Queensland Cucumber Mosaic Virus Alert

Cucumber mosaic virus is a threat to food security. Last year this highly destructive disease was identified on a farm near Bundaberg, and now it has been found on a Charters Towers watermelon farm. As a student at Kew Gardens, this was a case study, and we were drilled about implementing ‘on site’ quarantine procedures to…

Mangelwurzel Harvest

I imagine everyone is outdoors, harvesting their mangelwurzels (Beta vulgaris subsp. maritima) today like me. A friend is thinking about brewing mangelwurzel beer, they’re supposed to make a potent drop. Alcohol is not my strong point. Would a beetroot or turnip recipe work as a substitute? Can anyone point me to a recipe?

Organic Win: Nematodes Defeated In Wynnum

Root knot nematodes can be a curse in warm, moist garden soils. Feeding by these minuscule, transparent, work-like creatures inside the root tissue of many crops causes the roots to develop tumour-like growths which retard the flow of water and nutrients through conducting vessels, weakening crops. What to do?

Hippeastrum: Somewhere Over The Rainbow

If ever there was a plant perfectly suited to the sets of the Wizard of Oz, it’s Hippeastrum. These flamboyant flowers are dead easy to grow and  Australia is fortunate to have the likes of Mick Maguire, a dedicated hybridist and grower.

In Production Today, May 2014

May 2014 was the 351st consecutive month of above average global temperatures. Or put another way, any gardener under 30 years old will never have experienced normal growing conditions. This month’s weather has been surprisingly sunny, dry and so warm my ‘Java Blue’ and ‘Pisang Ceylan’ bananas and Sugar palm – tropical plants – are…

Stingless Bees: Factory Farming With A Future

Sugarbag bees are fun. Young kids are always surprised to discover some Australian bees are both tiny and without a sting. Once they understand these bees are safe company, they can’t resist taking a closer look and become absorbed by the antics of these industrious mini-bees.

In Production Today, March 2014

The most widespread recorded drought in Queensland’s history has meant most of my gardening effort continues to be spent on watering and soil improvement. At least I’m able to keep fruit trees productive and perennials alive. Beds which would normally be filled with seasonal annuals can remain dug, mulched and bare until useful rain arrives. But…

Love Cycads

Q: “What’s a cycad?” A: “Just over 300 species of cycad survive, many are only known as fossils. Think Tolkein, think Middle Earth, think  dinosaur food. Wonderful plants, the kind you want to have with you always.”

Concerning Australia’s Batty Forests And Convict Lettuce

I’d like to start my Australia Day speech by acknowledging the Bundjalung people, Beaudesert’s original landscape gardeners. I’d also like to thank Woolworth’s who have been supporting Australia Day for thirteen years. I am lucky. I seem to have made a career out of doing what I love. I am a freelance curator, broadcaster and gardener. I…