Hidden Talents of Nasturtiums on Real World Gardener

October 5th, 2021

 Nasturtiums 

with Corinne Mossati

Quite often we gardener have flowering plants in the garden but never think about bringing them into the kitchen to make something.
They may be just fillers or self-seeders, but in this case, the nasturtium, has so many extra uses other than ornamental, you’ll be inspired to do something.

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Germinating  Nasturtium Seeds.
Plant the seeds in moist well drained soil, keeping the soil moist but not waterlogged.
Corrine find it takes between 14-21 days.
 
Why not try the Alaska variety with variegated leaves, or 'Black Velvet' with deep red flowers and dark leaves.
The one pictured is growing in my garden, is 'Cherry Rose.'

Eating Nasturtiums-Corinnes'tips:

Leaves taste peppery and are great for adding with other greens to salads.
Why no try drying the leaves and grind them to a powder. 
When combined with salt you have a condiment to flavour food or crust the rim of your margeurita cocktail glass!
 
Nasturtium flowers are edible too.
Use them as you would zucchini flowers.
Nasturtium seeds are edible, often referred to as 'poor man's capers.'
Let’s find out more, listen to the podcast.
I'm speaking with Corinne Mossati, drinks writer and founder of The Gourmantic Garden: http://www.thegourmanticgarden.com
and Cocktails & Bars: http://www.cocktailsandbars.com

Her website tagline & hashtag “Grow It. Eat It. Drink It.” sums up Corinne’s garden and we look forward to more segments with Corinne.
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

Dealing with a Tough Garden Bed part 3 in Design Elements

September 27th, 2021

Part 3: The final Countdown

 

In the last 5 years Glenice and husband Phil, have made so many improvements to the soil .

A very difficult spot that experiences 40 degrees C  temperatures in summer and winter temparatures below 0  and even minus 5 degrees C at times.
A hard clay soil that had been compacted by heavy vehicles driving over part of it for many years.
The planting also included these very tough and hardy plants.
  • Teucrium fruiticans- also known as Germander, is a very hardy small evergreen bush in the mint family with grey stems and undersides of the leaves. 1.2m
  • Phillyrea angustifolia . Drought, heat, frost and salt tolerant. Phillyrea are olive related which explains their toughness-dark green glossy leaf with serrated edge, making a contrast to the other silvers in the bed. Height to 2.5m, slow growing. Alternative to English box. can be kept to under 1m in height
  • Aloes
  • Other succulents
  • Beschoneria yuccoides-Mexican lily, is a perennial succulent with a rosette of slender strap-like leaves that can grow to 1m in length. 
  • Rhagodia spinescens Salt bush-Small, native shrub with silvery, grey triangular foliage growing to approximately 1.5m. Tolerates all soil types and coastal conditions
  • Atriplex nummularia, commonly called Old Man Saltbush, a large grey shrub to 2 m tall and to 4-5 m wide, with brittle woody branches
 
Glenice said in her post that
She said of the garden that;
We used a rotary hoe to break up the soil before planting.
Spread/dug through gypsum and watered in liquid gypsum
Dug through premium garden soil and compost.
Mulched the area with fine grade pine bark, sugar cane mulch, straw and tea tree mulch.
Continued fertilising any new plants with composted animal manure pellets and liquid fertilisers every 2 to 3 months.Continued to give any plants in the area a deep slow water by hand to ensure they receive a good amount of water closest their roots.

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Garden at the Berkshires-photo Glenice Buck


  • Selected plants that will cope with the tough conditions that area hot and dry conditions.
  • Over planted the slope- I planted out all the plants with closer spacing than recommended as they will help protect and buffer each other in this tough location. They will grow, settle in and get established more quickly together.
  • When you're dealing with tough locations like this you also need to have patience and give the garden soil time to take in all these improvements. Soil preparation is very important and you should try to hold off planting before the soil is ready - haha! try telling a gardener to do that when there is open soil / spare space in the garden. I didn't wait!

I'm talking with Glenice Buck Landscape designer and Arboriculture consultant.

www.glenicebuckdesigns.com.au 

Tackling a tough garden bed part 1 in Design Elements

September 27th, 2021

 DESIGN ELEMENTS

When the going gets tough

Many gardeners have a section of their garden that might often see plant failures year after year.
They’ve tried all sorts of plants that claim to be tough as old boots, but still they fail.

Glenice Buck has dealt with one such problem garden bed where she lives and this week starts a series of 3, on how she went about solving the problem.

 
Glenice explains that the bed is on a slope (see photo below) so the water would just hit the soil and run down the hill.
This garden bed also gets all day sun on heavy clay soil.
Access to water is limited to hand watering. Not ideal considering the busy schedule that Glenice's parents have.
On top of the lack of shade and being baked by hot afternoon summer sun, the soil had been previously used as bit of a driveway and had been compacted by heavy machinery when the house was being build.
Glenice said in her post that 

 

"This section of garden bed in the rear garden at #thegardenattheberkshires has been the toughest bed I have ever dealt with. Five years on with a lot of work and improvements it is finally starting to fill in and look good. It has been hard to get anything to grow in this area. The reasons for it being a difficult spot to deal with is
 

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Tough garden bed at the Berkshires photo Glenice Buck

Have a listen to the podcast
I'm talking with Glenice Buck Landscape design and Arboriculture consultant.

Winter Savoryvs Thyme in Spice it Up

September 18th, 2021

 SPICE IT UP   

 SAVORY VS THYME

Often there’s a couple of herbs that look alike and even have similar flavour profiles.

If you had them growing together in the herb garden, you may even confuse the two because of how closely they look to each other.

Thyme is the better known herb in Australia, which from the 1950's was commonly used in soups, stews, scones and casseroles.
For some reason, savory is not very well known in Australia, but it’s commonly used America and England.
In England, and America, it's quite popular and in the US, winter savory is a key ingredient in the stuffing for the 'Thanksgiving Turkey.'
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If you rubbed both herbs without knowing which was which, you would most likely think they both were the same herb.

  • Winter savory, unlike thyme, is not sold as a cut herb in the produce aisle of your supermarket.
  • Confusingly there is a 'summer savory' which tends to die off in winter and usually not come back.

Looking after both herbs

With their tiny leaves, both herbs are adapted to the dry regions of the mediterranean. 
Both herbs are in the mint (Lamiaceae) family, but unlike mint, don't  feel you need to give either thyme or winter savory heaps of water with the exception of the hottest days in Australia's summers.
  • I've never seen the seeds of savory being sold however if you have a pot of winter savory that's overgrown and become leggy, follow these tips to refresh it.
  • Dividing the roots  in spring, will rejuvenate the plant.
  • Start off by trimming about a third of any wrapped or circling roots.
  • Divide the root ball into thirds or quarters, making sure that each section has a healthy piece of root and stems with green leaves attached.
  • Remove one-third of the top growth, and trim away any dead or damaged stems and leaves.
  • Re-pot into new containers and gift some to your friends.

But can you substitute one for the other?

Thyme has the volatile oil: thymol which is a strong natural antiseptic.  
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Wild thyme growing amongst a rocky outcrop

You only need to use a small amount to get the flavour, and is a key ingredient in mixed herbs.

  • Did you know there are over 100 varieties of thyme?
  • The wild thyme of Provence is known for its strength of flavour. Think 'herbs de Provence' is a blend with this wild thyme.
The answer is yes, both herbs are interchangeable, but savoury is less pungent than thyme.
  • You will find winter savory, Satureja (sat-you-rea) montana, as a plant sold in most garden centres.
  • So time to get some of your own.

Let’s find out more by listening to the podcast.
I'm talking with Ian Hemphill from www.herbies.com.au

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

Control of Fungus Gnats in Plant Doctor

September 18th, 2021

PLANT DOCTOR

FUNGUS GNATS

These tiny flying things can swarm around your indoor plants but other than annoyance, are they killing your plants?

Those tiny little flies that hang around your fruit bowl or indoor plants aren’t always that same thing. 
Sometimes they’re confused with fruit flies, or even ordinary house flies, but none of those two are correct. Inevitably they’re up to no good but how to tell them apart?

  • There are fungus gnats and fermentation flies.
    • they are attracted to different things.
  • Fermentation or vinegar flies tend to hang around the fruit bowl, especially if you've got overripe fruit because vinegar flies are attracted to sugars.
  • Fungus gnats are smaller, flitting around erratically: the adults of which are attracted to moisture.
    • the adults are doing much if anything to your plants other than laying lots of eggs, although there is evidence that they can transmit plant diseases.
    • The larvae can be the problem because the feed on the roots of your plants.

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Fungus gnats -magnified heaps.
  • Remember: Vinegar or fermentation flies are attracted to sugary treats, such as over-ripe fruits, whereas fungus gnats are attracted to moisture such as overly wet potting medium.
  • Greenhouses can also have an outbreak of fungus gnats.
Where do they come from?
Came with the plants you bought or from potting mix.
 
How to stop them?
  • Keep your soil medium a bit on the dry side.
  • Drench the potting mix with neem oil which will control the juvenile stages.
  • Make a sticky trap using vaseline to trap the adults.
  • Use a type of mulch the prevents the adult fungus gnats burrowing into the soil to lay the eggs.
  • Worst case, repot with fresh potting mix.
  • Greenhouse control can be with predatory insects.
Let’s find out more by listening to the podcast.

I'm talking with Steve Falcioni from www.ecoorganicgarden.com.au

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

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

Plant Nutrition: What Plant Really Want in Plant Doctor

September 8th, 2021

 PLANT NUTRITION UNPACKED

Major Nutrients

Have you ever asked yourself "how do plants take up nutrients when you spread fertiliser around them on the ground or dilute it into liquid ?"

It's something that we gardeners do quite a lot of,  spreading fertiliser around that is, and probably don't give it a second thought until plants don't respond to all this nutrient load.
  • What went wrong? 
Firstly, the nutrients that you spread around are not directly taken up by the plants.
Nutrients have to be what's called 'made available' to the plants and to do this, the soil biota or the microorganisms have to do some work.
Water, soil and microbes are the three things that the plants need before plants can take these nutrients.
  • So What Are These Nutrients?

Macro Nutrients:   these are the highest rated nutrients that plants can’t do without.

  • Nitrogen:Phosphorus:Potassium or NPK: 

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    A selection of fertilisers
  • Kylie's main mantra is NPK refers to shoots:roots;fruit
The component relates as Nitrogen, giving your plant nice healthy green leaves.
The P component: encourages healthy root systems.
The K or potassium component helps the fruits and flowers
 
Sure we can add compost, aged manures and liquid seaweed, but unless you’re sure of what’s in them nutrient wise, you may be under fertilising your plants.

Without the major nutrients, your plants may not grow and develop roots, stems leaves and flowers properly.

If you know what and how much to give your plants, the plants will be healthier and more productive.

Just remember to read the NPK amounts on the bag or packet of fertiliser.
Let’s find out more about what plants really need.
I'm talking with Kylie Last, horticulturist and TAFE teacher.
PLAY: Major Nutrients_21stJuly 2021

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

Woolly Tea Tree in Plant of the Week

August 30th, 2021

Scientific name: Leptospermum lanigerum

Common Name: Woolly tea tree
Family: Myrtaceae
Etymologyleptos, meaning slender, and sperma, meaning seed.

lanigerum, is named using the Latin word for wool-bearing, describing the silky hairy leaves and hairy buds, shoots and young capsules.

Height: 3m by 3m wide
 
Location: any soil in sun and will tolerate heavy shade. Frost hardy to -7C
 Description: Dense shrub to small erect tree with persistent fibrous bark on larger stems, smaller stems shedding in stringy strips.
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  • Not all tea trees have green leaves, and this one has pewter grey or silver tiny leaves with typical 5 petalled tea tree flowers.
  • May be limbed into a small tree. Light summer water though very drought adapted. Excellent background shrub or screen or large informal hedge. 
Takes well to pruning as the leaves are tiny and the more you prune the bush will become more dense. 
 
Listen to the podcast to find out more
I'm talking with Adrian O’Malley, native plant expert and officianado

Aussie Blue Devil in Plant of the Week

August 30th, 2021

pt 4 
Scientific name Eryngium ovinum
Common Name: Blue Devil not the Sea Holly from norther Europe

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Etymology: Eryngium refers to Sea Holly and ovinum refers to sheep-apparently sheep graze on these plants.

Family: Apiaceae-carrot family
Height/width: 60cm-1m by 60cm-1m
Description: Semi-evergreen perennial with green thistle-like foliage and unique feather-like blue cylindrical flowers during Summer. Dormant from Autumn through to late Winter. Long-lasting cut flower. Grows approx. 70cm tall x 40cm wide.
  • When heavily if flower, the plant, not just the flowers turn blue. "By mid summer the flowering stems extend to 60 cm and a mass of crowded bright blue flowers is produced with long, spiky bracts to 2.5 cm in globular, thistle-like heads on rigid branched stems. " (from anbg.gov.au)
In Adrian's temperate garden, the Blue Devil has not died down as it reputedly does in cooler climates. Grows in most soil conditions in full sun.
 
Listen to the podcast to find out more
I'm talking with Adrian O’Malley, native plant expert and officianado

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