From Jon Lamb Communications
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October 4, 2019

Tomato planting time

It’s time to declare, “Adelaide’s tomato planting season is officially underway”.

Topsoil temperatures in Adelaide (Kent Town) hit 16°C on Tuesday and now look like remaining above this all-important warm season vegetable-planting level.


Good Gardening weather 

If you are considering planting summer vegetables, herbs, flowers or ornamentals over this long weekend, weather conditions should be ideal. 

Although, with temperatures likely to exceed 30° C tomorrow, be prepared to protect newly-established seedlings and small plants with temporary shading.

Big swing to cherry tomatoes

Cherry tomatoes are replacing traditional varieties such as Mighty Red, Roma and Apollo as the most reliable home garden performers. 

This is largely because of their excellent tolerance to high temperatures, consistent high yields and of course excellent taste. 

Collectively, 44% of gardeners who completed last season’s “Good Gardening – End of Tomato Season" survey, rated cherry tomatoes as their top performers. This compares with a 42% rating for traditional varieties and only 10% for heritage tomatoes.

Tommy Toe and Sweet Bite were the most widely-grown cherry varieties. Mighty Red, Roma and Apollo Improved were the best of the traditional types, while Black Russian, Tigerella and Green Zebra were the best of the heirlooms.

Disappointing performers: Grosse Lisse was rated as the most disappointing performer, followed closely by Beefsteak and Mortgage Lifter.

Off to a good start           

Before you plant your seedlings, add organic matter to the soil. Then reduce the amount of nitrogen you apply but increase potash levels.

Next add half a cup of gypsum/square metre to boost calcium and sulphur.

Gypsum will also help reduce the incidence of blossom end rot. (This is where the ends of developing fruits turn black).

More on crop nutrition in tomorrow morning's ABC Talkback Gardening program.

Take extra care with watering

The way you water tomato seedling is just as important as nutrition. 

During the first few weeks the plants have a very limited root system. Keep the top 15cm of soil just moist but not soggy wet. 

Once the plants are well established, allow the top few centimetres of soil to dry out before resoaking the top 20 cm.

Tomato plants can withstand all kinds of stresses – including heat stress, providing they have a healthy root system and adequate – but not too much – moisture and nutrients.

Selecting the right type of tomato bush

Trellising.  These are the traditional varieties that grandpa used to grow.  Tall, 2.5-3m, 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.
Feature plant

Striking new “Osteo” – Purple Sun

Purple Sun – with its petals in striking shades of orange that fade to a centre of deep purple – is now available in South Australia.

It’s the perfect osteo (Osteospermum) to mix or match with those already in the Elite Osteospermum range. This includes Elite Pink, Elite Ruby and Elite White.

Collectively these make a stunning display when planted in garden beds or large containers.

Purple Sun has a compact habit (30 to 40cm) with vibrant multi-toned flowers that stand well above their foliage.  

Osteos adapt well to growing in pots, hanging baskets and garden beds. They will also tolerate a hot spot in the garden, given average watering.

To find out more information follow this link or search #poplargrovenursery on Instagram.


Elm leaf beetles about to fly in

Early October is an ideal time to treat elm trees with chemicals recommended for controlling elm leaf beetle. (Tree trunk injection or soil application).
These are best applied early in the season as the tree's sap begins to flow.
Tree injection is a task for an arborist.  Soil treatments can lead to environmental problems.
More on drenching versus injection here »

Garlic should be showing strong growth       

Early-sown cloves of garlic (April/May) have had plenty of time to establish an extensive fibrous root system and should now be producing strong, dark green leaves.
If the leaves are a little pale, apply a small amount of organic fertiliser.
Be aware too much nitrogen at this stage will overstimulate your plants, resulting in leaves at the expense of the developing cloves.
It can also affect storage quality.
Bulb formation will be induced as day length increases i.e. 12 to 15 hours of daylight and rising temperatures – ideally 20 to 25°C.
Irrigation Guide

Operating your micro irrigation system

As we come out of winter and into spring, the time has come to commence watering your garden beds. If you have a micro irrigation system you might not be sure of how long to and when to water.
There are many factors to consider when watering your garden like:
  1. Soil type and the moisture it retains, drains and when runoff occurs.
  2. If you are using mulch on your garden which tends to help retain moisture.
  3. The aspect of your garden is it in full sun or shade.
  4. The types of plants you have from water saving to needing plenty of water.
  5. The climate and weather conditions.
As you can see with all these variables it can be quite tricky to get your watering right.
To assist you in developing you watering schedules this season we have developed a simple one-page Micro Irrigation Watering Guide factsheet.

Get your guide here »

Early spring is re-potting time 

Early spring is an ideal time to re-pot most hardy evergreen plants.
The aim is to have your plants in prime condition well before being subjected to the heat of summer.
Start with plants that are already showing signs of new season’s growth. 
The list is likely to include ferns that grow in the open and hardy evergreen shrubs (and climbers) such as ficus, box, syzygiums and most other plants used for topiary shapes.
Rising temperatures later in the month should stimulate cold sensitive plants such as gardenias, citrus and sub-tropical fruits into active growth.

Re-potting orchids

Cymbidium orchids should be re-potted as soon as flowering spikes have died down.  If the plants did not flower, they should be re-potted or divided in the next few weeks. 
Use a chunky bark or very coarse potting mix to ensure very good drainage.
Lawn Care – Stefan Palm

October – the ideal month for fertilising lawns

When it comes to fertilising the lawn there are a number of different strategies worth considering.

While many gardeners like to split their applications, and time these according to the needs of their stand, others only fertilise their grass once a year.

Regardless of your preference, in this week’s lawn blog, turf advisor Stefan Palm explains why spring is an excellent season to fertilise and why October is an ideal month.

Stefan also looks at the different types of fertiliser available for home gardeners and suggests why some forms are better than others.
Find out more »

Paul Munns Instant Lawn
Seasol lawn & turf starter

Spring – a perfect time for that new lawn

Whether you are sowing lawn seed or establishing lawn turf, you can help it on its way with Seasol’s new Lawn & Turf Starter. This is a dynamic combination of a high concentrate of Seasol and liquid compost, in one easy hose-on application.
Seasol  Lawn &Turf Starter helps improve lawn seed germination, and for lawn turf, it reduces transplant shock.
For any new lawn, it stimulates strong root development, healthy vigorous growth and reduces stress from heat, drought and frost.
Once you have scattered the seed or laid the new turf, simply attach Seasol Lawn & Turf Starter to your hose and water it in.
This should be repeated weekly for the first six weeks of establishment.
Watering  your new lawn every day is important, more so on hot days.
More information »

White butterflies are everywhere

If early reports are correct, we can expect an invasion of cabbage white butterfly and cabbage moth caterpillars during spring.
Seedlings of cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli should be sprayed with a low toxic chemical such as Success or BT as soon as the first caterpillars are noticed.

Right light for indoor plants

The key factor to a house plant’s survival is light. 
There is a big range of plants that will grow in bright light, such as a room with two or three large windows or a wall of mainly glass. 
As a guide, house plants with large thick dark glossy leaves are more effective in converting limited light into energy. 
Plants suitable for such conditions include the Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum), Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema), Aralia (Fatsia Japonica), Happy Plant (Dracanea) and Umbrella tree (Schefflera).

Predicted citrus gall wasp emergence date

Information from the National Citrus Gall Wasp Control Strategy. Information is based on recent average temperatures.

Citrus gall wasp emergence in Adelaide is still predicted to begin on Saturday, October 19.

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 to Monday, October 5 to 7
Avondale 2
146 Avondale Road, Rhynie
Opening for the second time this season, there are still thousands of flowering bulbs giving a stunning late spring display of colour but Avondale looks very different than it did four weeks earlier. October long weekend - opening all three days.
More information on the garden and directions »

Saturday & Sunday, October 5 & 6
1 Lawson Drive, Pt Lincoln
Rosewood is a colourful cottage garden with lovely sweeping views of the town and Proper Bay in the distance.
At the front of the gently sloping block a circular driveway is surrounded by clipped rosemary with a wide and varied selection of plants filling the garden beds.
More information on the garden and directions »

Sunday & Monday, October 6 & 7
El Kadera
395 Ironbank Road, Ironbank
Perched high on a hill with far reaching views to the south and west, El Kadera is an impressive lifestyle property developed over the past 40 years.
There are over 50 fruit trees (cherries, plums, apples, pears, figs, pecan and chestnuts to name just a few).
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.

Topic: Tomato planting time – Learning from the experience of others.

Guests: Wayne Leizabet Campbelltown tomato grower.
Domenic Cavellaro Horticultural agronomist, Complete Ag and Seed, Virginia.

Coming soon

Saturday, October 12
ABC Gardeners Market 
ABC car park, Rosetta Street, Collinswood
8 AM to 1 PM. ABC TalkBack Gardening will be presented live from the ABC car park.

Saturday, October 12, 13
South Australia and Bonsai Society, Annual Exhibition
32 Rosa Street, Goodwood (behind the Goodwood library) 10 AM to 4 PM
Admission $3 adults, children free. Displays and sales.

Saturday & Sunday, October 12, 13
Spring Expo – Native Flower Display & Plant Sale
Australian Plants Society (SA Region). Adelaide Showgrounds. Sat.10 am - 4 pm; Sun. 10 am - 3 pm.

Saturday, October 19
Begonia and Fern Spring Show
Klemzig Community Hall, 242 North East Rd, Klemzig (enter from Wellington St). $2 admission. Morning and afternoon tea.

Saturday, October 19
SA Chrysanthemum Society annual plant sale
10 Lucknow St, Marleston SA, 10 am to 2pm.

Saturday & Sunday, October 19, 20
SA Geranium and Pelargonium Society spring show
Payneham Library complex, corner O.G. Road and Turner Street, Felixstow. Plant sales & display. Entry $3.

Saturday & Sunday, October 19, 20
Burra Spring Garden Expo and Open Gardens
More information:  Expo »    Open Gardens » 

Sunday, October 20
Urrbrae Wetland Open Day
1:30 PM to 4 PM
Cross Road – between Harrow Terrace and Fulton Road.

Saturday,  October 26
SA Chrysanthemum Society annual plant sale, second day
10 Sutherland Place, Golden Grove, SA, 11am to 2pm

Saturday & Sunday, October 26, 27
Rose Society of SA Spring Rose Show – Roses are Red
Burnside Community Centre, corner of Portrush and Greenhill Roads Tusmore.
To be officially opened by the President of the World Federation of Rose Societies, Henrianne de Briey, 3 pm Saturday afternoon.
Competitive rose classes in Australian Championships and World Federation of Rose Societies classes, lectures, floral demonstration,trading tables - gifts, plants, rose growing information, including “Identify your rose”. Entry $5. Full program here » 

Sunday, October 27
Herb Society of SA - Spring Salvia Sale
Fullarton Park Centre, 411 Fullarton Road, Fullarton
8:30am - 12 noon, free admission and parking.
Choose from a large selection of Salvias - be early for the best choice!
More details »

Sunday, October 27
Community Garden Open Day
18 – 20 Fern Avenue, Fullarton.

Saturday November 2
African Violet Association of SA, Open Day
Western Youth Centre, 79 Marion Road, Cowandilla

Saturday and Sunday November 2 and 3
Bromeliad Society Spring Show and Sales Extravaganza
Maltese Cultural Centre, 6 Jeans Street, Beverly.

Sunday, November 3
Herb Society of SA - Herb Day Market
Fullarton Park Centre, 411 Fullarton Road, Fullarton. 10am - 3pm, free admission and parking.
The largest selection of potted herbs for sale, herb seeds and books. Guest speakers presenting on a range of topics.  Herb identification – bring your plant sample along. More details »

Sunday, November 10
Art and Roses at The Cedars
Heysen Road, Hahndorf. An exclusive one-day celebration of  spring in the garden of the renowned father and daughter artists Sir Hans and Nora Heysen. Featuring reproductions with real flowers of the artists' still life works, display of heritage roses, talks on art and blooms. 10 am - 6 pm. $15 (children under 15 free) Includes entry to the garden, house and studios. More information »

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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