In a trial in subtropical Brisbane, I found that Queensland arrowroot (Canna edulis) requires 1/5th of the water to produce twice the biomass of comfrey (Symphytum x uplandicum).
When asked to rescue a neglected garden, the weeds were up, over and under the fence invading neighbouring gardens. Thick undergrowth made it hard for its elderly owner to safely reach the letterbox, let alone stroll around the garden. Where to start?
Certain cabbage caterpillars are so voracious, they can wipe out a cabbage crop almost overnight, too fast even for some organic remedies to help. What to do? Nudge nature into action and let her take the anxiety out of raising brilliant brassicas. Garden allies Earlier this week as I was clearing my winter cabbages, I…
Yes, the title of this blog sounds like Spam. The first sentence in a blog is supposed to entice the reader to read on, so I’m risking all by saying this remarkable plant looks so unremarkable, I have never given it a second thought. It makes such an inoffensive green tea, few would drink it…
Most gardeners understand that well dug, compost rich, freely draining soil suits the cultivation of many plants, so what could possibly go wrong when adding cow manure to a flower bed? In this example, digging industrially produced cow manure resulted in a series of unexpected issues for an inexperienced gardener as he tried to continue…
Every gardener is familiar with some members of the Zingiberales, you’re likely to find examples of six of these families in every street and garden centre in Queensland. You may even know their families are related. Plant a few and your garden can have its own source of attractively shaped, delightfully coloured and sometimes fragrant cut flowers and foliage.
Help! If planting marigolds (Tagetes spp.) in Australia to deter grasshoppers helps these pests to breed, why do well known authors and garden clubs pass on misinformation? Are marigolds useful for anything other than ornament? How do I control the grasshoppers plaguing my garden? asks Vivienne in Queensland.
In my subtropical food garden, grasshopper control starts in my sweetpotato. Caterpillar damage usually occurs in bursts following good rain, and attack can occur at any time of the year.
Help! The fruit on my lemon are distorted and covered in ugly warts. What’s gone wrong? Can my tree be saved? Is there an organic remedy? Answer: An infectious fungal disease called lemon scab is responsible. And yes, this infection can be defeated organically and in more than one way.
Pandan (Pandanus amarylliifolius) has long been a staple in tropical food gardens in South and South East Asia. Its leaves impart a unique aroma and flavour to drinks, rice, cakes and desserts. As with all garden produce, the quality of freshly picked pandan surpasses that of the dried or the frozen equivalent. Fortunately, pandan is easy to grow in a subtropical or tropical climate, they make an attractive display, it is an easy plant to propagate and maintain in a kitchen garden.
“Salsa verde, chilled and freshly made from home grown tomatillos (Physalis philadelphica), is great on a hot day. An excuse for not cooking on (another) one of those sticky subtropical summer days”.
“I planted Aloe vera so I can use its juice to soothe sunburn. It grows effortlessly in my nature strip. People also use it to relieve the itching caused by eczema. I also enjoy cooked Aloe vera as a dessert.”