From Jon Lamb Communications
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October 2, 2020

Tomato planting season underway

Showery weather over the October long weekend may prevent many gardeners from planting out tomatoes along with their favourite summer vegetables.
However, despite last week’s below-average temperatures, suburban topsoils are now warm enough to stimulate tomatoes (and other summer veg) into active growth.
Across the Adelaide Hills and cooler districts soil temperatures are still on the low side.
If you simply can’t wait to get growing, go ahead and buy your seedlings and place them in a large (40 to 60 L) clear plastic container.
If this is located in a sunny position seedlings should be in great condition for planting out when the topsoil in your location reaches the magic figure of 16°C.

South Australia’s top tomato varieties

Download our guide to SA's
top tomatoes for home gardeners »

Tomatoes need room to grow  

It’s worthwhile repeating, tomato plants need maximum light shining on their leaves if they are to produce high yields.  
Be aware - close planting can result in significant leaf shading and this may result in fewer rather than more tomatoes. 
It will also reduce air flow, increasing the likelihood of fungal disease and the build-up of insects.  
For tall staking varieties, consider spacing plants 70-80 cm apart.
Traditional, non-staking varieties should be spaced at least a metre apart as they grow wide rather than tall.

Consider early protection

Dusting or spraying newly established plants regularly (every two to three weeks) will pay big dividends as it will reduce the likelihood of your plants being affected by diseases that are often prevalent early in the growing season.

Fussy feeders

All too often tomato seedlings are overstimulated because they are plied with too much nitrogen fertiliser.
This results in quick leaf and stem growth but at the expense of early flowers and fruit.
Because this growth is also soft and sappy it encourages fungal diseases and damaging insects.
There are many successful ways to fertilise tomatoes seedlings. In essence they need a small amount of nitrogen but plenty of phosphorus and potash.

Seaweed for seedlings

Seedlings in punnets should be soaked for 10 minutes in a seaweed solution (Seasol or eco Seaweed) and then be allowed to drain in the shade for an hour before planting. 
How you treat the seedlings just before and immediately after planting will have a big bearing on their success.

Wet weather systems finally arrive

The much promised La Niña system with its potential to produce above-average rains has finally formed in the Pacific and is likely to persist until at least late January.
At the same time in the Indian Ocean another rain producing system – a negative Indian Ocean dipole Dial has returned.
The combination of both systems is likely to significantly increase the likelihood of above-average rains in South Australia through spring early summer.
More details from independent climatologist Darren Ray on ABC Radio TalkBack Gardening tomorrow morning.
Feature plantsof the week

Colourful calibrachoas benefit from clever breeding

Calibrachoas are well accepted in SA gardens as colourful warm season performers.
They are now available in a very wide range of colours with some having multi coloured stripes, splashes or throats.
Elite calibrachoas are high performing, easy care plants with foliage that is lush and mounding.
This allows them to spill softly over the edge of pots, baskets, window boxes or retaining walls.
They also look good when grown as a low boarder plant.
If you would like to try some quirky colours, try Elite Tropicana or double pealed Pinktastic.
For a more modern look, there is Elite Lavender Blast and Elite Pink Blast and for outstanding “Wow”, try Rave Pink and Goodnight Kiss.
However, if tradition is more to your liking consider Elite White and Elite Pink.
Look for the Elite label in distinctive blue containers

Elite seriesElite Calibrachoas are in stock at Heynes Garden Centre, Norwood , Semaphore Pets & Gardens and Barrow & Bench, Malvern and should be available at other good gardening centres.

Growing demand for high-performing colour plants

Low growing, high performing “wow” plants that remain compact as they spread are currently the height of fashion.
The reason? They look attractive when grown in containers and planter boxes, but particularly in hanging baskets.
 Keep in mind most wow plants respond rapidly to extra attention such as fertiliser and regular watering once the plants are well established.

SunPatiens a breakthrough in flower power

SunPatiens with their ability to produce non-stop colour are quite remarkable. They are the first impatiens to thrive in the sun while withstanding heat, humidity, rain and shade.
SunPatiens will provide continuous colour from spring through to autumn in a very wide range of colours.
The flowers are larger than other impatiens, are quicker to establish and produce stronger roots. This results in more vigorous growth and sturdy plants that have excellent tolerance to disease, particularly downy mildew.
There are 12 SunPatiens colours available, while the plants will grow 45 to 90 cm high and 60 to 120 cm wide.
These fast-growing plants are ideal for landscaping, mass planting or making stunning hanging baskets or container displays and the perfect choice for a colourful, worry free garden.

SunPatiens  are in stock at Heynes Garden Centre, Norwood , Semaphore Pets & Gardens and Barrow & Bench, Malvern and should be available at other good gardening centres.
How to remove suckers from a standard rose stem – video »

How to remove “suckers” from rose bushes

It’s been a great growing season for roses and in most gardens the bushes are making strong healthy growth.
But some bushes are also making unwanted growth in the form of “suckers”.
In this week’s Rose growing videos produced by Brian Wagner from Wagner’s Rose Nursery, Brian explains why sucker growth can suddenly appear around the base of your bushes and why they should be removed.
Just as important he explains how to tell the difference between the rose bush and the suckers.
In the first of two videos Brian demonstrates how suckers should be removed from a bush rose and in the second video he explains what to do with a standard rose.
WAagners Rose Nursery
How to remove rootstock from a rosebush – video »

Summer vegetables to grow now

Vegetable seedlings planted into garden beds or containers during October will grow rapidly and should be ready to harvest in time for Christmas.
The following are well worth growing:
  • Cucumbers – New varieties offer smaller sized fruit on traditional trailing bushes.  Also more compact varieties available ideally suited to raised gardens.
  • Zucchini – An interesting range of colours available in dark and light green, yellow and grey.  Bushes are becoming more compact and again, suit raised garden beds.
  • Squash – A great makeover story with many new gourmet varieties with mini sized fruits now available.  Very easy to grow, bushes high yielding.
  • Lettuce – Big range of soft and upright, non-hearting varieties.  Often available in combo packs. Quick to mature and can be harvested over an extended period.
  • Broccoli – Quick maturing, 8-10 weeks.  Easy to grow.  Look for varieties that continue to produce small heads after the main head has been removed. 
  • Silverbeet – Very easy to grow.  Will tolerate some shade and like non-hearting lettuce, provides a continuous harvest by removing the outer leaves.

Also worth planting

Beans (French), cabbage (hybrid), carrots, melons, pumpkins, sweetcorn and silverbeet.
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Slasher- an organic way to control weeds rapidly

Slasher Organic Weedkiller controls a broad range of weeds, moss, algae and lichen.
It’s approved for use in organic gardens and works fast.
Expect to see visible results within 1 hour on most weeds.
Slasher is made from plant ingredients and is glyphosate-free.
It’s also non-residual and can be used safely around roses and even in the veggie patch (no withholding period).

More product information here »
OCP eco organic gardenSlasher is available from hardware stores, nurseries, supermarkets and online at

A season for weeds

It doesn’t seem fair, while most garden plants are only producing steady growth, newly-germinated weeds seem to be growing like crazy.
Trying to control weeds once they have matured is not easy, particularly those that develop a deep or extensive root system.
On the other hand “extermination” while the weeds are small is both quick and easy.

Four types of tomato bushes

Trellis. These are the traditional varieties that grandpa used to grow.  Tall, 2 to 2.5m, very vigorous with stems that continue to grow throughout the season (indeterminate).  
Trellising provides these bushes with maximum exposure to the sun (higher yields) and good air circulation through the foliage (disease control).

Staking.  Medium sized bushes 1.75-2m that produce strong growth throughout the season (indeterminate).  Reducing side branching is recommended to improve light and air circulation.

Bush. Small upright bushes 50cm-1.75cm.  The bushes do not continue to elongate once they have reached maturity (determinate).  However, staking is still beneficial as it keeps the bushes off the ground.  Ideal plants for raised garden beds and large containers.

Cascading.  New small vigorous bushes that produce attractive cascading or tumbling growth.  Usually very high yielding.  Fruits generally small.  Ideal plants for hanging baskets or decorative containers.
Irrigation Guide – Antelco

Up the stakes in your garden beds

Thinking of adding an irrigation system to your garden beds, or upgrading your existing system? Antelco has released a new Micro Stake perfect for securing micro sprays in garden beds.
The clever stake design provides greater retention in soil while the retaining hole secures the tube close to the stake to prevent it dislodging from the lateral tube.
The new stake features:
  • A tube piercing point at the base of the stake for piercing holes into lateral tube, removing the need for a separate installation tool
  • Robust and aesthetically pleasing design
  • Retaining hole in stake to securely locate and support offtake tubing.
  • UV stabilised materials for long field life.
Antelco Micro Stakes can be purchased as a stake only or pre-assembled with 400 mm, 500 mm or 600 mm lengths of 4 mm tube fitted with an adaptor for connecting into low-density poly pipe.

More information »

A better way to water gardens

During the past decade, many gardeners have changed the way they water their gardens, with handheld hoses and buckets being replaced with low-throw sprinklers and micro-irrigation systems. 
The latter provide a far more cost effective way of watering the garden but to achieve this efficiency they require simple but regular maintenance.
Micro-irrigation systems are both efficient and very cost-effective as they are designed to water the root systems of plants, not the spaces in between.  They work on the principle of delivering water:
  • Through relatively small outlets
  • At lower-than-normal water pressure.

Friends of the Botanic Gardens to resume tours

Guided walks of all Adelaide Botanic Gardens and Botanic Park are about to start again, from Wednesday, October 14.
They had been suspended because of Covid-19 restrictions.
Walks will resume the previous routine of:
  • Adelaide Botanic Gardens, Daily –10.30 am, meet at the Visitor Information Centre.
  • Botanic Park, Weekly – Mondays 2pm, meet at the Friends Gate North Lodge ABG.
  • Mount Lofty, Weekly – Thursdays 10.30am , meet at the lower car park.
  • Wittunga Botanic Gardens, Weekly – Tuesdays 10.30 am, meet at the car park at Shepherds Hill Road.
The walks are for approximately one and a half hours and are free.
They do not occur on Christmas Day or on days forecast to reach 36ºC or more. 

More information »
Lawn Care – Stefan Palm, Paul Munns

Is Mouse Ear Chickweed invading your lawn?

Warm-season weeds are starting to appear and when they invade your lawn some of them are very difficult to control.
Take for instance, Mouse Ear Chickweed – it looks harmless enough but it seeds prolifically.
After many years of experience turf advisor Stefan Palm reports it is one of the most invasive weeds he knows.
In this week’s lawn blog Stefan helps you identify Mouse Ear Chickweed, explains why it’s so invasive and, most important, provides sound guidance on how it can be controlled.
More information »
Paul Munns Instant Lawn

Herbs in planter boxes          

When garden bed space is at a premium and you would like to grow a range of herbs, consider buying a couple of lightweight planter boxes. 
Where possible, place them close to where the herbs will be used i.e. next to the barbecue. 
A planter box 60 cm long will provide enough room for three or four different herbs.

Rejuvenation time

Attractive summer flowering shrubs including abelia, abutilon (Chinese lantern), hibiscus, oleander and gardenias are starting to make new season growth. 
If they need rejuvenating by hard pruning or simply tidying up with a trim, do it now. 
Tip pruning any subsequent vigorous stem growth will help maintain a compact canopy.

It’s a good time to check on your lawn

With lawns bursting into new spring growth, it is a good time to check on their condition and at the same time stimulate both the lawn grasses and soil health.
While many lawn varieties were dormant during winter, weeds still grew, competing for space and nutrients. These should be removed to give your lawn space to grow.
Lawns may have become compacted overwinter and now is a great time to aerate them to allow oxygen, water and nutrients into the soil. Either use a fork or for larger areas, hire an aerator.
Next, check the moisture level of the soil and if it is dry or you find water pooling or running over the surface, it may need a soil wetter applied – such as Seasol Super Soil Wetter and Conditioner.
Then give your lawn a natural boost with Seasol Lawn plus Soil Booster.
It contains a rich source of natural ingredients including seaweed and compost to help revitalise soils and promote healthy, strong growth.

More information »

Watering indoor plants         

As day temperatures rise, new growth appears and many indoor plants will need watering more regularly than during winter. 
Don’t use cold water straight from the tap as this reduces the soil temperature, slows down growth and exposes the roots to fungal attack. 
Add a little warm water to the watering can.  It makes a big difference.

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 3
Hindmarsh Island Landcare plant sale
Landcare nursery, on the right  just over the Hindmarsh Island bridge.  All plants are indigenous to the Hindmarsh Island area but grow well in other locations. 9 am - 12 noon.
Weather forecasts

Talkback Gardening tomorrow

ABC Talkback Gardening podcastsABC Radio Adelaide Talkback Gardening this Saturday, 8.30 am to 10 am – phone me and Deb Tribe on 1300 222 891 and have your own gardening question answered.

Good weather news!
Weather systems that will bring higher than average rain through spring and early summer have finally arrived.
Independent climatologist Darren Ray will explain what this means for SA gardeners.

Garden centre directory

Leading Adelaide garden centres recommended by Good Gardening newsletter.

Heynes Garden Centre

Heyne's Garden Centre
283-289 The Parade, Beulah Park. (08) 8332 2933
Just landed! And we just can’t wait to show you Calibrachoa Goodnight Kiss – now in store. Goodnight Kiss may steal the show but there’s a lot to choose from, including red, white, yellow, blue and fuchsia.
South Australia's oldest established garden centre. Huge range. Expert staff on hand for personal advice. Visit online »

Semaphore Pets & Garden
Semaphore Pets and Garden
119 Semaphore Rd, Semaphore. (08) 8242 7302
We are open all long weekend. Come and see our beautiful store as we are bursting at the seams with fresh beautiful stock, there's a surprise around every corner. Don't forget to say Hi to Audrey the Alpaca and the rest of our feathery family.
Always has a great selection of plants, pets and giftware – all under the one roof.
Facebook »

Barrow & Bench
Barrow & Bench Mitre 10
321 Unley Rd, Malvern. (08) 8272 8566
Lots of spring beauties in store, including Joyce’s fabulous pelargoniums & geraniums, beautiful flowering perennials, an abundance of Diggers' tomatoes and an awesome range of veg, flower and herb seedlings.  Open all long weekend.
Specialises in providing quality plants and expert garden advice. Follow the Instagram feed »

Coming soon

Sunday, October 11
Dahlia Society of SA sale of dahlia tubers
The Sanctuary, Adelaide Zoo, Plane Tree Drive, 1.30pm. $10 each. Cash or card. Social distancing will apply.

Saturday & Sunday, October 10 & 11
Bonsai Society of South Australia Annual Show
Goodwood Community Centre, 32 Rosa St. Goodwood. Sat 10 am - 4 pm, Sun  10 am - 3 pm. Bonsai and Ikebana display and demonstrations. Bonsai, tools and pots for sale. Admission - gold coin donation.

Saturday, October 17
SA Chrysanthemum Society annual plant sale
10 Lucknow St, Marleston. 10 am - 1pm.  An opportunity to buy and to meet other growers.

Sunday, October 18
Urrbrae Wetland open day
Cross Road, Urrbrae,  1.30 - 4.30 pm. Explore and learn about the wetland.

Monday – Saturday, October 19-24
Spring 2020 virtual rose show
In lieu of the cancelled Spring Rose Show 2020. Results will be published on the RSSA Facebook page after judging has been completed. Winning entries published on the RSSA website, RSSA Facebook page  and in the Bulletin after that date.

Saturday, October 24
Begonia and Fern Spring Show 2020
Klemzig Community Hall, 242 North East Rd.

SA Plant Clubs' open day
Western Youth Centre, 79 Marion Rd, Cowandilla. African violets, cacti & succulents, carnivorous, cottage garden, orchids, pelargoniums & geraniums. Plants sales & supplies, tea & coffee. $2 entry fee.

Saturday & Sunday, October 24 & 25
Bromeliad Society Spring Show and Sales Extravaganza
Maltese Cultural Centre, 6 Jeanes St, Beverley. Sat 9 am - 3 pm, Sun10 am - 3pm. Free entry.

Rose Society of S.A plant stall
7 Bluebell Court, Flagstaff Hill.10 am -4 pm. Miniature roses, iris, geranium, campanula, society garlic, daisy, penstemon, portulaca, scabiosa, liriope, marigolds, succulents, ginger plant, salvia, euonymus, carnations, hebe, petunias and ground covers  and more.

Regular garden attractions

Check with each venue's web site for any Covid-19 restrictions on opening hours.

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 »

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 »

Cummins Historic House and gardens
23 Sheoak Ave, Novar Gardens. Gardens open and plant sales on 1st & 3rd Sundays of each month (except Dec & Jan) 2 pm - 4.30 pm. Plant sales also available every Friday morning 9 am to noon. More information »

Heysen - The Cedars
The historic home of two of Australia’s most noted artists, Sir Hans Heysen and his daughter Nora. This unique 60-hectare heritage estate features the original family home, two artists’ studios and the celebrated cottage-style garden, planted chiefly with exotics, including the massive Himalayan cedar trees.
Heysen Road, Hahndorf. Open 10 am - 4.30 pm, Tuesday to Sunday, and also open on public holiday Mondays. Ticketed entry, including guided tours at 11am, 1pm and 3pm.
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 »

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 »

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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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