Viruses Uncovered


If your plants look unhealthy but there’s no sign of pests or disease, then chances are the plant has a virus.
Rose Mosaic Virus
On the other hand if you have some unusual patterns on your rose and camellias leaves, these don’t harm the plant and are fine to leave alone. 
Viruses that effect edible plants are a different problem all together. 
Let’s find out about this problem. 
I'm talking with Steve Falcioni General Manager owww.ecoorganicgarden.com.au 

 

Steve mentioned the "tomato spotted wilt virus" which as the name suggests, affects tomatoes, but it also affects 500 other plants!

The Cucumber mosaic virus affects all members of the Cucurbit family, where the rose mosaic virus only affects members of Rosaceae.

How virus's in plants are spread?

`Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus on Basil Leaves

Sap suckers are the usual vectors of viruses in the garden; these include aphids, leaf hoppers, thrips and whitefly are good examples.

Weeds can also harbor these sap suckers so it’s important to keep on top of the weeding.

The weeds can also have viruses in their tissue.

Also don’t forget to disinfect your garden tools after pruning particular plants and buy plants that are certified virus free.

If you have any questions either for me or Steve you can email us 

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Real World Gardener Red Paw Paw is Plant of the Week

April 13th, 2018

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Red Paw Paw Bisexual

Paw Paw and Papaya, are they the same fruit?

Papaya (Carica papaya), also called pawpaw in Australia, is an exotic, tropical fruit with a juicy, sweet flavour.

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Papaya and pawpaw are the same species, however they look and taste different.

In Australia, the red-fleshed sweeter fruit is called papaya, while the yellow-fleshed fruit is called pawpaw.

Just to confuse everyone, from an Australian industry perspective however, the term papaya covers both fruit.

Let’s find out how to grow it.

I'm talking with Karen Smith, editor of www.hortjournal.com.au and Jeremy Critchley owner of www.thegreengallery.com.au

PLAY: Paw Paw Red_7th April 2018

The papaya is a small, sparsely branched tree, usually with a single stem growing from 5 to 10 m tall, with spirally arranged leaves confined to the top of the trunk.

Something to note:

papaya.jpg

 
  • Papaya plants grow in three sexes: male, female, bisexual (hermaphrodite meaning they produce flowers which have both male and female functioning parts).
  • The male produces only pollen, never fruit.
  • The female will produce small, inedible fruits unless pollinated.
  • The hermaphrodite can self-pollinate since its flowers contain both male stamens and female ovaries 

 

If you have any questions about red paw paw , either for me or for the plant panel or have some information to share, why not drop us a line to realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

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Real World Gardener Blueberry Ash is Plant of the Week

April 6th, 2018

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Blueberry Ash: Elaeocarpus retiuculatus

Here’s a small tree with lily of the valley type flowers and olive like fruit.

The flowers are either pale pink or white, often referred to as “fairy pettioats.”

A very tough small tree that’s native to the east coast of Australia that is also bird attracting especially to all types of parrots.

Blueberry_Ash_-_Elaeocarpus_reticulatus.

Blueberry Ash: Pink form

Let’s find out more about it. 

I'm talking with Karen Smith, editor of www.hortjournal.com.au

 

PLAY: :Blueberry Ash_28th March 2018

Karen’s neighbour keeps her blueberry ash trimmed down to 4 metres or you could leave it a bit bigger and “limb up” as Peter Nixon would say so you have a lovely shade tree to sit under.

The only place it doesn’t suit is those areas with heavy frost. If you have any questions about blueberry ash , either for me or for Karen or have some information to share, why not drop us a line to realworldgardener@gmail.com

 
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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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