Real World Gardener Winter Care of Citrus in Plant Doctor

June 28th, 2018


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


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.


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 or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.


Real World Gardener Winter Garden in The Good Earth

June 21st, 2018


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?


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 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.


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 or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.


Real World Gardener Gardening in Tight Spaces Part 1

May 24th, 2018


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.


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 or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.


Real World Gardener Growing Garlic in Vegetable Heroes

May 10th, 2018


Growing Your Own Garlic

Garlic-Allium sativum comes from the Onion family. Alliaceae


You might have guessed that in medieval times, hanging Garlic outside your door warded off vampires.

Not exactly in the same league as vampires but did you know that eating garlic helps keeps mosquitos away?


Growing Your Own Garlic

There’s even a fact sheet from the DPI about growing garlic

There’s also a website devoted entirely to garlic growing in Australia.

I'm talking with Dr Patrice Newell, Manager of Elmswood Farm in the Upper Hunter Valley.


 Dr Newell's farm has diversified into not only growing garlic commercially but also olives, and honey.

1-Garlic%2B3.JPGBest Tip: Plant out your garlic bulbs before they have sprouted so that the bulb can form roots before the vegetative growth.

However, if your little bulbs have already sprouted, don't throw them away, they will still grow for you. 


Types of Garlic to Grow


Like onions, there are early, mid season and late varieties available.


There are softneck and hardneck varieties.

  • Softnecks are the most common garlics grown, and are the ones found in supermarkets. 
  • Softneck garlic usually doesn’t have a flowerhead and have a longer shelf life (up to 9 months).There’s one called “Italian White” that’s available online. 
  • Monaro purple, and Rocambole- are Hardnecks variety and these do have flowerheads like onions, and usually bigger cloves. 
  • They don’t have as good a shelf life as the softnecks and prefer cooler winters. 
  • Rocamboles have excellent flavour, glamorous red-purple skins and easily peeled, with a single circle of 6-12 plump cloves. 

There’s also the extra large garlic called Elephant or Giant Russian garlic and has a milder flavour but is great for roasting.


This is actually a type of leek that you can get these from some markets that are around or from an online bulb company.

Remember most garlic in supermarkets comes from China and has been sprayed with Methyl Bromide in quarantine.

When to grow

Sow direct in garden where they are to grow.

Garlic grows best when the temperature is between 13º to 24ºC.

That’s why Garlic is traditionally planted in cold weather and harvested in summer ("plant on the shortest day, harvest on the longest").

You can plant Garlic blubs now in all districts of Australia, including cool temperate.

For cool districts, you’re right on the edge of when you can plant, so don’t delay, plant today.


Real World Gardener Relaxing Lavender on Talking Flowers

April 26th, 2018


Lavender, Lavender, Lavender.

Need to relax? Or get a good night's sleep? 

You need cleansing, calming lavender in your life. 



Lavandula angustifolia: English Lavender for cooking


Lavenders are a fabulous, long-lasting cut flower and you can dry them to use in sachets and pot pourri. And by the way, lavender is a great insect repellent.

Lavender is a favourite, whose flowers range from white to deep blue purple and include pink.

You can cook with Lavender flowers but you must use Lavandula angustifolia or English lavender flowers.

The other varieties have too much camphor and will make food taste a little bitter.

Use your Lavender spice flowers in cakes, biscuits, pasta and salads.

I'm talking with Mercedes Sarmini of Flowers By Mercedes 


Real World Gardener things You Can Do With Beeswax in the Home

April 19th, 2018

What’s On The Show Today?

Join permaculture guru Margaret Mossakowska talking about beeswax in the Good Earth segment; how best to look after those saved seeds in Vegetable Heroes; brighten up dark corners in the garden with this new groundcover in Plant of the Week.

Lastly, a flower that’s strongly linked with perfume in Talking Flowers.


Beeswax And How To Use It At Home

Honey isn’t just the only thing that beekeepers produce.

Beeswax is a by product of honey making.


So how can we use around the home other than for making beeswax candles?


Let’s find out I'm talking with Margaret Mossakowska from


PLAY:Household use of beeswax_11th April_2018


Margaret mentioned that you can make Florentine Wax tablets with pieces of melted wax in a muffin tray.

Making Florentine Wax Tablets:

Mix in a little coconut oil so you can spread the beeswax better, then add a few drops of essential oils for perfume.

You can even press dried flowers into the top to make them decorative.

Leave them around the house to let off their fragrance into the rooms.


rose-wax-tablets_copy_1024x1024.jpgTIP: Did you know that you can also coat things with beeswax, like hand tools, cast iron pieces and shovels to prevent them from rusting out.

You can even rub beeswax on the wooden handle of your shovel to help protect against wear and tear.

NSW amateur beekeepers associations

The ABA currently has 20 clubs/branches around NSW.

There are also a number of areas where new clubs are being started.

If you need any help finding a club near you, please contact the ABA Secretary.

For listeners outside NSW there’s also a national body,

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


Real World Gardener Red Paw Paw is Plant of the Week

April 13th, 2018


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.



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 and Jeremy Critchley owner of

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 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 or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675


Real World Gardener Plants for Chickens on The Good Earth

March 23rd, 2018


Plants for Chickens

Have you hankered after keeping chickens or have some of your own already?

If you’ve thought about it for ages, it may be time to bite the bullet and get three.

Chickens are a flocking bird so three’s the minimum so that they feel safe.

But what else can you do to keep the chickens happy other than having a nice chicken coop and daily fresh water?


3 Bantams photo: M Cannon

Let’s find out . I'm talking with Margaret Mossakowska from


Chickens self-medicate if they feel something is missing.

They will eat more of the food that will help them. 

Plant plenty of Rue, wormwood and Comfrey.


Ruta graveolens: Rue

Comfrey has plenty of Calcium which is good for chickens because that's what they need for shell forming.

If you have room to plant a deciduous fruit tree like a mulberry tree near your chicken coop, that would be ideal.

Other trees that are useful or Fig trees, Apple trees and Elderberry trees.



If you have a small back yard you still a tree because there are plenty of dwarf apple trees to choose from.

While the tree grows to a suitable size, you will have to put up some other sort of protection from the sun, and rain.

Of course if they’re free ranging during the day, they can shelter under other big trees or shrubs you have in the garden


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


Real World Gardener Australia’s Oldest Garden in Garden History

March 16th, 2018


Camden Park Estate

Have you ever wondered how gardens became established during colonial times?

You might be surprised that there were even catalogs of plants that grew in many large colonial gardens.

It’s a real treasure and rare to discover that a historical garden complete with dwelling is still around, but to find such a place that has remained with the same family is even rarer.

When you hear that growing in the garden is one of Australia’s trees, then you have an enticing combination.


Camden Park Estate Pic: Creative Commons

This estate is so interwoven into Australia’s Colonial history, that it would be unthinkable that it would be developed into blocks of apartments.

Let’s find out how this garden estate continues.

I'm talking with Stuart Read, committee member of the Garden History Society of Australia.

PLAY:Camden Park Estate_7th March 2018


Stuart mentioned that you can view the old plant nursery catalogues online.

The website is

The Hortus (which is a collection) attempts to correctly identify, describe, illustrate and provide a brief history of all the plants grown at Camden Park between c.1820 and 1861.

You can also just look up when a certain plant came into cultivation in Australia.

For example the Hoop Pine entry in the Hortus reads


Hoop Pine Araucaria cunnimghamiana

Pic: Tatters @ Flickr


“‘Grows naturally in warm temperate riverine and costal rainforest or as a pioneer in subtropical forest, on poor soils from the Macleay River in N New South Wales to Townsville and offshore islands including New Guinea, occasionally close to the seashore. Widely grown in the nineteenth century in public parks and gardens; now rarely planted in SE Australia. […] The timber, grown in rainforest plantations in N New South Wales and S Queensland, is used mostly for plywood, but also for joinery, furniture and boat-building. More recently this species has been used experimentally for agroforestry.’”


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


Real World Gardener File Powder and Gumbo in Spice It Up

March 1st, 2018


File' Powder

(Pronounced feelay)

Ever heard of a spice from the leaf of a tree?

The tree is Sassafras albidum and it originates in America.

File' powder is used a lot in Southern American cooking.


Sassafras albidum: Native to America


Ever heard of gumbo? 

It’s not something you chew but a dish from America’s south and in fact this spice s main attribute is to thicken the dish. I'ts a type of fish soup, very delicious I'm told.

Think New Orleans, Louisiana and Cajun cooking.

Let’s find out about it.



File powder is made from leaves of the sassafras tree. 

When ground, file powder smells like eucalyptus or juicy fruit gum.

File powder is a necessary ingredient for Cajun cuisine, especially Gumbo.

File' powder adds a sort of gummy consistency to the dish but it doesn't thicken in the way that cornflour thickens a dish.

File' powder has a similar effect to Okra, which in itself has no substitute.

Not only does it add an unusual flavor, the powder also acts as a thickener when added to liquid. 

You can use any ingredient you have to hand, not just fish. Chicken would be a good substitute.



Did you know that long before the use of file powder for Creole and Cajun cooking, Choctaw Indians pounded sassafras leaves into powder and added them to soups and stews.


If you have any questions about File' powder, either for me or for Ian, or have some information to share, why not drop us a line to or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.


- Older Posts »