Gardeners are familiar with different plant phenotypes. For example, I grow White Icicle carrot which has a white root. It is a distinct and different cultivar of carrot. It was selected in a garden for horticulture because of its distinctive phenotype. Gardeners know tomatoes come in many sizes, forms and colours. Each is a distinctive…
How could cow manure threaten a successful spring flower display?
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…
Tropical Crops For Summer In Northern Australia
I’ve been surprised to get messages from gardeners in far northern Queensland saying “we can’t grow many crops in summer,” and “summer isn’t a good time for leafy crops,” and “the best season for growing food here is winter.” Why so? The tropics are incredibly productive all year round and their abundant produce is in such demand. There’s at least fifty different leaf crops, so let’s have a look at what you could be growing.
FAQ: Can I Grow Plants In Polystyrene (Styrofoam) Boxes? Someone Told Me They Are Toxic.
This blog looks at ways to convert expanded polystyrene foam boxes, a single use plastic used for packing vegetables, into a useful gardening asset. Most Australians call expanded polystyrene foam styrofoam, but this is a trademark name, owned by Dow Chemicals, who claim to have ‘discovered’ this product which was first made in Sweden. If you endorse the reuse of waste, visit your local fruit shop and get some polystyrene vegetable packing boxes. Retailers are happy to sell them for a couple of dollars and you’ll find them suitable for a range of gardening jobs whether your climate is hot, cold, wet or dry.
If Vireya rhododendrons have started blooming, it’s winter in the subtropics. Vireyas are a subgenus of rhododendron, they are tropical shrubs originating from SE Asia to Australia. Many hybrids have been produced, some are very fragrant, and most are ideal for container growing on a balcony, on (or under) a tree, or in a shadehouse. In my experience, treating Vireyas as you would an epiphytic orchid really helps. Vireyas make good cut flowers and buttonholes (remember them?). If you start a collection, you can have them blooming over many months.
Meadow Gardens In Australia?
“You can’t grow a meadow garden in Australia”, stated an article in Horticulture Week (Rural Press, 1992). Really? I started working with Sydney Botanic Gardens in the same year, and their attempt at growing a meadow garden had been swamped by ryegrass and other annual weeds. There’s nothing like a challenge. By all means experiment with plants, but if you don’t understand how differently individual species can behave in a foreign climate and soils, be sure to do your research first, or get informed advice.
Sixty Things To Sow Or Plant In The Coastal Subtropics In Mid-Winter? I’d Like To See That…
Now the mid-winter solstice is behind us, days are cool but lengthening, ideal for sowing watercress, dwarf beans and snow peas. The best news is there’s a long list of delicious food plants that can be sown now for your spring menu. Here’s sixty to get you started. Just think of all those recipes you can use them in!
How Correct Care Can Extend The Safe, Useful Life Of A Tree
How correct care can extend the safe, useful life of a tree: the role of bark boring beetle; the impact of poor pruning on tree health; the value of pruning to a branch collar; the risks of injecting trees with chemicals and painting wounds; the need to investigate for structural weakness; and assessing the potential expense of collateral damage to property if the tree collapses.
Basil In The Subtropical Winter?
Basil: In a sustainable garden you can’t really ask for much more from a herb: here are four basils capable of growing through a subtropical winter in either pots on a balcony or in the ground. Four basils which provide all year round beauty, distinctive flavours and aromas, high productivity, and all of them attractive to pollinators and other beneficial insects that help to control pests.
You’ve Sown And Planted Food – What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
Suddenly, a public health crisis has prompted more people than ever before to spend more time growing food than ever. We live in a nation of garden cities, our food gardens are an open invitation to dine – what could possibly go wrong? Keeping pests and diseases firmly in their place involves safer solutions, a little gentle manipulation and gardening together as a family.
FAQ: To Buy Or Make Compost?
Anyone can buy compost in bulk. But these products are often highly variable and sometimes even unsuitable. The traditional alternative is to sow green manures and to make your own compost. If you need bulk compost, consider the sandwich mulching technique. You’ll need a soil pH Test kit and, ideally, get your soil laboratory tested to check for nutrient deficiencies and contaminants.
Help! During Heavy Wind And Rain, My Tree Started Leaning. What To Do?
Following England’s Great Storm of 1987, I was managing an urban forest in London where I was involved in the successful salvaging of many Robinia pseudoacacia trees by applying the technique of crown thinning described. Make sure to engage a competent arborist, this is not a task you can trust a tree lopper with. I suggest contacting Arboriculture Australia to have your tree inspected by someone qualified and take it from there.