Real World Gardener New Garden Hoses in Tool Time

September 27th, 2020

 TOOL TIME 

Garden Hoses: New Hoses on the Market

Watering your garden by hand in the warmer months is usually a relaxing pleasure unless of course you’re fighting with a cranky hose.

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Hoses don’t last forever, and when they start to show signs of wear, you may find yourself getting frustrated every time the hose kinks and stops the flow of water.
So what’s new in hoses if you need an update?
Some are made of vinyl, some are made of rubber, some have reinforcement, some are expanding, and others advertise as being kink free and even made of steel
Which one do you choose?
Let’s find out.

That was Tony Mattson, general manager of www.cutabovetools.com.au
Tony’s tip, is ‘buy what you can afford, and don’t just go for the cheapest.

  • You want it to last a minimum of 5 to 10 years

Hoses have a hard life out in the sun, or frost in some cases so don’t expect too much from your hose after 5-10 years.

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  • Check the distance from the hose to the furthest point you want to water. Longer is not better because it's heavy to move around.
  • Consider how long should you have a hose. Tony says most people overestimate how much hose length that they need.
  • The diameter is 1/2 inch or 12.5mm. A nursery would traditionally use a 19mm diameter hose.
Materials of hoses: kink ratings are not connected to any standard. A bit of marketing goes into the rating most likely.
A totally kinking hose may be made totally of  rubber.
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Then store it in loops not small circles.

  • When you first get a hose, lay it out in the sun to straighten it out.
It may just be time for a replacement.
If you have questions about hoses or have information to share, drop us a line to realworldgardener@gmail.com or write to 2rrr PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

 

 

VEGETABLE HEROES

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?
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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 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.

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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
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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. 

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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. 

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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 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
 

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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

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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 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

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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 Snake Vine or Hibbertia scandens in Plant of the Week

July 25th, 2020

PLANT OF THE WEEK X 3

Common Name:Golden Guinea Flower: Snake vine

Latin Name: Hibbertia scandens
Family: Dilleniaceae
Etymology: Hibbertia...after George Hibbert, a patron of botany; scandens.... "climbing", because of the climbing habit of the species.
Flowering:spring, summer but spot flowers throughout the year
Description: a scrambling climber or vine anywhere between 2 to 4 metres. Glossy mid green leaves with buttercup yellow flowers with prominent golden stamens.
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Hibbertia scandens
What else?
Let’s find out…

That was Adrian O’Malley, qualified horticulturist and native plant expert.
Hibbertias are sometimes called Guinea Flowers because the flower shape and colour looks like the ancient Golden Guinea coin.
When Adrian has seen it in the bush, it's mostly in open forest or gullies. 

The flowers shape and colour is a dead give-away for the hibbertia species.
The "snakes" are the tendrils that twine themselves together and climb up.
Perfect specimen for sloping sites where it can scramble freely.
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 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.
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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

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  • 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.

 

Real World Gardener Purple Hardenbergia in Plant of the Week

July 13th, 2020

PLANT OF THE WEEK X 2

Scientific Name: Hardenbergia violacea

Common Name: Native Sarsparilla, Happy Wanderer

Family: Fabaceae

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Grows:the species form grows to 6m. There are many other forms that grow only as a sub-shrub or smaller climber.

Etymology: Hardenbergia...after Franziska Countess von Hardenberg.

violacea...referring to the typical flower colour

Cultivars: 

Hardenbergia_violacea2.jpg"Happy Wanderer" (very vigorous, purple flowers)

"Pink Fizz" (pink flowers - climbing, not vigorous)

"Mini Haha" (compact, shrubby - purple flowers)

"Alba" (white flowers)

"Free 'n' Easy" (whitish flowers, vigorous climber)

"Blushing Princess" (shrubby - mauve-pink flowers)

"Purple Falls" (trailing - purple flowers, good for rockeries)

"Bushy Blue" (shrubby - blue-purple flowers).

If you love the colour purple in the garden you’ll love this next plant because it’s got it all. 
It’s tough, it flowers for ages, and you don’t even have to do too much to look after it. 
Let’s find out more...
I'm talking with Adrian O’Malley, qualified horticulturist and native plant expert. 
PLAY: Hardenbergia violacea_1st July 2020 

There’s so many Hardenbergias to choose from that come in not just creepers or climbers, but small little shrubby things that spread a bit. 

Some of the shrubby forms of Hardenbergia are very useful for mass plantings, rock gardens, retaining walls and banks for home gardens and larger landscapes. 

There are some good shrubby forms on the market such as ‘Bushy Blue’, ‘Purple Spray’ and ‘Regent’ which can grow from 60cm tall (‘Bushy Blue’) to 1.5m tall (‘Regent’). ‘Mini Haha’ is a compact dwarf form but it is not as robust as other types. 

There’s also ‘Meema’ will grow to approximately 450mm tall with a 2 metre spread which is ideal for outcompeting weeds and creating a ground cover with a shrubby appearance. 

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 Running Postman is Plant of the Week

July 13th, 2020

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Scientific Name:Kennedia rubicunda; 

Common name: Dusky Coral Pea, Running Postman

Family: Fabaceae

Etymology:Kennedia...after John Kennedy, an English nurseryman
rubicunda...referring to the colour of the flowers
Flowering
: Spring with pea like flowers, that is, a standard of 4 petals, a keel and two wings.

Grows: 3m high x 3m wide
Suitable as a trellis climber or covering embankments. Bird attracting.
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Kennedia rubicunda
This next plant is a climber as we have been taking about climbers for a couple of weeks. 
It’s got these attractive scarlet to pink flowers but what else? 
Let’s find out…
 

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

 

 

PLAY: Kennedia rubicunda_8th July 2020 

The running postman title is probably because of the red flowers that appear on this fairly vigorous vine or creeper. 
Did you also know though that it’s a very useful medicinal plant to grow? 
Apparently its leaves were bruised and drunk as a tincture when recovering from illness. Don’t know what sort of illness though. 

 

Use it as a groundcover, for arches, teepees and vine supports. 

some will say that it's happy growing in a pot.  I can't be sure about that.
Dusky Coral Pea does best in full sun but will tolerate part shade. 

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It needs to be protected from frosts.
There is another cultivar Kennedia nigricans that Adrian and Marianne mention. This has black and yellow coloured flowers. 
A cultivar known as Kennedia nigricans 'Minstrel' was registered with the Australian Cultivar Registration Authority by Goldup Nursery of Mount Evelyn, Victoria in September 1985. This cultivar was selected from a batch of seedlings in 1983 and has a pale colouration instead of the yellow, which appears almost white.

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