From Jon Lamb Communications
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December 6, 2019
Summer garden guide – download

Showery weather stimulates fungal diseases

Last week’s showery weather will activate a range of damaging garden fungal diseases.
The biggest threat is likely to be in the vegetable garden, where target spot can quickly appear on the leaves of tomatoes.
Keep a close watch out also for powdery mildew on cucumbers and zucchinis and black spot on roses.

Consider these protective sprays

target spotTarget spot on tomatoes is a soil-borne fungal disease that produces small, target-like spots on the older leaves first. Eventually the leaves turn yellow and drop.
Check your bushes this weekend and remove any lower leaves with spots, along with those turning yellow.
Give serious thought to protecting your plants from further infection by spraying thoroughly with wettable sulphur or liquid copper. (Also good for black spot on roses.)
For powdery mildew, try spraying leaves with eco Fungicide or milk (1 part milk to 10 parts water).

Backyard lemon trees most threatened by gall wasp

citrus gall waspPreliminary results from the Good Gardening / ABC TalkBack Gardening citrus gall wasp survey indicate more than 40 percent of respondents have four or more citrus trees in their garden – but 80 percent of their lemon trees are infested with citrus gall wasp.
The online survey, designed to identify what action growers are taking to control this insect and to identify the most effective methods for future contro,l will conclude next Tuesday.
Results will be summarised in the December 20 edition of Good Gardening and also on ABC TalkBack Gardening on Saturday morning, December 21.
You can complete the quick, online survey here »
Feature plant
Easy Colour pak

New “Tattoo” Vincas love the summer sun

Have you seen the latest Easy Colour Vinca Tattoo varieties?
These are much improved upright Vincas with spectacular flowers that last right through the warmer seasons.
Each flower looks like it has been airbrushed with soft black highlights, making a stunning and long lasting potted display. Also perfect for edging or bordering a pathway.
The colours include black cherry, papaya, rosebery and tangerine.
These show more contrast under warmer conditions and with brighter light.
This makes them ideal for a sunny position. Darker colours with less contrast will be more apparent under cooler lower light positions.
Seedlings in the distinctive Easy Colour purple packs are bigger than those in traditional punnets and the plants are more advanced, reducing transplant shock and making sure the plants begin growing straight away.

More information here »

Why spring growth has been slow

For the record, Adelaide’s overnight temperatures were 1.6°C below average while day temperatures were 1.2°C below. On top of this, cloud cover (Adelaide Airport) was 0.4 hours per day more than normal.
Add these figures to a 50 percent below normal monthly rainfall (Kent Town 14 mm, November average 34 mm) and is it any wonder that spring plant growth has been on the slow side?

Elm leaf beetle mystery solved

If you can only find a few elm leaf beetles on elm trees that were seriously infested last season you can thank January’s record heat.
SA arborists have confirmed temperatures during January were so fierce that the juveniles or grub stage of this insect were baked on the leaves where they were feeding.
It will be interesting to see how long before populations recover.

Worth remembering

Experience indicates elm leaf beetles are most likely to attack trees that are stressed.
In SA the most likely cause of stress is lack of subsoil moisture.
Regular supplementary watering through summer and early autumn is strongly recommended. 
In addition, make sure the ground under elm trees is not covered with pavers, bricks or other surface sealants.
These are likely to severely restrict aeration of the tree’s roots, as well as the natural recycling of nutrients.
Both of these factors are also likely to result in tree stress.
Fuschia Sundancer

Sundancer – a fuchsia for summer

Sundancer is a fuchsia that has been selected for its ability to produce non-stop colour right through the warmer months.
This is a very strong-growing bush and in the garden will reach 1.5 to 2 m high and 1.5 m wide.
The root system is also stronger and more extensive than many hybrid fuchsias, resulting in bushes with excellent tolerance to heat.
During the growing season Sundancer is constantly covered in typical bell-shaped fuchsia blooms.
In South Australia, Sundancer will produce a great show, providing the bushes are well mulched and the soil is kept moist.
While flowering, the bushes will respond quickly to a light monthly application of an organic fertiliser
Container-grown plants will benefit from light shading through the hotter months.

Sundancer fuschias are available from leading garden centres.
More information »

Flowers but few fruits on some vegetables

If your tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchinis, etc are flowering but not setting fruits, look to Adelaide’s overnight minimum temperatures. 
Night temperatures below 13ºC significantly reduce fruit set.
During November, night temperatures in Adelaide dropped below this figure on 23 occasions.

Worm juice not a fertiliser

Concentrated liquids from worm farms are now starting to appear in garden outlets.
These   contain a wide range of essential plant and soil nutrients but in very small quantities.
As such, they should be considered as a plant stimulant or soil improver that is useful in preventing various forms of plant stress.
Like seaweed products, they should not be considered as a fertiliser.

Geoscience-microbes – compost

This week I want to talk about microbes and waste disposal –  or more accurately composting.
Last year it was announced that geoscience researchers at Penn State University in the US are finally figuring out what organic farmers have always known: digestive waste can help produce food.
Although farmers here on earth can let microbes in the soil turn waste into fertiliser which can then be used to grow food crops, the Penn State researchers are trying to find a way in which edible microbes could be grown in a minimal space using human waste as a food source, so that the spacecraft wouldn’t need to take as much food into space. 
More about this amazing science and what it means to home gardeners here »
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Re-potting alternative for large container plants

Advanced plants in large containers which are too big to re-pot inevitably need attention to revitalise the growing media that supports their roots.
Consider removing thin slices of soil from two sides of the container and replace with fresh potting mix enriched with slow release fertiliser. 
Next year, repeat the operation on the other two sides of the container.
It is important that the slices you remove extend down to the base of the containers.
Balhannah nurseries

Gourmet dwarf Redlove apple makes a great gift

Can you think of a better gift than a tree which bears unique red fleshed apples, has attractive burgundy foliage and which won’t grow too large?
Well, the gourmet Redlove® apple fits the bill.  Whether it is sliced on a platter, juiced, cooked in a pie or chopped and added to a fruit salad, the apples from this unique tree will keep their red colour and won’t go brown like apples usually do.
It’s not as sweet as some apples, but plenty of people enjoy their apples with a bit of bite!

More information »

Table grapes may need thinning

The size of table grapes can be improved considerably by bunch thinning.
This involves removing the bottom fruits or “tale” from large bunches and, on some varieties, the shoulder bunch.
This task should be carried out while the fruits are still small.
Lawn Care – Stefan Palm

Controlling invasive kikuyu

Is it possible to control kikuyu grass in a couch or buffalo lawn?
How does this invasive grass spread and once established in your garden why is it so difficult to control?
These are tough questions and regularly posed to SA turf consultant Stefan Palm.
While kikuyu is considered to be an outstanding, hard-wearing, drought-tolerant lawn grass, in this week’s lawn blog Stefan looks at why, in so many gardens and particularly some lawns, kikuyu is simply not wanted.
If you would like to know how kikuyu grass can invade your lawn, why it’s so hard to control and what are your management options – click here »
Paul Munns Instant Lawn

Black caviar – always a winner

Black CaviarThis is a very special rose and the blooms are quite outstanding.
These are medium-sized while the petals are velvet burgundy/ claret red with black purple on the edges and brighter colours this in the centre.
Black caviar is also extremely fragrant, with notes from old-fashioned roses, including hints of vanilla and honey jasmine – enough to transport you to another place. The flowers are very full and quartered and similar in shape to old historic roses.
You can expect many blooms on each cane as the bushes flourish in the sun and reward your garden with continuous flowers throughout the season.
With its intoxicating perfume, this award-winning rose will always be in the winner’s circle.
Knight's Roses
Part proceeds from the sale of the Black caviar Rose support the National Jockeys Trust.

Parsley and friends

Where would we be without parsley and herbs that provide a spicy celery-like flavour?
Most garden centres offer a range of different types of parsley. 
These are biennial – grow them for two years and then replace. 
Parsley grows best in semi-shade in a well-drained position. It needs plenty of water during summer. 
Best varieties include:
  • Forest green (30 cm).The best of the curly leaf forms.
  • Italian (30 cm).Best of the flat leafed sweet varieties.
  • Native.Spreading ground cover with intense parsley and celery flavours.
  • Japanese (1 m).Strong celery flavour.Ideal for soups and stews.

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.

Open GardensOpen Gardens

Saturday & Sunday, December 7 & 8
Fifty Shades of Green
23 Netherby Avenue, Netherby
This garden, completely hidden from view by a tall olive hedge, has year-round interest. It features a well thought out selection of tough Mediterranean climate plants – both Australian natives and exotics.
More information on the garden and directions »

Sunday, December 8
10 Delaney Avenue, Willunga (Please note: Sunday opening only) 
Etre is a garden for all seasons. A stepping stone entry path of re-cycled concrete has been interplanted like a wild Greek hillside with thyme, Dymondia and local miniature pigface.
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 BOM climatologist Darren Ray.
Topic: Three-month weather outlook for home gardeners.
Will SA’s cooler than average weather continue into the new year?

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.

Copyright © 2019 Jon Lamb Communications, All rights reserved.

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