From Jon Lamb Communications
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October 25, 2019

Time to beat the heat

This week’s sudden burst of hot weather should focus thoughts on preparing the garden for hot times ahead – particularly as our warmer and drier conditions are likely to persist.
With only one rainfall above 10 mm in the past 10 weeks it’s time to think very seriously about the many benefits of garden mulch.

Keep plant roots cool

When day temperatures hit 35°C you can expect unshaded topsoil in your garden to have a reading between 40°C and 50°C.
This is hot enough to cause severe damage to any plant roots growing close to the topsoil.
Mulching means your plants root system stays cool and works effectively.
It will also conserve moisture.
Trials indicate mulch can cut water usage in a vegetable or flower garden by 40-50 percent.  This rate is often even higher in other parts of the garden.
Chipped tree prunings, pea straw and landscaping mulch are all useful materials.

Mulching tips

Make sure the ground is well watered before you mulch.
Keeping the mulch away from the trunk or stems of plants will prevent fungal diseases that can seriously damage bark tissue.
If you are using a soft, fine-textured but moisture-absorbing mulch, installing a drip irrigation system will increase the amount of water that reaches the root zone.
Feature plant
Easy Colour snap dragon

Why not try dwarf snapdragons?

It’s the perfect time for planting out dwarf snapdragons – particularly well established seedlings that are now available in the distinctive Easy Colour purple coloured 6 packs.
Because the individual growing cells are bigger than you find in traditional punnets, root damage and transplant shock is reduced while individual plants are more advanced.
Easy Colour 6 packs also feature a unique “pop out” system that makes plant removal very easy.
Dwarf snapdragons are available in a range of warm colours and look great when growing in an attractive courtyard container.
They also thrive in sunny raised garden beds.
Make sure the plants are well watered during warm weather and a monthly application of a liquid organic fertiliser will keep them flowering right through the growing season.

Easy Colour Snap Dragons are available from leading garden centres.
More on the complete Easy Colour Pak range here »

Discover silver and gold with Desert Flame

When it comes to complementary colours, the combination of bright yellow blooms against silver foliage is hard to beat.
Desert Flame is a great selection from the Chrysocephalum family. These are very hardy Australian native groundcovers.
Desert Flame will thrive in a sunny garden and is quite eye-catching when allowed to spill over an attractive feature container. It also has the amazing ability of being able to flower all year round.
This plant will spread 0.5 m, has a height of 15 to 20 cm and responds quickly to regular watering through the warmer months. Once established Desert Flame needs very little maintenance.

Chrysocephalum Desert Flame are available from leading garden centres.
More information here »

Citrus gall wasp emergence update

Below-average temperatures last week have slowed the emergence of citrus gall wasp – but only slightly.
The following dates are from the National Citrus Gall Wasp Control Program and are based on aggregated day temperatures in the Riverland.
Adult wasp emergence Start Peak Finish
Average Year 17/10/2019 07/11/2019 18/11/2019
Cool Year 17/10/2019 10/11/2019 24/11/2019
Warm Year 17/10/2019 03/11/2019 11/11/2019

Fact sheet on new citrus gall wasp spray

If you are one of many readers requesting more information relating to the new kaolin based Citrus Gall Wasp Spray, you can access detailed information in the fact sheet here »

Warm enough for citrus

The weather is now warm enough to plant citrus and avocadoes. 
Choose a well drained, sunny site.  Where drainage is not ideal, the plants should be established on a mound at least 15cm high and two metres wide. 
Citrus will not tolerate wet feet.

Beat rising food prices

The best way of beating spiralling fresh vegetable prices is to grow your own. Give priority to tomatoes, capsicum and egg fruit as they are likely to be at a premium through summer.
Then select vegetables that are quick and easy to grow such as cucumbers, zucchini and non-hearting lettuce – also silver beet.
If you are not short of space add french beans, peas as well as broccoli and mini hybrid cabbage.

Compost and secondary metabolites

As most gardeners are aware, compost feeds your soil and encourages soil bacteria and fungi to proliferate.
A good compost will actually introduce additional microbes to your soil.  This compost provides food for soil organisms - not only for microbes but also for amoeba, nematodes and even some soil algae.
But the story is not simply about providing food and some nutrients to your plants - there are other factors found in compost that makes it special.
Compost is made by breaking down or metabolising organic material by the action of bacteria and fungi.  This does a number of things - it makes some nutrients available for plants to use, and it also provides a ready source of carbon for soil microbes, but during this breaking down of organic material, the microbes produce what we call secondary metabolites.
In simple terms, these secondary metabolites can have remarkable effects on plant growth. They also stimulate bacteria and fungi to multiply.
Some of these are plant growth factors or plant growth hormones, and others are molecules which store nutrients for use later on, which is one of the reasons why nutrients in compost leach less than in raw manure. It stabilises them. It is also the main reason why compost teas can often be seen to have a positive effect on plant growth.
So how do products like GOGO Juice fit into this? GOGO Juice is a probiotic for your soil as it contains a large diversity of bacteria and fungi, however what is unique about GOGO Juice is that it is made using a liquid composting system, so it is full of these secondary metabolites which includes molecules extracted from the input material. It therefore contains things like triacontanol, which is a potent plant growth stimulator.
It also contains a range of other secondary metabolites which will stimulate your soils’ indigenous microbes to grow and divide.
GOGO Juice is literally teeming with beneficial micro-biology and is essentially a pro-biotic for your soil and plants. GOGO Juice combines the “catalystic” power of providing a wide diversity of beneficial bacteria and fungi with the well documented benefits of applying kelp and humates.
Applications of GOGO Juice provide a huge boost of the living micro-biology necessary for your soil and plants to perform at their optimum level, increasing their ability to resist pest and disease and to withstand &/or recover from, heat stress and frost.
GOGO Juice is available from all good nurseries, hardware stores and Bunnings.
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Herbs available in combo packs

Combo- packs are ideal when gardening space is at a premium, but you would like to grow a range of different herbs.
There are usually three (and often more) different herbs in a pack. 
Most garden centres also feature a herb bar containing a dozen or more plants each in small ready-to-go containers. 
While the plants can be kept in their small containers for a week or so it is usually a good idea to repot them on into larger  containers.

Pruning bushes that never stop flowering

‘Prune flowering bushes immediately after the blooms fade’. 
It’s an old adage and it’s soundly based.  But, what do you do when the flower power on some bushes is so strong that they always seem to be in bloom.
The Chinese lantern (or abutilon) is a perfect example.
The remedy is to trim the bushes back quite hard once a year (early spring), followed by a light trim in autumn. In spring, aim at removing 30-40 percent of the outer canopy. 
This means you are taking away most of the thinnest or weakest branches.
Early spring is a good time to hard prune many of our longer flowering evergreen shrubs, particularly those that bloom through summer, autumn and early winter.
Lawn Care – Stefan Palm
Black beetles in lawn

Lawn beetle now easily controlled

You don’t need to continually spray your lawn with very toxic insecticides to control damaging lawn beetles or their grub-like larvae.
A single spray of products containing the low toxic systemic insecticide imidacloprid is all that you need.
Being systemic it is absorbed by the roots of lawn grasses where it kills all root eating grubs. It has no effect on other beneficial insects in the soil and it will remain active for up to 3 months.
Because lawn grubs and black beetles are currently causing problems in many lawns, turf advisor Stefan Palm has republished a previous blog providing background information to this simple but safe insect control solution.
More information on Stefan's blog »
Paul Munns Instant Lawn

Add potash for top quality tomatoes

The quality, taste and texture of the tomatoes you grow can be improved considerably by adding small quantities of sulphate of potash once the plants begin to flower. 
In garden beds, use one tablespoon of sulphate of potash dissolved in four litres of water for each large plant. 
This can be applied on a monthly basis. 
However, more is not better.  In fact, increasing the rate or the frequency of potash is likely to be counter-productive.

Tomatoes – clusters or truss?

If you have not yet planted your tomatoes and are wondering, what’s the difference?
  • Cluster.  This is the norm with the fruit setting in clusters of three, five and sometimes more.
  • Truss.  A recent innovation and currently very trendy. Most truss varieties produce small or medium sized fruits arranged symmetrically along a central stem.  Bushes usually need staking or trellising and are very high yielding.

Organic eco-neem provides safe insect control

eco-neemeco-neem is a certified organic insecticide that controls a broad range of chewing and sap sucking pests, including caterpillars, grasshoppers, curlgrubs, aphids, whitefly, mealybugs and more.
You can even use it indoors to control those pesky fungus gnats.
Importantly eco-neem is safe for bees and other beneficial insects.
Available from Bunnings, nurseries and online.

More information here »

Quick fix for alkaline soils

Most vegetables prefer to grow in a slightly acid soil. However, across South Australia they are generally slightly too moderately alkaline.
The quickest and easiest solution is to incorporate fully composted organic matter (soil improver) into the topsoil.
The organic matter acts as an effective buffer against hostilities, such as alkaline soil and salinity.

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

Botanic Gardens workshop
Carnivorous plants – The fascinating world
Adelaide Botanic Garden
Tickets here »

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
Fern Avenue, Community Garden Open Day
18 to 20 Fern Avenue, Fullarton.
11am to 3pm. Free entry.

Friends of Botanic Gardens of Adelaide Plant Sale
Mt. Lofty Botanic Garden. 10.30 am - 2.30 pm. To be held in the nursery (take Trades Entrance off Lampert Road). A list of the plants is available on the website »

Southern Bonsai Club annual exhibition
10 am - 4 pm. South Coast Sports & Social Club, 1 Sports Park Drive, Wilfred Taylor Reserve, Morphett Vale.
Adults $3 and children free.  Bonsai demonstrations, raffle with the first prize being a Bonsai tree, and Bonsai pots, plants and wire for sale.

Open GardensOpen Gardens

Saturday & Sunday, October 26, 27
Anna's Garden
46 Gladys Street, Clarence Gardens
This vibrant suburban garden starts on the verge where dietes, agapanthus and iris grow under the jacaranda street trees. Inside the front fence a thickly planted assortment of roses, salvias, cottage plants and some veggies have replaced the lawn.
More information on the garden and directions »

Ashgrove Iris Garden
53-55 Torrens Valley Road (cnr Randell Terrace), Gumeracha
Ashgrove Iris Garden is a relaxed, pretty one acre country style garden with meandering pathways, plenty of garden seating and many “old fashioned” and unusual plants adding to its diversity.
More information on the garden and directions »

205 Presser Road, Tanunda
roses in a multitude of shades, shapes and sizes combined with superb views across vineyards and paddocks to the distant Barossa Hills!
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 – Maureen Ross, communicator for the Rose Society of SA.
Topic – Underrated garden roses. Varieties almost forgotten but still well worth growing in your garden.

Coming soon

Saturday & Sunday, November 2 and 3
Bromeliad Society Spring Show and Sales Extravaganza
Maltese Cultural Centre, 6 Jeanes Street, Beverley.
Saturday 9am to 3pm, Sunday 10am to 3pm, Free entry.
Saturday, November 2
Wittunga Botanic Garden
Spring Blitz Wittunga Botanic Garden, Shepherd’s Hill Rd, Blackwood. 8.15 am – 1 pm
A fun morning planting new flowers, mulching, and weeding alongside our Wittumnga's garden staff, followed by a free lunch (gluten free and vegetarian options available). Attendees will have the opportunity to plant Western Australian Eucalyptus tree species; local and indigenous plant species around the main lake and billabong areas including Acacia, Dodonaea, Bursaria and Pultenaea varieties; as well as wetland suitable sedges and rushes.
Free but registration is required to secure your place. More information » 
Registration here »

African Violet Association of SA, Open Day
Western Youth Centre, 79 Marion Road, Cowandilla.
Sunday, November 3
Herb Society of SA, Herb Day Market
Fullarton Park Centre, 411 Fullarton Road, Fullarton.
10am to 3pm. Free admission and parking.

Sunday, November 10
Art and Roses at The Cedars
68 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. Music with Tamarisque in the garden all day, followed by 2 hours of wine and jazz with the Keith Conlon Trio 4 - 6 pm
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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