Rose Geranium Based Drinks in the Kitchen Garden

December 24th, 2021

KITCHEN GARDEN

Rose Geranium 

Scientific name: Pelargonium graveolens

Family: Geraniaceae

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Rose geranium leaves (photo Corinne Mossati)

 

Personally I’m a fan of scented plants whether it’s the flowers or the leaves.
I just love to inhale their perfume either by sniffing the flowers or touching the leaves.

This next plant, the rose geranium, is not just your ordinary scented geranium because of its many uses.

Sure you can get by just inhaling the perfume after crushing the leaves but why not think about it’s culinary uses, especially in festive drinks. 

First let's talk about the plant.

Rose geraniums are quick growing especially in the warmest months of the year.

Expect this to be a small bush of 1-2-1.5meters with leaves that are soft to the touch, slight hairy and deeply incised as pictured on the right. 

Rose geraniums grow best in full sun but can tolerate part shade. Also frost and drought tolerant.

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Rose Geranium spritzer (photo Corinne Mossati)  

Keep pruning the leaves to make your rose geranium plant into a tidy compact form, otherwise it will tend to flop over and sprawl a bit.

Don't throw away the cuttings or prunings as all geraniums root easily and quickly. 

Just cut a piece or stem of about 5cm long, first removing the bottom two-thirds of leaves. Pop this piece into seed raising mix in a small pot or you can even place cuttings in water.

Rooted cuttings soon grow into plants that make great gifts to give to friends.

But don't waste those leaves, because what better way to use them, than making a rose geranium syrup to pour over ice-cream or a rose geranium spritzer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Start off with making a rose geranium syrup.

All you need is 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of water and 1 cup of chopped rose geranium leaves.

I'm talking with Corinne Mossati, founder and editor of Gourmantic Garden and Cocktails and Bars  Corinne has provided the links to the recipes below.

Rose Geranium Syrup recipe http://www.cocktailsandbars.com/rose-geranium-syrup-recipe/

Rose Geranium Spritzer http://www.cocktailsandbars.com/rose-geranium-spritzer/

Let’s find out more by listening to the podcast.
If you have any feedback email realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

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

Grafting Ctirus a Technique in The Good Earth

November 25th, 2021

 THE GOOD EARTH

Grafting Techniques part 1 & 2

If you’ve ever grown a tree from it’s seed, such as an orange lemon or avocado, you probably were disappointed by the result. 
I daresay, that firstly, it took a long time for it to fruit, and when it did, it was nothing like the fruit that the seed came from. 
After all apart from the novelty factor of  being able to grow a tree from a tiny seed, the time involved isn't really worth the effort. So what to do instead?
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Lemon tree
  • Switch to grafting methods.
Grafting is a method that would vastly improve the result all round but the word itself sounds terrifying if not complicated! 
There is after all the possibility that you'll end up slicing of the tip of your finger with the super sharp budding knife, or at the very least drawn blood from the deep wound that resulted from a slip of the wrist. 
I confess to having done that.

 

Practice makes perfect and I would recommend wearing gloves before attempting to do any type of grafting.

So What is Grafting?

drawing%2Bscion_rootstock.jpgGrafting is a swag of techniques that involves having a root stock that is happily growing in the ground or in a pot, whose upper part you will cut off completely.
Next, you attach a scion, a piece of plant whose features you really like, such as fruit size and flavour.
  • The scion has to be a particular size and be related botanically speaking to the rootstock. That means you can't graft an apple onto citrus rootstock, because apples are in the family 'rosaceae' and citrus are in the plant family 'rutaceae.'
 
There are of course plenty of other reasons why you want to try your hand at grafting.
Some of these are to improve disease resistance such as for roses or fruit trees or dwarfing.
Dwarf  trees are the result of grafting a scion from a tree of full size fruit onto dwarfing root stock.
 
 
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  • Margaret describes cleft grafting where the scion's base is cut as a 'V' and inserted into the same length slit into the rootstock. The cambium (green wood) of each must be aligned.

TIP:If you’ve never tried grafting, make sure you get the right tools before you start.

You’ll also need the correct root stock.

Let’s find out more by listening to the podcast. I'm talking with Margaret Mossakowska of www.mosshouse.com.au

 

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

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

Therapeutic Horticulture part 2 on Real World Gardener

October 5th, 2021

Therapeutic Horticulture part 2

The next part of my interview with specialist Cath Manuel,  is more about how anyone interested in this field can get started plus the actual benefits for participants.

  • Cath was asked what kind of activities she creates or devises?  
Cath uses basic gardening skills and/or tasks but the activity is very much person centred. 
For example, someone with  low confidence and low self-esteem who is unable to participate in a community garden, perhaps on the NDIS then simple tasks such as sowing seeds, simple propagating, growing crops and fruit, watering.
  • Corporate sponsorship for organisations is very important because it can provide materials such as plants, gloves, potting mix, and other garden related products.

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    photo M Cannon
Observations
Cath has seen a lot of successes over the years, one she mentions in particular is when she works with the 'Memory Support Unit' for dementia patients.
Patients within a few minutes of being in the garden, are suddenly transported to being the gardener they once were. They are happier, often start talking to others and communicating better.

Training-How to Get Started

There are two programs, one for individuals and one for those wishing to train in therapeutic horticulture.
Support is provided by Cath Manuel
 
Let’s find out more
I'm talking with Cath Manuel, Therapeutic Horticulture Specialist . Listen to the podcast.

Cath Manuel is the founder of Soil to Supper website and a specialist in therapeutic horticulture and kitchen gardens. https://soiltosupper.com

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

Therapeutic Horticulture part 1 on Real World Gardener

October 5th, 2021

 GARDEN AS THERAPY

Therapeutic Horticulture

  • What makes a garden therapeutic? What is therapeutic gardening?
  • Are these two things connected or are they separate?

You would think that yes gardening is therapy, so doing a bit of gardening would amount to therapeutic horticulture but you would be wrong.

  • To understand therapeutic horticulture, you have to be across two areas:-health and well-being and horticulture. You can start from the health sector and then gain some qualifications in horticulture or vice versa..
  • Therapeutic horticulture then means using gardening as an activity to improve people's health and well being through the use of plants . 
  •  There are lots of courses that can assist you with training to be a therapeutic horticulturist.
  • The next step is to gain some hours through volunteering with an organisation, eg aged care, through NDIS, and disability sector.
  • It's also a good idea to join THA or Therapeutic Horticulture Australia https://tha.org.au.
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photo M Cannon
Let’s find out more
I'm talking with Cath Manuel, therapeutic horticulture specialist 
Cath Manuel is the founder of Soil to Supper website and a specialist in therapeutic horticulture and kitchen gardens. https://soiltosupper.com
If you have any feedback email realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

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