WHAT TO HARVEST
Apples, Beetroot, Broccoli, Grapefruit, Leeks, Limes, Pears, Plums, Radishes, Watermelons
PLANT OF THE MONTH
Botanical name: Hydrangea macrophylla
Colour: Blue, Purple & Pink
Hydrangeas are wonderful, hardy shrubs. For ease of growth hydrangeas are best in a semi shaded position, but some hardy varieties will tolerate full sun. The most important thing to remember is not to let them dry out, or they will wilt. They need regular watering, particularly in late spring and through summer.
Amazing Fact – Hydrangeas are amazingly versatile, did you know you can actually alter the flower colours to suit your needs. The flower colour in most forms relates to the acidity or alkalinity of the soil. In acid soil (pH 5 or less) hydrangeas are usually always blue. As the soil pH climbs towards the neutral and alkaline end of the scale (pH 7 or more) hydrangeas turn mauve, pink and red.
NEWS FROM THE FARM
Flood in the Burdekin
For North and Far-North Queensland it has been a very wet start to the new year. Flooding in growing regions such as the Burdekin means that much of the top soil is ether washed away or at best the ground is leached of key nutrients.
Planting season from March/April onwards brings the challenge of soil revitalisation and nutrient recharge – all within a space of 2 months.
As soon as the grounds are dry enough for profiling, bulk bags of organic NPK rich compost in a pelletized form provide growers with a quick and easy option of applying fully balanced, slow release fertilisers direct into the root zone with significant cost savings.
NPK and trace elements in the fertiliser are often customized according to the extent of leaching in the soil.
WHAT TO PLANT – flowers
TROPICAL Alyssum, Amaranthus, Begonia, Celosia, Cosmos, Dianthus, Marigold, Petunia, Portulaca, Salvia, Zinnia.
SUB TROPICAL Alyssum, Candytuft, Cornflower, Pansy, Marigold, Phlox, Petunia, Viola, Sunflower.
COOL/TEMPERATE Alyssum, Marigold, Hollyhock, Poppy, Sweet Pea, Petunia, Pansy, Viola, Cornflower.
GARDEN BUG FACTS
Fruit flies Go Crazy For fermenting Foods. What Can you do about them?
Try combining apple cider vinegar with a little bit of dishwashing liquid. The fruit flies can’t resist the vinegar. Normally, they would be able to float on the surface and gobble to their heart’s content. By adding a bit of detergent to the vinegar, you’re breaking the surface tension of the vinegar (which otherwise allows them to float), causing them to sink and drown.
Bye-Bye fruit fly!
VEGGIE PATCH TIPS
Check your soil pH…
Soil pH is important because it influences how easily plants can take up nutrients from the soil. With a few exceptions, most plants will tolerate a fairly wide range of soil pH. Plant roots absorb mineral nutrients such as nitrogen and iron when they are dissolved in water. If the soil solution (the mixture of water and nutrients in the soil) is too acid or alkaline, some nutrients won’t dissolve easily, so they won’t be available for uptake by roots. Most nutrients that plants need can dissolve easily when the pH of the soil ranges from 6.0 to 7.5 (neutral). Adding organic matter such as compost, organic booster or organic Xtra to the soil buffers the pH, which means that it tends to bring both acid and alkaline soils closer to neutral.
Fun fact – The inventor of the pH scale developed it to determine the acid content of his beer!