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?

green%2Bshoots%2Bin%2Bsoil.jpg

 

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

 
00:0000:00

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).

soil-activator-label-1-800x547.jpg

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

00:0000:00

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

1-9004%2BWeedho.jpg

 

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

 

 

 

 
00:0000:00

Real World Gardener BETTER Garden Walkways in Design Elements

June 8th, 2017

 

DESIGN ELEMENTS

1-DSC_0117.JPG

Up the Garden Path, Softly

 

Today’s garden challenge is for those gardeners that don’t want hard surface garden paths.

 

Concrete, brick or 

other types of paving for paths 

can be a bit harsh in areas 

where the garden is quite natural.

What do you opt for then?

 

Perhaps mulch?

 

Mulch decomposes rather quickly and you end up raking some up when you're trying to get rid of those leaves from branches that hang over the path.

 

Leaves that don't look attractive are usually from trees in the Proteaceae family, such as Madacdamia or Ivory Curl tree, 

because they're quite hard and take a long time to break down.

 

But there are other alternatives, although not necessarily ones that you can do yourself unless you're really handy with the compactor.

 

 

 

In this segment, garden designer Peter Nixon explores some softer alternatives.

Let’s find out…I'm talking with Peter Nixon, garden designer and Peter’s not a fan of pebbles on paths.

 

1-SCA_2370.JPG

Scampston Garden in England. photo M Cannon

 

Instead why not try a combo of bark chips and shell grit, or decomposed granite, perhaps lillydale topping and bark or woody mulch.

You would need to run the plate compactor over these surfaces to compact the path.

If you have any questions about what to do for your garden paths in your garden, or have some information to share, write in realworldgardener@gmail.com

 
00:0000:00

Real World Gardener Why We Need Worm Farms in Living Planet

February 15th, 2017

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney, streaming live at www.2rrr.org.au  and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network. www.realworldgardener.com

REALWORLD GARDENER NOW ON FACEBOOK

The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on http://www.cpod.org.au/ , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s edition

LIVING PLANET

How To Look After Your Worm Farm? Getting Started.

 

Still not convinced about worm farms?

StartWormFarm.jpgWell did you know that in one worm, there is around 474, 075 million bacteria ?

These bacteria do an incredibly important job – mainly making minerals available to your plants.

From the reference “Earthworms in Australia’, by David Murphy,

When compared to the parent soil (the original soil), worm castings (the worm’s poo) have approximately:

 

7 times the available phosphorous: 6 times the available nitrogen

3 times the available magnesium: 2 times the available carbon

1.5 times the available calcium

So which worms go best in worm farms?

Let’s find out. I'm talking with Sophie Goulding, environment project officer with a local council.

 

PLAY: Worm farms part 2_8th February 2017

Worms like to be kept moist and covered because they're Sensitive to light.

Keep your worm farm in a shady spot so that they don't overheat and on hot days, give them a sprinkle of water.

DSC_0417-001.JPG

worms hate light.

The worms don’t create the minerals out of thin air but change their form from insoluble to soluble by digesting them.

That’s reason enough to get into worm farming.

00:0000:00

Real World Gardener How to Measure Soil pH and Why We Should in Design Elements

May 26th, 2016

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney, streaming live at www.2rrr.org.au  and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network. www.realworldgardener.comREALWORLD GARDENER NOW ON FACEBOOK

The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on http://www.cpod.org.au/ , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s edition.

DESIGN ELEMENTS

Now that you know what your soil pH is in most of your garden, or you’re going to find out soon, what’s the ideal pH for plants to grow in?

What can you do if you don’t have that ideal pH and how do you actually use that pH kit?

Let’s find out in this segment about soil pH. I'm talking with Glenice Buck, Consulting Arborist and Landscape Designer.



Measuring%2Bsoil%2BpH.jpg
Alkaline soil pH



pH_Test_Kit_Manutec-01.jpg 

soil_test%2Bwith%2Bacid%2Bsoil.jpg
Acid soil pH

Just a reminder that soil pH is important because it influences how easily plants can take up nutrients from the soil.

 

 

 

If you’re soil’s too acidic or too alkaline, it will take quite a few months to change the pH, but that doesn’t mean you should give up now.

 

Measuring pH is easy even with the most basic kit.

All you need to do is dig up some soil samples from several parts of your garden, and spritz them with some water, but don't make the soil sample soggy. Next add a few drops of dye indicator fluid followed by a few shakes of the powder (Barium sulphate.)

Wait a couple of minutes and the powder should colour up.

You can then compare the colour of the powder with the soil pH chart.

00:0000:00

Real World Gardener Hygiene and Disease in the Garden on Soil Savvy

May 26th, 2016

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney, streaming live at www.2rrr.org.au  and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network. www.realworldgardener.comREALWORLD GARDENER NOW ON FACEBOOK

The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on http://www.cpod.org.au/ , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s edition.

SOIL SAVVY

1-HID_2964.JPG
Tree rot photo M Cannon

Have you noticed some plants in your garden that look like they’re wilting even though you’re watering them?

Then the whole thing dies and you plant another one in the same spot.

Guess what the same thing happens.

Something’s going on with your soil surely?

Let’s find out what it is now.

I'm talking with Penny Smith, a horticultural scientist who specializes in soil science.

Your soil needs lots of animals or mini beasts and micro-organisms to be healthy.

Commercial compost although sterilised, does have some of these things because it's compost after all and does break down.

1-RBG_4359.jpg
Tree health reflects what is below ground. photo M Cannon

Root disease can occur when you've disturbed the roots.

Dieback here are there on the plant is one of the symptoms as is wilting and not recovering after watering.

The plant above the soil reflects what happens below the soil, so that if there's damage to certain roots from either disease or cultivation, then that will show up above the soil.

This might mean death of some branches.

Fungal diseases that grow in your soil are only growing bigger every time you water that wilting plant.

Before you replace it with another, take out soil from that failed location and put in a heap of compost.

Hopefully the micro organisms will overtake that fungus and so killing off that fungal infection and let your plant survive.

If you have any questions about disease in your soil or have some information to share, drop us a line to realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

00:0000:00

Real World Gardener What’s Soil pH? in Design Elements

May 19th, 2016

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney, streaming live at www.2rrr.org.au  and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network. www.realworldgardener.comREALWORLD GARDENER NOW ON FACEBOOK

The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on http://www.cpod.org.au/ , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s edition.

DESIGN ELEMENTS

SOIL pH series introduction



chlorosis.jpg
Chlorosis, or iron deficiency



This next topic isn’t all that glamourous but can mean that your garden plants won’t grow as well if you do nothing about it.

Plants will be stunted, or have deformed leaves, even yellowing leaves with green veins can be one of the outcomes.

You’ll often read or hear the recommendation to check soil pH, but what does that really mean?

Pity about the topic name but let’s find out in this introduction to soil pH.

I'm talking with Glenice Buck, Consulting Arborist and Landscape Designer.

Soil pH measures the alkalinity or acidity levels in the soil.

This ranges from '0' to ;14' on a pH scale, where pH 7 is considered neutral.

ph-scale.jpg
pH chart

Levels falling below 7 are acidic and those above 7 are considered alkaline.

Soil pH is important because it influences how easily plants can take up nutrients from the soil.

Did you know that plant roots absorb mineral nutrients such as nitrogen and iron when they are dissolved in water?

If the soil solution (the mixture of water and nutrients in the soil) is too acid or alkaline, some nutrients won’t dissolve easily, so they won’t be available for uptake by roots.

If you have any questions about measuring soil pH drop us a line to realworldgardener@gmail.com

 

00:0000:00

Real World Gardener Dealing with Dieback in Soil Savvy

March 18th, 2016

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney, streaming live at www.2rrr.org.au  and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network. www.realworldgardener.comREALWORLD GARDENER NOW ON FACEBOOK

The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on http://www.cpod.org.au/ , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s edition

SOIL SAVVY

Phytophthera cinnamomi  or commonly called Dieback

If you’ve ever noticed some browning off of branches or limbs on your trees and shrubs, chances are you don’t have a pest but a fungal disease in your soil.

Phytophthera can be isolated if you notice it in one or more plants in your garden because it will affect plants individually.

1-NOR_4790.jpg

Phytophthera in the landscape. photo M. Cannon

Although Phytophthera doesn't discriminate as to which plant it affects.

Let’s find out about you can do about it. I'm talking with Penny Smith, Horticultural Scientist, specialising in soils.

DSC_2941.JPG

Dieback in Arbutus unedo photo M Cannon

The scientific name of this fungal dieback is phytophthora cinnamomi  and this fungus was probably introduced into Australia through European settlement.

It has now spread to affect hundreds of thousands of hectares of native vegetation, in just about every state in Australia.

Phytophthera also affects parklands and even Botanic Gardens.

So the big tip was if you think you have it in your garden when you’re watering your plants that have compost around it, the phytophthora fungus is less likely to spread through your garden because the organic matter is an inhibitor to that fungus.

If you have any questions about phytophthora or any other fungal disease, drop us a line to realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

00:0000:00

Real World Gardener Controlling Tomato Diseases in Plant Doctor

March 18th, 2016

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney, streaming live at www.2rrr.org.au  and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network. www.realworldgardener.com
REALWORLD GARDENER NOW ON FACEBOOK

The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on http://www.cpod.org.au/ , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s edition.

PLANT DOCTOR

Tomatoes are almost the number one plant to grow in the vegetable garden.

Shall we say, botanically a fruit, but we call it a vegetable?

tomatoes.JPG
Home grown tomatoes. photo M. Cannon

Last week Plant Doctor looked at the pests that are attracted to your tomatoes, but today we’re looking at the diseases that your tomatoes can succumb to.

Not that you can’t grow healthy plants but in case you’ve had problems and are on the point of giving up, here’s how to deal with some of these diseases.

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

Some of the disease problems we talked about are the wilts:-Verticillium wilt which prefers cooler conditions and has a dark brown centre if you cut the stem; Fusarium wilt which occurs more in warmer conditions and has a pinky brown centre when you cut through the stem.

Basically you have to pull out and destroy the plants and not put them into the compost because they will the disease will spread.

Then there's the spotty problems like Septoria or Target Spot which are a combination of fungal and bacterial disease. This can cause spotting on both the leaves and the fruit.

You might be starting to think that there’s too many pests and diseases that go for your tomatoes, but don’t let that stop you from growing them, because they are enjoyable to grow.

Prevention where possible is always best and fortnightly sprays of seaweed solution strengthens the cell walls of the plant. 

Blossom end rot is not a disease but a calcium deficiency. Sometimes caused by lack of sufficient water or irregular watering during dry times.

Adding a sprinkle of Dolomite around the plant when first putting them in will help solve this problem.

1-Blossom%2Bend%2Brot.JPG
Blossom end rot. photo M Cannon

Another tip is to not have the plants flopping around but staked up and remove the lower leaves.

The biggest tip is to rotate where you grow your tomato plants rather than planting them in the same spot year after year.

If you’ve only got one dedicated spot for your veggie bed, then you may have to rethink where you put these tomatoes, say in the front garden amongst your perennial flowers.

If you have any questions about pests of tomatoes or have some information to share, drop us a line to realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

00:0000:00

- Older Posts »