Real World Gardener Australian Mint Bush in Plant of the Week

June 26th, 2020

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Prostanthera lasianthos and other species. Australian Mint Bush

It smells like mint but is it? The leaves are round or sometimes oval or even pointy. 

It’s even in the same family as common mint: Lamiaceae
Australia does have a wide variety of endemic mint bushes.

There are 90 species all of which originate somewhere in the bush,  but how well does it do in your garden? 
I'm talking with Adrian O’Malley, qualified horticulturist and native plant expert. 

Prostanthera comes from the Greek for an appendage because inside the flowers are small spur-like appendages on the anthers. 
These minty plants are bushy, evergreen shrubs, usually with strongly aromatic leaves.

Heaps of purple flowers covers the soft leaves all through spring and early summer, attracting butterflies and small insect-eating birds. 

did you know?

  • Mint bushes often wilt when they badly need a water, particular in the summer months.Because of this, they are excellent "indicator" plant for the rest of the garden.
 
Prostanthera lasianthos


Some of the varieties available are:

Prostanthera lasianthos is quick growing and in good conditions may reach 8-10 metres. Tolerates heavy shade as well as full sun.

  1. ovalifoliahas very aromatic foliage. Quick growing and spectacular in flower. Prune back by about one third to keep that bushy habit. Suitable for full sun or semi shade.
  2. rotundifolia- Very aromatic foliage. Quick growing and spectacular in flower. Needs pruning back by about one third every year to keep a bushy habit. Can grow in sun or semi shade. Prostanthera_lasianthos_flowers.jpg

The leaves are round while growing as a compact shrub that reaches a height of one and a half metres in our garden.  The flowers are over one centimetre wide and mauve to purple

Plant it along a pathway so you get the benefit of brushing past the fragrant leaves. 

Good pot plant also. Feed with a good native fertiliser, watering in afterwards to avoid leaf or root burn. 

If you have any questions of course, why not email realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Real World Gardener Talking with Josh Byrne on Gardening beyond Isolation

June 26th, 2020

GARDENING IN ISOLATION AND BEYOND

 

Australians are turning to gardening in droves during the pandemic but there are pitfalls for new gardeners.

Help is at hand of course, and there are ways to keep gardening evening when things return to normal and gardeners may have less time to devote to their plants.

Let’s find out all about what to do.1.2_Josh_Byrne_A4_Print.jpg

I'm talking with Josh Byrne, presenter for Gardening Australia TV presenterand environmental scientist.

PLAY: Josh Byrne & Plant Pals_17th June 2020

 

I asked Josh these questions:-

Q1. What are the benefits of gardening? (it’s good to get another voice to mention these-often say it already on my radio show.)

A: Good fun, a great hobby that makes you feel good and great for mental health.

Q2. How much space do you really need to have a garden?

A:All depends on what you want to grow.

 All you need is a balcony with a bit of sun.

Urban block gardens can grow a fair percentage of the fruits and vegetables that you can consume.

Q3. Who are the new, novice and emerging gardeners of 2020?

A:People in the 25-35 age group, the millenials, who are spending more time at home.

Q4What are some of the common mistakes this new band of gardeners might make?  (eg, choosing the wrong plant for the location, sowing seed in the wrong season-I noticed the one nursery chain had out summer seedlings only last week).

A: Novice gardeners might put a plant in the wrong spot, or buy annual vegetables, either seeds or seedlings for growing at the wrong time of year. Overwatering or underwatering might cause plant death early.

Q5. It’s easy to get disheartened after a couple of failures, for example seed raising, plants getting eaten by bugs. What’s your advice?

Josh suggests, read the back of the seed packet or the instructions on the plant label.

Ask horticulturists at your local garden centre. There is also plenty of gardening blogs and gardening websites that can help with your gardening question.

Q6. When things get back to more like they used to be, what are the tips/suggestions to keep on gardening?

Don't forget about your plants just because your routine gets back to normal. Keep going now that you have a taste for it. If you hit a bit of a snag, don't worry, keep going and not be disheartened.

Q7. Tell me about Plant Pals. How did it come about?

Greenlife Industry Australia, the peak body for the production, supply and retail of greenlife has launched Plant Pals, an initiative designed to connect new, novice and emerging gardeners with greenlife experts.Plant Pals is a new campaign to keep Australians engaged in gardening as life slowly returns to normal following COVID-19 lockdowns. It's really about making sure gardeners both new and old are getting plenty of support in their gardening journey. Linking gardeners with plant suppliers, expert advice, blogs and podcasts.  Click on the link PLANT PALS

Q8. For those who haven’t started gardening, how can we get them interested? (perhaps join a community garden?)

Perhaps join a community garden, because they're a great place to connect with other like people in the local community. Vist local parks and botanic gardens to get more exposure to plants in wonderful settings.

 

If you have any questions of course, why not email realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Real World Gardener Tips and Mistakes When Starting A vegetable Garden

June 19th, 2020

COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID & TIPS TO MAKE IT BETTER part 2

I would imagine, most listeners Real World Gardener radio show would have a vegetable garden, but perhaps there’s also some new listeners new to gardening?

This next interview will take you through some of the most common mistakes that gardeners make when starting out and what to do to avoid them.

Wrong Fertiliser?

Compost is king says Toni. The  compost helps the plants take up any nutrients that are in the soil.

Synthetic fertiliser can 'dump' in one load if temperatures increase above their optimum level.

  • The right fertiliser is dependant on the plants that you're growingVegetable%2BgardenLynn%2BWood%2BTasmania

Leafy crops like high nitrogen fertiliser such as pelleted chicken manure.

Tomatoes and other fruiting crops, especially beans and peas, won't do so well with producing fruit if you only add nitrogenous fertilisers.

Keep up the liquid feeding of your vegetable garden.

  • Planting in the Wrong Season?

Bear in mind there are different climatic zones in Australia so you need to look at the right climate for where you're living.

Why is your Basil dying at the end of Autumn? That's what it's meant to do.

Cool season planting: peas, cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower, leeks lettuce,

Warm season planting: tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, eggplants, okra, pumpkin, beans, lettuce, chillies, basil

  • Crop Rotation

Failing to observe crop rotation will mean a build up pests and disease that attack that crop.

I am talking with Toni Salter Toni Salter who is The Veggie Lady. She has a passion to see organic principles adopted by everyone, encouraging people everywhere to grow organic produce in their own backyard. As a qualified horticulturist, Toni has been teaching community education classes both privately, at her home, as well as through various community colleges and local councils around Sydney since 2003. Catch her on www.theveggielady.com

Real World Gardener Common Mistakes in Starting a Vegetable Garden part 1

June 19th, 2020

VEGETABLE GARDENING: Growing Your Own

COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID & TIPS TO MAKE IT BETTER

I would imagine, most listeners to this show would have a vegetable garden, but perhaps there’s also some new listeners new to gardening? 
This next interview will take you through some of the most common mistakes that gardeners make when starting out and what to do to avoid them.

Henley%2BGreen%2BCommunity%2Bgarden.jpg

  • Amount of sun: plants need the sun to photosynthesise in order to grow into healthy plants
Veggies will take 6 hours of sun to grow really well. Whether it's morning or afternoon sun doesn't matter so much.
In cities and built up areas, sun may be insufficient to grow all of the range of vegetables.
  • Less than 6 hours?
Stick with leafy crops such as celery, cabbage family-broccoli, kale, lettuce.
  • Inconsistent watering
Vegetables need to consume plenty of water because they're consuming a lot of nutrients as they are expanding lots of energy in growing.
Increase the amount of water holding capacity in your soil by adding compost, heaps and heaps of it.
Adding compost and worm castings will improve the structure of the soil which will also help with drainage.
I am talking with Toni Salter Toni Salter who is The Veggie Lady

Real World Gardener Creating Edible Gardens part 5 in Design Elements

June 19th, 2020

Edible Gardens part 5

Ongoing Maintenance
So what’s on the list? Mulching, fertilising, pruning, weeding but what else?
I'm talking wiht Glenice Buck, landscape designer and consulting arborist. 
Let’s find out… Brukale%2Bgrowing%2Bin%2Bvegetable%2Bpat

Top of the list is watering your garden, especially the veggie garden. 
Glenice recommends hand watering so you can monitor the needs of the veggies. 
Fertilising is not far behind as well as using seaweed liquid every 10 days to 2 weeks. 

  • Once the plants are in and growing, you need to be aware of the soil moisture conditions. Autumn showers are always beneficial for the vegetable garden, there is nothing like rain to push along the garden. 
  • You will need to supplement this rain with hand watering. Whenever possible, I would encourage gardeners to water their vegetable garden by hand as you can assess the water needs of plants individually, however if this is not possible an irrigation system which is monitored regularly is fine but make sure in times of rain it is switched off. 
  • The biggest destroyer of vegetables through the winter months is over watering, which can cause fungal diseases.

 After the plantings have been in for about a week or so, I would recommend fortnightly applications of seaweed emulsions such as Eco – Seaweed from organic crop protectants. This is not a fertiliser as such, it is a root revitaliser that will help stimulate good plant health and condition along with many other benefits.

 

Applying fertiliser to the vegetable garden is best completed with a liquid fertiliser such as Eco amino– Gro, Yates Nature’s Way or Amgrow’s Harvest. This can be done once a fortnight or as per packet directions. You can also use your home-made compost tea on your veggies whilst they are growing.

 

If you have any questions of course, why not email realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

 

Real World Gardener Orchid Care in Talking Flowers

June 16th, 2020

Orchid Cut Flowers

Potted plants:

1-orchids_dendrobium.jpg

Like other orchid species, humidity is important for the best growth.

  •  a small tray of rocks or pebbles should be used for potted plants

Water should be added to keep the pebbles covered at all times.

 Damp soil is important during peak growing and blooming seasons.

A good orchid potting bark that retains some moisture should be used. 

  • Daily misting should be used to increase humidity.
  • Several hours of indirect light is best for live plants. Direct light can cause leaves and flowers to scorch on the edges. A warm windowsill with lots of indirect light can be the best spot.
  •  Fertilizers may be used to produce better blooms for many species.Care should be taken to avoid overusing fertilizers for potted plants.Overuse can lead to stunted plant growth or scorching of the leaves.

Cut Flowers

  • Dunk in a bucket of water for 15 minutes.
  • Cut the stem straight across
  • Mist the flowers daily with filtered or "burped water."

I'm talking with Mercedes Sarmini of www.floralgossip.com.au

 

 

Real World Gardener Edible Gardens part 4 in Design Elements

June 16th, 2020

Edible Gardens part 4 Companikon Planting

This series is about edible gardens from start to finish. 
So far we’ve covered, site selection, soil preparation and selection of plants or seeds for your garden Part 4 is about companion planting, 
So what is it? 
Let’s find out… 

I'm talking with  Glenice Buck, landscape designer and consulting arborist. 
If you’re dubious about companion planting at the very least, plant out some flowering annuals close to your veggie garden to attract pollinating insects. 
Sweet-Alyssum-and-Marigold.jpg
Marigolds and alyssum attract not only pollinators but beneficial insects as well. 

 

Some proven successful combinations of plant species are: 

  • Marigolds (Stinking Rogers) planted out in veggie beds will repel a number of bugs with their somewhat smelly foliage and are proven to kill nematodes in the soil.
  • Chives, thyme and catnip planted with roses will deter aphids and other typical rose diseases.
  • Basil works well with tomatoes by repelling flies and mosquitoes.
  • Dill, chervil and coriander growing in between carrots will help to deter insects.
  • Alternating leeks and carrots in rows will protect each other from insect attack. 
  • Beetroot, onions, silverbeet, lettuce, cabbage and dwarf beans all work in combination with each other to create a mini ecosystem and will battle through insect attack well together.
  • Chervil and coriander are good to plant amongst carrots.

Real World Gardener Talks with Australian Organic CEO

June 16th, 2020

TALKING ORGANICS

Australians are turning to organic products more and more but how can we be sure they are 100% organic other than perhaps the price difference.?

vegetables%2Bsummer.jpg

 
  • Australian Organic is the leading industry body responsible for ensuring organic standards in Australia remain in the hands of the industry. It represents organic products and retailers, and ensures products are authentically organic through its certified bud logo.AOL_Primary_Logo_CMYK%2BJUNE%2B2020%2BHi
I'm talking with Niki Ford, CEO of leading industry body Australian Organic
Let’s find out … 

PLAY: CEO Australian Organic_3rd June 2020 

Did you know?

  • Australian demand for certified organic products is skyrocketing with $1.93 billion dollars generated in domestic sales for 2018 across a wide range of products. The figure is up $256 million from domestic sales of $1.67 billion for 2017 with the total Australian organic industry now worth $2.6 billion and growing year on year.

Niki mentioned the value and ethics of organic products and the importance of certification standards. 
It pays to read the label, but Australia should get in line with the rest of the world in adhering to better labelling for organic products in the global market, so that consumers when they buy organic, are assured that it truly is organic.. 

  • The body that owns Australia’s most respected and recognised organic logo, Biological Farmers of Australia, or BFA, has changed its name to Australian Organic.
If you have any questions of course, why not email realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Real World Gardener Perfumed Flowers in Talking Flowers

June 11th, 2020

TALKING FLOWERS

Perfumed and Non-Perfumed Flowers

Why do some flowers have scent and others not?

It's all about pollination because scent is a signal that directs pollinators to a particular flower whose nectar and/or pollen is the reward.

Volatile oils are emitted from flowers can have either slight scent or strong scent depending on how far away the plant needs to attract its visitors.

  • Those plants that  are pollinated by bees and flies have sweet scents, whereas those pollinated by beetles have strong musty, spicy, or fruity odours.

Perfumers have never been able to exactly match perfumed their scents to the complex scents that flowers exude.

But floral volatile oils are essential in allowing insects to discriminate among plant species and even among individual flowers of a single species. 

For example, closely related plant species that rely on different types of insects for pollination produce different odours.

I'm talking with Mercedes Sarmini from www.floralgossip.com.au

Mercede's list of favourite perfumed flowers are:bouquet-white-rose-flowers-roses-lush-pi

Ms Carnation:Ms Rose

Mr Hyacinth:Ms Lavender

Mr Freesia: Ms Lilac

Mr Tuber Rose: Mr Lily of the Valley

Ms Stock: Ms Jasmine: Mr Belladonna Lily

Ms Bouvardia

 

Real World Gardener Creating Edible Gardens part 3 in Design Elements

June 11th, 2020

DESIGN ELEMENTS

Edible Gardens Series Part 3

Part 3 is selecting and buying the seeds and plants.
Probably the most enjoyable part of the edible garden process.
So which seeds or plants and where to buy and what about crop rotation?
Let’s find out…
I'm talking with Glenice Buck, landscape designer and consulting arborist. 

You don't have to go to a store, because every type of vegetable is available online, either as a seed, or seedlings.
You can buy advanced seedlings as an example, from a mail order company in Gippsland, Victoria if it‘s getting a bit late to sow or plant your winter crop. www.diggers.com.au 
They call them speedings, because they’re at least a month ahead of where you would be if you started them from seeds.

diggers%2Bspeeding%2Bcollection.jpg
Diggers seeds speeding collection

Seeds are of course much cheaper but they could be 6-8 weeks behind seedlings, especially cabbages and other brassicas which are quite slow growing.

The other issue if you plant out winter crops too late, so that when they're maturing, the season is too warm. Warm weather can bring with it more fungal problems and a horde of insects to infest your crop.

  • Crop Rotation Is Important

Crop rotation is important of course so that you don't have a build of pests of diseases with a particular crop.

If you understand which group the vegetable your growing belongs to, then you can understand what to plant next once a certain crop is finished. Never grow the same crop more than once in the same bed.

Fabacea or Legume family: peas, beans

Asteraceae or Daisy Family: Leafy crops: spinach, lettuces, chicory.

Solanaceae or Potato family:-tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, capsicum

Apiaceae or Carrot family-carrots, parsnip, parsley, dill, celeriac

Brassicaceae or Cabbage family: broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, radish

Amaranthaceae or beetroot family: beetroot, spinach, swiss chard

Cucurbitaceae or Marrow family-cucumber, zucchini, squash, marrow, melon

 

If you have any questions of course, why not email realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville 

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