From Jon Lamb Communications
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April 17, 2020

Soil temperatures still encouraging growth

Garden soil temperatures are holding steady thanks to this week’s sudden short burst of well-above-average temperatures.
Currently topsoil temperatures (10 to 20 cm) are fluctuating between 18 and 20°C – slightly warmer than last week. However, this follows a 4°C fall during the first week of April,
Weather models suggest day temperatures for the remainder of April should remain cool to mild with showers but little likelihood of significant rain.
Providing soil temperatures remain above 16ºC, conditions will be warm enough to stimulate steady plant growth.

Time to replenish soil in the vege patch

If you are a serious vegetable gardener it’s likely this season’s summer crops have used large quantities of the available soil nutrients. These need to be replenished.
A quality organic fertiliser that contains a balance of nitrogen, phosphorus and potash is ideal, as the nutrients will be released slowly, stimulating winter grown crops to make steady but not over vigorous growth.
At the same time consider incorporating well-aged compost into the topsoil to improve the soil's health and structure.
Feature plant

Garden “mums” – a great gift for Mother’s Day

Chrysanthemums really are exquisite, producing a mounded display of tightly packed blooms on canopies that are smothered in a range of colours.
This season the trendy colours include Songa Orange, Monza Red and Electra Yellow.
These are showy, compact, dwarf chrysanthemums that are trouble-free and very easy to grow. The blooms are long lasting and held on strong, sturdy stems.
After the first flush of flowers have finished, prune lightly for a further wave of blooms.
These new “mums” are ideal plants for growing in containers or planting in the garden.

Garden Mums are available at good gardening centres.

The garden's good guys love Bidens

Bidens feature long-lasting vibrant blooms are brilliant that attract a wide range of beneficial insects into your garden.
Bees love them – so plant plenty beneath your fruit trees and around your vegetable garden.
Elite Bee Fire will flower almost year round.
It has a naturally mounding habit (40 cm x 60 cm) and if required can be trimmed to shape, as the plants will respond quickly.
Fertilise each season with an organic fertiliser and they will quickly push new, two-toned flowers above the old ones, producing a fresh appearance with little maintenance.
The unusual two-toned vibrant flowers will stand out in your garden.

Elite series
Bidens are in stock this weekend at Heynes Garden Centre, Norwood and should be available at other good gardening centres.

Is your garlic Australian grown?

Why buy Chinese-grown garlic when you can harvest all you need so easily, fresh from your own garden?
Australia imports 95% of its garlic from China, where chemicals banned in Australia are still being used to grow the crop.
Chinese garlic is gamma-irradiated to prevent sprouting and is also sprayed with maleic hydrazide to extend shelf life.
All imported garlic is fumigated with methyl bromide by the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service on arrival in Australia.
Because the bulbs may need to be stored for six to nine months before sale, they are also dosed with chemicals to prevent premature sprouting.
Garlic grown in your own garden is guaranteed to be fresh and, because the bulbs are relatively free from pests and disease, it’s possible to produce bulbs that are completely free of toxic chemicals.
More on growing garlic in my Advertiser gardening column, tomorrow.

Watch out for slugs and snails

As night temperatures fall and ground level moisture levels build (light showers, high relative humidity and dew) don’t be surprised if you see the reappearance’s of slugs and snails.
Having spent most of summer hiding, these damaging critters will be ravenous and desperate to feed on seedlings and soft plant growth in your garden.

Prune citrus galls now – not late in winter

New galls (brown cylindrical lumps) caused by the citrus gall wasp are now evident on new season branches of home garden citrus trees.
If you are serious about controlling this pest in your garden, consider removing these galls now (by pruning) rather than waiting until late winter.
Pruning now will encourage new-season branches and the bark on these branches will have time to harden before the tiny wasps begin laying eggs early in spring.
Citrus gall wasps lay most of their eggs into soft bark formed on new branches that develops during late winter and early spring.
Autumn pruning is not recommended if your trees are likely to be affected by winter frosts.

Last call for planting citrus

Citrus are sun lovers that thrive in South Australia’s hot dry summer climate.
However, they should not be planted when the soil becomes cold. (Below 16ºC).
When planting, place them in full sun – even in a hot courtyard. 
On the other hand, well grown plants are capable of tolerating 2-3 hrs of shade during summer, providing the canopy light is bright.

Everyone loves blueberries

Everyone loves blueberries and we all know how good they are for us.
Blueberry Burst is a very productive, dwarf, evergreen blueberry released by Balhannah Nurseries in SA some years ago.
It is now producing masses of large juicy berries in many home gardens.
Blueberries are delicious, healthy, antioxidant rich fruit and have been nick-named brain berries and youth berries because of their high antioxidant levels.
Blueberries have quite specific growing requirements including free draining, low pH soils or potting mix.
Follow the recommended planting and care instructions and you will end up with a fantastically successful crop.

Great advice on growing blueberries here »

Start collecting autumn leaves

Over the next few weeks the ground in many gardens will be strewn with the leaves of ornamental deciduous trees.
Don’t let them blow in the wind or be wasted as they can be gathered and used to make excellent compost or alternatively used as garden mulch.

Adding organic matter

An effective way of rejuvenating container plants at this time of the year is to focus on restoring the potting mix.
You only need a very small amount of organic matter spread over the surface of the potting mix to be effective – no more than 2 cm.
Homemade compost is ideal but quality compost or “soil improver” is readily available from garden centres.
The aim is to allow small quantities of organic matter to be slowly leached into the potting mix each time the plants are watered.
Irrigation Guide

Garden irrigation projects a good use of time

As people stay at home in isolation in these unprecedented times, home gardening has become very popular – and as the dry conditions have remained, so has the need for irrigation.
Antelco has just released its 2020 Irrigation equipment catalogue full of SA-made and developed irrigation products for your garden.
Whether you are looking for drippers, micro sprays, mini sprinklers, valves, fittings and accessories Antelco has you covered for your home garden project.
Most Antelco distributors are open over these times and you can look up your closest ones here »

View the full catalogue »
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Quick colour with a little planning

A few dollars and 30 minutes of your time. That’s all it will take to provide your garden with a splash or two of instant colour through winter – providing you take action over the next few weeks.
Pansies, violas, primulas, alyssum and lobelia are traditional spring-flowering annuals and if they are planted now while the ground is still warm they will grow quickly and provide great colour during winter.

Asparagus fern still green? Don’t prune yet           

Whatever you do don’t cut asparagus fern back hard until it turns completely yellow.
Right now, any green fronds will be busily storing energy to produce new spears in spring.
Lawn Care – Stefan Palm
Autumn lawn

Preparing your lawn for winter

Lawns in most gardens have responded quickly to widespread rains early in February.
But, as autumn temperatures start to fall, it’s time to think seriously about how your lawn will get through winter.
In this week’s lawn blog turf advisor Stefan Palm considers the importance of seasonal temperatures.
He also comes up with a number of practical suggestions that could and should be carried out soon to make sure the grass in your lawn is still looking good in spring.

More information on Stefan's blog »
Paul Munns Instant Lawn

Why apple skins are sometimes cracked

Stem end fruit cracking on apples tends to follow a period of heavy rain or a heavy irrigation on dry soil. 
It is more likely to occur as fruit nears maturity. 
It is thought that the additional moisture allows the internal fruit to grow faster than the external stem end skin.  
Varieties such as Gala and Fuji are more susceptible to this problem than other varieties. 
Your best defence is to maintain even soil moisture, particularly as the fruits mature. 
Mulching will certainly help.

Timely autumn advice for buffalo lawns

Soft leaf buffalo is the perfect lawn for many garden situations. It’s dry-tolerant and can withstand a great deal of wear and tear.
Mow your buffalo Lawn regularly to reduce thatch and promote more leafy green growth.
Water early in the morning. It’s more efficient and helps to reduce the risk of fungal disease.
Apply Seasol for Buffalo Lawns to promote good colour, health and vitality. This is a superior health treatment, fertiliser and soil improver for all buffalo lawns.
It also contains a wetting agent to ensure that water and nutrients can soak deep into the grass roots.
Seasol for Buffalo Lawns is a fast-acting hose-on liquid, which goes to work immediately.
For best results apply it fortnightly or monthly throughout the growing season.

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.

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.

Better blooming roses: Topical rose growing advice from SA Rosarian Gavin Woods.
Plus what’s happening at your local garden centre with horticulturalist Brett Draper.

Garden centre directory

Leading Adelaide garden centres recommended by Good Gardening newsletter.

Heyne's Garden Centre
283-289 The Parade, Beulah Park. (08) 8332 2933
South Australia's oldest established garden centre. Huge range. Expert staff on hand for personal advice. Visit online »
Weekend gardening weather

Garden events and shows cancelled

The COVID-19 situation has forced the cancellation of numerous garden events and shows.
All current and coming events listed in recent editions of Good Gardening have been cancelled.

Regular garden attractions

Some of our listed regular attractions may have closed or have limited access, due to the COVID-19 situation.
Please check with the relevant organisation.

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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