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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Real World Gardener Indoor Plants Pests and General Care in Design Elements

August 10th, 2017

DESIGN ELEMENTS

Indoor Plants: Care and Maintenance

Over the past few weeks, we’ve talked about what plants you can grow indoors wherever you live in Australia.

Quite a few in fact can cope with all weather conditions for the far north of Australia to Tasmania.

Despite all your loving attention though, some plants can be susceptible to pest attack, or just like plain unhealthy, making you think you did something wrong.

 

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Bad case of scale photo M Cannon

Not necessarily true, so let’s find out about looking after indoor plants

That was Julia Levitt Director of www.sticksandstonesld.com.au

PLAY: Indoor plants-pests_2nd August 2017

 

Even the best plant owner will come across pests.

  • If your plant is showing signs of:

o   Wilting

o   Loosing it’s leaves prematurely

o   Leaves turning yellow and patchy

o   Leaves have a black dusty look or are sticky

  • Look for one of these pests as they could be causing the aggravation: Fungus Gnats, Whiteflies, Mealy Bug, Aphids, Spider Mites, Scale and Thrips. 

The trick is to keep an eye on your plants and act quickly as soon as you see something wrong with your indoor plant.

Why are we having plants indoors again?

Apart from plants reducing carbon dioxide levels in your home, did you know that people with plants in their homes have less stress, and plants have been known to contribute to lower blood pressure? 

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Real World Gardener Weeding Tools for Lawns in Tool Time

August 10th, 2017

 

TOOL TIME

Weeding Lawns

Did you know that knee problems start with gardening on your knees for long periods of time?

But you don’t have to get down on your knees to do weeding these days if you’ve got the right tools.

Even weeding lawns is possible without spraying and kneeling.

So let’s find how to make that weeding job  in the lawn a little bit easier.

I'm talking with Tony Mattson General Manager of www.cutabovetools.com.au

PLAY: Weeding Tools part 1_26th July 2017

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The Weed Hoe (pictured right)  is exclusive to Cut Above Tools. 

Operation is by a foot pedal to lever out the weed and the two handles to take the weed out of the lawn or garden bed. 

 

Real World Gardener's Tip for Lawn Weed Control.

Get to know your grass type and the ideal cutting height for good health and strong growth.

 

When cut no lower than that height, and when cut before it gets too long, the grass will usually out-compete weeds as long as it’s also fertilized and watered properly. 

If you have any questions about weeding tools 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 Sacred Bamboo in Plant of the Week

July 7th, 2017

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Sacred Bamboo

Nandina domestica varieties, not for plant snobs.

 

Nandina L

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Image suppled Plants Management Australia www.pma.com.au

emlim image supplied by Plants Management Australia www.pma.com.au

Are you a plant snob or know someone who is a plant snob?

By that I mean refuses to plant anything that’s commonly sold.

Someone who can’t imagine planting out star jasmine or murraya because it’s “oh so yesterday” and why would you want that rather than some rare species of plant that no-one else has.

The trouble is it’s the way those common plants are used that turn us off rather than

Let’s find out more…I'm talking with Karen Smith, editor of Hort Journal www.hortjournal.com.au 

 

The varieties we mentioned were Nandina were Obsession with new red growth, Nandina Blush staying red in Autumn and Winter.

In the winter months, Blush™ Nandina turns vivid red all over. It is 20% smaller than Nandina domestica ‘Nana’, Size: 60-70cm high x 60-70cm wide, a perfect height for fences, borders or hedging.

 

 

Nandina Lemon Lime a new evergreen,  with no red at all and looking more like a low bush bamboo plant. So compact that you never need to trim it.

 

 

If you have any questions about the new varieties of nandina, why not write in to If you have any questions about the new varieties of nandina, why not write in to If you have any questions about the new varieties of nandina, why not write in to If you have any questions about the new varieties of nandina, why not write in to

 

 

 

realworldgardener@gmail.com

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