From Jon Lamb Communications
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September 20, 2019

Yo-yo weather to continue

South Australia’s yo-yo spring weather looks like it will continue for the next 2 to 3 weeks – with temperatures changing quickly between the mid-teens and high 20s.
Once the current rain system has passed, conditions should remain dry, but very pleasant for gardening.
Soil temperatures, a key driver for early spring growth, are currently fluctuating between 10° C and 14° C – good for planting cold-tolerant plants and repotting, but still a little cool for planting out tomatoes. 

Sticky glue will provide top citrus gall wasp control

Citrus researchers say sticky horticultural glues still provide home gardeners with one of the most effective methods of controlling citrus gall wasp – particularly if the trees are small and the galls are easy to reach.
Horticultural glues are very sticky, so handle with care. However, to be effective these materials must be applied before the wasps begin to emerge.
The good news – there is still time to coat citrus galls with a thin layer of glue. This will prevent the over-wintering juveniles inside the galls from emerging as adult wasps late in October. 
Horticultural glue should be available at garden centres and is sold as 'Pest Barrier Tree Guard'.
More on citrus gall wasp control in my Advertiser Gardening column, tomorrow.

Are you ready to get planting?

After the rain passes conditions should be ideal for preparing the garden in readiness for planting out tomatoes, capsicum, cucumbers and other summer salad vegetables.
Incorporate a 4 to 5 cm layer of quality compost into the topsoil, along with half a kilogram of gypsum.
Gypsum is a natural soil conditioner. It also contains plenty of plant available calcium to help reduce tomato blossom end rot during summer.
Feature plant

Lavish lavenders, hardy, compact and  adorable

There are now three great Lavish lavenders – Lavish Rose, Lavish Musk and Lavish Purple.
All three have large fluffy double flowers that are highly perfumed.
They are also very attractive to beneficial insects, making them a must for growing around fruit trees or the veggie patch.  (Pictured is Lavish Rose)
Lavish lavenders were developed in Australia. They are hardy, compact and grow to 1m tall and wide.
These are very adaptable plants with a wide range of tolerance to coastal and windy condition, drought and even light frost. 
The plants are great as borders and in pots or garden beds.
Keep well drained during winter and trim off dead flowers as required to encourage new fresh flowers and maintain habit.
They grow best in full sun but will tolerate part shade. Fertilise each season with an organic fertiliser.

Lavish Lavenders are available at good garden centres.

Big benefits when you add compost

Many home gardeners have discovered the rewards of making compost from the organic rubbish that constantly accumulates from around the garden and also from inside the house.
Others are just as happy to buy their compost or ‘organic soil improver’ by the bag from their local garden centre.
Good compost or humus is usually black or brown.  
When wet it tends to act like a sponge, absorbing and holding large quantities of moisture. This is particularly important in soils that are sandy or dry out quickly.

Compost is essential for soil health  

Compost contains a wonderful collection of vital plant foods, including most of the trace elements essential for plant growth. 
However, the secret ingredient is the micro-organisms it contains – masses of microscopic creatures that feed on the organic matter, leaving behind the black sticky, moisture absorbing, nutrient rich humus.

Not quite compost     

Leftover garden materials that have not been fully composted are best spread over the ground and used as mulch.
Uncomposted materials should not be dug into garden soil that will be planted immediately as it will take four to six weeks before it is broken down by soil micro organisms.
Irrigation Guide

The must-haves for home micro irrigation

Micro Irrigation systems operate best at low pressure and have small outlets, so you should address a few key things to have a trouble-free system.
The system should incorporate the following key components:
  1. Pressure Reducer – This is attached to the water source (tap or timer) and is designed to provide a constant downstream pressure regardless of the higher mains pressure.
    It helps prevent the micro irrigation system from bursts and leaks due to high pressure and ensures that drippers and sprays work at their correct pressure.
    We recommend a 175 kPa Antelco pressure regulator.
  2. Inline Filter – A filter should be installed in line at the tap (after the pressure reducer) to trap any contaminants that can come through the water that can block drippers or sprays. It is easier to clean one filter than it is to clean or replace drippers or sprays.
  3. Ratchet Clamps – These clamps are installed over the poly pipe and barbed fitting to prevent the pipe coming off the fitting.
  4. End Flushing points – The best end flushing points are the End Sleeve because they can be easily dismantled to allow you to periodically flush out any accumulated sediments.
With these things in place you should enjoy a trouble-free micro irrigation system.
Sustainable living tips

Spring into action at a Living Smart course near you

Living Smart courses are designed for you to meet other local people, learn new skills and make lasting changes in your life.
Through hands-on activities, group-based learning and guest speakers you will delve into ten sustainability topics and leave armed with practical ways to live lightly.
Courses include a field trip to see first-hand how people are already taking action and how you can join in!
There is no need to have a background in sustainability; courses are open to anyone who is curious.
Watch a Living Smart video to get a taste of what the courses are like and hear from past course participants here.

Upcoming Living Smart courses

Living Smart Unley & Mitcham
Monday 21 October 6:30 pm – 9pm, for eight Mondays.
Unley Town Hall, book here.

Living Smart Eastern Suburbs 
Wednesday 23 October 6:30pm – 9pm, for eight Wednesdays.
St. Peters Youth Centre, book here.

Living Smart Port Adelaide
Tuesday 29 October 6:30pm – 9pm, for eight Tuesdays.
Port Environment Centre, book here.

Re-shaping wisteria        

Think carefully before you buy a new wisteria.  The Japanese or floribunda types certainly have spectacular blooms, but these will only be produced if you are prepared to give them detailed pruning in spring.
The Chinese wisteria W. sinensis, is less likely to need detailed pruning and once it is in flowering mode, the only attention it should need is the removal (in spring) of branches and tendrils that are growing in the wrong direction.
Lawn Care – Stefan Palm

Sowing lawn seed in spring

Spring is certainly a great time to establish a new lawn – particularly if you’re thinking about starting the lawn from seed.
As turf consultant Stefan Palm points out in his lawn blog this week, establishing a new lawn from seed is very cost-effective.
But, there are a number of important issues to consider, such as selecting the right variety, working out the costs and most importantly how to sow the seed to achieve success.
You will find Stefan’s answer and advice on these issues here.
Paul Munns Instant Lawn

Woolly bears need attention

Brown caterpillars known as woolly bears are thriving in some gardens. 
Small numbers can be ignored but if large numbers start eating a particular plant, spraying is needed. 
Success or Dipel are both non-toxic sprays and very effective.

Watering house plants – how often?

One reliable guide to watering houseplants is to allow the top centimetre of potting mix to become quite dry before re-watering.
Try rubbing a small quantity of the potting mix between your forefinger and thumb.
If the particles leave a muddy smear there is still moisture in the topsoil and plenty of moisture remaining in the plant’s root ball.
Hold off watering for a few more days and then repeat the finger rubbing exercise.

Spring planting with Seasol, the natural solution

Spring is a great time for planting as well as a garden makeover.
Establishing new plants early in the season gives them plenty of time to establish strong, healthy roots well before the stresses associated with summer.
When it comes to planting:
  • Remove any weeds and incorporate compost and organic matter through the soil.
  • Dig a planting hole as deep as the root ball and roughly three times as wide. This loosens the soil around the planting zone.
  • Carefully position the plant in the hole and backfill with soil, ensuring that it is positioned at the same depth as it was in the original container. Gently but firmly compress the soil around the plant and water in well.
  • Apply Seasol (30mL concentrate per 9 litres of water – watering can) at planting and then every fortnight through the growing season. This will encourage strong root development and healthy vigorous growth. Seasol also helps to reduce transplant shock, giving plants a great kick-start to life.
  •  Finish the job by applying a layer of mulch to help conserve moisture and suppress weeds.

SA climate suits kangaroo paws                 

Our winters are wet enough to stimulate kangaroo paws into active growth early in spring, while warm, dry conditions through summer and autumn are perfect for flowering.
Like many native plants, kangaroo paws blend well in a range of gardening styles.
They certainly look good when grown next to plants with strappy or architectural leaves.
Plant size varies considerably from 30 cm to over 2 metres.

When to re-pot?        

If your container plants are small enough, slip the root ball away from the container and take a look at what’s happening. If the roots have started to circle the root ball, the plant needs re-potting.
Use secateurs to remove all thick roots surrounding the root ball.  Then, using a long knife, trim a few centimetres of potting mix from around the side and bottom of the root ball. 
You can re-pot into the same size container or one a little larger, but make sure you backfill with quality potting mix. 
If this doesn’t contain fertiliser, then add the recommended rate of a three to four month slow-release product.

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.
Friday, September 20 to Friday, September 27
South Coast Orchid Club of SA Spring Show
Seaford Central Shopping Centre, Commercial Road, Seaford.

Saturday, September 21
Spring Garden Festival, Mount Pleasant
Stalls featuring quality plants, garden furniture, decor and garden-care products.
Showgrounds, Melrose Street. 8 am - 3 pm. $5 entry, concession $3, child under 15 free.
More information »

Saturday, September 21
Goody Patch Community Garden annual plant sale
Quality and well-priced plants, vegetables, succulents and herbs as well as baked goods and preserves. Goodwood Primary School gate, Goodwood Road, 9.15 am to 12 pm.
More information »
Facebook »

Saturday & Sunday,  September 21 & 22
Orchid Club of South Australia Spring Show
Enfield Community Centre , 540 Regency Road, Enfield. 10 am to 4 pm each day. Pies, pasties, Devonshire teas. Trading table, plants and accessories, cultural demonstrations and raffle. Expert advice from friendly, experienced growers. Entry only $5.

Open GardensOpen Gardens

Saturday & Sunday, September 21 & 22
Laurel Leaf
1A Wootoona Tce, St Georges
a stylish waterwise garden surrounding a red brick bungalow built around 1910.
Entry to the garden is through an elegant ironwork gate purchased in Egypt and now perfectly re-sited beneath the spreading canopy of a beautiful old Irish strawberry tree.
More information on the garden and directions »

Sunday & Monday, September 22 & 23
Al Ru Farm
1016 One Tree Hill Road, One Tree Hill
Ruth Irving, inspired by her visits to gardens all over the world, has created a series of garden spaces each with its own distinctive style and palette of plants. Please note opening SUNDAY and MONDAY.
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: Dr Jianhua Mo, Citrus Industry Researcher, NSW DPI.
Topic: Practical strategies to control Citrus Gall Wasp in your garden.

Coming soon

Wednesday, September 25
Eco Families Adelaide: Native Bees
10:30am, Adelaide Sustainability Centre, book here.

Thursday 26 September
Native plant propagation workshop
7pm, Port Environment Centre, book here.

Saturday 28 September
Gardening in small spaces workshop
10am, Port Environment Centre, book here.

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.

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.

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.

Burra Spring Garden Expo and Open Gardens
More information:  Expo »    Open Gardens »

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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