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WHAT TO HARVEST

Apples, Avocados, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Egg plants, Leeks, Lemons, Pears, Mandarins, Turnips

PLANT OF THE MONTH

Crocus
Botanical family: Iridaceae
Colour: Colours range from white or pale pink and lavender, to more intense shades of blue, violet, purple, orange, pink or ruby.

Crocuses are great little bulbs to naturalise in grass beneath deciduous trees, or to plant in groups near entryways. Scatter them in small groups, the results will be beautiful. Once planted, Crocus need no further care and will give you pleasure for years on end with even more flowers, as they continue to multiply. Whilst Crocuses do perform best in cold climates, in mild-winter climates you can chill bulbs in the refrigerator for six weeks before planting and they will love you for it. Crocuses make a magnificent show in the garden, in window boxes and in flowerpots, so they are versatile for any home.

Amazing Fact – Crocus flowers close at night and on rainy days.

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 – Herbs

TROPICAL – basil, borage, chicory, coriander, fennel, French tarragon, garlic, ginger, horseradish, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage.

SUB TROPICAL – chicory, coriander, fennel, garlic, oregano.

COOL/TEMPERATE – fennel, garlic, oregano, parsley

GARDEN BUG FACTS

Caterpillars

Caterpillars are an important part of the Australian environment. The thought of the caterpillar becoming a beautiful butterfly is appealing, yet when they get hold of your broccoli plants, they can devour the lot!! And what about the stinging kind….? Look out for Spit Fire Caterpillars in your back yard. These little guys have pockets of stinging spines that they stick out when they feel threatened.

Did you know?

Caterpillars are great escape artists. Although they are not fast enough to run away from a predator, they can bungee jump instead! When threatened, many caterpillars drop off the leaf but remain attached by a fine piece of silk. When the coast is clear, they can climb back up to safety. Amazing!

VEGGIE PATCH TIPS

  • Pull out leftover summer veggie plants or turn into the soil.
  • Revitalize the soil with compost and manure.
  • Plant loads of winter veggies & herbs to use in stews & soups over the coming months. Nothing beats the flavour of slow cooked fresh herbs!
  • Gather fallen autumn leaves to add to your compost heap. Add some Organic Xtra as a starter to boost along the breakdown.
  • Remove dead fruit from trees to prevent disease spreading.

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WHAT TO HARVEST

Apples, Beetroot, Broccoli, Grapefruit, Leeks, Limes, Pears, Plums, Radishes, Watermelons

PLANT OF THE MONTH

Hydrangea
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!!

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!

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WHAT TO HARVEST

Apples, Apricots, Bananas, Beetroot, Broccoli, Lychees, Paw paw, Peaches, Rhubarb, Tomatoes

PLANT OF THE MONTH

Delphinium

Botanical name: Ranunculaceae
Colour: Beautiful Blues

Delphiniums are sought after and planted for their blue flowers, which are rare to find in other plants. These beautiful blues can come in a variety of shades and forms. Most delphiniums are in the blue and purple range, but they can also be found in pinks and reds. There are some stunning coral-coloured varieties, and even some rare ones in yellow. Delphinium have attractive foliage with palm-shaped leaves like a fern. Plant delphiniums in humus-rich, organic soils. Delphiniums don’t handle drought well, so it is important to keep the plants consistently moist but be sure that the soil has proper drainage. Ideally, delphiniums should be planted in full sun for the best blooms and sturdiest stems. In too much shade, especially in humid climates, foliage fungus issues can arise. Sit back and enjoy these beautiful flowers in summer.

NEWS FROM THE FARM

Clumping bamboo belongs to the giant grass family with over 1000 species and are harvested for its shoots or used in orchards as a wind break.

Particularly through the warm summer months they are hungry for Nitrogen as they are the fastest woody growing plants in the planet.

Large bamboo farms/nurseries and orchards are using Organic Booster and Organic Xtra as they deliver up to 45 units of plant available N per hectare.

Unlike the urea and ammonium based chemical fertilizers, nutrient release is slow and progressive and there is only a minimal atmospheric loss of Nitrogen.

WHAT TO PLANT – herbs

TROPICAL Basil

SUB TROPICAL Chives, Parsley, Oregano, Marjoram

COOL/TEMPERATE Chives, Oregano, Marjoram, Parsley, Fennel.

GARDEN BUG FACTS

Attract Butterflies

It’s easy to fill your garden with a fluttering rainbow. Every butterfly passes through four distinct life stages. Adding flowers like zinnias, cosmos, coneflowers, daisies, to your garden supplies food for nectar seeking adults & host plants for egg laying.

Use low-growing groundcovers such as clovers and grasses to provide sunning spots for adults to warm themselves. Walls, hedges, and similar windbreaks create protected spots that butterflies will appreciate. Adding a source of water is as essential for attracting butterflies as it is for birds.

Creating a “mudhole”- a shallow, permanent puddle – offers butterflies both water and minerals from the mud. Or make a butterfly “bath” from the basin of a birdbath (without the stand) or a plate or shallow bowl placed directly on the ground. Fill it with pebbles to give the butterflies good perching spots, then add water. Butterflies will come flocking!

VEGGIE PATCH TIPS

Microgreens!!!

Microgreens are simply greens, lettuces, and herbs that are harvested when they are quite young – generally when they are approximately an inch tall. You can grow pretty much any lettuce, salad green, or herb as a microgreen.

You can look for specific microgreen mixes, or simply choose a mesclun mix to grow as microgreens. Microgreens are very easy to grow. You can grow them outside, in a garden bed or in containers, or inside on a sunny windowsill. The best time to harvest microgreens is when they’ve developed their first set of true leaves (the first ones are seed leaves, and don’t look anything like the actual leaves of the plant), which is generally about ten days to two weeks after planting. To harvest, simply snip the microgreens just above soil level.

You can add them to salads, sandwiches, or stir-fries. They may be tiny, but microgreens like red cabbage, cilantro, and radish contain up to 40 times higher levels of vital nutrients than their mature counterparts and it’s much cheaper to grow your own!

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WHAT TO HARVEST

Capsicums, Celery, Grapes, Lemons, Limes, Lychees, Pineapples, Oranges, Sweetcorn, Zucchini

PLANT OF THE MONTH

Tuberose

Botanical name: Polianthes
Colour: White

The tuberose is a night-blooming plant native to Mexico.  It grows in elongated spikes up to 45 cm long that produce clusters of fragrant waxy white flowers that bloom from the bottom towards the top of the spike.  Tuberoses are famous for their perfume, they are pretty and easy-going plants for a hot garden spot.  Choose a location where the soil drains well. If there are still water puddles 5-6 hours after a hard rain, scout out another site.  The Tuberose flowers in mid to late summer, typically 90-120 days after planting. Long lasting flowers make them ideal for cut flowers and bouquets.

NEWS FROM THE FARM

In Victoria, in the Koo Wee Rup district it takes around 3 years from planting the asparagus crown before a small harvest occurs, it is year 4 before real commercial quantities are harvested. A well- managed asparagus crop will produce in Koo Wee Rup for at least 10 years. In December at the end of the asparagus growing season these aging paddocks are being deep ripped and prepared for the following season. Organic Booster pellets are the preferred choice of organic fertilizers as they are user friendly, do not render the ground too ‘hot’ but deliver the required organic carbon and biology.

WHAT TO PLANT – flowers

TROPICAL Alyssum, Amaranthus, Marigold, Petunia, Salvia, Zinnia.

SUB TROPICAL Alyssum, Cosmos, Chrysanthemum, Marigold, Petunia, Sunflowers, Zinnia.

COOL/TEMPERATE Alyssum, Cosmos, Marigold, Sunflower, Begonia, Petunia, Salvia, Zinnia.

GARDEN BUG FACTS

Did you know that ants feed on the sugary honeydew produced by aphids?  Some ants even massage the aphids to squeeze the honeydew out of them! In exchange, the ants fiercely protect the aphids from predators. Rub a thick barrier of Vaseline around the base of an aphid infected plant to prevent the flow of ants up the trunk. Without their ant protectors, the aphids are left vulnerable to their natural predators e.g. Ladybugs.

 

Bye-Bye ants, Bye-Bye aphids – HELLO LADYBUGS!!?

 

VEGGIE PATCH TIPS

What’s your New Year’s gardening resolution? Why not start growing your own food?

Grow your own and reap the rewards. Home grown means tastier, more nutritious foods that have a longer shelf life. It means less pesticides and keeping chemicals off your plate. It saves money off your grocery bill, is good for the soul, great stress relief and a great form of exercise. Veggie gardens beautify your neighbourhood and mean you can enjoy a greater variety of fruit and vegetables than that offered by the stores. Why not give it a go??

 

 

 

 

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WHAT TO HARVEST

Apricots, Beetroot, Blueberries, Broccoli, Celery, Egg Plants, Mangoes, Peaches, Strawberries, Watermelons

PLANT OF THE MONTH

Poinsettias

Botanical name: Euphorbia pulcherrima
Colour: Red

Poinsettias are perfectly Christmassy with their flaming red blooms. They make the perfect festive season centrepiece and can be planted out when festivities are over.  Poinsettias do bloom in other colours other than the traditional red and green, including white, pink, purple, orange and yellow.  A perennial shrub, poinsettias can grow up to about 4m when they are planted out in the garden.

Poinsettias grow best in the warmer climates of Australia but will also grow in cooler areas, as long as they are positioned in a warm, protected spot away from frost and strong winds. Poinsettias require half to full sun and fertilised, well drained soils. Poinsettias can also be kept indoors in a warm spot that receives at least 6 hours of indirect sunlight.

Tip: Cuttings from summer pruning can be used to propagate new plants to grow indoors. Take 300mm stem cuttings, dip the ends in water and insert into potting mix.  Keep moist for a few weeks until they take root.

 

NEWS FROM THE FARM

Moisture Holding Capacity vs. OX & OB

Soil recommended for plants has a mixture of sand, silt, clay and 5% Organic Matter or Humus. Most weathered Australian soils fall below 0.5% SOM. (Soil Organic Matter)

In drought effected regions Organic Matter act as a sponge to help the soil profile to capture water and is referred to as the soil’s Moisture Holding Capacity.

As both Organic Xtra (OX) and Organic Booster (OB) contain around 40% of Organic Carbon equating to around 68% of Organic Matter are directly applied into the root zone to increase Moisture Holding Capacity. On commercial small crop farms, in drought stricken North QLD regions where application rates of OX and OB are at 1500kg per hectare – this alone resulted in additional crop yields of around 20 – 25%.

 

WHAT TO PLANT

Tropical – Capsicum, Cucumber, Eggplant, Radish, Snake Bean, Sweet Potato, Cherry Tomato, Zucchini, Rockmelon, Rosella, Black Eye Peas, Watermelon
Sub Tropical – Zucchini, Choko, Okra, Pumpkin, Beetroot, Luffa, Squash, Watermelon, Chilli Peppers, Chives, Capsicum, Cucumber.
Cool/Temperate – Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrot, Celery, Beans, Onion, Potato, Pumpkin, Silverbeet, Squash, Sweet Corn, Lettuce, Chilli Peppers.

SOIL AND LAWN UPDATE

Tis the season to be weeding! Larger weeds compete with your garden beauties for water and nutrients from the soil.  Pulling up the weeds may damage the roots of your productive plants, so be careful.  Collect the weeds in a bucket and feed to your chickens, they will love you for it!

Merry mulching! A nice thick layer of fresh mulch on your soil will avoid precious moisture loss, cover and give your gardens a neat, finished look to impress your guests.  For Christmas give your soil the gift of nutrients – toss around a generous dose of Organic Xtra, wait for rain and watch your garden glow!

PROGRESS IN YOUR VEGGIE PATCH

Consider interplanting a festive carpet of flowers in your veggie patch.  This will pretty up your patch to impress the visitors and will be great at attracting pollinators and beneficial insects.

It might be best to put part of your veggie garden to sleep under a good layer of mulch or a cover crop to wait out the heat, humidity, pests and disease of the season. The easiest cover crop is bird seed from the supermarket. It should grow like mad and will help capture valuable soil nutrients that would otherwise leach away with the rains.

 

 

 

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WHAT TO HARVEST

Asparagus, Bananas, Bok Choy, Carrots, Egg Plant, Grapefruits, Lemons, Spinach, Sweet Potatoes, Zucchini

PLANT OF THE MONTH

Lily of the Nile

Botanical name: Agapanthus
Colour: Lilac, Purple and White

The uncompromisingly tough agapanthus withstands hot summers and make an excellent evergreen border to paths and driveways in areas exposed to the hottest afternoon sun.  Agapanthus can also be easily grown in large pots for the balcony, courtyard or veranda.  Happy in poor soils and full sun, no plant matches this one for indestructibility.  One of the great things about growing agapanthus is that once you’ve got one, you’re guaranteed to have more, because they multiply by themselves in clumps. The downside is, if they’re left untouched, they will become overcrowded and flower poorly.  To avoid this problem, cut off the seed heads when the plant has finished flowering, dig up the clumps and divide them into individual plants.

 

NEWS FROM THE FARM

Australian tea tree

Melaleuca alternifolia is a species of tree or tall shrub in the myrtle family. Commercially grown on the Tablelands in Far North Queensland for its natural essential oil.

Typically planted around November into a sandy soil profile in and around Mareeba, the trees thrive on Organic Booster pellets which is progressively side-dressed with Organic Xtra in order to flush the new growth, which is then forage harvested every 12-18 months.

Leaf and twigs are subsequently steam distilled for the oil which is world renowned for purity and quality and is being used in the cosmetic and medical industry for its antiseptic, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties.

 

WHAT TO PLANT

Tropical – Basil, Ginger
Sub Tropical – Basil, Borage, French Tarragon, Ginger, Lemon Balm, Mint, Oregano, Sage, Marjoram, Thyme
Cool/Temperate – Basil, Coriander, Tarragon, Horseradish, Lemon Balm, Oregano, Parsley – both curly & flat leafed, Sage, Thyme

SOIL AND LAWN UPDATE

If you haven’t already, be sure to top up the mulch on all gardens.  A good layer of mulch will mean less watering and weeding. Sprinkling Organic Xtra under your mulch means you are guaranteed a shot of nutrients every time you water, or it rains. Organic, biodegradable mulch will enrich your soil as it breaks down & also attract beetles, centipedes & other pest-eating creatures that enjoy the dark, moist conditions

PROGRESS IN YOUR VEGGIE PATCH

It’s a perfect time to pop a bunch of herbs into the patch.  Add a touch of colour with some purple basil. Control lemon balm and mint by planting into a couple of pots near or in the garden. These guys are gorgeous & prolific but can be invasive if they really like their spot.  Mulch your herbs well.

Plant a green manure crop to add some life and love to an overworked veggie patch. Try millet, alfalfa or pigeon pea. Green manure will improve your soil structure and nutrient levels. Green manure can also be planted between food crops to confuse some pests.

 

 

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WHAT TO HARVEST

Avocados, Bananas, Beetroots, Blueberries, Broccoli, Fennel, Mushrooms, Tomatoes, Sweet, Potatoes, Zucchini

PLANT OF THE MONTH

Rhododendron

Botanical name: Ericaceae
Colour: Colours range from white, pink, red, yellow, and mauve

There is a huge range of rhododendrons, ranging in size from large tree-sized plants, down to types that fit into pots.  Rhododendrons have to grow in an area that is cool, under overhanging branches from trees is perfect, so they don’t get too hot in the afternoon sun.  They love growing in hilly areas because the air is a little bit cooler.  Rhododendrons like moisture in their soil, but not too much, or the roots will rot. You need to keep them moist, but not too oversaturated, so drainage is important.  Rhododendrons flower in spring and if you see the leaves looking a bit yellow, that is a good time to give them some fertiliser, such as Organic Xtra.

NEWS FROM THE FARM

‘A Structured Approach’

As horticultural growing season is almost coming to an end under hot subtropical conditions, for the following season increased number of conventional melon and capsicum growers are prepared to use pelletised mineral/organic blends.

Fertilizer pellets are being ‘banded’ under plastic mulch directly into the root zone minimising wastage.

Structured minerals such as palagonite and zeolite are being used together with chelated macro and micro trace elements achieving the following results;

  • Provide protection/habitat for microbe delivery.
  • Time release mechanism for nutrient release.
  • Natural chelation.

This is most certainly nature’s way of providing a ‘structured’ nutrient delivery and has ample advantages over the use of synthetic polymer coated chemical fertilisers.

WHAT TO PLANT

Tropical – Beans, Capsicum, Choko, Cucumber, Eggplant, Lettuce, Pumpkin, Okra, Rosella, Sweet Corn and Sweet Potato.
Sub Tropical – Capsicum, Corn, French Beans, Kohlrabi, Leek, Lettuce, Pumpkin, Radish, Tomato and Zucchini.
Cool/TemperateBeetroot, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrot, Celery, Onion, Parsnip, Potato, Squash, Silverbeet.

SOIL AND LAWN UPDATE

APPLY TOP MULCH to hold precious moisture in your soil during the heat and to feed your soil organisms. Sprinkle handfuls of Organic Xtra under your fresh layer of mulch for an injection of soil goodness when it rains.

FERTILISE, FERTILISE, FERTILISE fruit and ornamental trees, shrubs, bulbs and flower beds with ECO88s. Water in thoroughly for fast action and for a vibrant burst of colour and fresh Spring growth.

PROGRESS IN YOUR VEGGIE PATCH

Tidy up your veggie patch!  Weed, to cut down the competition for nutrients and water in your garden. Give the kids a “buck a bucket” to get them out in the sunshine and into the fresh dirt. Use the weeds as green mulch or put them in the compost.

UPCYCLE EMPTY PLASTIC PET BOTTLES! Cut the bottom off your empty bottles and use these as covers for emerging seedlings in your veggie patch. They will provide protected from slugs, snails and winds in a warm, moist environment. Once your seedlings are mature enough, you can lift the bottle off, turn it upside down and push it into the dirt (neck down) close to the plant to use as a water spike to direct liquid fertilisers and water straight to the root area. Too cool!

 

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WHAT TO HARVEST

Apples, Chillies, Kale, Limes, Passionfruit, Paw Paws, Pears, Spinach, Spring Onions, Sweet Potatoes

PLANT OF THE MONTH

Daffodil

Botanical name: Narcissus
Colour: Yellow

Daffodils are easy! They like plenty of sun and a well-drained soil. Plant as many as space permits because daffodils are a great bulb for lazy gardeners.  If after four or five years you notice that your daffodil bulbs are producing lots of foliage but not many flowers, your bulbs may have multiplied and be suffering from overcrowding. Simply fork them up, shake off the loose soil, put them in a cool and airy spot, maybe in the garage, and replant in autumn. Perfect! Tip: Feed Daffodils with complete fertiliser, like Organic Xtra, when the flowers are open, as this feeds the bulb for the following year’s flower.

NEWS FROM THE FARM

Pasture dieback is a poorly understood condition that only affects grasses, as scientific research is still clueless as to what is causing it.

Graziers are planting legumes as a stop gap approach between healthy and affected areas whilst engaging in paddock renovation activities.

As grasslands usually have bacteria dominated food webs, Organic Booster particularly through the cold winter months is broadcasted at rates of 900 – 1200 kg / hectare as it is not only bacteria rich but also contains bacterial food.

Treated pastures will have increased root system density and greatly improved plant vigour mainly through microbial action.

 

WHAT TO PLANT

Tropical – Amaranthus, California poppy, Petunia, Phlox, Snapdragon, Sunflower, Verbena, Zinnia
Sub Tropical / Cool/Temperate– Alyssum, Begonia, Calendula, Dahlia, Gomphrena, Marigold, Pansy, Spider Flower, Straw Flower, Sweet Pea, Viola

SOIL AND LAWN UPDATE

PUMP UP YOUR SOIL HEALTH

The secret to great gardens is getting your soil right. It should drain properly, be well dug and contain plenty of organic matter.  Turn generous amounts of Organic Xtra through the soil in new garden beds, to build a soil that is teeming with microbes, worms and beneficial organisms. You will be all set to make the most of the fabulous Spring growing weather!  Don’t forget to START APPLYING MULCH to help garden beds conserve moisture over summer, and to retard weeds. The best mulches are organic ones such as lucerne hay and sugar cane mulch.

PROGRESS IN YOUR VEGGIE PATCH

September is a peak planting month if you want to capitalise on the relatively mild conditions of spring and early summer to produce a wide variety of fruit and vegetable crops. Things will become more difficult in the punishing conditions of mid-summer.  Be careful though, it is tempting to get carried away when you see the variety of seeds and seedlings available in the garden centres.  Most fruit and vegetables need a constant supply of moisture to do well, so consider your ability to keep the water up to your patch over the coming months.  With the weather warming up, pests also become much more active, so try and keep ahead of the game with respect to prevention and control measures.

 

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WHAT TO HARVEST

Cabbages, Cauliflower, Coconuts, Dragon fruit, Ginger, Lemons, Pears, Radishes, Rhubarb, Turnips

PLANT OF THE MONTH

Freesia

Botanical name: A member of the Iridaceae family
Colour: Multiple Colours

Freesias have funnel-shaped flowers which come in shades of red, yellow, white or even mauve. Freesias are an easy fragrant plant to grow and one that naturalises happily in gardens.  They grow best in full sun to light shade in any well drained soil and don’t need much in the way of care. The blooms last well in a vase and optimum picking time is as the first flower opens.  They are particularly loved for their alluring fragrance.

NEWS FROM THE FARM

In Australia the passionfruit industry consists of a small number of around 80 commercial growers that are located between Northern NSW and Far North Queensland in the Daintree and the Tablelands.

In general, due to very high disease pressures there is a very heavy reliance on chemicals in particular fungicides. Therefore, it is vital to establish at pre-planting a well-draining soil that is high in organic matter / compost that is full of beneficial microbes.

To achieve this, growers use loose compost that is topped up with Organic Xtra in a user friendly pelletised form at around 500g per vine. The high concentration of fish extract in the blend promote the growth of beneficial fungi that help to suppress by outcompeting fungal pathogens much like weed growth in turf.

Through dry weather soluble fertilizers are delivered through the drip line whereas through the dry periods Eco88 (10-3-8 + Te) is favoured as a granular side dress due to its microbe friendly super low salt index with application rates at around 900 – 1200 kg / hectare.

WHAT TO PLANT

Tropical – basil, borage, ginger, oregano, marjoram, thyme
Sub Tropical – chives, coriander, Chinese parsley, dill, fennel, mint, oregano, marjoram, rocket, sage.
Cool/Temperate – chives, coriander, Chinese parsley, dill, fennel, horseradish, oregano, parsley, sage.

SOIL AND LAWN UPDATE

AUGUST IS A GOOD MONTH TO WORK ON YOUR SOIL

Turn handfuls of Organic Xtra into new garden beds to prepare the ground for new plantings. The potassium sulphate in Organic Xtra will ensure a spectacular display of flowers over the next few months. Keep beds well weeded or mulched, and ensure adequate water is given during this vital growing period.  Gain long-term weed control by adding compost to garden beds to improve soil condition and stifle weed seedlings.

PROGRESS IN YOUR VEGGIE PATCH

“Winter” means different things to different people – it all depends on where you live!

In areas where night time temperatures may drop to 8 degrees C or lower and where the soil is also cold (15 deg C or less) sowing and planting of new crops into the garden is generally not recommended.  When the soil is cold, sap flow in plants is sluggish, roots take up minimal moisture and nutrients and growth slows right down.  Seeds will not germinate until the soil warms again in spring, and young seedlings may succumb to the cold before they have a chance to acclimatise and start growing.  Mid-year in the south is mostly about harvesting the traditional winter crops while waiting for the weather to warm up in spring for the sowing and planting of summer vegetables.

In the warmer and tropical regions of Australia, temperatures during the day may range from the low to high 20s and even though nights may be chilly (below 10 in some parts), soils absorb heat from the sun during the day and retain most of that warmth overnight.  That’s good news for those wanting to grow vegetables and herbs year-round!

 

 

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WHAT TO HARVEST

Brussel Sprouts, Celeriac, Fennel, Grapefruit, Leeks, Lemons, Limes, Parsnips, Pomegranates, Strawberries

 

PLANT OF THE MONTH

Lavender

Botanical name: Lavandula
Colour: Purple

Lavenders are great for water-wise gardeners. They thrive in well-drained parts of the garden, and only require minimal watering. Lavenders cope well in exposed, sunny, open positions and grow to one-metre, bun-shaped balls. They flower prolifically in winter, they respond well to pruning and can grow abnormally tall due to lack of light.  Prune well twice a year after flowering to cut back, followed by a fertiliser, to encourage quick re-growth.

NEWS FROM THE FARM

Most of the Australian Asparagus ferns are grown under temperate climate conditions of the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria both to the local Australian market and for overseas to Japan, China, Korea and Singapore.

Asparagus seeds are planted in the nursery in September. Each seed creates about three crowns, which are split in May and dipped in fungicides and refrigerated and then are planted out in September.

The second year of growth sees a small quantity of asparagus harvested, but full production is in the third year, for about 10 weeks in spring, finishing in mid-December.

Organic pellets are incorporated at this point at the end of the season at bed forming. Alternatively organic pellets are also applied in June through mid-growth in form of  side dressing.

 

WHAT TO PLANT

Tropical – alyssum, begonia, calendula, carnation, cosmos, everlasting daisy, petunia, marigold, phlox, portulaca, salvia, sunflower.
Sub Tropical – cornflower, dianthus, foxglove, lobelia, marigold, nasturtium, nemesia, pansy, petunia, snapdragon, strawflower, viola.
Cool/Temperate – dianthus, lobelia, marigold, portulaca, candytuft, delphinium, godetia, hollyhock, lupin, nigella, poppy, schizanthus, sweet pea.


SOIL AND LAWN UPDATE

Love your lawn in winter!!

During July your lawn needs as much sunlight as possible. Make sure that leaves dropped from deciduous trees and lawn clippings are kept to an absolute minimum. During the cooler months, grass grows much slower, so it’s a good idea to raise your cutting height a little so as not to damage it, and to keep soil warm. Fertilise with a light dose of Ec88s and Qld Organics Dolomite, water in well.

 

PROGRESS IN YOUR VEGGIE PATCH

Winter is really the only time of the year when the garden actually hits cruise control. There is little watering to do, or pests to bother your veggies, it is simply nature and your garden infrastructure playing pivotal roles.

The cool season in Australia rarely brings damaging frosts and snow and in fact, some vegetables don’t mind a little crispness in the air.  Our climate means that at any moment you can pick up a container, fill it up with good quality potting mix and plonk in a few salad greens. A month later and you’re picking fresh salads, rather than from a plastic bucket at the supermarket. Root vegetables actually develop their flavour in the winter air. Frosty nights and cool crisp days help to convert starches into sugars, turning earthy lumps of nutrition, into beautiful sweet tasting earthy lumps of nutrition.  So, what are you waiting for?!

 

 

 

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