From Jon Lamb Communications
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June 19, 2020

Controlling soursobs – it’s all about timing

If the soursobs in your garden are producing flower buds but they have not yet opened, now is the critical time for action.
When soursobs germinate late in autumn and early winter, they rely entirely on energy stored within their underground bulbs to produce their leaves and flowers. 
By the time you can see the flower buds, the bulbs are completely exhausted. 
This is when the soursobs are at their weakest and when they should be sprayed.
It also means there is a very big leaf area on top of the bulb to absorb large quantities of chemical.
Spraying or wiping the leaves with a weedicide containing glyphosate will kill 90 percent of the weeds, often more.

    Planting fruit trees   
The appeal of home-grown fruits

Apples, plums, peaches and apricots are just some of the many deciduous fruit trees that grow so well in SA gardens.
Because these fruit trees are deciduous they will remain dormant through winter – as such they can be planted any time over the next 8 to 10 weeks – without the usual setback associated with establishing new plants.

Getting started

The biggest decision in most gardens is likely to be location.  It is important to get this right as the tree you select has the potential to produce a regular harvest over the next 15 to 20 years.
Choose the sunniest position possible in your garden, as all deciduous fruit trees are sun lovers.
Trees that are healthy, well mulched and deep watered during summer will have little difficulty coping with heatwave conditions. 
Most deciduous trees will bear reasonable crops in semi shade, providing they receive a minimum of six hours direct sun per day through the growing season.

Winter chilling it is important

Most deciduous fruit trees need 800-1200 hours of winter chilling to trigger fruit set, soon after bud burst.
Winter chilling occurs when winter night temperatures are below 10oC.
Fortunately, this is not usually a problem for most of Adelaide, the Hills and inland regions. 
Along the coast, winter temperatures can be very mild and you may find it difficult to achieve reasonable fruit set. 
However, check with a specialist fruit nursery as within most species there are varieties that fruit well in milder regions.

Avoid wet feet

All deciduous fruit trees have an aversion to wet feet.  Check the site you choose does not remain saturated, particularly through late winter and early spring.
Soils that drain poorly in winter tend to set hard in summer and usually contain a large amount of clay, making it very difficult for air or water to pass through.  Tree roots also find it very difficult to grow. Fortunately, clay soils can be improved quite easily, but remedial action should be carried out before planting.

Important preparation before you plant

Before planting, take the opportunity of loosening the soil. But, dig wide not deep i.e. half a metre either side of the planting hole and no more than 2 cm deeper than the plant’s root system.
Next, improve the top 25 cm of soil by adding up to 30 percent by volume of fully composted organic matter.  Organic matter holds up to 10 times its own volume in moisture.
Soils containing clay, i.e. hard setting (or poorly drained) should b e improved by adding gypsum – 1kg to each square metre of planting site.
Feature plantsof the week
Blushing Princess (left) and Snow Princess.

Princess Lobularias for constant colour

Easy care plants that are constantly covered in colour are always in demand.
Put Princess Lobularias at the top of your list.
Lobularia Snow Princess and Lobularia Blushing Princess are low growing perennial plants that have been carefully selected because of the size and fragrance of their large flower heads.
However, the plants are vigorous, yet compact, easy to grow and always in bloom.
Snow Princess and Blushing Princess perform best in the sun but adapt well to the shade  – providing the light is bright.
These plants are great for edging along paths, mass planting in flower beds, growing as a groundcover and they also look great in containers – particularly hanging baskets.

Proven WinnersPrincess Lobularias are in stock at Heynes Garden Centre, Norwood and Semaphore Pets & Gardens and should be available at other good gardening centres.
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More about herbs for health

If you were interested in the calming effects and health benefits of the many herbs you can grow in the garden, discussed by ABC TalkBack Gardening guest, Penny Woodward, last Saturday, you may also like to read some of the excellent herb-related books Penny has written.
Penny is the horticultural editor of the ABC Organic Gardener and is recognised as one of Australia’s top garden writers.
  • Herbs for Australian Gardens – a practical guide to growing and using organic herbs. This is an excellent reference book.
  • Growing Your Own Herbal Remedies – full of sound technical information about herbs for health.
  • Growing Easy Herbs – for beauty fragrance and flavour. An excellent introduction to herbs and their many uses.
  • Asian Herbs & Vegetables – How to identify, grow and use them in Australia.
All books should be available at public libraries.
They are also available online »
Life in the soil – Neutrog

Feed in winter for a headstart in spring

There’s not much happening above ground in your garden during the winter months – but there’s still plenty happening below ground.
Even soil microbes – bacteria and fungi that live in the soil year round – can be active in winter months.
As the soil temperature drops bacterial and fungal activity decreases but it doesn’t stop.
During the colder months, plants produce less sugars, so they can’t afford to feed the soil microbes to the same degree, so everything in your soil slows down.  
Even so, the microbes still need a source of nitrogen and carbon.Neutrog

Here's how to keep them healthy »

Changing new roses for old? It's decision time

Before establishing a new rose bush where the old one was growing, make sure the soil is treated first.
Start by removing at least half a barrow load of soil from the old site, as it contains bacteria and soil fungus that will retard the growth of your new plant.
Then fill the planting hole with soil from another part of the garden. 
Take the opportunity to enrich the soil with well made, aged compost or soil improver.
Fruit tree advice
Pink Lady apples.

Apples – crisp, crunchy and very productive

Apples thrive in SA’s climate, particularly when grown in a sunny, well-drained location. The trees are very high yielding and when harvested the fruits store exceptionally well.
Apples need another apple variety for pollination. Check the label when you buy and also check out what the neighbours may be growing.
These old favourites will pollinate each other – ideal for a multi-planting triangle.
  • Royal Gala – Early and sweet. First in the season to ripen (late February).
  • Red Fuji – Large. Crisp and sweet. Mid season (mid April)
  • Pink Lady – (pictured) Sweet tangy flavour. Late season (mid May) Good for cooking.
Also consider Cox’s Orange Pippin, an old heritage variety – sweet and delicious.

More information »

Premium locally grown stock from Balhannah Nurseries are available now.
Best time to plant bare-rooted trees is June to August. Look out for the green bag.
It's Balhannah Nurseries' guarantee of a premium fruit tree.

Bees will boost broad bean yields

Broad beans are not only easy to grow, they are very productive. However, the key to heavy crop yields is closely linked to pollination.
While broad beans are self pollinating, yields can be increased by 40 to 50% through cross pollination by bees – particularly native bees.
The key is not to plant seeds too close (at least 25 to 30 cm between plants), as shading from developing bushes will limit bee activity, particularly on the lower parts of the bushes.

Quince trees are easy to manage

The best quince variety is undoubtedly Smyrna.  This will produce a tree four to six metres tall and almost as wide.
But it is easily contained by regular pruning. 
In small gardens, the trees can be grown on a side wall as a hedge or espalier.
Quince trees produce very attractive soft pink and white flowers in spring while the leaves turn a golden yellow in autumn.
Mulch in spring and deep water during the warmer months.
Lawn Care – Stefan Palm, Paul Munns

Preventing a moss and algae lawn takeover

After a rather wet autumn and with the prospects of higher-than-average rainfall through late winter and early spring, don’t be surprised if moss and algae start appearing in your lawn.
While a small amount of moss or algae in the lawn may not appear to pose much of a problem, turf advisor Stefan Palm suggests it is important to do what you can to remove them before they start to spread.
In this week’s lawn blog Stefan explains how left untreated, moss and algae can completely takeover.
He also provides practical advice on how these problem weeds can be removed.

More information »
Paul Munns Instant Lawn

Try growing asparagus

A well-established bed of asparagus crowns is capable of producing a constant supply of delicious spears through winter and early spring over 20 years and possibly more.
Asparagus spears, like rhubarb stems, are produced from crowns, although in this case their roots extend deep into the soil (50 cm to a metre).
Because of their longevity, sound pre-plant and soil preparation is essential.
  • Select a well drained soil in full sun
  • Loosen the topsoil to a depth of 30 to 40 cm
  • Incorporate a 4 to 8 cm layer of compost and aged animal manure into the topsoil
  • Space individual plants 25 to 30 cm apart with the top of the crown level with the surrounding soil.
All spears produced during the first spring should be allowed to grow and develop tall fernlike growth.
This should be cut back to ground level in late autumn when the ferns turn bronze.
At the same time the bed should be mulched with aged animal manure.

Looking for quick colour?

Polyanthus and primulas already in flower are now available in small containers from many garden centres.

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.

Talkback Gardening tomorrow

ABC 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.

Sam Luke, nursery manager of Balhannah Fruit Tree Nursery, will explain how to train new fruit trees so they don’t grow too tall.

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
Everything you need for a great winter vegetable garden is in stock now.
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
Outstanding range of new-season, barerooted fruit trees along with a very wide selection of well grown Australian native plants in stock now.
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
Beautiful advanced evergreen magnolias, advanced clipped box and stunning Mannings sculptures available in store.
Specialises in providing quality plants and expert garden advice. Follow the Instagram feed »
Weather forecasts

Coming soon – send us your diary  dates

Gardening activities returning
As gardening organisations, and particularly garden clubs, resume normal activities they are invited to send details of forthcoming events to Good Gardening, once their activity dates have been confirmed. Email us »

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 »

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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