From Jon Lamb Communications
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September 27, 2019

Summer vegetables – no need to rush

All systems point to the tomato, cucumber and capsicum planting season not starting in earnest until early October.

Topsoil temperatures across Adelaide are still well below the accepted soil planting temperature of 16°C. (Kent Town, Thursday – 12 to 13°C).

However, with a week of warmer conditions ahead soil temperatures are likely to rise quite quickly. Meanwhile, this could be a good weekend to make sure your garden beds and containers are ready for planting.


Location, location

Traditional open garden beds are still the favoured location for growing tomatoes (and other summer vegetables). However, the recent Good Gardening “end of season” tomato survey indicated the popularity of raised garden beds is growing fast.

Open garden: 51%      
Raised beds: 46%        
Containers: 15% 

(Many gardeners selected more than one option)


Gardeners going organic

The survey also indicated gardeners now have a strong preference for organic products, particularly when it comes to growing and protecting their vegetables. 

Almost 54 percent of respondents indicated their crops were grown using organic products and materials only.  Interestingly, 43 percent used a combination of organic and manufactured products with less than 10 percent relying on manufactured products only.


When you just can't wait

If the urge to establish tomato seedlings in the garden becomes too great, consider the following.

Keep early plantings to a minimum – delay your main crop until mid October.

Select varieties with good tolerence to cold, i.e. Burnley Bounty, Apollo Improved, Mighty Red and most cherry tomatoes.

Protect seedlings from damaging early season fungal diseases by applying a rain fast fungicide i.e. liquid copper.

More on getting tomatoes off to a good start in my Advertiser gardening column, tomorrow.


Summer vegetables – which ones are best?

While it is possible to establish most summer vegetables in small containers, continue to select cultivars that have good tolerance to cold.
Capsicum – Look for hybrid cultivars. Very big range available.
Lettuce – Non-hearting types respond well to container growing early in the season.
Herbs – Chives, parsley, oregano and coriander.
Cucumbers and zucchini – These grow readily from seed.  Bury two seeds 1cm deep in 6-8cm wide containers.  The potting mix should be moist. 
Do not water the seedlings until they have germinated.  This should be 10-14 days after sowing.  Once established, remove the weakest seedlings.

Citrus Gall Wasp Update 

Predicted citrus gall wasp emergence dates
(Information from the National Citrus Gall Wasp Control Strategy. Information is based on recent average temperatures) 
Citrus gall wasp emergence in Adelaide is currently predicted to begin on October 19.
Feature plant

A Lobelia with sparkling bright blue blooms

Lobelia Lucia “Dark Blue” is an easy-to-grow perennial that really does smother itself with sparkling bright blue butterfly-like blooms.

The plants are low growing (20 to 25 cm) and produce neat canopies that hold their form well as they spread (30 to 40 cm) over a container, hanging basket or garden bed.

For outstanding performance grow Lucy “Dark Blue” or “Lavender Blush” in well-drained soil or a quality potting mix, positioned in full sun or part shade. Both plants have excellent tolerance to heat, but keep the soil moist at all times.

For constant flowering apply a half strength liquid organic fertiliser every few weeks while the plants are making strong growth.

For a stunning effect try growing these Lobelias mixed with other low growing plants, particularly Lobularia “Snow Princess”.

Lobelia Lucia are available from leading garden centres.
More information here »

Tips for top herbs

Basil.  Needs plenty of sun through spring and autumn but semi-shade when it’s hot.
Chives. Grow quickly as the young fresh leaves taste best.  Water regularly in hot weather but don’t overwater, particularly in cooler weather.
Coriander.  Grows in semi-shade but very good light.  Don’t let potting mix dry out.  Harvest the outer leaves regularly regardless of whether they’re needed.
Lemongrass.  Plenty of warmth and moisture.  Don’t overfeed.
Mints.  Grow in semi-shade in their own container.  Be mean with the fertiliser.
Oregano.  Good drainage essential.  Full sun in winter but semi-shade through summer.  Don’t overwater.
Parsley.  Grows best in a well lit semi-shaded position.  Keep well watered when it’s warm.
Thyme.  Full sun all year round.  Also perfect drainage.  Keep the potting mix on the dry side except during very hot weather.
Easy Colour Marigold French Bee

Marigold French Bee

For early spring colour that will continue right through the growing season it’s hard to go past French marigolds, particularly French Bee.
These marigolds are upright, quick growing, very vigorous but also neat and compact.
As such they are ideally suited to the Easy Colour range of annuals that are selected because of their suitability for planting in feature containers as well as garden beds.
Easy Colour annuals in their unique “popout” cell packs are already in flower and provide months of vibrant colour from the instant they are planted.

Marigold Frech Bee are available from leading garden centres.
More on the complete Easy Colour Pak range here »

Check roses for black spot

Early roses are starting to bloom and many gardeners are looking forward to a magnificent display.
But take a close look at the lower leaves on your bushes and don’t be surprised if you see small, irregular shaped black patches – signs of the dreaded ‘black spot’.   
 Black spot fungus thrives in mild to warm showery conditions and a serious infection can cause significant leaf drop. 
Further infections may result in weakened growth and sometimes die-back. 
Where black spot is concerned, spraying as soon as the first telltale signs appear is certainly warranted. 
Sprays containing mancozeb or copper are effective, but so too is the new organic fungicide, eco Rose Fungus.

Big savings with concentrated powdered seaweed

eco-seaweed is a powdered seaweed extract that is super-concentrated.
Compared to liquid seaweed products eco-seaweed is more cost effective and contains more stimulants and nutrients, including 12% potassium.
All you need is a heaped teaspoon in a 9L watering can. The 600g jar will treat up to 6,000 square metres.
Incredible stuff! Available at Bunnings, some nurseries and online.

More information here »

Dripper hose  is easy and effective

When it comes to watering the garden, one of the easiest options is to install thin (12mm) brown drip irrigation hose that has small water emitters installed inside. 
The emitters are spaced 30cm apart and most emit two litres of water per hour. 
This is very slow compared with a sprinkler that pushes out 15-30 litres per minute and is ideal for watering medium and large shrubs, fruit trees and large vegetables (tomatoes, etc). 
The dripper hose is simply placed on the ground but underneath the canopy of the trees or shrubs and covered with garden mulch.
It will take five hours for a single dripper to emit 10 litres of water.

Inoculants and how they can improve your soil

Most of the time when I talk to people about soil microbes, they understand the concept behind improving the soil by encouraging soil bacteria and fungi, and however people struggle with the idea that you can use an inoculant to benefit your soil. 
The idea is essentially the same as the use of a probiotic for humans – essentially, probiotics are live microorganisms that may be able to help prevent and treat some illnesses in humans, whilst promoting a healthy digestive tract and a healthy immune system.
For soils, it is essential that the probiotic contains microbes – including bacteria and fungi – which you would normally find in the soil.
If you introduce these to your garden, then you have a much better chance of getting them to survive and grow.
The benefits of having a healthy microbial diversity in your soil means that they break down any organic matter, recycle and regulate carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous, they fix nitrogen for plant uptake, increase the available plant root area for nutrient uptake, improve soil structure and help control diseases.
So how do we populate our soil with healthy microbes?
 Click here to find out »
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Mis-shapen topiary     

Low hedges and topiary made from the Australian native, syzygium or lilly pilly, are catching on fast.  Being native, syzygiums thrive in our cold wet winters and right now should be producing bright, bronze tip growth.  Check this growth for signs of leaf distortion caused by a damaging sap sucking insect known as psyllids.  If present, trim the tip growth lightly to remove the existing psyllids.  Then apply a systemic insecticide (or tablet) containing imidacloprid (Confidor).
Lawn Care – Stefan Palm

Best time to roll out instant turf

So, you have been thinking about putting in a new lawn for some time.

Well, spring has arrived and according to turf consultant Stefan Palm, although instant lawn can be rolled out all year round – spring is definitely the best time.

In this week’s lawn blog Stefan considers why this is so – particularly when it comes to establishing South Australia’s three top lawn grasses couch, buffalo and Kikuyu.

Paul Munns Instant Lawn

Making changes to the soil

If you would like to make your soil a little more acid so you can grow acid loving plants such as camellias and azaleas, then now is a good time for action.
Use garden sulphur and sprinkle around 30gm to a square metre over the soil, working it into the top few centimetres. 
Apply a second dressing in autumn.  Organic mulches also help increase soil acidity.

How to handle bulbs after flowering      

Spent blooms from your spring flowering bulbs should be removed but don’t be tempted to cut back the leaves while they are still green.
Next year’s flowers are being formed inside the bulbs at the moment and it is important that they are given every opportunity to restore this energy before the leaves die down naturally.
Premature removal of leaves is one of the main reasons why bulbs fail to flower in the following season.

Please keep your questions for Talkback Gardening

Good Gardening  is unable to answer individual reader's questions via email.
If you're looking for specific gardening advice please give me a call on ABC Radio Adelaide's Saturday morning Talkback Gardening  or speak to the experts at your local garden centre.
Saturday, September 28
St Peter's Lutheran Church Spring Plant Sale
521 Main North Rd, Elizabeth. 9 am - 1 pm. More than 1,000 home-grown plants.

Open GardensOpen Gardens

Saturday & Sunday, September 28 & 29
Teapots and Thyme
10 Winifred Avenue, Black Forest
The verge in front of the charming, wisteria-wrapped bungalow is crammed with plants suggesting that a passionate gardener lives within! The traditional front lawn is long gone and in its place is a pretty and productive garden of bee and insect-loving cottage plants, seasonal vegetables and fruit trees.
More information on the garden and directions »
Gardens open 10 am to 4.30 pm.
Entry $8 - OGSA members; $6 - Government concession card holders; children under 18 free.

More information on the 2019 season »

Weekend gardening weather

Talkback Gardening tomorrow

ABC Radio Adelaide Talkback Gardening this Saturday – phone me and Deb Tribe on 1300 222 891 and have your own gardening question answered.

Guest: Chris Butler
Roseworthy-based cropping and small farm agronomist.

Topics: Sensible strategies for controlling weeds and applying fertilisers in very big as well as normal-size gardens.

Coming soon

Saturday, October 12
ABC Gardeners Market 
ABC car park, Rosetta Street, Collinswood
8 AM to 1 PM. ABC TalkBack Gardening will be presented live from the ABC car park.

Saturday, October 12, 13
South Australia and Bonsai Society, Annual Exhibition
32 Rosa Street, Goodwood (behind the Goodwood library) 10 AM to 4 PM
Admission $3 adults, children free. Displays and sales.

Saturday & Sunday, October 12, 13
Spring Expo – Native Flower Display & Plant Sale
Australian Plants Society (SA Region). Adelaide Showgrounds. Sat.10 am - 4 pm; Sun. 10 am - 3 pm.

Saturday, October 19
Begonia and Fern Spring Show
Klemzig Community Hall, 242 North East Rd, Klemzig (enter from Wellington St). $2 admission. Morning and afternoon tea.

Saturday, October 19
SA Chrysanthemum Society annual plant sale
10 Lucknow St, Marleston SA, 10 am to 2pm.

Saturday & Sunday, October 19, 20
SA Geranium and Pelargonium Society spring show
Payneham Library complex, corner O.G. Road and Turner Street, Felixstow. Plant sales & display. Entry $3.

Saturday & Sunday, October 19, 20
Burra Spring Garden Expo and Open Gardens
More information:  Expo »    Open Gardens »

Sunday, October 20
Urrbrae Wetland Open Day
1:30 PM to 4 PM
Cross Road – between Harrow Terrace and Fulton Road.

Saturday,  October 26
SA Chrysanthemum Society annual plant sale, second day
10 Sutherland Place, Golden Grove, SA, 11am to 2pm

Saturday & Sunday, October 26, 27
Rose Society of SA Spring Rose Show – Roses are Red
Burnside Community Centre, corner of Portrush and Greenhill Roads Tusmore.
To be officially opened by the President of the World Federation of Rose Societies, Henrianne de Briey, 3 pm Saturday afternoon.
Competitive rose classes in Australian Championships and World Federation of Rose Societies classes, lectures, floral demonstration,trading tables - gifts, plants, rose growing information, including “Identify your rose”. Entry $5. Full program here »

Sunday, October 27
Herb Society of SA - Spring Salvia Sale
Fullarton Park Centre, 411 Fullarton Road, Fullarton
8:30am - 12 noon, free admission and parking.
Choose from a large selection of Salvias - be early for the best choice!
More details »

Sunday, November 3
Herb Society of SA - Herb Day Market
Fullarton Park Centre, 411 Fullarton Road, Fullarton. 10am - 3pm, free admission and parking.
The largest selection of potted herbs for sale, herb seeds and books. Guest speakers presenting on a range of topics.  Herb identification – bring your plant sample along. More details »

Sunday, November 10
Art and Roses at The Cedars
Heysen Road, Hahndorf. An exclusive one-day celebration of  spring in the garden of the renowned father and daughter artists Sir Hans and Nora Heysen. Featuring reproductions with real flowers of the artists' still life works, display of heritage roses, talks on art and blooms. 10 am - 6 pm. $15 (children under 15 free) Includes entry to the garden, house and studios. More information »

Regular garden attractions

Adelaide Botanic Gardens – free guided walks
Friends of the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide guided walks for the public at Adelaide, Mount Lofty and Wittunga Botanic Gardens, and Botanic Park.
More information »

The Waite Arboretum, Fullarton Road, Urrbrae

Open free to the public every day of the year from dawn to dusk, except on fire ban days. Free guided walks on the first Sunday of every month, 11 am to 12.30 pm.
Meet at the West lawn (Croquet Lawn) of Urrbrae House. Bookings not necessary.
More information »

Urrbrae House historic precinct gardens
At the end of Walter Young Avenue, off Fullarton Road, Urrbrae, or from the Urrbrae House gate, Claremont Avenue, Netherby.
Open from dawn until dusk every day. Free entry.
More information »

Carrick Hill
Heritage house museum and garden, the former home of Sir Edward and Lady Ursula Hayward. Open weekends & public holidays. Free admission into garden and grounds. 46 Carrick Hill Drive, Springfield.
More information »

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Disclaimer: Although all reasonable care is taken in preparing information contained in this email, neither Jon Lamb Communications (JLC) nor its officers, staff or suppliers involved in the editing and production of this email accept any liability resulting from the interpretation or use of the information set out in this document. Information contained in this document is subject to change without notice and is of a general nature and should not take the place of professional personal advice. No responsibility is accepted by Jon Lamb Communications for the accuracy of information contained in web sites linked from this email. Publication of an advertisement does not constitute endorsement by JLC of any product or service, or warrant its suitability.

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