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From Jon Lamb Communications
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September 25, 2020

It’s tomato planting time

Topsoil temperatures in many gardens reached the all important tomato planting figure of 16ºC earlier this week. 
The ground is now warm enough to stimulate tomato seedlings planted in the garden (or containers) into active growth.
While soil temperatures are a little below this level during the current cool change, day temperatures next week will be in the 20s and soil temperatures should be back above 16°C. 
 

SA gardeners love growing tomatoes    

It’s all about taste. Tomatoes picked from bushes fresh from the garden have a flavour all of their own.
There is also the undeniable satisfaction of knowing when the tomatoes are eaten - you grew them yourself.
 

Planting out seedlings        

The next few weeks will see many hundreds of vegetable and flower seedlings planted directly into open gardens, raised beds and containers.  How you treat the seedlings before they are transplanted will have a big bearing on how they perform.  Try soaking the seedlings, while they are still in their punnets in a dilute seaweed solution for 10 minutes an hour or so before transplanting.
 

Good reasons for planting tomatoes in October

tomato surveyTomatoes planted in October are likely to be more productive and have greater tolerance to extreme heat than those planted in early September or late November and December. 
This was one of the important findings from the past two Good Gardening newsletter/ABC Saturday TalkBack Gardening end-of-tomato-season surveys.
Collectively these surveys involved more than 1,000 home garden tomato growers.
 

Optimum planting time

Analysis of the information and further discussion with both experienced gardeners and tomato agronomists indicate crops established early in September are likely to be planted into cold soil.
This slows early root growth and increases the likelihood of disease – particularly early-season root diseases.
On the other hand crops planted during late November and December did not have enough time to establish an extensive root system – before being subjected to stress from high early-season temperatures.
Last year Adelaide recorded a 41ºC heat spike in November, followed by six days over 40°C in December.
 

Top tomato varieties 

  • Cherry: Black Cherry, Red Cherry, Tommy Toe, Green Grape
  • Heirloom: Black Russian, Black Krim, Green zebra, Tigerella
  • Traditional: Mighty Red, Apollo Improved, Roma, Grosse Lisse Improved, and Patio Prize
  • Truss: Red Truss, Trusty, Pink Pearl
  • Large fruit: Mortgage Lifter, Beefsteak, Oxheart
Feature plantsof the week

Marigolds are no-fuss favourites

Marigolds are a favourite, no-fuss annual that can bring the colour of sunshine to your garden, while attracting butterflies, bees, ladybugs and other beneficial insects.
Give them full sun and some well-draining soil and watch them bloom from spring, through summer and well into autumn.
Easy Colour Marigolds have been selected for their excellent tolerance to both heat and dry conditions – but they will respond quickly to a little attention.
Marigold varieties available from Easy Colour include  Bambino, Bee, Brulee, Mix, Red, Tangerine, Vanilla and Yellow .
Look for the distinctive Easy Colour 6-cell purple packs.
Easy Colour
Marigolds are in stock at Heynes Garden Centre, Norwood , Semaphore Pets & Gardens and Barrow & Bench, Malvern and should be available at other good gardening centres.
 
Holy Cow (left), Holy Smokes (centre) and Holy Moly.

Here's a divine new trio of calibrachoas

These new Superbells take growing calibrachoas to a new level.
While they are easy to grow, they produce masses of small petunia like flowers on rounded plants – 20 to 30 cm high and wide – over a very long season.
Holy Smokes, Holy Cow and Holy Moly belong to a Holy trio of Superbells that are quite outstanding when used as decorator plants either in containers or in garden beds.
Plant them in combinations or as single varieties and place them on a sunny patio, terrace or balcony.
These Superbells really suit today’s modern apartment gardens.

Tip: Allow the topsoil to dry out before re-watering.

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

Vegetable space savers

When space for a vegetable garden is at a premium, there are a number of strategies worth considering.
  • Invest in a few attractive lightweight rectangular planter boxes or narrow, raised garden beds that hold 30 litres or more of potting mix. These are great for a sunny patio, veranda or courtyard.
  • Give high priority to crops that can grow vertically i.e. climbing peas and beans, cucumbers and cascading tomatoes.
  • Grow cut-and-come-again vegetables in large planter bowls or narrow containers i.e. non-hearting lettuce, bok choy, spinach and silverbeet, along with many summer herbs.

Changing beds worth considering

Growing the same crop in exactly the same location in your raised garden bed or container can quickly result in a build-up of damaging soil diseases.
The answer is to improve soil health, by mixing quality compost with the existing soil and rotating your crops each year.
This simply means changing from fruiting crops such as tomatoes, capsicums and egg fruit to leafy crops, including cabbage, lettuce and Silver beat.
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Yates Thrive

New, quick-acting organic based plant foods

All plants need a balanced supply of nutrients if they are to produce healthy, strong growth.
While some fertilisers a quick-acting but short-lived, others, particularly organic fertilisers, are slower-acting and release their nutrients over an extended period.
Recently Yates solved the problem for home gardeners when they introduced a completely new range of plant foods – Thrive Natural.
These contain a range of organic-based plant foods, along with a special combination of natural ingredients boosted with fast acting fertiliser.
Thrive Natural is easy to use and the range is available in both a pellet and liquid form.
The Yates Thrive Natural range involves specific products:  Citrus & Fruit, Roses & Flowers, along with Vegie & Herb.
 
More information »
 

Key plant nutrients – why they are needed?

Nitrogen: Essential for stimulating plant growth. But, for tomatoes and other flowering vegetables, too much to quickly will reduce both flower formation and fruit set.  Late in the season it can also induce quality problems.
 
Phosphorus: Needed early in the growing season for root and stem growth, then flower formation, fruit set and fruit quality.  Phosphorus levels should normally be lower than nitrogen and potash.
 
Potash: By far the most important element as it helps maintain the right balance between the plant foods and water.  It is also important for fruit set and particularly fruit quality.
For best results, these nutrients should be applied together as a ‘complete’ or ‘balanced’ fertiliser.

Aussie Magic a long-flowering, easy-care rose

Aussie Magic is a pretty, pink rose which is nearly always in flower throughout the growing season.
This is a tough, reliable, easy-to-grow rose with healthy dark green foliage that is very disease resistant.
On the other hand, dainty 7 cm wide flowers are generally borne in clusters of 6 - 12 blooms, making a marvellous display. 
Aussie Magic will grow to 80 cm high and 90 cm wide - a size that makes it ideal for use as a border or in massed plantings.
It is also very suitable for both road medians and massed garden beds in city streets and parks. 
This new release rose is a sport of ‘Simply Magic’ introduced in 1992, and is sure to be popular with both home gardeners and curators of public parks and gardens. 
It is also impressive grown as a standard rose. 

Knight’s Roses will be at the Mt Pleasant Spring Fling this weekend.
Mention this article with your order and receive 20% off any rose!


Knights' Roses, one of the largest rose growers and suppliers in Australia, offer a comprehensive collection of rose bushes to both wholesalers and the public. 44 Jack Cooper Drive, Gawler, SA. Phone (08) 8523 1311.

Is it warm enough to plant citrus?

If the soil is warm enough in your district to plant tomatoes it is also warm enough to plant citrus.
Citrus don’t like the cold, particularly through winter.
However, they vary considerably in their ability to withstand cold, wet conditions.
Oranges, grapefruit and mandarins are more robust than lemons or limes.
Within each species there is also considerable variation. Meyer is the most cold-tolerant lemon, while Tahitian lime is certainly more tolerant than West Indies.
Mid spring and early summer along with late summer and early autumn are the best times to establish new citrus trees.
Lawn Care – Stefan Palm, Paul Munns
Instant turf

Spring the best time to roll out instant turf

Spring is with us and, according to turf advisor Stefan Palm, this is definitely the best time to roll out instant turf.
It poses the question – why?
In this week’s lawn blog Stefan looks at the answer from the lawn’s point of view.
Because many gardeners like to tackle the task of rolling out turf themselves, Stefan has also provided a practical video “How to install instant turf”.

More information »
Paul Munns Instant Lawn

Two plants for the price of one

One of the most cost effective ways to multiply your perennial collection is to buy a large container-grown clump of plants from your local garden centre.
If possible, select plants that completely fill the container. 
Remove the pot and using an old bread knife or something similar, slice the clump into two. 
Each section when replanted into the ground or a container will quickly expand, providing you with flowers and a further large clump by the end of the season.
 

Don’t forgets about slugs and snails

SA’s mild, showery early spring weather has been ideal for slugs and snails. 
Reduce their numbers before they start breeding in the next few weeks, otherwise you will have an even bigger problem as the season progresses. 
It is surprising how easy it is to keep their numbers under control by trapping.  A board raised a few centimetres off the ground is very suitable. (Place the board close to where they feed at night).
Tip Check “snail traps” on websites for more ideas.

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 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.

Time to plant tomatoes
Make sure you are listening when horticulturalist Penny Woodward launches this year's tomato-growing season. Plus an update on citrus gall wasp emergence.

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
Colour your world with the vivid colours of calibrachoa, verbena, petunia and lavender. All of your spring favourites and many, many more!
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
Chock a block full of stock , so much to choose from!
Mention our favourite Jon Lamb and receive 10% off store wide this week .

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
Fabulous range of regal and zonal pelargonium in flower available this week. 
Grown by Joyce, who would normally attend the ABC Gardeners' Market (which is now cancelled), these plants are exceptional quality.
 
Specialises in providing quality plants and expert garden advice. Follow the Instagram feed »
Weather forecasts

Coming soon

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.

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

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.

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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