How Can ‘Dog’s Vomit’ Have A ‘Hive’ Mind? Enter The Kingdom Of The Slime Moulds

“Truly alien creatures…are all around us” Professor Christopher Reid, University of Sydney At dawn you could mistake them for vomited curry, something people find disturbing. They surface during the night, forming moist, sulphur-yellow pools and then tiny stalagmites emerge from them, forming miniature landscapes. As the sizzling Brisbane sun rises their colour quickly fades to…

Why Does The Label Say My Ornamental Chilli Is Toxic?

Question: Yesterday a caller to 4BC Radio’s ‘Talking Gardening’ programme asked why the label on their ornamental chilli plant called it Capsicum annuum, and also said that it was “Unfit for Human Consumption”?

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?

Living And Gardening With Koalas

Question: “Hi Jerry, Great to see you at the koala rally on Wednesday. Our next plan is to try and have a meeting with the developers. We were wondering if you might be able to help us with an alternative landscape plan to present. Cheers, Sandy R”. Answer: Dear Sandy, six years ago I interviewed…

Why Do Fresh Woodchip And Potting Mix Turn Mouldy And Repel Water?

Question: “Dear Jerry, In the last year, I have had a soil problem that looks normal on the surface, but when you dig into the mulch, it is grey and looks like a fungus has taken over. The soil smells mouldy, (maybe anaerobic?) and when I water, the water just runs off, not in. This problem…

Extreme Fire Weather Warnings…And Gardening

The Bureau of Meteorology has just issued a Fire Weather Warning for southern Queensland, and the ABC’s Weather Reporter, Jenny Woodward, advises people to drink plenty of water. What can a gardener do?

One Name To Rule Them All: Get With Gomphrena

If there’s one thing that unites bachelor’s buttons around the world it is their beauty, and if there’s one thing that’s unique about each different kind of bachelor’s button, it’s their scientific name. A scientific name is a universal key to information.

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?

Success With Pumpkin In The Subtropics

Question: When do I sow pumpkin? I read in gardening magazines pumpkin can be sown from spring to autumn in the subtropics. But advice on seed packets (and some magazines) suggest that pumpkin should only be sown from spring to summer. I have a garden at Camp Mountain 4520 where we do not get frost, please…