From Jon Lamb Communications
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April 24, 2020

It's a good time to get growing vegetables

If you’re growing vegetables for the first time, choose a position that receives winter sun for at least two-thirds of the day. 
Clear weeds from the area and, before you start planting, improve the soil by incorporating compost or soil improver (available from garden centres in 30 litre bags) into the top 15 cm of soil. 
While incorporating compost, add a small quantity of a balanced or complete garden fertiliser (chemical – half a cup/ sq m; organic – two cups)
Rake the area smooth and you are ready to get growing.

Raised beds well worth the effort

Small raised beds made from a range of durable materials are readily available from most garden outlets. 
These are particularly suited to growing vegetables, herbs and even dwarf fruit trees, as the raised growing area provides perfect aeration and drainage for your plants. 
Both these elements often limit production when vegetables are grown in traditional garden beds. 
It is surprising how many vegetables (or herbs) you can grow in a small raised bed.

In the vegetable garden this weekend

It’s surprising how many different types of leafy “greens” are now available as seedlings from your local garden centre. The good news – they all adapt readily to container growing.
Non-hearting lettuce, silver beet and bok choy are ideal, as you can continually harvest the outer leaves.
The secret to harvesting fresh tasting leaves is to keep the plants growing at a steady pace i.e. a fortnightly application of half strength liquid fertiliser.
At the same time make sure the plants are never stressed through lack of water.

Why your garden is great

The value of home gardens across Adelaide and beyond must be valued in millions of dollars.
And not just in real estate or their contribution to the environment – in our current times of uncertainty, gardens are also providing an invaluable place to find peace of mind as well as an opportunity to reconnect with nature.
Feature plant

Popular winter vegetables in handy combo paks

Lettuce, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower top the list when it comes to growing winter vegetables.
However, when space in your garden is at a premium consider selecting your favourites from the current range of Easy Colour Combo paks.
Lettuce: Now available in a wide range of practical combo packs. These contain three different selections of each type of lettuce.
They include: Salad mix, Cos mix, Oakleaf mix, Butterhead mix and Butterhead Green.
Brassicas: Broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower seedlings are readily available in distinctive (purple) Easy Care punnets. But why not try a combo pack as they contain a selection of all three.
Easy Colour Combo Paks contain advanced seedlings that are easy to “pop out” ready for transplanting.
Look for the distinctive purple colour that makes them easy to find at your local garden centre.

More information »
Easy Colour

Combo paks are available at gardening centres.
Gaura Lillypop Pink

Gaura Lillypop Pink provide easy-care colour

Lillypop Pink has butterfly like blooms that literally dance in the wind.
Like other improved Gauras, Lillypot Pink is trouble-free and very easy to grow.
The plants are quite compact (15 to 20 cm wide) while the dark pink blooms are produced on dwarf stems (30 cm high).
These are likely to appear from early spring through to early winter.
Lillypop Pink has excellent tolerance to heat and dry conditions but flowering can be increased considerably through regular watering during the warmer months.
These are great plants to grow in a sunny garden.
However, they also adapt well to container growing, placed on a sunny patio or terrace.

Proven Winners
Gaura Lillupop Pink should be available at good gardening centres.

Q&A for bushfire-affected gardeners

Support for home gardeners affected by the Cudlee Creek and Kangaroo Island bushfires is going online this week, with live Q&A events, following the release of five short “gardening after fire” videos.
ABC Gardening Australia presenter Sophie Thompson will host the events on Facebook live this Sunday, April 26 from 1 to 2 pm and another on Thursday, April 30, from 7 to 8 pm.

More information »

Flowers for Mum

In the next few weeks, many Mums will be given a pot of living chrysanthemums.
These will continue to flower for four weeks or more if the plants are located in a protected sunny courtyard.
However, if they are being kept inside, the position should be as light as possible.
Move them to a cool room at night time if a heater is to be turned on at night.
Warm night air will shorten their flowering period.

Sweet peas – early training is important

Sweet peas seeds sown in March should now be producing quick-growing seedlings.
Experienced growers place small sticks or trellis adjacent to the new plants, as this encourages them to produce strong vertical rather than horizontal growth.
Once the plants are well established select the strongest stems and attach these to trellis wires spaced 30 to 40 cm apart.
Numerous short, weak, horizontal stems close to the ground should be removed.
Two or three fortnightly applications of a seaweed solution will help promote strong root grow.
Consider also applying two of three fortnightly applications of a foliar fertiliser as the flower buds begin to form.
The secret to achieving a long flowering season is to pick the blooms regularly – before the petals drop and the spent flowers starts to set seed.

Wraps for codling moth                    

Once codling moth grubs are inside an apple or pear, they are difficult to control.
However, they will soon be entering their over-wintering phase where any remaining grubs will seek shelter in cracks and crevices in your fruit trees.
Try wrapping the base and lower branches of the tree with corrugated cardboard as this will provide a shelter for the insects.
Early in winter the cardboard and over-wintering grubs can be removed and destroyed.
Neutrog seeds germinating

How to get the best out of your old seeds

Unfortunately the current Covid19 situation has resulted in a lack of available vegetable seeds and seedlings.
But don’t despair if you still have some seeds from last year or even the year before hidden in the back of your laundry cupboard.
In many cases these seeds can still be viable if treated correctly.

More information »

Why soil pH is important  

pH is simply a term used to indicate whether the soil is alkaline or acid. 
A soil that is neutral has a pH of 7. 
Most plants prefer to grow in a soil that is slightly acid to neutral i.e. a pH of 5.5 to 7. 
Unfortunately, many of the soils in South Australia are alkaline with a pH of between 8 and 9.
The best way to determine the pH of your soil is to have it tested. 
Many garden centres provide a free testing service or you can buy a soil pH testing kit.

When pH is too high

The simplest and cheapest way to reduce the pH of soil that is not too alkaline is to add garden sulphur to the top soil.
You will need to spread between 50-100gm to the square metre and it will take 6-8 weeks for the chemical reaction to take place.
If you want to improve the structure in the soil and reduce soil pH, spread  gypsum, organic matter and sulphur over the ground and work it into the top few centimetres.
Nature will do the rest.

Ornamental pears for spectacular autumn colours

Those spectacular autumn leaves that are starting to appear along Adelaide streets and in suburban gardens are from the Manchurian pear.
The Manchurian (pictured) thrives in Adelaide’s summer heat and has outstanding tolerance to dry conditions.
Expect scented white flowers in spring followed by large glossy leaves that have brilliant tones of orange red and yellow in autumn.

More great ornamental pears:
  • Festivity: A very attractive but smaller version of the Manchurian pear that only grows 4 m tall and 4 to 5 m wide.
  • Capital: Becoming very popular because it is narrow, 2 to 3 m, but tall, 8 to 10 m. Great autumn colours.

Premium locally grown stock from Balhannah Nurseries are available now.
Best time to plant bare-rooted trees is June to August. Look out for the green bag.
It's Balhannah Nurseries' guarantee of a premium fruit tree.
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Grow your own geraniums

April is a good time to strike cuttings from those new high-performing geraniums. 
Take tip cuttings 6-8cm long, place in moist, coarse washed sand and locate in a shaded protected position. 
Rooted cuttings should be ready for potting-on early in spring.

Water right

When your indoor plants need watering, make sure the entire rootball is soaked. 
Then wait until the top two to three centimetres of potting mix is absolutely bone dry before rewatering.
Plants in good light are likely to grow more rapidly than those in poor light and as such will need watering more often.
Lawn Care – Stefan Palm
Lawn weeds

Don’t let lawn weeds cause havoc

There is nothing like widespread autumn rains while the ground is still warm to stimulate a crop of late summer weeds.
However, with autumn temperatures falling, lawn advisor Stefan Palm suggests you keep a close eye on your lawn – particularly for broadleaf weeds.
In this week’s lawn blog Stefan observes that broadleaf weeds love the autumn and, left unchecked, can cause havoc to your lawn.
Fortunately they are relatively easy to control, providing you take action while they are small.
Take a look at what Stefan has to say in this week’s lawn blog.

More information »
Paul Munns Instant Lawn

Bulbs have built in success

If you’ve never grown spring-flowering bulbs before, don’t worry. 
The flowers are already formed inside the bulb, protected by layers of fleshy scales.
All you need to do is place them in containers filled with just moist potting mix. 
These should be located outside but protected from strong winds and rain.
Within a few weeks, the bulbs will produce small tufted roots.
During winter, these roots will be followed by a set of leaves and as winter turns to spring, a number of flower stems will appear.

Planting and growing tips

  • Place the bulbs so that they are covered with potting mix equal to their own depth.
  • Space the bulbs 5-10cm apart.
  • Use a quality potting mix that contains enough fertiliser to start the bulbs growing.
  • Once the first set of leaves is fully formed, begin a fortnightly program of feeding with a liquid or foliar fertiliser.
  • Keep the potting mix just moist but not soggy wet.

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.
House plants
What's new and trendy as well as ideal indoor plants for Mothers' Day, with garden and indoor plant specialist Haidi Sutherland.

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
Plenty of vegetable seedlings now available.
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

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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