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. 

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  • 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.

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  • 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 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? 

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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
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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 Common Mistakes in Starting a Vegetable Garden part 1

June 19th, 2020

VEGETABLE GARDENING: Growing Your Own

COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID & TIPS TO MAKE IT BETTER

I would imagine, most listeners to this 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.

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  • Amount of sun: plants need the sun to photosynthesise in order to grow into healthy plants
Veggies will take 6 hours of sun to grow really well. Whether it's morning or afternoon sun doesn't matter so much.
In cities and built up areas, sun may be insufficient to grow all of the range of vegetables.
  • Less than 6 hours?
Stick with leafy crops such as celery, cabbage family-broccoli, kale, lettuce.
  • Inconsistent watering
Vegetables need to consume plenty of water because they're consuming a lot of nutrients as they are expanding lots of energy in growing.
Increase the amount of water holding capacity in your soil by adding compost, heaps and heaps of it.
Adding compost and worm castings will improve the structure of the soil which will also help with drainage.
I am talking with Toni Salter Toni Salter who is The Veggie Lady

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.

 

Real World Gardener Edible Gardens part 4 in Design Elements

June 16th, 2020

Edible Gardens part 4 Companikon Planting

This series is about edible gardens from start to finish. 
So far we’ve covered, site selection, soil preparation and selection of plants or seeds for your garden Part 4 is about companion planting, 
So what is it? 
Let’s find out… 

I'm talking with  Glenice Buck, landscape designer and consulting arborist. 
If you’re dubious about companion planting at the very least, plant out some flowering annuals close to your veggie garden to attract pollinating insects. 
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Marigolds and alyssum attract not only pollinators but beneficial insects as well. 

 

Some proven successful combinations of plant species are: 

  • Marigolds (Stinking Rogers) planted out in veggie beds will repel a number of bugs with their somewhat smelly foliage and are proven to kill nematodes in the soil.
  • Chives, thyme and catnip planted with roses will deter aphids and other typical rose diseases.
  • Basil works well with tomatoes by repelling flies and mosquitoes.
  • Dill, chervil and coriander growing in between carrots will help to deter insects.
  • Alternating leeks and carrots in rows will protect each other from insect attack. 
  • Beetroot, onions, silverbeet, lettuce, cabbage and dwarf beans all work in combination with each other to create a mini ecosystem and will battle through insect attack well together.
  • Chervil and coriander are good to plant amongst carrots.

Real World Gardener Creating Edible Gardens part 3 in Design Elements

June 11th, 2020

DESIGN ELEMENTS

Edible Gardens Series Part 3

Part 3 is selecting and buying the seeds and plants.
Probably the most enjoyable part of the edible garden process.
So which seeds or plants and where to buy and what about crop rotation?
Let’s find out…
I'm talking with Glenice Buck, landscape designer and consulting arborist. 

You don't have to go to a store, because every type of vegetable is available online, either as a seed, or seedlings.
You can buy advanced seedlings as an example, from a mail order company in Gippsland, Victoria if it‘s getting a bit late to sow or plant your winter crop. www.diggers.com.au 
They call them speedings, because they’re at least a month ahead of where you would be if you started them from seeds.

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Diggers seeds speeding collection

Seeds are of course much cheaper but they could be 6-8 weeks behind seedlings, especially cabbages and other brassicas which are quite slow growing.

The other issue if you plant out winter crops too late, so that when they're maturing, the season is too warm. Warm weather can bring with it more fungal problems and a horde of insects to infest your crop.

  • Crop Rotation Is Important

Crop rotation is important of course so that you don't have a build of pests of diseases with a particular crop.

If you understand which group the vegetable your growing belongs to, then you can understand what to plant next once a certain crop is finished. Never grow the same crop more than once in the same bed.

Fabacea or Legume family: peas, beans

Asteraceae or Daisy Family: Leafy crops: spinach, lettuces, chicory.

Solanaceae or Potato family:-tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, capsicum

Apiaceae or Carrot family-carrots, parsnip, parsley, dill, celeriac

Brassicaceae or Cabbage family: broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, radish

Amaranthaceae or beetroot family: beetroot, spinach, swiss chard

Cucurbitaceae or Marrow family-cucumber, zucchini, squash, marrow, melon

 

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

Real World Gardener Creating Edible Gardens part 2 in Design Elements

May 27th, 2020

DESIGN ELEMENTS

Edible Gardens part 2

Soil preparation

Vegetable gardens can be any size or shape.

You can plant them out in purpose built raised beds, in pots, old fruit crates or even old corrugated iron tanks. 

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Most veggie gardens need a good friable soil with good water holding capacity.

This is the time to invest in a compost bin and worm farm.

But what else you need to do?

Let’s find out more…

I'm talking with Glenice Buck, landscape designer and consulting arborist.

In any garden for vegetables you need to be able to work the soil to a 200mm depth.

Soil-Organic-Fertilizer-Compost-Garden-HMany root vegetables, such as parsnips and carrots, need this amount of friable soil so their roots can grow straight.

Local councils usually run composting and worm farm workshops, where not only do you learn how to do it, but you can purchase the worm farm and compost bin and greatly reduced prices.

This is a great idea because you're recycling your vegetable scraps into something that you can use for the garden, instead of them going to landfill and contributing to greenhouse emissions.

The worm wee or worm "woo," as Glenice calls it is also very beneficial to your plants.

Simply dilute until it looks like weak tea before applying to your veggies.

If you don't have enough compost to fill that vegetable bed, you can buy in one of the many different brands available, either by the truckload or by the bag.

Don't be in a rush to start planting.

Spend the time to prepare the soil properly, even taking 6 months.

Glenice recommends a bucket of organic fertiliser per square metre. You can use anything from spent mushroom compost, cow manure, to pelletised chook poo.

Vegetables themselves are quite beautiful in their own right, so they would be a lovely addition to other ornamental plants.

 

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 Creating Edible Gardens part 1 in Design Elements

May 21st, 2020

DESIGN ELEMENTS

Edible Garden series part 1

During the last month or more, seeds, and seedlings have been flying off the shelves.

Seed companies and nurseries, normally would expect that at the start of spring, but in these current times, people are turning to good old fashioned growing your own veggies.

That’s a good thing, but what should beginner and advanced gardeners really need to know to be successful.

Over the coming weeks, Glenice will be bringing to you a comprehensive guide to growing your own edible garden. Whether you have a large vegetable garden, a group of planters on a verandah or a few spaces within existing garden beds, you can at least grow some of your own food.

Vegetable%2BgardenLynn%2BWood%2BTasmania
Lynn Woods garden Ulverstone Tasmania.

So how do you start? 

Glenice says "Pick the spot that provides the most ideal conditions."

I'm talking with Glenice Buck, landscape designer and consulting arborist.

So if you haven’t started a veggie garden yet think on this.

According to “sustainability Victoria” they reckon that if you grow your own food you

  • save money and supplement your household food supply
  • save water – home grown food uses less water relative to the amount of food harvested
  • reduce your shopping miles
  • reduce packaging
  • reduce food waste
  • enjoy fresher, more nutritious and more delicious food
  • know exactly what you're eating (e.g. no pesticides)
  • get some exercise and reduce your stress levels.

 Top Tips

Finding the right spot for your edible plants can sometimes be a bit of trial and error, however in general most vegetables will require about six hours of good direct sunlight for them to crop well. There are a few exceptions to this rule but in general six hours is the key. You can modify nearly everything else in gardening but you can’t modify or increase the amount of sunshine an area will receive unless you get into grow lights etc which is a whole other topic.

Ideally if you are going to grow vegetables in the ground, in pots or planters, you will need to also have a fairly flat area with no great slopes. If you are going to construct your own above ground beds, you will have a little bit more flexibility as you can build the beds to adapt to a slope. The other issue to think about is that you will be spending a fair amount of time in this space, so you need to ask yourself:

Things to consider:

  •  Is it easy to bend over the beds and weed?
  • Is the ground surface cover easy to walk and stand on?
  • Can you access the areas easily with a wheel barrow?
  • You also need to ask yourself:
  • Can you get water in the area?
  • Is there a tap close by?
  • Do I need to get a longer hose?
  • Do I need another water tank?

If you have any questions of course, why not email realworldgardener@gmail.com or glenice@glenicebuckdesigns.com.au

or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

 

Real World Gardener Tree Assessment How To’s in Design Elements

May 1st, 2020

DESIGN ELEMENTS 

Assessing Trees for Failure ( following on from blog on "Why Trees Fail"
 https://realworldgardener.blogspot.com/2020/04/why-trees-fail-and-celery.html

Trees are so beneficial in a garden that I can’t imagine having a garden without them. 
For me they provide, an element of height, but often the ones I choose have flowers with sumptuous scent, and in summer, they provide much needed shade.

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Arbutus unedo: Strawberry Tree photo: M Cannon

But how to prevent them from failing is the question in this week’s segment. 
Let’s find out . 
I'm talking with Glenice Buck, consulting arborist and landscape designer  

www.glenicebuckdesigns.com.au 
PLAY: Assessing Why Trees Fall_1st April 2020 

Trees fall from time to time and believe it or not, sometimes it’s not predictable, and sometimes it is. 
Glenice says "it's totally impossible to predict if and when a tree will fail"

 BUT you can seek professional advice from a consulting arborist to relieve any worry that you have about that particular tree. 
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Champion tree in Stowe, England.
  • The consulting arborist can make recommendation as to how to mitigate and potential problems.

Remember, a tree expert will cut out limbs correctly if they need cutting so the tree will be less likely to get insect attack or decay forming. 
Consideration is given to remaining trees, if one needs to be taken out because it exposes them to more natural elements such as wind and changes in hydrology of the soil.

  • Trees will overtime adapt if they lose a surrounding buffer.
A qualified arborist will use methods as outlined by QTRA and TRAQ are methods of tree risk assessment.
QTRA-Quantitive Tree Risk Assessment
TRAQ-Tree Risk Assessment Qualification.
From the www.treenet.org site

"The terms ‘hazard’ and ‘risk are not interchangeable.... A tree-failure hazard is present when a tree has potential to cause harm to people or property.  ‘Risk’ is the probability of something adverse happening; the likelihood that the hazard will cause harm.

Assessment of tree-failure hazards requires consideration of the mechanical integrity of the tree and the likelihood that the tree or part of it will fail within a given period."

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 Creating a Bird Friendly Garden in Design Elements

April 23rd, 2020

DESIGN ELEMENTS

Building A Bird Friendly Garden

Wildlife in Australia has taken a massive hit with bushfires, then torrential rain that in some cases resulted in flooding. 
Are you wondering where have all the birds gone in your garden ?

Or perhaps you have some of the more aggressive birds like Indian Mynah or Currawongs and want to know how to attract those smaller birds.
How can you help the birdlife in your garden?

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Superb Fairy Wren

Perhaps start by thinking about creating an oasis, but there’s some essential steps that need to be observed first. 
Let’s find out . 
I'm talking with Glenice Buck, consulting arborist and landscape designer www.glenicebuckdesigns.com.au 
PLAY: Building a bird friendly garden_8th April 2020 

If you provide your birds in your local area with a source of food, shelter and water, and that should help with not only supporting them, but letting you enjoy more of their presence. 

  • Glenice points out that you need to plant in layers.
  • This includes the canopy layer or larger trees, the shrub layer, then groundcovers and finally the leaf litter layer.
You may have noticed when you are walking in your district, where the smaller birds congregate.
This will give you some idea of the kind of habitat that they prefer.
You don't necessarily have to plant the same as in the bushland are nature reserves, because some might be weeds.

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Grevillea Scarlet Sprite
For example, fairy wrens love to dart in and out of lantana bushes that are growing along a path under the Gladesville bridge in Sydney.
Instead, plant the type of style of bushes that these birds prefer; a shrub with dense foliage to the ground, such as Grevillea 'Scarlet Sprite,' or "Firesprite.' There's also a range of Callistemons or bottlebrushes that attract a variety including fairy wrens.
  • Think about plants that flower at different times of the year so that you've got a food source all year round in your garden.

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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