From Jon Lamb Communications
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November 15, 2019

Beating the heat with shade

The simple act of adding temporary shade in the garden holds the key to preventing significant plant damage during heatwave conditions.
Reports from the Good Gardening “Shifting Shade” competition earlier this year indicated quite clearly that where temporary shading is added to regular deep watering and correct mulching, plant damage will be minimal.
The reason why shade is so effective is all to do with temperatures both in and around the plant’s canopy and in particular, in the top soil where the plant’s roots are growing.
Shading has the potential to:
  • Drop top soil temperatures (where most roots grow) by 10-15oC.
  • Drop air temperatures in and around the plant’s canopy by 15-25oC.
Mulching, when added to shading can drop top soil temperatures by a further 5-10oC.

Temporary shading now routine for many

Many gardeners are now establishing structures where they can cover their plants during January and February with 50 percent white shade cloth.
Standard 90 percent shade cloth is not suitable as it filters out too much light.
However, on a hot day any form of shading material can be used.
For a rapidly growing number of gardeners the use of shade cloth during summer months, particularly on vegetables and herbs is now a matter of routine.
More on using shade cloth to beat the heat here »

Shade competition – the winning images

Following requests on ABC Radio Talkback Gardening last week, winning images from the “Shifting Shade” competition are republished this week.
Pictured above is the easy-to-assemble, low-cost shade structure, produced by Normanville gardener, Vicky Hann, which was  the winning entry.

Other photos of readers' shade solutions are here »
Feature plant

Supercal – colourful, tough and unique

When it comes to garden performance Supercal are unique, as they combine the best features of high performing calibrachoas and much-loved petunias.
Calibrachoas are currently favoured plants by gardeners and house-proud entertainers, as they provide brilliant colour along with exceptional health, vigour and outstanding tolerance to heat and dry conditions.
Supercal has all of these great values, plus many more .
The plants have an attractive mounding habit, remaining full in the middle, while the flowers cover the entire plant – not just the edges.
Flower size is also very much larger than a calibrachoa.
The plants also have excellent weather tolerance while the colours are intense.
The latest colour range released in SA by Poplar Grove includes Cinnamon, Bordeaux, Caramel Yellow, French Vanilla, Artist Rose and Crimson.
They all have the same uniform habit and look great in hanging baskets, mixed tubs, garden boarders or mass planted underneath trees.

While Supercal is new, it is now available from leading garden centres.

Plenty of time for summer vegetables

Well established seedlings planted into garden beds or containers over the next few weeks will grow rapidly with lettuce and other leafy salad lines ready to harvest in 6 weeks.
Cucumbers and zucchinis will follow a week or so later, particularly if you select some of the new high performing hybrid varieties. 
By the end of January you should also be able to pick fresh, ripe tomatoes and capsicum.
The key to growing summer vegetables successfully is to have temporary shading standing by in case of the inevitable heatwave
Soaking the seedlings for 5-10 minutes in a seaweed solution before removing from their punnets will help reduce transplant shock.

Grow salad vegetables quickly

Leafy salad vegetables taste best when they are grown quickly.
Buy a bag of compost or soil improver and incorporate this into the top three or four centimetres of the garden bed or container where they are to grow. 
Add a little complete fertiliser, following the container directions and whatever you do, don’t let the topsoil dry out.
Salad vegetables have their roots very close to the surface.

Try these:

Mizuna combo
A mix of green and deep red leaves with frilly edges and a mild flavour.  Ideal when added to other salad leaves including baby mustard red leaves. Best in salad mixes, picked while the leaves are young.

Mustard red
Peppery flavours which intensify as the plant matures and the leaves develop a deeper red hue.  Easy to grow and ready to harvest within 3-6 weeks of planting.  Use young leaves in salad mixes.
Antelco irrigation guide

A good time to install micro irrigation systems

Installing a drip or micro irrigation system must be one of the best ways of reducing the amount of water you use in the garden. 
Most systems are easy to install and are relatively cheap.
However, we recommend you follow Antelco’s installation guidelines.
These are available by downloading our fact sheet. The guidelines will help ensure your irrigation system is correctly installed.
You will need the following:
  • A 175 kPa Pressure Regulator to connect to the tap or timer.
  • A 13mm Filter for protecting the system from contaminants.
  • 13mm Fittings for branches and bends around the garden.
  • 13mm Ratchet Clamps for securing the pipe to the fittings
  • Your choice of drippers and sprays to do the job.
  • 13mm poly tubing to lay around the garden.
  • 4mm poly tubing for connecting drippers and sprays to the 13mm tubing.
  • A 2 n 1 Punch n Cut tool for cutting and punching holes in tubing.
  • A pair of pliers or multi grips for securing Ratchet Clamps.

Download the Factsheet for the installation guidelines »

Trim time for late-season performers          

Shrubs that do not normally flower until after Christmas and which are making very vigorous growth will benefit from a trim in the next week or so.
However, the operative word is trim, removing no more than 10 to 15 percent.
Those most likely may include oleander, plumbago, crepe myrtle, frangipani and hibiscus,


Late November and early December is a good time to bud rose bushes, stone and pome fruit trees and citrus.
Lawn Care – Stefan Palm

Which grass? How to choose the best performers

Considering the importance of your lawn, the number of years it is expected to perform and the rising cost of water, it is certainly worth choosing lawn grasses that are long lasting and drought tolerant.
As SA turf consultant Stefan palm pointed out in a recent lawn blog, if you are considering establishing a new lawn soon, it makes sense to choose warm season grasses such as couch grass, buffalo or kikuyu.
All three are hard-wearing, heat -olerant and will get by with minimum water.
More information here »
Paul Munns Instant Lawn

Helping young fruit trees through summer 

Recently-planted fruit trees usually make strong growth during spring and early summer. 
This vigour should be encouraged right through summer and into early autumn. 
Fortnightly watering and a small quantity of organic fertiliser (half a cupful) each month, will help achieve this. 
The aim is to encourage the trees to produce their main framework or branches as quickly as possible.

Fruit thinning 

Fruit thinning of stone and pome fruits should be carried out soon after the tree has completed its first natural shedding of fruit.
This is usually 4 to 6 weeks after fruits it.
However, to reduce bi-annual bearing problems this task needs to be completed by late November, when the trees begin to form next season’s fruit buds.
The aim should be to achieve an even spread of fruit over the tree's canopy.
Be prepared to reduce fruit clusters, as well as removing individual fruits.
Seedlings are best transplanted at the beginning of a cool spell and also early in the morning or very late in the afternoon.

Take care with houseplants 

Like people, indoor plants benefit from fresh air. 
They also resent sudden changes in temperature and air movement. 
Ventilation around plants should be good, but keep them away from draughts coming through windows or air conditioners. 
Generally, conditions that suit you will suit the plants.
Seasol liquid compost

Revitalize garden soils with Liquid Compost

Garden plants can remove a great deal of the goodness from the soil and towards the end of spring these may become depleted of important nutrients and organic matter.
To help revitalize soils, ready for the stresses of summer, apply well rotted manure or compost to your soil  – or for a no-dig option, get your hands on a bottle of Seasol Liquid Compost.
Liquid compost is a dynamic soil conditioner, soil improver and plant health treatment in one.
It is specifically designed to revitalise and rejuvenate your soil, improve soil structure and improve moisture retention. It also breaks up clay and reduces nutrient loss in sandy soil. Best of all, this product is a liquid, so there’s no need to dig it in!
Adding Seasol to Liquid Compost will also provide your plants with a tonic and health treatment.

More information »

Orchids still providing great colour

From Trevor Garard
Orchid Club of SA

Plants like Australian native Sarcochilus will still be in flower, while other natives including Cym. maddidum , C.canaliculatum and their hybrids are most likely just starting to show flower spikes.
These provide summer colour and are quite easy to grow in South Australia providing a few simple rules are followed. This information can be found by contacting the Orchid Club of South Australia.
The Australian native terrestrial Thelymitra sp, commonly called Sun Orchids, should be in flower for those lucky enough to have acquired plants earlier in the year.
For plants other than terrestrials an application of “Strike Back for Orchids” fertiliser will see plants respond during their growing season.  Seamungus and GoGo Juice will also give the plants a boost.
For added summer flowering consider growing some of the South American Brassias. There are readily available species such as B. verrucosa , B. longissimi, B. gireoudiana and Hybrid B.Rex.
Keep an eye on orchid club trading tables for these and other plants on your wish list.
Holiday time: Don’t overlook the care or your orchids if you are planning to be away from your plants over the festive season.
Leaving plants in the care of relatives and neighbours can sometimes be a disaster.
Make sure the carer understands the needs of the plants and maybe even let them take control of the plants a little earlier.
This way both parties can agree on what needs to happen. This is the season that shows no mercy to the under-prepared.

More information »

Passionfruit still popular

There is something about passionfruit plants that appeal to home gardeners.
Perhaps it’s the speed in which the vine covers a bare fence or wall, maybe it’s the large, dark green, glossy leaves that smother the vine all year round, or is it the thought of harvesting dozens of tropical flavoured fruits 18 months to two years after the vines are established?
Start with well drained soil in a position that’s free from frost and out of the wind. 
Improve the soil before planting by adding well made compost or soil improver. 
To this add 2-3 litres of well aged animal manure plus half a cup (per square metre) of organic fertiliser for fruit trees and roses.

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 & Sunday, November 16 &17
Cactus and Succulent Society of SA Spring Show and Sale
Payneham Library and Community Centre, Corner of Turner Street.and O.G. Road, Felixstow. 10 am – 4 pm both days. Admission $3. Purchase plants from 26 different growers/ sellers, books and other gardening craft.
More information »

Open GardensOpen Gardens

Saturday & Sunday, November 16 &17
Cherry Lane
7 Cup Gum Grove, Heathfield
Cherry Lane’s smart, country-style entrance gate and the long curving driveway lined with alternating liquidambar and cherry trees, are a clue that there is a very pretty garden hidden within.
More information on the garden and directions »

Frosty Flats
2891 Onkaparinga Valley Rd, Birdwood (cnr Muellers Rd)
Frosty Flats is bright and beautiful! It is a true cottage garden full of flowers in all colours, sweet scents and a mass of foliage textures.
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  – SA Turf Consultant, Stefan Palm.
Topic – Answers to lawn problems most troubling to SA gardeners.

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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