From Jon Lamb Communications
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February 7, 2020

   Our labelling survey   

Tomatoes – did you get what you paid for?

Are the tomato varieties you are growing (or grew) in your garden this season what you paid for?
If feedback to ABC Radio TalkBack Gardening is any guide, maybe not.
Listeners have expressed considerable disappointment (both on air and via text) that the variety of tomatoes growing on their bushes were not the varieties stated on the label.
The garden industry believes this is not a major problem. But we would like to make sure – and we would like your help.
If you are growing (or grew) tomatoes this season, your participation in the following short survey would certainly be appreciated.
Results will be published in the Good Gardening Newsletter next Friday, February 14, with the main issues highlighted on ABC TalkBack Gardening on Saturday, February 15.

You can complete our brief online survey here »

Adelaide’s heatwave weather has ended

The likelihood of further heatwave weather through February is now low, according to Adelaide climatologist, Darren Ray.
Darren expects February temperatures to remain warmer than average, particularly later in the month, and at times to climb well into the 30s.
But the risk of extended, heat-damaging weather is unlikely.
This provides experienced gardeners with an excellent opportunity to establish a late planting of summer vegetables, with a significantly reduced risk of losing new plants through transplant shock and heat stress.

It’s not too late for another planting

If you lost tomato, cucumber and zucchini bushes in January because of the extreme heat take heart.
There are still 12 to 14 weeks of good growing conditions ahead – time enough to grow small plantings of your favourite summer salad lines.
If you are willing to take the risk, take extra care, as root disturbance when transplanting and plant stress in the first week after planting out can result in considerable setback in growth.
With the likelihood of short heat spikes, be prepared to protect your plants with shade cloth whenever temperatures are forecast to exceed 32°C.

Getting started

Choose varieties recognised for their quick maturity.
Consider also buying plants that are well established i.e. single plants in small (4 to 6 cm) containers or advanced seedlings in individual cell trays i.e. four or six-pack containers.
This will reduce harvest time by 2 to 3 weeks.

Quick-maturing summer vegetable varieties

  • Tomatoes:   Cherry varieties, particularly Sweet Bite, semi dwarf types such as Patio Pick and First Prize, along with traditional varieties including Mighty Red, Apollo Improved and Burnley Bounty.
  • Cucumbers:   Lebanese, Mini or Snack Pak
  • Zucchini:   Blackjack
  • Lettuce:  Select non-hearting varieties. Continuously harvest the outer leaves.
  • Salad greens are also worth considering including, spinach, Mizuna, Mibuna, red mustard and pak choi.
NB. Because it is late in the season some varieties may not be readily available
Feature plant

Meet the all-weather Supercals

When it comes to all-weather gardening performance, Supercals will provide you with a uniquely superior experience.
Supercals combine the best features of petunias and calibrachoas – but they are designed to perform under all kinds of weather.
This includes the very high heat of summer, rainy wet cycles as well as the unexpected early or late season frost.
The flowers are available in a range of vibrant colours and are much larger than calibrachoas.
The plants have a pleasant mounding appearance and are covered throughout the growing season, with blooms that are completely self-cleaning.
Deadheading is no longer needed.
These are great plants for baskets, containers or mass planting in a sunny garden bed.
Supercals should be available from all good garden centres.

Angelonias – the summer snapdragon

Angelonias are a real surprise packet. Long-flowering spikes are covered in a profusion of small snapdragon-like blooms through spring, summer and autumn, along with lush green foliage that really looks lovely.
Angelonias thrive in full sun to part shade and make great pot plant displays for your front door, patio or back yard.
They also grow well in the ground, although they don’t like wet feet over the cooler months.
While traditional angelonias are annuals, look for Elite Angelonias as they are high-performing perennials that will continue to bloom over many years.
Elite Pink and Elite Indigo grow to around 30 cm tall and 30 cm wide.
Elite series
Look for the distinct Elite label and distinctive trademark blue pots.
This way you know you’re buying a locally-grown plant.

It's time to get stuck into the weeds

Weed germination following our recent summer rains has been prolific and growth over the next few weeks will be vigorous. 
Fortunately, weeds are very easily controlled while they are small.
In garden beds try skimming the top soil with a hoe, soon after they germinate.
Those that germinate along pathways and in between pavers are easily controlled using quick acting knockdown herbicides such as Slasher.
• More on garden recovery after the rain in my Advertiser gardening column tomorrow.
Irrigation Guide

When drippers aren't necessarily drippers

If you are you thinking about putting in some drippers  then consider this.
Plants in a home garden vary by size, type, micro climate and subsequently their water usage, whereas in a commercial horticultural application such as a vineyard or orchard the plant variation is generally less, and uniform watering over a large area is currently the prime driver.
However,that is likely to change with climate change and emerging technologies.
For the avid home gardener flexibility in their watering system can be required so what do you choose?

More information »

Mosquitoes a growing nuisance

As temperatures begin to fade in February, mosquito numbers can build rapidly in any available source of still water. 
Following last week’s widespread rain it may be a good time to search the garden for unnecessary water-filled containers, including excess drainage in saucers under pot plants.

Citrus will benefit from fertilising now

A new flush of growth should soon be on its way. Help it along with a small application of fertiliser.
Trees not fed regularly should have a mixture of nitrogen, phosphorus and potash.
If the soil is sandy or the leaves are a mottled yellow, use a fertiliser containing trace elements.
Lawn Care – Stefan Palm
Paul Munns irganiclawn food

Why use organic fertilisers?

During summer, when conditions are warm and the soil is moist response to applying traditional mineral fertilisers on lawns is very rapid.
But turf advisor Stefan Palm believes there is more to fertilising the lawn than turning the grass green.
In this week’s lawn blog Stefan considers the role played by organic fertilisers and how this differs from traditional mineral fertilisers.
Stefan also looks at the many benefits of using a certified organic lawn fertiliser.
More information »
Paul Munns Instant Lawn

Beating codling moth

When grubs enter an apple, they like to eat the seeds resulting in a hormone change that causes the fruit to fall. 
This provides home gardeners with an important control strategy. 
Removing windfalls on a regular basis and destroying them while the grubs are still inside (microwave ovens work well) will significantly reduce the codling moth population in your garden. 
Next season, if you begin this practice early in the growing season, you eliminate many of the early generations.

Check the lighting for indoor plants

Spindly growth on indoor plants usually indicates inadequate light.
If possible, relocate the plants where the light is brighter  but don’t place them in direct sunlight or the leaves will burn. 
Remember to rotate indoor plants on a regular basis so that all parts of the plants are turned towards the light.

Try drying your tomatoes

Sun-dried tomatoes offer a cheap and easy way to make use of surplus fruit. 
A healthy tomato bush is quite capable of producing buckets of ripe fruit. 
For maximum flavour, let the fruit ripen on the bush.
Cut the fruit into thin slices around 5-8 mm thick.
Arrange the slices over a tray;  an old flywire screen is ideal as it allows maximum air around the slices.
Flywire or mosquito netting is also useful to protect the fruit from insects.

Woolly aphids targeting apple, pear trees

Apple and pear trees in some gardens are being attacked by woolly aphids.
These are soft-bodied black insects similar to aphids that are coated with a white waxy material.
Don’t spray with an insecticide now as you will destroy their natural predators. 
Wait until mid winter and use a white oil spray. 
This will kill their over-wintering eggs but not affect any natural predators.

Beetles spreading fruit rot fungus

Large numbers of small black beetles known as carpophilus are feeding on windfall stone fruits – particularly apricots. 
These are scavenger beetles and feed on rotting fruit. 
However, they also fly into adjacent trees with ripening fruit and take a load of fruit rot fungus with them. 
Your best defence in preventing fruit rot is to regularly pick up and dispose of any windfall fruits.

New lawn booster – a product for all seasons

Lawns can  produce very rapid growth following soaking rain like we've just had.
To give your lawn a natural pick-me-up after mowing or at any time of the year, apply Seasol Lawn + Soil Booster.
It’s a new soil conditioner containing seaweed, compost and humic acids that helps to revitalise soils, improve moisture retention and nutrient uptake by any lawn, including buffalo.
Apply 100 grams of Seasol Lawn + Soil Booster per square metre to established lawns.
Ensure even distribution via hand or lawn spreader. Don’t forget to water in thoroughly after application.
Seasol Lawn + Soil Booster is also ideal when laying turf or seeding as it stimulates root development and promotes healthy growth.
It also helps lawns to cope with environmental stresses such as heat, drought, frost, pests, and diseases.
More information »

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, February 8 & 9
Midway Park
2 Angove Court, Rosslyn Park
An extensive collection of fruit and nut trees, berry bushes, some vegetables as well as ornamental flowering plants surround  Midway Park, a grand and gracious bluestone villa built in 1890.
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 2020 season »

Weekend gardening weather

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.

SA lawn advisor, Stefan Palm. Lawn recovery after the rain.
Roseworthy agronomist, Chris Butler. Waging war on garden weeds.

Coming soon

Saturday & Sunday, April 4 & 5
National Rose Trial Garden ‘People’s Choice Rose Judging’ weekend
Cast your vote for your favourite roses and view those new roses most likely to be released in the coming seasons.  In the Adelaide Botanic Garden, near the Hackney Road entrance, 10 am - 4 pm both days. More information »

Barossa Rose & Flower Show
Competition and displays for roses, dahlias, cut flowers, floral art and children’s section.
BBQ and other refreshments available. Free entry. Sat 12 noon - 5.30 pm, Sun 9 am - 5 pm. Barossa Nursery, Barossa Valley Way, Nuriootpa. email for more information »

Cactus and Succulent Society of SA Autumn Show and Sale
Purchase plants from 26 different growers/sellers, books and other gardening craft. Advice on growing cactus and succulents, water-wise planting advice.
Payneham Library and Community Centre, corner of Turner Street and O.G. Road, Felixstow. 10 am - 4 pm both days. Admission $3
More information »

Enfield Horticultural Society autumn show
Klemzig Community Hall, 242 North East Rd Klemzig. Sat 12 noon - 4 pm, Sun10 am - 4 pm. Admission $3 includes cup of tea or coffee.

Saturday April 18
Fern Society of SA annual sale
9 am - 2pm, Adelaide High School, West Tce, Adelaide.

Saturday & Sunday, April 18 &19
Autumn Rose Show, Rose Society of South Australia
Burnside Community Centre, cnr Portrush and Greenhill Roads, Tusmore. Sat 12 noon - 5 pm, Sun10 am - 4 pm. More information »

Regular events
Woodville Academy of Floral Design
Meeting alternate Wednesdays at Kilkenny Community Centre, corner Wilpena Tce & Tarcowie St, Kilkenny. Visitors welcome. Details »

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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