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 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 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.

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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 Gardener Interviews Catherine Wardrop Scientific Illustrator

July 25th, 2020

What is Scientific Illustration? 

Host of Real World Gardener radio show Marianne, speaks with Sydney Botanic Gardens Scientific Illustrator, Catherine Wardrop

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Catherine Wardrop
  1.  Scientific illustration is one of many aspects of botanical research to aid plant identification and conservation at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney.  How does it help?
  2. Why do botanists still use drawings instead of photographs?”
  3. Simply put, scientific illustrators create images of plants by referencing recent and historic herbarium collections. Catherine says "In my role, I use my artistic skill to translate the taxonomy, interpret microscopic botanical details, omit the unnecessary, document the essential and (hopefully) describe a species so well that it never has to be drawn again."
  4. What do you need to know about a species before you start drawing it?
  •        Any knowledge of plants helps.Catherine had studied 5 years at arts school completing        an undergrad and post grad studies in visual art. Post grad was in plant and wildlife        illustration.
  1. Is there a method when approaching botanical drawing?
 
Prostanthera lasianthos
  •     For a full plate which includes the habit of the plant, Catherine likes to do the microscope drawings first. It also involves a bit re-constructing. Scientific illustrator will include all parts of the life cycle of the plant.
  1. Which plant species have proved challenging to draw?
  •     When you start drawing a new species that has no previous illustrations or specimens. 
  1. How long have you been doing scientific illustration?
  2. Since 1998 Catherine has illustrated native, exotic and invasive weed species at RBG Sydney and the most recent examples of her work are to be seen accompanying botanical descriptions in online publications of Telopea and PlantNET.

Real World Gardener Sweet Morinda in Plant of the Week

July 2nd, 2020

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Sweet Morinda

You most probably know Australian climbing plants and would immediately think of Bower or Wonga wonga vine, either Pandorea jasminoides or Pandorea pandorana, 

Very tropical looking climbers that suit all sorts of conditions around Australia.

But there’s some many more Australian native climbers that would suit our backyards and here’s one of them.

Common Name: Sweet Morinda

Scientific name: Gynochthodes jasminoides syn. Morinda jasminoides

Family: Rubiaceae

Habit: scrambling climber to 6m. Adrian uses it to screen some ugly buildings.

What's in a name?

Morinda    Latin morus = mulberry and indicus = indian (referring to it being like an Indian Mulberry)

jasminoides   From the plant being Jasmine-likeThis pant is a native creeper found in eucalypt and rainforests along the east coast, across to Western Australia.

You most probably know Australian climbing plants and would immediately think of Bower or Wonga wonga vine, either Pandorea jasminoides or Pandorea pandorana, Very tropical looking climbers that suit all sorts of conditions around Australia.Sweet_Morinda%2B1.jpg

But there’s some many more Australian native climbers that would suit our backyards and here’s one of them.

I'm talking with Adrian O’Malley, qualified horticulturist and native plant expert.

.Let’s find out…

Let’s just call it sweet Morinda or Morinda jasminoides.

Not overly floriferous but the flowers resemble those of jasmine with dense thick foliage that works well as a screen ugly buildings or scenery.

 

Flowers: Small clusters of 3-20 heads, but in Adrian's garden, it's not a prolific flowerer. There is some jasmine like scent but it's not overpowering. Mid spring to mid summer flowering.

 

Fruits: The main attraction some say because they're lumpy bright orange, 2cm in diameter.

 

 

Leaves: have an interesting bump in the centre called a "domatia."  

the bumps are a symbiotic relationship with an insect that lives in the pits.The mite-habitat pits are so large that they make conspicuous bumps on the upperside of the leaves, making the plant easy to identify when it's not flowering or fruiting.

Real World Gardener Talking with Josh Byrne on Gardening beyond Isolation

June 26th, 2020

GARDENING IN ISOLATION AND BEYOND

 

Australians are turning to gardening in droves during the pandemic but there are pitfalls for new gardeners.

Help is at hand of course, and there are ways to keep gardening evening when things return to normal and gardeners may have less time to devote to their plants.

Let’s find out all about what to do.1.2_Josh_Byrne_A4_Print.jpg

I'm talking with Josh Byrne, presenter for Gardening Australia TV presenterand environmental scientist.

PLAY: Josh Byrne & Plant Pals_17th June 2020

 

I asked Josh these questions:-

Q1. What are the benefits of gardening? (it’s good to get another voice to mention these-often say it already on my radio show.)

A: Good fun, a great hobby that makes you feel good and great for mental health.

Q2. How much space do you really need to have a garden?

A:All depends on what you want to grow.

 All you need is a balcony with a bit of sun.

Urban block gardens can grow a fair percentage of the fruits and vegetables that you can consume.

Q3. Who are the new, novice and emerging gardeners of 2020?

A:People in the 25-35 age group, the millenials, who are spending more time at home.

Q4What are some of the common mistakes this new band of gardeners might make?  (eg, choosing the wrong plant for the location, sowing seed in the wrong season-I noticed the one nursery chain had out summer seedlings only last week).

A: Novice gardeners might put a plant in the wrong spot, or buy annual vegetables, either seeds or seedlings for growing at the wrong time of year. Overwatering or underwatering might cause plant death early.

Q5. It’s easy to get disheartened after a couple of failures, for example seed raising, plants getting eaten by bugs. What’s your advice?

Josh suggests, read the back of the seed packet or the instructions on the plant label.

Ask horticulturists at your local garden centre. There is also plenty of gardening blogs and gardening websites that can help with your gardening question.

Q6. When things get back to more like they used to be, what are the tips/suggestions to keep on gardening?

Don't forget about your plants just because your routine gets back to normal. Keep going now that you have a taste for it. If you hit a bit of a snag, don't worry, keep going and not be disheartened.

Q7. Tell me about Plant Pals. How did it come about?

Greenlife Industry Australia, the peak body for the production, supply and retail of greenlife has launched Plant Pals, an initiative designed to connect new, novice and emerging gardeners with greenlife experts.Plant Pals is a new campaign to keep Australians engaged in gardening as life slowly returns to normal following COVID-19 lockdowns. It's really about making sure gardeners both new and old are getting plenty of support in their gardening journey. Linking gardeners with plant suppliers, expert advice, blogs and podcasts.  Click on the link PLANT PALS

Q8. For those who haven’t started gardening, how can we get them interested? (perhaps join a community garden?)

Perhaps join a community garden, because they're a great place to connect with other like people in the local community. Vist local parks and botanic gardens to get more exposure to plants in wonderful settings.

 

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

Real World Gardener Tips and Mistakes When Starting A vegetable Garden

June 19th, 2020

COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID & TIPS TO MAKE IT BETTER part 2

I would imagine, most listeners Real World Gardener radio show would have a vegetable garden, but perhaps there’s also some new listeners new to gardening?

This next interview will take you through some of the most common mistakes that gardeners make when starting out and what to do to avoid them.

Wrong Fertiliser?

Compost is king says Toni. The  compost helps the plants take up any nutrients that are in the soil.

Synthetic fertiliser can 'dump' in one load if temperatures increase above their optimum level.

  • The right fertiliser is dependant on the plants that you're growingVegetable%2BgardenLynn%2BWood%2BTasmania

Leafy crops like high nitrogen fertiliser such as pelleted chicken manure.

Tomatoes and other fruiting crops, especially beans and peas, won't do so well with producing fruit if you only add nitrogenous fertilisers.

Keep up the liquid feeding of your vegetable garden.

  • Planting in the Wrong Season?

Bear in mind there are different climatic zones in Australia so you need to look at the right climate for where you're living.

Why is your Basil dying at the end of Autumn? That's what it's meant to do.

Cool season planting: peas, cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower, leeks lettuce,

Warm season planting: tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, eggplants, okra, pumpkin, beans, lettuce, chillies, basil

  • Crop Rotation

Failing to observe crop rotation will mean a build up pests and disease that attack that crop.

I am talking with Toni Salter Toni Salter who is The Veggie Lady. She has a passion to see organic principles adopted by everyone, encouraging people everywhere to grow organic produce in their own backyard. As a qualified horticulturist, Toni has been teaching community education classes both privately, at her home, as well as through various community colleges and local councils around Sydney since 2003. Catch her on www.theveggielady.com

Real World Gardener Creating Edible Gardens part 5 in Design Elements

June 19th, 2020

Edible Gardens part 5

Ongoing Maintenance
So what’s on the list? Mulching, fertilising, pruning, weeding but what else?
I'm talking wiht Glenice Buck, landscape designer and consulting arborist. 
Let’s find out… Brukale%2Bgrowing%2Bin%2Bvegetable%2Bpat

Top of the list is watering your garden, especially the veggie garden. 
Glenice recommends hand watering so you can monitor the needs of the veggies. 
Fertilising is not far behind as well as using seaweed liquid every 10 days to 2 weeks. 

  • Once the plants are in and growing, you need to be aware of the soil moisture conditions. Autumn showers are always beneficial for the vegetable garden, there is nothing like rain to push along the garden. 
  • You will need to supplement this rain with hand watering. Whenever possible, I would encourage gardeners to water their vegetable garden by hand as you can assess the water needs of plants individually, however if this is not possible an irrigation system which is monitored regularly is fine but make sure in times of rain it is switched off. 
  • The biggest destroyer of vegetables through the winter months is over watering, which can cause fungal diseases.

 After the plantings have been in for about a week or so, I would recommend fortnightly applications of seaweed emulsions such as Eco – Seaweed from organic crop protectants. This is not a fertiliser as such, it is a root revitaliser that will help stimulate good plant health and condition along with many other benefits.

 

Applying fertiliser to the vegetable garden is best completed with a liquid fertiliser such as Eco amino– Gro, Yates Nature’s Way or Amgrow’s Harvest. This can be done once a fortnight or as per packet directions. You can also use your home-made compost tea on your veggies whilst they are growing.

 

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

 

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