Friday, June 23, 2017

Charles Dowding, No Dig.

Hi all, who's seen this guy?



Since he popped up in my Youtube feed some months ago I've been slowly turning my garden around to a 'Charles Dowding' no dig garden.

I say slowly because it takes a while to produce enough compost to get started with his method. I have four Gedye compost bins full to the gunnels, I have my tractor tyres full and enough raw materials for another pile waiting for some spare space to put it all together.

The few small areas that I have managed to hobble together are encouraging and performing well.

I'm hoping this will help me get through our hot Summers which, with my red soil, dries out at the mere mention of a hot day.

If anyone else is using this method I'd like to hear your thoughts and experiences.

Cheers

Stewart.


Saturday, June 17, 2017

Pruning citrus?

September 2016
I confess, I've got bugger all experience and not much of a clue when it comes to pruning citrus and reading and watching experts on the topic has left me to conclude not very many other people do either.

So I've managed to cobble  together several seemingly vital bits of information and form my own approach which may or may not work.

So far it hasn't but I'll keep tweaking it until I've got something that works for me.

Why do I want to prune my Mandy? Two main reasons,
  1. The space where my mandy is growing is on the smallish side and it was beginning to dominate the space and
  2.  I only want to be able to pick fruit I can reach so keeping it pruned down to below the height of my shed will be my  ideal height.






June 2017

The experts! 

There seems to be three streams of thought when it comes to pruning.

1st is from Gardening Australia's 'Mr Citrus' - Ian Tolley. You can read what he has to say here,  Gardening Australia's 'Mr Citrus' - Ian Tolley

2nd is along the lines of a late Autumn or early Winter prune and a late Spring early Summer trim. This is the method I'm trying now.

3rd is to prune in thirds as in only hard pruning one third per year as a means to keep the overall height under control. I started trying this but couldn't make it work for me.

Now I need to wait and see if I get any flowers and if they set fruit. There is a line of thinking that this kind of pruning leads to excessive and vigerous growth at the expense of fruit. Time will tell.

Anyone got any suggestions for me? I love to hear them.

Cheers

Stewart.


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Diggers Team at Queensland Garden Expo

The excitment's building for this years Queensland Garden Expo.

The Queensland Garden Expo is becoming something of a pilgrimage for me. I'm going again this year which will make it my fourth year in a row.
And after this years visit to the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show I would rate it very highly.

If you're heading up this year I hope you enjoy the show as much as I know I will.


Queensland Garden Expo is a ‘must see’ in 2017 for green thumbs and novice gardeners alike. Held in the Sunshine Coast hinterland town of Nambour from 7th to 9th July, this three day expo is Queensland’s premier gardening event attracting 35,000 + visitors from all over Australia and New Zealand. Some of Australia’s leading Gardening experts take part in three days of lectures, demonstrations and workshops.

See plants, plants and more plants with over 55 nurseries represented and over 360 exhibitors. There is a full program of free lectures and demonstrations on eight "live" stages every day covering a vast array of gardening topics. Head to the ‘Gardeners and Gourmets’ stage for some great tips on growing your own produce and turning it into delicious gourmet meals. The ‘Giant Kitchen Garden’ features a totally organic food court with a fully planted sustainable garden constructed onsite. Get free help with gardening problems and plant identification from the onsite Plant Clinic and be inspired by the fantastic arrangements in the Floral Design Competition.

The Diggers team will be there at site 108! Don't miss out on Keith Edwards, our Landscape Designer who will be on The Banksia Stage, Sunday June 9th giving his expertise on Heirlooms!


Location:  Coronation Avenue, Nambour
Operates: Friday 7th, Saturday 8th & Sunday 9 July, 2017. Gates open 8am daily.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

the salad garden by joy larkcom. A book review.

Two hundred and eighty-seven pages packed full of salady, delicious information.

I did find the title of this book 'The salad garden' a little ambiguous seeing as this book is much, much more than just growing 'salad' plants.

A comprehensive and thoroughly detailed book, it runs the full course of what to grow and how to grow plants for the veggie garden, broken up into seven chapters including,
  • Leafy Salad Plants, which is what I thought this book was going to be all about. (Lettuce, Chard & Spinach etc.)
  • Brassica Tribe. (Cabbage and Kale etc.)
  • Oriental Greens. (Chinese Cabbage, Pak Choy & Mustards etc.)
  • Stems and Stalks. (Celery & Kohl rabi etc)
  • Fruiting Vegetables. (Tomato, cucumber & peppers, etc)
  • The Onion Family.
  • Root Vegetables.
Other chapters included are
  • Finishing Touches (Herbs and Flowers) 
  • Garden Practicalities, where Joy gets down and dirty covering design, compost, Manure and fertilizers to name a few.
  • Last but not least, Salad Making.

A guide to growing more than 200 salad plants,The Salad Garden covers all you need to know, from site preparation to harvesting, detailing special planting techniques, advice on the best varieties (for growing and for flavour) and plenty of tips and tricks for bountiful crops. Joy Larkcom also shows you how to create a beautiful potager garden, with tips such as training tomatoes up attractive spiral supports, planting for theatrical height and edible seed pods.

About the Author

JOY LARKCOM is one of Britain's most respected vegetable garden makers and gardening writers. She has contributed to many magazines and newspapers, radio and TV programmes and has lectured all over the world. Her accolades include the Garden Writer of the Year award (three times); Lifetime Achievement Award from the Garden Writers' Guild in 2003, and the Veitch Memorial Medal for horticulture, the RHS's highest honour, in 1993. Her other titles for Frances Lincoln are Oriental Vegetables and The Organic Salad Garden.


The first book is the fully revised and updated edition of the ‘book of the century’, The Salad Garden by Joy Larkcom. When The Salad Garden was first published in 1984, it was heralded as a game changer by gardeners, chefs and the professional growers who supplied restaurants and supermarkets. In the 30 years since ‘Salad Garden’ burst on the scene, the pace of life has accelerated, and changes have taken place in the horticultural world. This fully revised and updated edition recognises the growing numbers of gardeners with small spaces, and emphasises techniques and varieties suited to patios, window boxes, containers, and small raised beds. Updates include the latest, improved varieties of salad plants, as well as new plants such as Cucamelon, marsh plant Salsola, ‘February orchid’ and exciting new types of sorrel, salad rocket, cabbage and kales among others. Similarly the recipes have been updated with a more contemporary feel, reflecting changes in eating habits; classic recipes rub shoulders with imaginative new ideas. 


Available from Booktopia and other leading book stores.

 Bursting full of useful information for the veggie gardener.