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 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?

Crop%2Brotation.bmp

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 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.

THE GOOD EARTH

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.

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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 www.mosshouse.com.au

 

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 https://www.beekeepers.asn.au/

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, http://www.honeybee.com.au/beeinfo/assn.html

If you have any questions either for me or for 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 All About Biodynamic Composting

December 8th, 2017

Backyard Biodyanamics

Biodynamic Composting

Have you ever asked the question, “why don’t my plants grow?” or why is my neighbour/friend/relative’s garden so much more healthy than mine?

Usually the answer lies in the health of the soil.

How do we know if soil is healthy?

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It’s back to that question of why won’t my plants grow.

Healthy soil will have healthy growing plants and we need compost to make healthy soil.

Most gardeners will either have a compost heap or at least know the basics of making a compost heap.

Building a compost heap the Biodynamic way is something else.

 

Let’s find out how it's different to making regular compost.

I'm talking with  Dianne Watkin, Principal of Biodynamics Sydney and an avid gardener.

If you want to know more or if you have any questions about Biodynamic preparations either for me or Dianne, why not write in to realworldgardener@gmail.com

 
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Real World Gardener Building Raingardens in Design Elements

December 8th, 2017

DESIGN ELEMENTS

Creating Rain Gardens

Getting a lot of rain lately or not?

Maybe you need a rain garden but it’s not what you think.

We’re not creating rain, but using the rain to help us grow plants without that bit of the garden turning into a quagmire or just being washed away.

So how do we do that?

rock-garden-design-flower-garden-design.

 

Let’s find out how

I'm talking with Peter Nixon of Paradisus Design www.peternixon.com.au

 

PLAY Raingardens_29th November 2017

So you know now that raingardens are designed to temporarily hold and soak in rain water runoff that flows from roofs, driveways, patios or lawns.

If you have a water pooling problem you have got to create a course for the water to go.

Of course you cannot divert the water onto neighbouring properties so the best solution is to create that rain garden.

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When the garden fills up with water, gravity the pulls the water into a dispersion pit at the terminal end of the garden.

What you need to do, ( Peter explains in the podcast) but briefly, is to excavate a trench to 850cm - 1.2 metres at the low point.

The trench needs to have sloping sides.

Put in your slotted PVC ag pipe then cover with two layers of GEO fabric.

On top of that add riverstones.

What ever you do, DON'T cut the geo fabric.

You can plant up with plants that can cope with dryness and temporary inundation such as Eleiga, Restios, Alocasias and Dwarf Papyrus.

Did you know though that rain gardens are efficient in removing up to 90% of nutrients and chemicals and up to 80% of sediments from the rainwater runoff.?

 

If you have any questions about raingardens either for me or Peter, 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 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 An Introduction to Backyard Biodynamics

November 2nd, 2017

BACKYARD BIODYNAMICS

Introduction to Biodynamic Gardening.

Most of us have seen products like cheeses, wines, bread, flour, and many grains like lentils that are labelled biodynamic.

Jurlique_farm_in_Adelaide_Southern-Austr

Jurlique Farm in Adelaide is a Biodynamic Farm

Biodynamic farms are all over Australia and have been here for nearly 100 years.

Like many people, you probably thought that it was just another way of saying organic, but even though it has organic principles it’s a different method of gardening or farming.

So, what does that mean exactly?

Let’s find out all about biodyamics for your garden.

I'm talking with Dianne Watkins, Principle of Biodynamics Sydney and she tells me, a keen gardener too.

PLAY : Biodynamics intro_27 th October_2017

 

According to Wikipedia the definition for Biodynamic agriculture is a that it’s a form of alternative agriculture very similar to organic farming, but it includes various esoteric concepts drawn from the ideas of Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925).

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Initially developed in 1924, it was the first of the organic agriculture movements.

It treats soil fertility, plant growth, and livestock care as ecologically interrelated tasks, emphasizing spiritual and mystical perspectives.

Dianne mention a couple of preparations; BD500 uses a meatball sized preparation which is mixed in 100 litres of water. Too much for the small garden but good for parks, community gardens and a neighbourhood gardens if you can get people to share.




For home gardeners the best solution is the Soil Activator, which is also mixed with water and flicked all over the garden.

 

If you have any questions about Biodynamic gardening 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 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 Astonishing Dianthus Jolt is Plant of the Week

August 10th, 2017

 

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Dianthus "Jolt"

Do you like the colour pink in your garden?

Light pinks, dark pinks and every shade in between?

Then here’s a plant for you that’s been developed by plant breeders so that it flowers for six months and can take the heat better than ever before.

But first, let’s find out about this plant.

 

PLAY: Dianthus Jolt_2nd August_2017

 

The plant panel were Karen Smith, editor of Hort Journal www.hortjournal.com.au and Jeremy Critchley, The Green Gallery wholesale nursery owner. www.thegreengallery.com.au

Dianthus Jolt, is seed grown but unfortunately there has been a world shortage of seed this year due to a virus in the parent stock. 

However, if you do manage to secure a plant from this series, you'll be rewarded with flowers for 6 months of the year on 40 - 50 cm stems; great for cut flowers.

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Dianthus Jolt 

Did you know that the history of Dianthus dates back to over 2000 years, making it one of the oldest cultivated flower varieties?

Greeks and Romans revered the plant, using its flowers for art, decor, and to build their iconic garlands.

Sweet William, Pinks or just Dianthus, the one that was mentioned, Dianthus Jolt is the most heat tolerant that you can grow.

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