From Jon Lamb Communications
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February 5, 2021

Planting window now wide open for veg growers

How would you like to pick a regular supply of tasty tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers and crisp lettuce through March, April and possibly May?
At the same time you could also be harvesting cool-season vegetables, including broccoli, peas and silver beet.
Right now, there are 12 to 14 weeks of good growing conditions available before cold night temperatures bring the current season to an end.
And, considering that the weather outlook is for continued mild weather with an occasional spike into the high 30s – but no damaging heat waves – the potential for achieving a successful harvest is extremely high.

See our detailed late-summer and early-autumn, winter planting guide in this newsletter, below.

Our best landscape designs open to the public

For one weekend only, the Master Landscapers of SA and Open Gardens SA will open the gates to some of South Australia’s most beautiful, professionally-designed and built, privately owned gardens.
This SA Landscape Festival will provide a unique opportunity to see for yourself a wonderful range of landscape designs, as you journey from one spectacular garden to the next.
These are professional landscapes brought to you by Master Landscapers of SA’s finest landscape designers – but they will only be on view for one weekend.
During the Festival you can talk to the landscapers and be inspired, as they share their secrets and provide a wealth of practical landscaping tips and tricks.

Visit a couple or see them all and make a weekend of it.
Saturday and Sunday, April 10 and 11.  Open 10am to 4pm.

More information and SA Landscape Festival online ticket purchase here »

Learn how a professional landscaper can help you »

Last week’s rain welcome – but!

Feedback from gardeners busy planting trees and shrubs over the past week indicates the soil in many gardens is still surprisingly dry.
Working on the premise that 1 mm of rain penetrates 3 mm into the soil (average loam), if you received 30 mm of rain recently it only soaked the top 9 cm of soil.
Keep watering.
Feature plantsof the week
Samantha's Dream

Two top Australian-bred roses

Roses that have been bred in Australia by Australian rose breeders are perfect for growing in Australian gardens.
At Wagner's Rose Nursery you will find an extensive Australian Rose collection, developed by some of the country’s best rose breeders.
This week Wagner's are featuring two great varieties from well-known Australian breeder Richard Walsh.

Samantha’s Dream
A dainty hybrid tea rose with medium-size flowers in shades of apricot. These repeat-flowering, long-stem single roses have few prickles and a light fragrance. Height 120cm.

Trendy is a floribunda with apricot blooms fading to the outer petals. These medium clustered blooms are good for picking. Height 130cm.

Correction: Wagner's top Australian rose list, featured in Good Gardening two weeks ago, was for 2021, not 2001, as our time-travelling headline suggested.
WAagners Rose Nursery

Cuphea Honeybells – loved by pollinators

Honeybells is a beautiful new trailing form of the long-flowering, low-growing Cupheas.
The flowers are tubular and bright red with green and yellow highlights. These are self-cleaning and cover the plants from late spring into early autumn. 
Cuphea Honeybells thrives in hot weather and is happy to perform in full sun or part shade.
It looks very attractive when group-planted in the garden but, for a real showstopper, try growing one in a hanging basket. (20 to 30 cm x 35 to 50 cm).
Honeybells is also a wonderful food source for birds and garden insects.

Honeybells are in stock at Heyne's Garden Centre, Beulah Park, Semaphore Pets & Gardens and Barrow & Bench, Malvern and should be available at other good gardening centres.

Stunning makeover for old fashioned Kniphofia

The Poco series of Kniphofia really are quite stunning.
Large, vibrant-coloured flower heads are produced in profusion on long strong stems. These are held high above short, compact, strappy foliage.
The flower colours include red, orange yellow and Sunset and appear through summer and autumn.
These are great plants for growing in hot sunny areas of the garden.
They grow best where the drainage is good and respond to moderate watering.
Consider planting Poco Kniphofia along narrow driveways or a sunny garden path.
They are also great for growing in garden beds or planting in pots. When group-planted they create a real eye-catching display.
The Poco series grow to around 50 cm tall and 40 cm wide.

Kniphofia are in stock at Heyne's Garden Centre, Beulah Park, Semaphore Pets & Gardens and Barrow & Bench, Malvern and should be available at other good gardening centres.

    Vegetable and herb planting guide   
Productive vegetables for late summer

The secret to success at this time of the year is to buy well-established seedlings.
If you only need a few plants, consider buying advanced seedlings in single 8 to 10 cm pots.
This will save 2 to 3 weeks of valuable growing time compared with planting out small seedlings from a punnet.
Soak the seedlings (roots and all) in a seaweed solution for 30 minutes before transplanting.
If possible transplant on days when temperatures will be below 28° C and followed by 2 to 3 days of relatively mild weather.
Vegetable Weeks to maturity Comments
Beans – bush 8 – 10 Grow from seed. Quick to mature but hurry – growth will slow as soil temperatures fall.
Capsicum 8 – 10 Look for quick maturing hybrid varieties. Good tolerance to mild weather.
Cucumbers 6 – 8 Lebanese varieties quick to mature. Protect from powdery mildew.
Lettuce – non hearting 4 – 6 Adapts well to container growing. Look for combo packs that offer a range of varieties. Keep well watered and fertilise regularly.
Sweetcorn 8 – 10 Needs full sun. Look for quick maturing hybrid varieties. Grow from seed.
Tomatoes 10 – 12 Cherry varieties are quick, tasty and reliable in cool weather. Mighty Red and Apollo are tasty with good disease resistance. Burnley varieties have good cold tolerance.
Zucchini 6 – 8 Lebanese varieties quick to mature. Protection from powdery mildew essential.
# It is now too late in the season to plant eggplant, melons and pumpkins

Top performing veg for early autumn and winter

Vegetable Weeks to harvest Comments
Beetroot 10 – 12 Very easy to grow, provides colour.
Bok choy 6 – 8 Grows like short silver beet. Quick to mature. Pleasant spicy flavour.
Broccoli 8 –12 Quick, easy, reliable and very productive. Sprouting varieties provide an extended harvest
Cabbage 10 – 14 Small hybrid varieties provide quick results. Sweet taste. Watch out for caterpillars.
Carrots 12 – 14 Slow to grow but can be harvested at different growth stages. Short varieties suitable for containers.
Cauliflower 16 – 18 Slow to grow and needs plenty of space. Mini varieties are much quicker.
Celery 8 – 10 Easy to grow once established. Very productive.
Garlic 9 months Plant early autumn for highest yields
Kale 8 – 10 Many varieties with interesting leaf colours. Thrives in cooler weather. Crammed with vitamins and minerals.
Lettuce – Hearting 8 – 10 Choose winter varieties but keep well watered if conditions remain dry.
Lettuce – non-Hearting 6 – 8 Quick to mature. Very useful for late summer salads.
Peas 8 – 10 Select sugar or snap varieties, their pods are soft and sweet. Grow from seed. Quick to mature. Great crop for kids.
Silver beet 8 – 10 A very easy and productive cut and grow again vegetable. Coloured stem varieties are decorative and tasty.
# It is still too early to plant onions, potatoes and broad beans.

Kitchen herbs – now is an ideal planting time

If you have never grown your own kitchen herbs, right now, while conditions are mild (not hot or cold),  is an ideal time to begin.
The following herbs are easy to grow and adapt well to container growing or raised garden beds.
Herb Comment
Basil February and early March only. Full sun, don’t overwater. Resents cold weather stop
Chives Easy to grow, slow to start. Provides great onion flavour to many foods.
Coriander Seedlings established now the heat has gone are less likely to run to seed. Spicy flavours for salads and Asian foods. Harvest leaves regularly.
Mint Big range of flavours worth trying. Grow in a container, as plants can become invasive in the garden.
Oregano Easy to grow. Many flavours. Sun lover. Trim often if plants are not been harvested regularly.
Parsley Full of vitamin C. Many interesting types worth growing. Locate in full sun during winter.
Sage Easy to grow. Very strong flavours. Must have good drainage
Thyme Another herb with very strong flavour. Many different forms worth growing. Needs full sun and well-drained position.
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Clean up any mouldy old fruit

Stone fruit and grape harvesting is progressing steadily in many gardens.
However, recent rain will stimulate brown rot fungus on late-maturing stone fruits as well as botrytis and possibly downy mildew on grapevines.
There are no effective fungicides available to home gardeners for brown rot and botrytis when the fruit is close to harvest. 
However, it is important to pick up any windfall fruits and also damaged fruits left on the tree, as these will provide a harbour for both diseases and increase the likelihood of infection next season.

Pumpkins turning yellow

When immature pumpkins turn yellow and fail to grow – suspect poor pollination.
However, pollination  problems can vary such as – no male flowers, resulting in the female flowers trying unsuccessfully to self-pollinate
Possibly the the bees were more interested in adjacent flowers that contained more nectar, or the temperature was too high and dried the available pollen on the day the flowers were receptive.

Installing your irrigation system – where to start

When thinking of installing an irrigation system in your garden, sometimes knowing where to start can seem quite daunting.
Antelco has some helpful tips and advice to set you on the right path.

More information »

Overcoming water repellence          

Wise gardeners have been quick to learn the value of mulching plants growing in raised beds.  However, by the end of summer, this material is starting to break down and often the constant wetting and drying results in the top centimetre or so of material becoming water repellent i.e. the water runs over the surface rather than soaking in.
When this occurs, apply a soil wetting material.  These are available either in granular form or liquid.  Both are effective.
One application now should see you through the rest of the growing season.

Check your container plants

Container plants that have been watered constantly through summer will benefit with a little attention in the next few weeks. 
If the soil looks washed out and plant growth is slow, try re-potting with fresh soil.
Otherwise, incorporate an organic slow-release fertiliser into the topsoil. 
Plants that have been growing vigorously may benefit from a light trimming.
These trimmings can often be used to make cuttings for further plants.

Enjoy the fruits of your labour

Fruit crops are maturing fast and, in many gardens, prospects are looking good.
However, a few simple tasks carried out now should see you harvesting a bumper crop of tasty produce.
Don’t leave your crop on the trees too long or birds will enjoy it before you do.
Consider putting bird and bat-safe netting over your trees or cover individual fruit clusters with fruit bags.
Check the trees and fruit for pests and diseases.
Remove weeds under trees and make sure the soil is kept moist.
Feed hungry fruit trees with Seasol plus Nutrients for Fruit & Citrus.
This is a natural plant and soil treatment, boosted with fast-acting nutrients to revitalise soils and promote a bumper crop.
Apply 100 grams per square metre around the tree out to the drip line and water it in thoroughly after application.

More information »

Garden fertilisers have different actions

Traditional manufactured garden fertilisers are sold as granular or powdered products that are added directly to the soil.
Concentrated liquids that are diluted with water and soaked into the plant’s root system are also available.
However, most of the nutrients these fertilisers contain are relatively slow acting – they need to be converted by soil microbes before they can be used by the plants.
Foliar fertilisers, on the other hand, have been formulated so they can be absorbed directly into plant leaves or roots.

Quick fix only

Plant leaves can only absorb very small quantities of nutrients at a time.
As such foliar fertilisers can be used to provide stressed plants with a quick fix or a nutrient boost.
But foliar fertilisers should not be considered as a substitute for granular or liquid fertilisers, where the nutrients are absorbed by the roots.

Note: Most organic fertilisers also release their nutrients slowly.
Lawn Care – Stefan Palm, Paul Munns

Unravelling the black lawn beetle mystery

There are times of the year when black beetles suddenly appear in the lawn.
At other times, observant gardeners will report finding small white grubs just below the surface in their stand.
Right now, don’t be surprised if you find your lawn is being invaded by both beetles and grubs.
To help solve the mystery, turf consultant Stefan Palm has focused this week’s lawn blog on both the beetle and their larvae.
How do you know if you have a lawn beetle problem and how do you control them?

More information »

It's still too early to fertilise lawns

Lawn response to the recent rain has been rapid. But don’t be too quick and, in particular, heavy-handed in applying fertiliser. 
While tradition suggests the lawn should be fertilised following the first good rains in autumn, this event normally occurs later in the season.
Mid autumn is the right time to fertilise healthy, summer-active grasses such as couch, buffalo and kikuyu.
This fertiliser should contain high levels of potash, an element that helps improve the tolerance of these grasses to cold, wet conditions normally experienced during winter.
On the other hand, lawns with pale green grass will benefit from a small application of an organic lawn fertiliser.  These are slow-acting and less likely to over-stimulate the grasses.
Paul Munns Instant Lawn

    Reminders for mid to late-February   

As temperatures begin to fade in February, mosquito numbers can build rapidly - in any available source of still water. 
It’s a good time to search the garden for unnecessary water-filled containers, drainage saucers under pot plants and, in particular, water in open outdoor drainage sumps. 
Empty the containers and drop a little light oil down the drainage sumps.


This is a vital time of the year for camellias, as the flower buds are beginning to develop.
Make sure the roots are kept moist at all times and it may pay to thin the buds on bushes if they are developing thick clusters.

Star Jasmine needs trimming      

Star Jasmine is deservedly a top choice for a creeper in either a sunny or a shady position.  To keep it looking good, trim hard soon after flowering in springtime. 
But it should also receive a light trim over the next few weeks.


It will soon be time to plant out spring flowering bulbs.  Dig the ground and incorporate a balanced fertiliser.
Late summer is also a good time to start seedlings of winter-flowering annuals and winter vegetables.

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 Deb Tribe and me on 1300 222 891 and have your own gardening question answered.

• Independent climatologist Darren Ray explains why Adelaide’s weather conditions over the next three months should remain ideal for gardening.

• Citrus authority Ian Tolley  has sound advice for growing citrus in containers.
Weather forecasts

Open GardensOpen Gardens SA

Saturday & Sunday, February 6 & 7
The Cascade Water Garden
2 Fairview Road, Crafers
The Cascade Water Garden is a pond and aquatic habitat constructed on the slope of a hillside using many tonnes of artfully placed Carey Gully stone. Crystal clear water spills over the huge rocks and cascades into a large pool which is home to aquatic plants, invertebrates, fish and frogs.

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 2021 season »

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
Creating a splash in the garden!
Who said gardening can’t be cool? Just add a pond and some great water plants!

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
Our beautiful garden centre is awash with stunning colours and healthy, robust plants. There is unique artwork dotted around every corner. Something for everyone at Semaphore Pets & Garden.
P.S. A new load of fruit trees has just arrived! Tahitian Lime anyone?

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
New in store this week – a selection of quality advanced trees and shrubs, along with a fabulous range of native plants.
Specialises in providing quality plants and expert garden advice. Follow the Instagram feed »

Coming soon

February in the Botanic Gardens
Including Sunday and Tuesday gardening workshops.
Full details »

Saturday & Sunday, February 13 &14
Joe's Connected Garden
Five amazing connected, productive gardens. 10 am - 4.30 pm.
6 Argent Street, Elizabeth Grove.

Saturday & Sunday, April 10 &11
Autumn Plant Sale - Australian Plants Society (SA Region)
Adelaide Showgrounds, Wayville. More information »

Saturday & Sunday, April 10 & 11
Barossa Rose & Flower Show
Rose Society of SA. Sat noon to 5.30 pm, Sun 9 am - 5.00 pm.Barossa Nursery, 3186 Barossa Valley Way Nuriootpa.

Saturday & Sunday, April 17 & 18
Rose Society of South Australia Autumn Rose Show
Sat 10 am - 4 pm, Sun 10 am - 4 pm. Noel Lothian Hall, Adelaide Botanic Garden.

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 and 2 pm.
More information »

Old Government House, Belair National Park
The former vice-regal summer residence of some of the early governors of South Australia.  An excellent example of Victorian architecture, set amongst one acre of magnificent gardens. Features cottage plants and flowers cultivated in Victorian times, heritage roses and mature trees.
Tours and  afternoon tea on the first and third Sundays each month and public holidays, 1 pm – 4.30 pm. Free entry into Belair National Park if you are visiting OGH - tell the info office staff as you drive in.
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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