Real World Gardener Peppercorns of All Sorts in Spice It Up

September 27th, 2020

 SPICE IT UP

Black pepper, White Pepper: Peppers of All Sorts

Until recently, this next spice, black pepper, was one of the most traded in the world. 
We’re talking thousands of tonnes of black pepper, can you imagine? But why was that and how does this it grow?
 
On a tree, a shrub or is it an orchid?
Did you know that to get black peppercorns, the berries are harvested when they are green?
1-Piper_Nigrum_3.jpg

Let’s find out more.

I’ve being talking with Ian Hemphill from www.herbies.com.au

The peppercorn that we know is
Piper nigrum vine native to south India.

All peppercorns are harvested by hand.

Gardeners in the tropics and possibly sub tropics can grow this vine up a trellis or a tree outside in the garden.

Pepper is a jungle plant so that the roots need to remain cool,
The vine will fill a trellis in about three years. Berries that are picked when they're fat and green can be dried to make black pepper.

In the wild, or in plantations where they are allowed to grow up palm trees, the hermaphrodite pepper flowers  are pollinated by rain running down the catkin. This occurs during the monsoon

So if you want to grow one in your home garden, watering the flowers should mimic this.

Berries allowed to mature and turn red, can be peeled and inside is a seed.
This is actually white pepper.

Real World Gardener Midgen Berry in Plant of the Week

September 27th, 2020

PLANT OF THE WEEK 2

Scientific name:Austromyrtus dulcis
Common name: Midgen berry
Flowers: white with 5 petals, in spring and summer. Later in cooler districts.
Leaves: variable 9-30mm with noticeable oil glands. New growth is covered with silky hairs.
Site: part shade to full sun
Uses: bush tucker food

Austromyrtus%2Bdulcsis%2Bflower.jpg
 
Cultivars: Austromyrtus  'Copper Tops." ( A hybrid between A. dulcis and A. tenuifolia.)

Here’s a shrub that has not only green leaves but berries that you can actually eat.

Let’s find out more…I'm talking with Adrian O’Mally, qualified horticulturist and native plant expert. 
The white berries have pale purple spots and a reputedly crunchy with a similar taste to blackberries.
I never found that thinking they were more pasty albeit sweet tasting. 
The preferred soil is will drained.
  • Midgen berry hedges is a great alternative to murraya hedges. Plant that closer together than the recommendation on the plant tag. Usually half the distance is best.
  • In it's native environment it may grow as a spreading shrub up to 2 m tall. Usually found in sandy soils in heath, scrub or open forests and occasionally on the margins of rainforests. 
  • In the home garden 40cm x 1.4m wide
  • Midgen berry copper tops has coppery coloured new growth.

Real World Gardener Rock Thryptomene in Plant of the Week

September 27th, 2020

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Thryptomene sp and Thryptomene saxicola F.C.Payne

There are some plants that can be forgiven for not doing much for most of the year, then, when they come into flower, they become the star of the garden.
In a way, they behave like a spring or summer bulbs, because they’re practically invisible until they pop out and flower their heads off.

Thryptomene.jpg

So what is this Thryptomene which I have been alluding to? 
Let’s find out more… 
I'm talking with Adrian O’Mally, qualified horticulturist and native plant expert.
PLAY:Thryptomene NEW_26th August 2020 

Rock thryptomene is as close to a common name as you'll get for this plant.
Growth is as for a sub-shrub 0.75 – 1.5m tall by 1 – 1.5 wide.

  • Adrian came across seven thryptomene planted along a bank with a south-east aspect.
  • They had grown leggy so to keep your shrub bushy, keep up the formative pruning in the early stages.
  • Doing this you will able to keep the shrub to 60cm in height.
Thryptomene is evergreen with a slightly weeping habit and  aromatic small leaves are small.
You may find it as a filler in bouquets because the tiny 5-petalled flowers blend well with larger flowers of any kind.
Thryptomene saxicola (pictured below)
 
Thryptomene_saxicola-flowers.jpg
Thryptomene paynei, then newly introduced to New Zealand was "raised by FC Payne of Adelaide".
F.C. Payne was the owner of "The Sanctuary" plant nursery in Ashton, in the Adelaide hills of South Australia who promoted the use of Australian native plants in local gardens.
By 1967 the cultivar had become a "garden favourite" in Australia and was featured in a gardening guide for native plants in The Australian Women's Weekly.

Bird and insect attracting plants always make a lovely addition to your garden. 
Look out for the different cultivars of thryptomene in your nursery or big box store this spring, because there won’t be many, and they’ll be snapped up quick smart. If you have any questions about anything gardening, why not email us realworldgardener@gmail.com
 

Real World Gardener Crop Rotation with the Veggie Lady

September 18th, 2020

 CROP ROTATION with The Veggie Lady

You may have heard of crop rotation but perhaps relegated it to the basket where moon planting and biodynamics reside.
But did you know that crop rotation isn’t something that gardeners should scoff at because of it’s importance in the life-cycle of plants and insects.

Crop-rotation.jpg

In fact it’s a really important strategy that organic gardeners use. 
Let’s find out.. 
I'm talking withToni Salter the veggie lady of www.theveggielady.com 
Toni only changes crops once every 12 months but uses a 4 bed rotation system. Changeover is usually spring.

Group 4 groups together so you're planting the same thing in the same place only every 4 years.
You can do it based on the plants families.
Toni likes to put it into whether it's a leaf crop, a flowering crop or a root crop.
  • This system divides per type of vegetable
Root crops-onions and garlic.
Leaf  and legumes together-leeks and spring onions, brassicas,
Flowering crops are split further into two beds
Backyard%2Bveggies.jpg

 

Bed 1 is tomato, capscium and chilli plants
Bed 2-cucumbers, zucchini, pumpkin and corn
Bed 3 root crops-carrots, parsnips, beetroot, onions and garlic
Bed 4 leafy crops-beans, lettuces.
  • Start with a 4 bed rotation.
  • That means you’re only planting the same thing in the same place every four years. 
  • So you will be growing four different types of crops in each garden bed. 
  • Toni divides it into leaf and legumes in one bed, then, flowering crops are split into two beds-tomato family in one, and all the rest into the other. 
  • Finally root crops like carrots, beetroots, onions and garlic. 

If you have questions for Toni about crop rotation or have information to share, drop us a line to realworldgardener@gmail.com or write 

PO 2rrr PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

Real World Gardener Creating Habitat for Native Bees in The Good Earth

August 26th, 2020

THE GOOD EARTH

Building Habitat for Native Bees

This year, gardening has been taken up by many people who have never gardened before.
But that’s not all, worm farming, keeping chickens and bee-keeping have become more popular because people are spending more time at home. 
You probably know there are honey bees and Australian native bees. 
But which type of bees pollinate your crops better or is there no difference?
Let’s find out.. 
I'm talking with Margaret Mossakowska of www.mosshouse.com.au 

Margaret suggests build habitat for the native bees because they are so much better at pollinating your flowers, in particular veggies in the tomato family, than honey bees. 

Blue%2Bbanded%2Bbee.jpg

 

  • Building native bee habitat can be bricks made from clay, or wood and other materials.

Margaret's Clay Bricks Recipe

Mix clay with water then 2 or 3 parts of sand.
Margaret then pours the mix into moulds. One litre milk containers say from rice milk.
When dry she drills various size holes into these 'clay' bricks and places them strategically around the garden.
  • For 'blue banded bees,'  or even 'teddy bear bees,' drill holes 6mm in size and 6cm deep. The bees will excavate the holes further.
  • Bees will also next in bricks where the mortar has worn out. 

Bee%2Bhabitat.jpg

Most native bees are dormant or die during the Australian winters.

Flower are important from spring onwards.
Plant flowering trees with small flowers such as melaleucas or paperbarks.
  • Borage is also an excellent plant for bees because it has a high percentage of protein and sugar in the pollen and nectar.

    1-1-1-Borage-Flowers-for-blog.jpg
  • Perennial basil is also fantastic for not only attracting bees but hover flies and other beneficial insects to the garden.
  • Why not also let some parsley or coriander go to seed.
  • Provide some water for the bees-not deep, and include some pebbles so the bees don't drown. Plant saucers are ideal for this purpose.
  If you have questions for Margaret about keeping native bees, or have information to share, drop us a line to realworldgardener@gmail.com

Real World Gardener Tips on choosing Pruning Tools in Tool Time

August 26th, 2020

 TOOL TIME

Tips on Choosing Tools

You might think you have all the garden tools you need in your shed right now, but there’s always lighter, and more ergonomic garden tools that are being released on the market that might make your job a lot easier.

Here I am talking with Tony Mattson
 

Me%2B_Tony%2BMattson%2B2rrr.jpg

Or you may be thinking of upgrading some of your pruning tools. 
So how do you choose which one is best? 
Let’s find out.. 
I'm talking with General Manager of www.cutabovetools.com.au
Checklist #1

Tony’s tip is “buy what you can afford, rather than going for just the cheapest.” 
Another tip: if you do a lot of gardening, then buy something is a bit more heavy duty. 

But more heavy duty does not mean the bigger the better.
sometimes, all you need is something that fits snugly into your hand,  
  • Also ‘Try before you buy” is the mantra

    pruning-shears-tool-gardening.jpg

Checklist point #2

Another point in the checklist is reach.
Two feet on the ground is better that going up a ladder when it comes to pruning.
Think about extendable poles for that extra reach.
Many pruning tool are now much lighter and holding those tools with extendable handles is much easier.
Checklist point #3
Are there spares available for the tools that you want to purchase?
Are the spares more expensive than the tool itself?
Checklist point #4
Warranty covers poor workmanship or poor assembly or poor parts that go into making the garden tool.
The warranty does not cover the chips or blunting you get from heavy pruning. Tony calls these consumables, like ordinary wear and tear on any piece of equipment.
If you have questions for Tony about pruning tools or have information to share, drop us a line to realworldgardener@gmail.com or write 

 2rrr PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

Real World Gardener Sweet Boronia is Plant of the Week

August 19th, 2020

PLANT OF THE WEEK Nr 3

Common Name: Boronia
Scientific Name: Boronia megastigma; Boronia spp.
Family: Rutaceae
Distribution: in most states
Flowering: winter to spring; flowers are 4-petalled either star shaped or bell-shaped; flower colour is mainly pink or brown, also yellow and green.
Foliage: many have highly aromatic leaves.
Boronia_pinnata2..jpg


Spring usually is bursts on the scene with flowers galore and abundance of heady scent from many different plants.

If you wanted the queen of scented plants though, you can’t go past this smell native shrub, the boronia, that offers a scent way above its class in size. 
Sounds lovely doesn’t it and it’s endemic to Australia. 
Let’s find out more… 
I'm talking withAdrian O’Mally, qualified horticulturist and native plant expert. 
PLAY: Boronias NEW_19th August 2020 
  • Butterfly and insect attracting, boronia always make a lovely addition to your garden. 
  • Plant it where you can enjoy the scent the most, somewhere near the back door, or your outside eating area would be idea.
Boronia%2Bmegastigma.jpg
Most perfumed cultivars:
  • Brown Boronia:Boronia megastigma
  • Red Boronia (B. heterophylla),
  • Pale-pink Boronia (B. floribunda),
  • the green-flowered, Bremer Boronia (B. clavata),
  • Winter Boronia (B. purdiana),
  • Yellow Boronia (B. tetrandra) 
  • Native Rose (B. serrulata). 
Look out for these different cultivars of boroniasin your nursery, not just the brown boronia. 

If you have any questions about anything gardening, why not email us realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

Real World Gardener Yellow Tea Tree is Plant of the Week

August 19th, 2020

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Scientific Name:Leptospermum flavescens 'Cardwell.'
Common Name: Yellow Tea tree
Family: Myrtaceae
Growth: 1.5- 2m in height
Distribution: south coast of New South Wales up to far north Queensland.
Native Habitat: sandstone derived soils.
Flowering: late winter to summer (August to January.) Flowers are cup shaped, creamy white.
Tea trees when they are in heavy flower, you can't see the leaf because they are so floriferous!
  • Leptospermum Cardwell is a tea tree with intensely fragrant leaves all year round, and is covered in typical tea tree flowers from late winter to summer.
Leptospermum 'Cardwell' is a small tidy bush with a weeping habit. Looking similar to a miniature willow tree.

1-ADE_3927.JPG

After flowering the little nut like fruits appear on the bush.
I'm talking with Adrian O'Malley, horticulturist and native plant expert.

PLAY: Leptospermum Cardwell_5th August 2020 
Tea trees are not necessarily long lived so getting 5 years out of this small shrub is probably good going.

Plant tea trees in fairly sandy or light soils rather than heavy clay soils.
Bird and insect attracting makes it a lovely addition to your garden. 
Look out for the “Cardwell’ cultivar because of it’s weeping habit and how it’s covered in tiny flowers that make it stand out like a beacon when planted in your garden.

Real World Gardener Creating A Sense of Enclosure in Design Elements

August 6th, 2020

DESIGN ELEMENTS

How to Create a Sense of Enclosure.
In the middle of winter, the only sun you can see may be outside.
So it would be nice to venture outdoors into the winter sun but what if you're overlooked?
 May not feel so welcoming.
So what can you do? 

Teddy%2Bbear%2Bmagnolia.jpg
Magnolia grandiflora 'Teddy Bear.' 4-5m height (pictured)
 
I talk with garden designer Peter Nixon of Paradisus Garden Design.
 
 
What you want is some sort of screening hedge or planting that not only hides that fence, but hides it well enough so you don't see any fence.
That would mean you need that the 'bole length' or the gap between ground level and the first branch, is at a minimum.
So what can you choose?
Here are Peter's best tips:
  • Choose things that stay dense and non transparent from the ground.
  • Choose useful heights, especially if it's the northern boundary because you don't want to cut the winter sun.
Recommended plants

Michelia%2BFairy%2BCream.jpg
.
Magnolia hybrid "Fairy." ht 3m
Heliconia 'Hot Rio Nights.' for northern sub-tropical zones.(norther rivers and up). height 3m, lush paddle leaf.

Hibiscus boryanus- plant in areas where temperatures are above 5 Deg C
Drepanostachyus falcatum -Blue Bamboo is a clumping bamboo height 4m
 
You can underplant with smaller shrubs but you need to do this at the same time as you plant the larger shrubs otherwise the soil underneath will be compacted with the roots.

Real World GardenerHow to Create a Hot Compost on The Good Earth

July 25th, 2020

THE GOOD EARTH

Hot Compost

 

How many of you out there still do not have a composting system of some kind?

There’s no excuse, even if you only have a small balcony, everyone should be composting their kitchen scraps instead of it going to landfill.

  • You just need some space for your compost.
  • you could have compost bays, compost bins, or any structure that can hold up to 1 cubic metre of compost.
Compost%2Bbins%2BMargaret%2BMossakowska.jpg
Compost bins at Margaret's House: Photo by Margaret Mossakowska

 

There’s so many systems out there to accommodate all kinds of limitations that you might have.

You can even make a compost heap without building or buying anything.

I'm talking with Margaret Mossakowska from www.mosshouse.com.au

Let’s find what to do .

 

Vermin: put Rapid mesh under you bins if you have rodents invading your compost.

Alternatively, put food scraps into a worm farm, and use you compost bins just for green waste.

Worm farm that is smelly:

  • Too many food scraps will make the worm farm smelly and anaerobic. Mainly nitrogen rich.

The way to fix it is to add more carbon rich material such as shredded newspaper, coffee chaff or straw.

note: coffee chaff is free by-product of coffee roasting, that is husks of coffee beans. You just need to ask.

Compost Bins/Bays

compost%2Bbay.jpg

  • To make a hot compost you need to assemble at least 1 cubic metre of material in one go.
  • Wait for it to heat up to 55-60 C, usually after 2-3 days, then you can turn it.
  • Use a compost thermometer so the compost doesn't get over 60 C. This temperature is enough to kill weed seeds and insect eggs.
  • Commercial compost is biologically dead because it is heated to  more than 70 C.
  • Ratios are important: 4 buckets of carbon rich material to 1 bucket of green clippings/food scraps.
  • Molasses can be added to compost to innoculate it, or use comfrey, nettles, nasturtium soaked in a bucket of water.

Margaret now runs workshops that you can attend without leaving your home because they’re via Zoom, that’s on your computer.

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

 

- Older Posts »

Play this podcast on Podbean App