From Jon Lamb Communications
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November 8, 2019

Have you mulched the garden yet?

Mulching has to be one of the most effective ways of protecting your garden from the coming summer heat.
However, it is also a very effective way of reducing the amount of water you use in the garden. 
Extensive trials in South Australia now confirm water savings of 50 to 70 percent are realistic.
The best mulches are organic because they improve soil structure and add soil nutrients as they decompose. 
However, because they break down they need to be topped up each year.
More reasons to mulch your garden here »

Mulches for different garden styles

Formal and cottage garden beds both look good when covered with a fine textured, even mulch such as a cottage mix. For Australian and modern style gardens consider a more coarse textured mulch, such as forest fines. 
Composted bark chips of various sizes are a readily available and complement any neat, structured garden. 
Composted green waste is also an excellent, cost-effective choice. 
Check at your local landscape supply yard to see what is available. 
Different grades of mulch are also available by the bag from most garden centres.
Whichever mulch you use, make sure it has been fully composted as this will ensure it is free of weeds and weed seeds.
Further information on the benefits of mulching in my Advertiser gardening column, tomorrow.
Feature plant

Start your own herb collection

The quickest way to start your own herb collection is to make a selection from the extensive range of Easy Colour herb packs.
There are 6 different “essential” kitchen herbs in each pack and these are available all year round in a variety of combinations.
Popular Easy Colour selections include Pantry mix, Mediterranean mix and Asian mix.
Favourite herbs included in these packs consist of: chives, garlic chives, mint, sage, oregano, thyme, parsley, Italian parsley, basil, Thai basil & coriander.
Look also for Easy Colour Gourmet Herb varieties. These are premium selections in 4 cell packs and include Gourmet Mint, Sage, Thyme and Oregano

Easy Colour herbs are readily identified in their distinctive purple coloured “pop out” cell packs and are available from leading garden centres.
More on the complete Easy Colour Herb and Vegetable range here »

Gaura “Freefolk Rosy”

Rosy is a lovely traditional style Gaura with long lasting butterfly-like blooms that are both white and pink but with a picotee edging.
The foliage is also a feature, combining leaves that are green and cream with shades of purple.
Like all of the latest gauras, “Freefolk Rosy” is so easy to grow.
Once established it needs very little maintenance, although the plants will respond well to occasional watering through the hot weather.
Gaura “Rosy” will adapt well to most sunny garden locations and as a medium-sized perennial (60 cm x 60 cm) it looks great when mass planted, scattered and blended with other medium-sized plants or grown in large feature containers.

Gaura “Freefolk Rosy”are available from leading garden centres.
More information here »

Yellow plants 

If the leaves of your favourite tree or shrub have turned yellow instead of green, suspect either a nitrogen deficiency or lack of iron, due to soil with a high pH.   
Try an application of nitrogen fertiliser first and if the plant does not respond within 2-3 weeks, spray the foliage with iron chelates. 
Both are available from most nursery outlets.

Summer pruning        

Young fruit trees that have made strong, healthy growth this season should be summer pruned over the next few weeks. Aim at reducing the length of the strongest branches by 40 to 50 pc.
This will save removing and wasting excessive growth when you prune next winter. 
It will also encourage your trees to mature earlier than normal and contain their eventual size.

Keeping nitrogen in balance

Nitrogen is a favourite amongst gardeners and farmers alike. It is the nutrient which greens up your lawn and gives you a lot of growth, however if it’s not balanced with other nutrients, it soon turns into a problem.
Two clear signs of excessive nitrogen usage are plant leaf burn and nutrient runoff (which affects our waterways), however there are also unseen consequences – particularly for soil microbes.
Microbes in your soil are affected in a number of ways by excessive nitrogen use.
Firstly, by providing lots of nitrogen, you actually reduce the number of microbes in the soil that can fix nitrogen from the atmosphere.
The microbes in nodules of legumes will switch off, as do the free-living microbes.
Therefore, in an environment of excess nitrogen, there is no longer the need to fix nitrogen, so bacteria simply don’t bother.
Another environmentally-damaging issue is caused when microbes in the soil can’t use all of the nitrogen so they turn it into nitrous oxide or laughing gas.
Unfortunately, as a greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide is about 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide, and it hangs around for much longer.
So how can you avoid this happening, and not contribute to the problem?
The solution is to use fertilisers wisely – in the first instance, apply them according to the application rates on the pack.
There will be times when you need to get some nitrogen onto your lawn, so use Sudden Impact for Lawns at the recommended 50 grams per square metre.
Obviously, plants like fruits, trees or vegetables may require a boost with an organic-based, chemically-boosted fertiliser such as Gyganic for Veggies, Fruit and Citrus (again, use according to the application rates), but for your shrubs, ornamental trees and as a general all-purpose fertiliser, go with Rooster Booster or Rapid Raiser.
Certified organic by the ACO with approximately 3% nitrogen, you and your microbes will be in a safe range and there is no huge loss of nitrogen to the environment.
Your microbes will thank you for it, as will your plants!

More information on Rooster Booster »
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Rose pruning  

Removing old flower heads from your rose bushes soon after the blooms fade will encourage a new flush of blooms-just in time for Christmas.
It will also help keep the bushes in shape. 
On the other hand, your bushes will stop growing if they run short of water.
Keep the roots moist and top up the mulch if needed.

Citrus fruit drop         

Citrus trees are going through their final fruit shed or natural thinning. 
Make sure the trees are not stressed for moisture at this critical stage as they may drop more young fruits than they should.

Slasher – the organic glyphosate alternative

SlasherSlasher is a certified organic weedkiller that is non-selective and controls a broad range of weeds, moss and algae.
It’s a fast-acting contact spray with visible results within hours.
Slasher is made from plant ingredients and contains no glyphosate.
It is non-residual and can be used safely around roses, pathways and even in the veggie patch (no withholding period). 
Available from Bunnings, other hardware stores, nurseries, Woolworths and online at
More information »

Spiders are your friends

It’s that time of the year when spider webs keep appearing on the corners on your outside windows. 
Before you reach for an insecticide, keep in mind spiders are the top insect pest predator in your garden. 
Window spiders regularly dine on moths and beetles before they lay eggs that hatch into plant-eating caterpillars.
Maybe a quick brush with a broom will suffice.
Lawn Care – Stefan Palm
Mole cricket

Mole crickets in your lawn

It’s not often gardeners talk about mole crickets in their garden.
This is not surprising as they live in the soil and generally feed at night.
While mole crickets don’t normally cause problems in the garden, turf advisor Stefan Palm points out they can be very damaging when numbers build under your lawn.
In this week’s lawn blog Stefan points out how to recognise mole crickets damage.
He also provides a number of alternative control solutions.
More information here »
Paul Munns Instant Lawn

Keep tomatoes protected

Tomato plants should be growing vigorously at the moment. 
These plants are affected by many diseases, as well as leaf-scorching mites. 
It will pay to maintain a protective program by dusting or spraying with a multi-purpose product every two weeks.

Capsicums are good producers

Capsicums like tomatoes can be trained through regular deep (20 to 25 cm) watering to produce high yielding crops.
However, they may need supplementary light watering until well established and during hot weather.

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.
Saturday to Monday, November  9 - 11
Open garden  – Sopie Thomson's iconic dryland garden in creation
Visitors  can immerse themselves in a garden which is relatable, sustainable and achievable as well as being filled with enchanting and delightful features hidden in every corner. Hamlyn Cottage, 394 Springs Road, Mt Barker Springs.
(Follow the signs from Mt Barker – no dogs allowed)
More information »

Sunday, November 10
Art and Roses at The Cedars
68 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. Music with Tamarisque in the garden all day, followed by 2 hours of wine and jazz with the Keith Conlon Trio 4 - 6 pm
10 am - 6 pm. $15 (children under 15 free) Includes entry to the garden, house and studios. More information »

Open GardensOpen Gardens

Saturday & Sunday, November 10 & 11
22 Fenchurch Road, Aldgate
An elegant semi formal Hills garden with drystone walls and clipped box hedges providing a strong permanent framework for an everchanging display of roses and perennials. Covering an acre, the garden appears even larger thanks to the borrowed landscape of tall trees and the clever way the garden has been divided into separate ‘garden rooms’ and lawn terraces.
More information on the garden and directions »

Cricklewood and Fenchurch (below) are opening as "joint gardens" with the combined entrance at 22 Fenchurch Road. The entrance fee will be $16 ($12 for Members and Concessions Holders). Single garden entry is not available.

22 Fenchurch Road, Aldgate
Above the house the slopes are mass planted with flowering shrubs: echiums, camellias, roses and groundcovers. The verandahs of the sandstone cottage are draped with climbing roses and clematis. On the northern side, the terrace overlooks a series of tiered garden beds overflowing with roses and old-fashioned cranesbills, liliums, dahlias, daisies, salvias, gaura and verbena providing an endless supply of cut flowers.
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.

Guest – Tim Marshall, Australian organic gardening author and organic industry standards consultant.
Topic –The latest wave of liquid and pelletised fertilisers and composts and their role in the garden.

Coming soon

Saturday & Sunday, November 16 &17
Cactus and Succulent Society of SA Spring Show and Sale
Payneham Library and Community Centre, Corner of Turner Street.and O.G. Road, Felixstow. 10 am – 4 pm both days. Admission $3. Purchase plants from 26 different growers/ sellers, books and other gardening craft.
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.

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