What are Root Knot Nematodes on Real World Gardener

July 3rd, 2022

 PLANT DOCTOR

Nematodes part 1: the backstory

Did you know that there are 1,000,000 species of nematodes that have been identified? 

Nematodes live in our environment and although microscopic, unsurprisingly, are related to earthworms 
  • The majority of nematodes aren't plant or crop destructors.
However, the few that attack the cell walls of plants can cause serious damage from which the plant/crop usually doesn't recover.
  • Then there's the problem of identifying what's going on with plants that are affected by nematodes.
  • Have you ever had plants that seem to wilt despite you watering them religiously? 

What they look like

Nematodes.jpg

Nematodes are a round worm but because they are unable to be seen by the naked eye, I would describe them as thread like with a large head and mouth.

Arm yourself with a magnifying glass and have a look at the roots of plants that you suspect have been attacked by nematodes. You should be able to see them then.

 
coffee%20tree%20affected%20by%20coffee%20root%20knot%20nematode.jpg
Coffee tree nematode

 
If nematodes are on your plants the symptoms range from perhaps they’re just stunted and don’t seem to grow much, r like the coffee tree pictured, continually looks like it's wilting despite the watering it receives. Another symptom is yellowing of foliage.

Once the plant has been dug up, nodules on roots will be evident. However, other factors create nodules on roots as in nitrogen fixing plants such as plants in the Fabaceae family.
 
What could be the problem? Wilting symptoms can be attributed to a range of other factors.

So let’s find out by listening to the podcast

Your host  of Real World Gardener, Marianne is talking with Steve McGrane, agriculturist and horticulturist.

Next week we tackle the many, many ways you have to control the bad nematode, namely root knot nematodes.

If you have any questions you can email us Realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Success with Germinating Australian Native Seeds on Real World Gardener

June 20th, 2022

 PLANT DOCTOR    

Germinating Native Seed

Australian plants have evolved over thousands of years to respond to a variety of climatic extremes, from fires, to droughts to floods as well as being grazed by native animals.

 
Wattles%20n%20Grevilleas.jpg
Wattle seeds need boiling water treatment

Such a long, long time  for plants to evolve as well as being isolated from the rest of the world has meant that a high diversity of flora abounds, so that it would be unusual to think that everything grows the same way.

Australian plants have developed various  adaptations so that the seeds of which can grow in the most suitable environment for that species of plant to survive. 

A suitable environment often means seeds don't germinate until a bushfire removes competing plants giving the seeds more access to sunlight and nutrients.
Then they only have a short window to germinate. 
The hard seed coat is therefore a protective layer that allows the seed to stay dormant for great lengths of time, even years before germination.
 
So how do plants keep germinating and what tricks have native seeds to keep them alive until conditions are right?
 
There are specific requirements for some seeds and in fact a wide range of native seeds require you, the gardener to break their dormancy before they germinate. Some are more difficult than others.

So what are some of the treatments to break native seed dormancy?

Boiling water or hot water treatment is recommended for hard-coated seeds such as Acacia (wattle)and Hardenbergia  species .
This involves boiling some water and waiting for a minute so it's just off the boil,  then soaking the seeds for a few to eight hours. The time varies depending on the seed.
 
Smoke chemical treatment or smoke treatment to break the dormancy of native seeds.
Seed-Starter-Granules.png

Wildflower seed starter granules or similar, are vermiculite or another bio material that contains the smoke chemicals from the burning of bush materials.

The way you use it is to sprinkle some on top of the potting mix after sowing the seeds, and on the first watering, the smoke chemicals are released over the seeds.
 
You can also put some of these seed starter granules in the soaking water of the seeds in the hot water treatment method.
  • Not all seeds need smoke chemical treatment, but there's a few that benefit from using it, in fact are difficult to germinate without it. 
    • Sturt Desert peas comes to mind, also Dianella, Philotheca, Xanthorrhoea, Actinotus, Callistemon and Banksia.
 
As a general rule, sowing and smoking should be done when you would expect the seeds to germinate in nature.
Flannel%20flower.jpg
Flannel flowers

 

Both these methods basically speeds up what often takes months or even years in nature to get seeds to germinate.
 
TIP: Be aware of the germination temperature that seeds need to germinate.
But what other tricks are there?
Steve talks about germinating Davidson plum seeds using the hot water treatment in the podcast.  

So let’s find out more.

I'm talking with Steve McGrane, horticulturist and agriculturist.
I hope that’s given you some idea about perhaps why some of the native seeds are more difficult to germinate than regular seeds.

In fact not everything germinates the same way, and here lies the problem.

That’s why a bit of research into the seed type you’re trying to germinate goes a long way.

If you have any questions you can email us Realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Climber Shrubs Explained on Real World Gardener

May 22nd, 2022

Climber Shrubs

This design series that covers everything from mixed shrub borders, sub-shrubs, climbers, hero trees to best garden bromeliads but use plants that are non-general lines.

I have to say, Peter Nixon, RWG’s contributor for this series, focuses largely on what he calls cool sub-tropical garden or ‘cool sub-trops’ which he refers to often.

Don’t be put off if you live in a different climate because often plants adapt to a variety of climatic conditions and are worth a try.

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Hibiscus geranioides

Climber shrubs-what are they and how could I use them as 'garden fixes’ in my cool subtrops garden ?

In fact if you were search for the term climber-shrub, you would be hard pressed to find it on the internet.

Seems like a contradiction because climbers need support to climb whilst shrubs are free standing. But what about those plants that climb over themselves to form a sort of mounding shrub?

Some of these types of shrubs are self-striking which might be called suckering.

Insta examples from Peter Nixon

 Juanaloa aurantiaca -  or commonly called Golden Fingers because the flowers look like a little bunch of lady finger bananas.  Minimum winter overnight 6-7 degrees C

Gmelina philipensis - 'Parrot Beak'. A deciduous shrub with unusual yellow flowers that resemble a parrot beak.

Hibiscus geranoides-native to Australia. Loves a 'La Nina' type of weather. Interesting foliage texture

Bauhinia tomentosa-sulphur flowering semi-deciduous  shrub to 3m with a cascading habit.

Let’s find out more by listening to the podcast. Marianne (host of Real World Gardener radio show ) is talking with Peter Nixon of Paradisus garden design. www.paradisusgl.peternixon.com.au

Best Climbing Plants on Real World Gardener

May 22nd, 2022

 DESIGN ELEMENTS

Climber Heroes

This design series is about plants that are categorised as non-general lines.

Every week I’ve been saying that were talking about plants that you won’t necessarily find in your big box store or possibly even in your nursery so you may have to search for them.

These plants are so worthwhile that because they provide year round interest with their foliage colour, texture and contrast, not just their flowers.

Today perhaps some climbers fit the bill

Peter refers to cool sub-tropical garden or ‘cool sub-trops’ which means that overnight winter temperatures are down to about 5 degrees.

Don’t be put off if you live in a different climate because often plants adapt to a variety of climatic conditions and are worth a try.

Peter mentioned these climbers

  • Hoya%20carnosa.jpg
    Hoya carnosa

    Conomorpha fragrans often called climbing frangipani although it has nothing to do with the frangipani genus-Plumeria. The flower does look similar to the frangipani flower and are highly scented.

    • vigorous habit requiring a solid support
    • in cooler areas plant against a north facing wide. Deciduous in cold areas.
  •  
  • Dombeya ianthotrycha (tropical garden society of Sydney)-a winter flowering climber with large paper thin leaves. Flower colour is a muted red with a hint of orange. Can be trained as an espalier or a bun shaped shrub.
  •  
  • Hoya carnosa or wax flower, better in pots with specialised potting mix. If planting in the ground, must have well drained soil.
    • TIP: don't cut those flowering spurs off -  this 
 

Let’s find out more by listening to the podcast. Marianne (host of Real World Gardener radio show ) is talking with Peter Nixon of Paradisus garden design. www.paradisusgl.peternixon.com.au

Planting for Bright Shade in Garden Design

May 20th, 2022

 DESIGN ELEMENTS

Bright Shade Planting

This design series is about plants that are categorised as non-general lines, in other words, plants that are not production grown that then become available in several different sized pots. This series is also about year round interest in the garden even when plants are not in flower. Imagine opening the back door to look at a sea of just green with no distinguishing features! A tad boring don't you think?

Instead, think of plants with different sized and shaped leaves, that might also have contrasting colours.

Plants we mention in this series, you won’t necessarily find in your big box store or possibly even in your nursery so you may have to search for them.

These plants are so worthwhile that because they provide year round interest with their foliage colour, texture and contrast, not just their flowers.

 

So you’ve got some shady areas that’s under trees. This spot is usually thick with the roots of the trees so will be difficult to plant anything there that will survive the root competition, or will it?
This is where you have to think outside the square and look at plants that don't need to grow in too much soil.

 

Cryptostephanos%20vansonii.jpg
Cryptostephanos vansonii

What are you going to grow in these root ridden shady areas?

Peter mentioned

 

  • Calanthe sylvatica-a ground orchid-good for moist shade
  • Philodendron marshalliana-has storage stems and not a climber.

 

  • Syningia bullata and S. Canescens and S. cardinalis other syningia sp-small cordex that can regrow from.
  • Cryptostephanos vansoni

 

 

I say every week that Peter Nixon, RWG’s contributor for this series, focuses largely on what he calls cool sub-tropical garden or ‘cool sub-trops’ which he refers to often.

Don’t be put off if you live in a different climate because often plants adapt to a variety of climatic conditions and are worth a try.
I'm talking with Peter Nixon of Paradisus garden design. www.paradisusgl.peternixon.com.au

Have a listen to the podcast.

Mixed Shrub Borders are in again on Real World Gardener

May 20th, 2022

 DESIGN ELEMENTS

This is a series about foliage colour and contrast and textural contrast  for year round interest. The focus is also on non-general lines instead of production grown planting. In other words, plants that may not necessarily be easy to find but so worth the effort. We kick off the series with mixed shrub borders.

  1. MIXED SHRUB BORDER

 Are they a thing of the past or a living process that still has relevance for the modern smaller garden?

Hibiscus%20capitolia%20apricot.jpg
Hibiscus capitolia 'Apricot Sport'

This kind of design style has been used for hundreds of years because it has great garden appeal.  There is no reason for it be considered irrelevant or 'old hat,' simply because it is so adaptable. It can be either formal or informal, full of colour and contrast or not, annuals, perennials and shrubs.

Today though, it's all about the shrubs and is a start of the design series that covers everything from mixed shrub borders, sub-shrubs, climbers, hero trees to best garden bromeliads.

I have to say, Peter Nixon  and Real World Gardener's contributor for this series, focuses largely on what he calls cool sub-tropical garden or ‘cool sub-trops’ which he refers to often.

Don’t be put off if you live in a different climate because often plants adapt to a variety of climatic conditions and are worth a try.

Peter mentions the following shrubs as his 'best.'

Posoqueria%20longiflora%201.jpg
Posoqueria longiflora
  • Tibouchina multifida-not more than 1.5m in height.
  • Hibiscus capitolio  'apricot sport'-double flowering hibiscus, slightly pendulous. 2.5m in height.
  • Posoqueria longiflora-commonly called Japanese Needle flower. Has perfumed flowers with a long white tube, height to 3m in semi-shade.
  • Brunsfelsia macrantha, 
  • Acokanthera oblongifolia - Bushmans Poison, 
  • Gardenia grandiflora ’Star’, 
  •  Rosa sanguineus, 
  • R. chinensis ’Ten Thousand Lights'
 

Let’s find out more, I'm talking with  Peter Nixon of Paradisus garden design. www.paradisusgl.peternixon.com.au,

What is Mixed Spice in Spice it Up

March 31st, 2022

 SPICE IT UP

MIXED SPICE

The name 'mixed spice,' sounds 'oldie worldie' to me because it's not something that comes up in too many recipes these days. 

ww%20recipe%20book.jpg

Perhaps if your flicking through an old  Woman's Weekly recipe book, or the cookbook you used at school in home economics class, you might find it in the cakes and buns section.

 

What is mixed spice?

Mixed Spice is a sweet spice blend and is used in a variety of cakes, puddings, pies, breads and buns, biscuits, pancakes, cupcakes, gingerbreads, and even fruit salads.

Mixed spice has actually the following ground spices.

  • Cinnamon-two types, Sri Lankan cinnamon and cassia cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Ginger-to add brightness and freshness
  • Cloves-a very small amount.
  • Allspice-a spice all on its own which is actually a berry.
  • Coriander seeds, ground of course. Coriander is an amalgamating spice.

But what do you use if you can find it on the supermarket shelves?

Melting%20moment%20biscuits.jpg
Melting Moment biscuits

Mixed spice quick alternative:

  • Cinnamon 1 tablespoon
  • Nutmeg     1 teaspoon
  • Ginger       1 teaspoon
  • Cloves       1/2 cloves
  • Coriander  2 teaspoons
 
Mixed%20spice.jpg
With the predominant flavor of cinnamon, it also makes a nice change to substitute this spice blend for anything calling for cinnamon for an added flavour boost.
Marianne is talking with Ian Hemphill from www.herbies.com.au
If you have any questions you can email us Realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Phosphorus and Potassium Deficiency in Plants Solved

March 20th, 2022

Plant Nutrition Deficiencies:Phosporus and Potassium

We have talked bout the role nitrogen played in played health and what to look for if a plant was deficient in one of the major nutrients, being Nitrogen.
  • In fact there are three major nutrients which are classified as NPK ratio on the back of all fertilisers. So in this part of the blog, we carry on with the two other major or macro nutrients.

Let's look at phosphorus deficiency

Phosphorus is responsible for the development of flowers and fruits and roots.
  • Phosporus is known as a mobile nutrient which can move around the plant to where it's needed.
  • Phosphorus deficiency happens more often in cold weather or gardens receive high rainfall, or a combination of both.
  • Often affects heavily fruiting plants such as citrus.
  • N..B. native plants are highly sensitive to phosphorus, so avoid spreading phosphate fertilisers near these plants.
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First Symptoms: Older leaves become quite a dark green then develop a purplish tinge.
 
Tips will then dry off. Not to be confused with lack of watering especially in pot plants where leaves can also develop dry tips.
Overall growth is affected in the long term resulting in smaller leaves and stunted growth.
 
Quick Fix: Fertiliser high in phosphate either solid or liquid.
Long term fix: Blood  n' Bone and/or controlled release fertilisers. 

Let's look at potassium deficiency

Potassium is responsible for thickening of cell walls, and also responsible for plant growth. Potassium deficiency are more evident in flowering or ornamental plants. Potassium deficiency often is a pH issue in the soil.

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First Symptoms: Older leaves become brown and dry on the upper surface, with leaf edges puckering slightly. 
As the deficiency progresses, the leaves darken in colour between the veins.
Flower stalks become thin and spindly and may be quite short.
Fruits may fail to develop full colour and flavour.
 
Quick Fix: Fertiliser high in potassium either solid or liquid, such as sulphate of potash.
Long term fix: Blood  n' Bone and/or controlled release fertilisers. 
 
Listen to the podcast: I'm talking with Kylie Last horticulturist and tafe teacher.

I would recommend becoming familiar with the NPK ration on fertilisers, whether organic or not to see if you’re applying the right sort for your plants.

For example, fertilisers that promote flowering and fruiting have higher ratios of potassium than those that are just for general purpose fertilising.
If you have any questions you can email us Realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Lacto Fermented Vegetables in the Kitchen Garden

March 3rd, 2022

 KITCHEN GARDEN

LACTO-FERMENTATION

There are several ways to preserve food, these include freezing, drying, pickling and fermenting.

You may think that fermented foods are a recent trend, but in fact, fermenting food has been carried out for thousands of years.
Fermenting food is one way of preserving your ample supply of produce that's growing in your garden.

There are a few ways to ferment foods but lacto-fermentation is one of the easiest.
  • AVvXsEhk8kxfyko27NtqCYq5GYgxjg_sOScGpY7VFnJySHL7x6E1mnHJmgsr3bM5lSCtHiehMXTaTS8bQM7HHa0KHN4WEqJIbvg0U15xMF9DaG-yVPjLwAxhL9S77h1hnlczv8qwnv0NdWuP91NLKFovAlBqMhkYdTHoNu-We3EI6T8I1pVenMMWIm-yTexwYQ=w266-h400The term lacto-fermentation is a scary one and belies how simple it really is. It's unbelievably quick and easy.

So what is it?

Firstly the term wasn't derived for having to use milk in the process.
Lacto refers to the lactobacillus bacteria that does all the breaking down of the food.
Did you know that all vegetables are covered in the various strains of the good bacteria lactobacillus?
It does involve lactic acid in the process which is a good thing because lactic acid is a natural preservative.
  • What about the bad bacteria?
No problem, the brine that you submerge your vegetables in kill them off, while the lactobacillus survives to do the preserving work.
Using the correct salt to water ratio in your brine will ensure the safety of your lacto-fermentation.

How do you do it?

You can lacto-ferment most produce in yur garden.
 Beans, carrots, beetroot, and Corinne's favourite is using stalks of chard, nasturtium seeds.
You need salt but not iodised or table salt. Table salt will make the ferment go bad because of it's additives.
  • Use high quality sea-salt.

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    Photo: Corinne Mossati of Gourmantic Garden

    Non-chlorinated water, and no fluoride so will need to be filtered water.

  • Kilner jar or a glass jar with a lid.
  • Weights to submerge your ferment.
  • BASIC RULE: Brine solution is 2-3% salt.  
  • 2% brine:1 litre of water needs 20 grams of salt: 

Step by Step

  1. Collect your dry ingredients and add them to a dry sterile fermentation jar.
  2. Pour in the brine solution to cover the vegetables.
  3. Add a ceramic weight on top to keep the vegetables below the liquid.
  4. Burp the jar daily: this releases the gas.
  5. It will take 2-3 weeks during the summer months.
  6. Once it's ready, place it in the fridge to slow the ferment process.

Are you a chilli aficionado?

Perhaps you’re growing the world’s hottest chilli, Carolina Reaper or the second hottest, Ghost chilli?

But did you know that Carolina Reaper chilli is 200x hotter than a Jalapeno pepper?
But what do you do with all those chillies other than freeze them?

  • Why not make a chilli lacto-fermeneted sauce?
Follow the above steps then once you think the chillies are done, drain the brine and add other flavouring ingredients.
Blitz in a food processor.
 
To find out more, listen to the podcast.

I'm talking with Corinne Mossati, founder of the www.gourmanticgarden.com.au website.

If you have any questions you can email us Realworldgardener@gmail.com 

Brown Rot of Stone Fruit in Plant Doctor on Real World Gardener

February 25th, 2022

 PLANT DOCTOR

Brown Rot of Stone fruit

There’s plenty of cultivars of stone fruit trees that can fit into any size garden.

Trixie and Pixie dwarf nectarine and peach trees have been around for years.

“There’s even a nectarine tree classed as Super Dwarf called ‘ Peach Sunset” that is grafted onto super dwarfing rootstock to produce a more compact tree growing to around 1.5 m tall.
This Nectarine is self fertile so only one tree is needed.

  • But before we get too carried away, what are the cons for growing stone fruit?
  1. Is deciduous a con? Possibly, because stone fruit tree are deciduous so if you don't like the bare look in winter, stone fruit trees are not for you.
  2. Do you need two trees for fruit set? Not always so do your homework.
  3. Preventative spraying for peach leaf curl and  brown root of stone fruit may be needed.
Perhaps I'm preaching to the converted and you already grow stone fruit.
Also perhaps, like me, you've never had a delectable harvest stolen from under your nose due to a fungal disease.

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Imagine this, ripe luscious fruit that you pick and place in your fruit bowl. A day later, the same fruit has inexplicably in part turned a mushy brown, soon to be consumed completely by the fungus.
 
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Or you have bunches of fruit on your tree and some of the start dropping off or look like in the image, with a brown sunken fungal growth.

  • The bad news is, it's too late to do something about it now.
If you don’t want a repeat of those nasty surprise in your stone fruit, you have to be pro-active with preventative spraying in winter when the tree is leafless and dormant.
Spraying with sulphur at that time is a good go to all round spray.
You may even have to open the centre of established trees a bit more than usual to increase air flow.

Still, the fruit I ate off my trees this year were super delicious and well worth growing your own stone fruit trees.

 
For more tips listen to the podcast.
I'm talking with Steve Falcioni of www.ecoorganicgarden.com.au   
Let’s find out

PLAY: Brown rot of stone fruit_16thFebruary 2022That was Steve Falcioni from www.ecoorganicgarden.com.au
If you have any questions you can email us Realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

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