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Hello and welcome to Autumn!
While we can expect some hot days to come, there is no doubt days are getting shorter, and the change of season is definitely in the air. We are coming up to one of the most productive opportunities to plant and grow in Perth, so make sure you're ready!
To help inspire and inform you, we have Nick Bell and Leesa Caldwell coming in to store again over the next few weeks to talk to you about Square Foot Gardening, growing herbs & vegies; and of course Nick can provide you with a wealth of information about getting your lawn back into shape. (Sat 14th March & Sat 11th April from approx. 10.30 - 12.30)
Come and talk to us about your Autumn gardening project, and we can provide you with advice on the best value methods to suit your needs.
We have introduced a great new referral card system too; with a free gift to your friend, AND a free gift to you, also. We know many of you are already telling your friends, neighbours and relatives about us - and we really appreciate it. Word of mouth is hugely important to small businesses like ours; so we hope you will take advantage of the referral card gift as our small way of saying THANK YOU! Pick some up next time you pop in!!
So for now - Happy Gardening!
Linda & the Team @ The Green Life Soil Co.
In this newsletter:
Autumn is such an exciting time in the garden & is probably THE best season for gardening in Perth. Check out our 'When to Plant Guide' for the full list & ideal germination tips. But just to give you a taste, we are having new winter vegie seedlings coming on stream every week right now (here's some luscious looking pea seedlings Leesa brought in last weekend!).
It's time to plant:
Beans (be quick, before it gets too cold/wet) & Broad beans, Beetroot, Broccoli, Cabbage, Celery, Celeriac, Chillies, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chives, Garlic, Kale, Kohl Rabi, Leek, Lettuce, Spring Onions, Parsnips, Peas & Snow peas, Potatoes, Radish, Silverbeet, Spinach, Swede, Turnips
We had a really interesting selection of tomato varieties entered into our contest this year, including: Black Cherry & Green Zebra (the winners); Red Roma, Swanson, Super Sioux, Jaune Flamme, Green Grape, Tommie Toe and Big Red.
A huge thank you to those who entered our Tomato Contest. Theo from Little Caesars once again kindly gave his time to judge the entries, and his selections were:
Livy Bowden - 1st place with 'Black Cherry'
I visited Livy & Lachlan's garden, (pictured above right) and it was great to see the family are keen gardeners; growing many heritage vegies from seed in their Darlington backyard. Dad (Brad) explained that the tomatoes bore well this year - especially after they netted the plants to deter pests (including birds and kangaroos; who regularly visit the garden to 'share' the bounty!).
Their family secret for growing great tomatoes (passed down from Brad's father) is to incorporate a bit of wood ash (from their fire) and worm castings (from their worm farm) into the soil when preparing for planting.
It's always wonderful to see children in the garden, learning where their food comes from! Livy selected Telethon as her chosen charity, so we have made a $50 donation to this worthy cause.
Our second place winner is a very keen young gardener, too! Adrian is 18, and is already an experienced gardner. He regularly shares pictures to our Facebook page of his garden produce (here's one to the right with a MONSTER broccoli he grew this winter), and looks after quite a large garden at his family's Millendon home. They're his tomatoes pictured above on the kitchen bench, and his tomato plants shown at the foot of this newsletter.
Thanks again & well done to EVERYONE who entered.
Many people like to grow in raised beds, but aren’t sure about what to use as the supporting material for the soil. Sure, there are many different choices - you can use steel, timber, bricks -anything from fancy, custom designed products to using recycled materials & DIY budget conscious versions... But have you considered using straw bales?
Doesn’t the straw break down?
YES! Of course it does. But not for a good few growing seasons; by which stage you’re likely to want to refresh your garden soil anyway. Then simply break up the older bales and use them in compost or in the lower layer of your NEW straw bale garden bed. Or simply spread them around the garden to use as valuable mulch.
Can I use Hay bales?
YES! Hay is the top part of the plant that contains the seed head, which means it is usually valuable for stock feed. Straw is the remainder of the plant when the heads have been harvested. While you will get some seeds, there will be fewer. This will mean the bales won’t sprout so much into green squares, and you may end up with less weeds in your garden as a result of using straw. But if Hay is cheap and readily available, there is no practical reason why it can’t be used.
This ‘retaining wall’ system of straw bales also makes a fantastic, large compost heap to compost autumn leaves, lawn clippings, mulched prunings - etc. No turning required, just water over summer and leave nature to do the work! In 6 - 12 months you will have lovely rich compost to use!
Direct planting into Straw Bales
For this option I would definitely recommend using straw over hay; due to the amount of seed that will sprout in a hay bale. The idea is to use the bale itself as a planter! (Yes, really!)
Steps to prepare a bale
Steps to planting
Follow our Facebook page to see photos & updates of my strawbale planting experiment I am trialling this March!
Nick Bell has been very busy over recent months helping many people around Perth with their lawns & gardens. Nick's service includes a site visit, and a written report with his recommendations and suggested timing of remedial work to be done. He can help keep your lawn healthy and doing really well - here are some photos of jobs he has done recently, with a brief explanation of each.
This photo (above right) shows "beautiful functional Empire Zoysia Lawn maintains strong healthy growth in a root zone prepared by incorporating fully mature compost, Zeolite and Bentonite clay into the soil in prior to laying the turf."
"Soft Leaf Buffalo lawn in alkaline soil at Swanbourne transformed after the application of Shades of Green Lawn Fertiliser plus Sulphur."
"Soft and lovely to walk on bare foot joy ‘Sapphire’ Soft Leaf Buffalo pool side Lawn in Dalkeith, in soil improved with Green Life ‘Lawn Dress’."
And remember Nick is our own Square Foot Gardening expert - these shots are of his own Maylands garden growing really well over summer.
The picture to the right shows "Tomatoes, Blue Lake climbing beans, and Golden Nugget Pumpkins growing in harmony. The trellis is attached to an eWood Square Metre Raised garden Bed."
This image shows "Sweet Corn, Tomatoes and Spinach supporting each other and flourishing in an eWood square metre raised garden bed filled with Mel’s Mix for WA."
Mel's Mix for WA is made by The Green Life Soil Co (the mix is more commonly known as Square Foot Garden Mix) - especially formulated for water retention and supplying nutrition for optimum growth in shallow garden beds; comprised of cocopeat, compost and vermiculite with added trace elements and nutrition. It's great for container growing, too.
Nick will be in store Saturday 14th March and 11th April to help you with advice and information generally about setting up your own hightly productive garden in a small space. If you have been thinking about getting your garden whipped into shape - NOW is the time to do it, and we're here to help you.
Remember that our VIP customers who sign up on our website have regular access to discounted products either on line or in store.
Here is another SUPER SPECIAL deal - valid until end March 2015 - to get your garden booming for Autumn... All Fish Hydrolysate fertliser sizes HALF PRICE...
1L for $6 (normally $12)
Valid with any purchase. Online customers can find these special priced offers in the Members Only section of the website (so you'll need to log in to access them).
Reminder - we stock HEAPS of products to help get your garden booming & blooming; like:
Visit us in store or shop on line for 24 hour convenience.