Discover your garden and the joy of home grown produce!
In a normal October we would be publicly celebrating all things green, cherishing visits to open gardens, trips to the garden centre and spending a balmy warm spring afternoon wandering through a botanic park. Many of us have to imagine the splendour of the botanic park, soft new growth of a tree or the joys of sharing a new open garden with a friend this October. But the incredible thing about a garden is, it doesn’t stop when the world shuts down, it is the time when all things green and growing can be appreciated more.
There are many positives that have come from 2020, more people have discovered gardening than ever, and home-grown vegies are abundant in more backyards. If you have never grown vegies before, October is the month, in the cooler states to plant warm season vegies. This includes varieties such as zucchini, squash, bush cucumbers, capsicum, chillies, and tomatoes. Tomatoes are one of the easiest crops to grow in most areas of Australia, whether you are growing them in a large pot or garden bed.
Discover the taste of home grown tomatoes.
There are at least 20 different varieties of tomatoes available to the home gardener. Select varieties that are grown for flavour. Avoid storing home grown tomatoes in the fridge as this reduces the unique home-grown flavour. Harvest fruit at their ripest and be rewarded with flavour like nothing else.
There are basically two types of tomatoes determinate and indeterminate. Determinate are those varieties that are more compact, perfect for pots and set many fruit which ripen early. Indeterminate are those varieties that are unruly, seem to continue to grow forever and fruit well into the cooler months. These are a favourite of home gardeners and include cherry tomatoes, one of the most productive producers of the home garden tomato varieties.
Tips to growing the best tomatoes
- Plant into well improved soil with compost or soil improver such as Seasol Liquid Compost in a position that receives at least 6 hours of sun per day.
- Trim the side leaves and bury the plant deep, covering much of the main stem. The tomato will develop roots along this stem resulting in a strong healthy plant. The larger the root system the more fruit that is produced. Water in well with Seasol GOLD. Mix 40mL of concentrate per 9 litres of water (standard watering can).
- Avoid small pots when growing tomatoes. Select large pots that have enough soil around the root system to keep the plant cool and minimise drying out in the warm weather. Fruit will sun burn easily if the plant is dehydrated and prone to blossom end rot (blackening at the base of the fruit) if the plants dry out regularly.
Tips to growing the best tomatoes cont:
- Calcium enriched fertiliser will help minimise blossom end rot. Apply a fertiliser such as PowerFeed PRO SERIES for Tomatoes & Vegetables every 2 to 4 weeks to promote healthy growth, flowering and fruiting. Start with 20mL of concentrate per 9 litres of water and move up to 50mL of concentrate per 9 litres of water as the plants get bigger.
- To minimise floury textured tomatoes, avoid excess additional water when the fruit is ripening.
- Tomato plants require wind or insects to pollinate, plant in an open position.
- To enjoy the most flavoursome fruit pick to eat.
Taking the rare and endangered out of native plants
There are many native plants, that in their own habitat are considered rare and endangered. Home gardeners play a vital role in the cultivation of certain Australian plant species. Next time you visit your local Australian plants specialist be sure to collect a rare species to take home to care for.
Often the rare species are not too hard to grow, often they are facing extinction in their native habitat due to habitat destruction. Eremophila nivea is a classic example, this hardy native is grown widely for its outstanding silver foliage and mauve flowers yet is considered rare in its native habitat. Perfectly suited to an open sunny position this Silky Eremophila will grow successfully in many different soil types once established.
Not all the fungi you see in the garden are bad. Have you noticed unusual shapes, growths and bright colours amongst soil and leaf litter? There are the decomposers of the plant world, without them there would be little breaking down of organic matter in gardens and natural areas.
These are not harmful to plants and will be beneficial to the garden in the long term. The organic matter they are feeding on breaks down and is converted into nutrients in a form plants can absorb.
Good Fungi cont
Usually the growths are harmless, being more of a nuisance than anything else and extensive growth can cause water repellent soil or mulch, preventing water reaching plants roots. Regular applications of wetting agent such as Seasol Super Soil Wetter & Conditioner will break down this growth and allow water to reach plants roots.
Smothering can be a problem with young seedlings. If this is detrimental to plants use a pitchfork to loosen the soil around the plants. In lawns sweep away fruiting bodies if they are unattractive. Otherwise enjoy these unusual growths in the garden, knowing they are working 24 hours a day to improve soils naturally.
Forty-five seconds is all it takes to feel better after connecting with nature. This includes gazing at one small plant. Little wonder the demand for indoor plants has gone through the roof over the last 6 months. There are some incredibly hardy varieties available to grow now and even the most beginner gardener can have success growing some green inside.
The six most common mistakes when growing indoor plants –
- Choosing the wrong plants for the location. Those considered good for indoors are the varieties that don’t grow out of control, tolerate low light, and low humidity.
- Loving plants to death, water requirements are low inside. If the soil is damp, they don’t require watering.
- Treating indoor plants like outdoor plants. They will need a little more care.
- Placing in a very dark position for a long period of time.
- Neglecting to wash dust off the leaves.
- After being inside for a period are placed outside to fend for themselves. A problem if extreme heat or cold is experienced.