More Slime Moulds part 2 in Plant Doctor

December 18th, 2021

Slime Moulds part 2

The podcast continues with the topic of slime mould but particularly, about the slime mould called phytophthora. 

Did you prick up your ears?
Yep, that’s the root rot known as phytophthora which gardeners dread.

Gardeners are often told that phytophthera, in particular Phytophthera cinnamomi,  is a fungi but it's actually a water mould. You may have even heard it called 'root rot.'

  • Phytophora is a particular slime mould that belongs to a group or Phyllum called Oomycota 
  • This group are moulds that can only move in water columns.

Phytophthora cinnamomi lives in the soil and in plant tissues, 

During drought or prolonged dry periods , the organisms become dormant chlamydospores which is just a resting spore of Ascomycota

When environmental conditions are suitable, the chlamydospores germinate, producing mycelia (or hyphae) and sporangia. 

The sporangia ripen and release zoospores, which infect plant roots by entering the root behind the root tip. 

This organism is very resistant to most chemicals that gardeners can throw at it and doesn't die with soil disturbance..

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Dieback of branches of whole shrubs or trees is often seen in the Australian bush.

Should you ever see branch dieback in your trees or shrubs or stem dieback in your tomatoes, it just may be due to a problem called root rot that is actually a slime mould. 

The best way Botanic gardens have dealt with it is by fencing off affected beds within the gardens so horticulturists and the public don't transfer the spores around the the gardens or indeed, back home to their own gardens.

Drainage was also improved in garden beds so that the organism wasn't able to stay 'live' or active.

Compost is also added to soil to improve the soil so the microorganisms can combat this slime mould.

Let’s find out more by listening to the podcast.

I'm talking with Steve McGrane, horticulturist and agriculturist.

So know you know the facts and myths about Phytophthera and how to deal with it in your garden.

If you have any questions about slime mould or some feedback why not email us realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644

What Are Slime Moulds? part 1 of Plant Doctor

December 18th, 2021

 PLANT DOCTOR

Slime Mould: What Is It? 

Part 1

 

What do the words slime mould conjure up in your imagination?
Is it that black stuff growing in the grout and on the tiles in your bathroom?
Or is it that green stuff on your paths on the south side of the house?
You may be surprised to find that it’s neither one of those so where is it lurking?
There are a lot of other moulds that live in the garden some of which are very useful.

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Wolf Milk Slime mould

Slime moulds are in the kingdom:Protista.

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Did you know that slime moulds have a life cycle, and when you are able to observe them, is only part of their lifecycle?

They're usually brightly coloured -reds, vivid greens, yellow and purple. 

They can grow on grass, logs and pretty much anywhere where the environment is conducive.

Slime moulds are not very well known in Australia, but Tasmania has around 100 species of slime moulds one of which is called 'dog vomit.' 

Slime moulds are highly useful in that they break down materials, 80% of which is made available to plants.

Let’s find out more by listening to the podcast.

I'm talking with Steve McGrane, horticulturist and agriculturist.

If you have any questions about slime mould or some feedback why not email us realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644

Grafting Techniques part 2 on The Good Earth

November 25th, 2021

GRAFTING TECHNIQUES Part 2

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Approach grafting is an alternative method for citrus.

In part 1 of grafting techniques Margaret Mossakowska and I talked about how growing from a tree such as an orange or lemon from seed isn’t all that successful unless you graft it onto hardy rootstock.

In this segment, we refresh some of those points and take you onto more grafting techniques.

There are many types of grafting that are available to be used, some more complex or more exacting than others.

My Take On Grafting

Cleft grafting I find is quite straight forward and easy to get right. 

I've tried grafting Camellia reticulata scions onto Camellia sasanqua rootstock with a 100% success rate.  Camellia reticulata has huge flowers, a feature I wanted growing in my garden.

Camellia 'Red Crystal' is a cross between C.reticulata ‘Crimson Robe’ and C. japonica ‘Wildfire,’ however, both are slow growing. and don't grow so fast in temperate Sydney.

I find this is a faster alternative, plus Camellia sasanquas are very hardy and less prone to root rot.

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Camellia 'Red Crystal'

 

  • Grafting citrus is essential in Australia because the table citrus that we love to eat are not native to Australia, and so are prone to many diseases. 

The grafted union in most cases needs to be above the ground. There is one exception and that is with lilacs(Syringia vulgaris.). Lilacs tend to sucker if grown on their own rootstock so they are grafted onto privet rootstocks.

 

Things to Watch Out For.

Once you've successfully grafted your desired planted, whether it's a citrus or camellia or some other favourite, there's still room for failure.
  • At first the graft union may seem all fine and dandy, but  if you see shoots from below the graft union, you may have a problem Houston.
  • Shoots from below the graft union could signal failure of the graft and the rootstock is trying to take over.
  • Keep on rubbing off these shoots and hopefully it's only a minor abberration.
  • If this persists, you may find the top part or scion is slowly dying, so time to start all over.
Let’s find out more by listening to the podcast. I'm talking with Margaret Mossakowska of www.mosshouse.com.au
If you’ve never tried grafting, make sure you get the right tools before you start.

You’ll also need the correct root stock.

If you have any feedback email realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

Small Space Gardening in the Kitchen Garden

November 7th, 2021

SMALL SPACE GARDENING-COURTYARD STYLE

Modern day gardens are much smaller than they used to be.

Many gardeners and would be gardeners, hanker for a produce filled garden with as many different edibles  as befits their lifestyle.
If you you only have a small space such as a paved courtyard or even just a balcony, but don’t know what to do next, this next segment will spur you onto creating your own oasis, without digging up the stones or pavers. 

Be inspired

  • Corinne has managed to squeeze in over 200 plants into a small paved courtyard-that doesn't even include duplicates of plants.
  • A good start is with recycling crates from your local council, to give you an idea of what works for you. Alternatively, plant into lots of containers that can be moved around to follow the sun.Then venture into raised garden beds.
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Making the right choice

  • Before any planting, determine the movement of the sun in your small space and  and note down the hours of sunlight and shade in each part of your small space/courtyard.
  • Choose those edibles that like all day full sun for those spots that get 6 hours plus of sunlight such as tomatoes.
  • Leafy vegetables such as lettuce, rocket, Swiss chard and kale, don't mind a bit of shade throughout the day if your have only 3-4 hours of sunlight. 
  • If you only have morning sun then choose vegetables such as carrots, celery, and dwarf beans.
  • For those spots with morning shade and afternoon sun, the choice is climbing cucumbers, climbing peas and beans. 
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Soil prep is key for Corinne.

  • Cucumbers_growing_on_a_string_lattice_structure.jpg
    Grow cucumbers on a lattice made of string.

     The raised garden beds are made up with homemade compost, worm castings and bought in compost and other organic material.

Think of vertical spaces

  • Think about growing vines like cucumbers and zucchinis and even nasturtiums, vertically.

 
Let’s find out more by listening to the podcast.

I'm talking with Corinne Mossati drinks writer and founder of the gourmantic garden website. 

Don’t be put off by lack of space you may have because no space is too small to have plants, even if it’s just herbs on the kitchen windowsill.

If you have any feedback email realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

Appleberry is Plant of the Week

November 6th, 2021

PLANT OF THE WEEK Number 5

Scientific Name: Billardiera scandens

Common Name: Appleberry
Family: Pittosporaceae
Native Habitat: found mainly along the east coast in a variety of commnityes such as coastal heath and sclerophyll forest.
Description:A twining climber or groundcover.. Pale lance shaped green leaves have wavy margins.
Height-Width: 1.5 x3 m
Flowering: September to December. Pendulous bell-shaped flowers on branch tips, similar to correa flowers.
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Appleberry flowers. photo courtesy David Midgley
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Appleberry fruit
Fruiting: Oblong berries appear on the bush in summer while the plant continues to flower. At first green to purple that turn yellow when ripe. Taste is similar to green kiwi fruit. Size is similar to sultana grapes. (Those that are elongated having been treated with gibberelins.)
Position: Full sun or part shade. Will become more sparse in shade.
Attributes: Long flowering and fruiting period. Requires watering and regular pruning in cultivation.
  • Suitable for container growing. Regular tip pruning in this situation will result in a small shrubby plant.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been focussing on bush tucker plants, some of which you may not have heard of before.
The appleberry is no exception because even though it can be found in national parks, most people would walk by and not realise that it’s a bush tucker plant.

For Sydneysiders, it can be found in Lane Cove National Park.

Let’s find out more by listening to the podcast.

I’m talking with Adrian O’Malley, native plant officianado and expert.

There are many bush tucker plant nurseries that supply these plants online and are able to post out to most areas of Australia.

If you have any questions or feedback 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 and I’ll send you a packet of seeds.

NZ Spinach is Plant of the Week

November 6th, 2021

PLANT OF THE WEEK Number 4

Scientific Name: Tetragonia tetragoniodes

Common Name:Warrigal Greens

Family: Aizoaceae

Native Habitat: fcoastal areas, sandy shorelines or inland rivers and salt marshes

Description:A ground cover that can act like a dune stabiliser.

Height-Width: 2 x 2 m

Flowering: tiny inconsipicuous flowers Spring and Summer

Fruiting:Juicy fruit produced in clusters.

Position: Full sun or part shade.

Attributes: Dry tolerant once established.

  • There are many bush tucker plants that are not that well known and this is another one of them.

 

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Warrigal greens

These greens can be a spinach substitute, and although one of the names is NZ Spinach, here in Australia, we prefer to call them Warrigal greens.

High in oxalic acid so need to be blanched for 1 minute before using raw in salads.  

  • If you’re anywhere near a sandy beach, look out for NZ spinach growing somewhere not to far from the shoreline. 
  • Yet another bush tucker plant that should be grown more.

Let’s find out more by listening to the podcast.
I'm talking with Adrian O’Malley, horticulturist and native plant expert.

Murnong Yam is Plant of the Week

November 6th, 2021

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PLANT OF THE WEEK Number 3

Scientific Name: Microseris Lanceolata

Common Name:Murnong Yam

Family:Asteraceae

 
Yam Daisy

Native Habitat: found in a wide range of habitats in Australia: these inlcude mallee, slerophyll and sub-alpine communities.

Description:-Strappy, linear green leaves above underground tubers that emerge after rain in Autumn.

Height-Width: 30cm x 30cm

Flowering: yellow daisy flowers in spring-autumn.

Fruiting:fluffy seedheads (known as achenes), similar to dandelion seedhead.

Position: Full sun and part shade. 

Attributes: Dry tolerant once established and can grow in sandy soil.

There are many bush tucker plants that are not that well known and this is another one of them.

  • Yam daisy plant can be hard to identify in the wild because it looks like a lot of other yellow daisy plants, including dandelions and flatweed, also called cats ears.
  • The main differences: flat weed has a rosette of hairy, wavy-edged leaves that sit flat on the ground, while murnong has upright lance-shaped leaves. 
  • Murnong flower stems have a curved, drooping top as the bud develops, then straighten as it opens, whereas flatweeds and dandelions are upright as the bud is forming. The white tubers are nutritious and sweet tasting They can be eaten raw or baked, mixed with other vegetables or turned into a paste for dessert.
  • It is possible to buy the seeds of yam daisy plant online.
  • To find out more listen to the podcast. I'm talking with Adrian O'Malley horticulturist

Old Man Saltbush in Plant of the Week

November 6th, 2021

PLANT OF THE WEEK Number 2

Scientific Name: Atriplex nummularia

Common Name:Old Man Saltbush
Family: Chenopodiaceae
Native Habitat: found in semi-arid and arid areas of Australia.
Description:-grey-green leaves on a somewhat woody shrub. Dioecious-separate male and female plants.
Height-Width: 3 x 2-5 m
Flowering: small white flowers occur throughout most of the year.
Fruiting:rounded fruits.
Position: Full sun and tolerant of some shade. 
Attributes: Dry tolerant once established due to the extensive deep root system that extends to 5m deep and 10m across.
  • The leaves impart a salty flavour if your dry and crumble them and sprinkle on food.

Possibly, listeners would be familiar with the term ‘old man saltbush’ or even have seen this plant growing somewhere.

But I daresay, you would not have heards that parts of this plant are considered bush tucker.
There are many bush tucker plants that are not that well known and this is another one of them.

  • The Department of Primary Industries NSW recommends the following for farmland. 

"Shrubs are grown in hedgerows as block or alley plantings across the farm to provide high-protein green feed during periods of feed shortage."

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Old Man Saltbush: Photo courtesy DPI NSW

"Shrubs are grown in hedgerows as block or alley plantings across the farm to provide high-protein green feed during periods of feed shortage.Not recommended for areas with less than 300 mm average annual rainfall, or more than 600 mm average annual rainfall." 

In the home garden, if you’re first planting out old man saltbush, don’t expect it to survive without any water at the start. After the first warm season, then it’s good to go on just what falls out of the sky in rainfall.

Let’s find out more by listening to the podcast with Adrian O' Malley horticulturist and native plant expert. 

Australian Native Raspberry in Plant of the Week

November 4th, 2021

 PLANT OF THE WEEK

Scientific Name: Rubus parvifolia

Common Name:Native raspberry
Native Habitat: found mainly along the east coast in rainforest or coast heath communities.
Description:A scrambling vine or shrub the shoots from underground rhizomes with hooked thorns to help it climb. 
Height-Width: 2 x 2 m
Flowering: December to April
Fruiting:Juicy fruit produced in clusters.
Position: Full sun or part shade.
Attributes: Dry tolerant once established.

 

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Rubus parvifolia

Not all fruiting vines or canes come from the northern hemisphere, Australia has quite a lot of its own.
These plants have similar fruits and are easier to grow than there northern counterparts so why are we growing them more? 

My experience is observing one such plant in Sydney Botanic gardens, scrambling on a stream bank near the Palm House. This plant is part of the native garden along with banksias, grass trees, lomandras, carpobrotus and many others, including a peppermint gum.

The habit of rubus species is to keep suckering and spreading, much like the non-native blackberry bushes, so take care where exactly you plant it in your garden.

Listen to the podcast to find out more.

I'm talking with horticulturist and native plant afficionado, Adrian O’Malley 

PLAY : Rubus parvifolius_25th August 2021

Spotting Plant Deficiencies in Plant Doctor

September 8th, 2021

PLANT DEFICIENCIES:

Imagine this scenario, you’ve fertilised your garden with all the right stuff, having followed the manufacturer’s instructions to a ‘t.’

But still the plants look sickly, or perhaps a bit yellow, or they’re just not putting on any growth.
Does that sound familiar?

  • So what’s the problem?
The first thing you need to do is a pH test on your soil-there's no escaping it.
Why?
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The soil pH will determine the availability pf different nutrients to your plants.

 
Let's look at an example
Looking at the chart on the right, it's immediately apparent that if your pH is higher than say pH7.5, then nutrients like iron start to taper off in their availability to the plant.
 
Then means your plant may start to show symptoms of iron deficiency.
In fact, after pH 7.5, other nutrients taper off in their availability, such as manganese, boron, and more importantly, one of the macro nutrients being potassium.

 

 
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Basic pH test kit

 

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    Ideally the ideal pH range that gardeners should strive for is pH 6 - 7.5

  • This is the range that the major nutrients of NPK are available to the plant the most.
  • Some plants such as rhododenrons and azaleas like a like a low of pH6.
A pH testing kit is essential in any gardener’s shed. Consider testing your soil in different parts of the garden.
A good tip when taking soil samples from your soil is to get a sample from just below the surface for an accurate reading.
 
First signs of Nutrient Deficiencies: 
Nitrogen: new leaves are pale green and older leaves are yellow and start to dry up.
Phosphorus: purpling of the leaves, particularly along the lower leaves. New leaves are a bit stunted and deformed in severe cases.  A bit more rare.
Potassium: poor overall health; older leaves turn yellow then crisp up and die off. Often mistaken for dehydration.
 
Let’s find out more about  pH testing and plant deficiencies 
I'm talking with Kylie Last, horticulturist and TAFE teacher.
If you have any feedback email realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

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