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Wow - here we are now going into October!  Hasn't it been a SLOW start to spring in our gardens? I know many of you are struggling with your summer seedlings; it is simply because conditions have been so cold.

Leesa (from The Greenhouse Organic, who grows our seedlings) doesn't use a hot house to produce her seedlings; so the range of summer vegies is also a little late because her seedlings are still slow due to the conditions. But this is actually a good thing; because many of the commonly available seedlings around town are grown 'artificially' - raised on heat beds and grown on in hot houses. The problem comes when you buy them, take them home and plant them out in the 'real world' of your garden; and unfortunately they can't cope. So apologies if you're chasing other varieties of seedlings we haven't had yet - rest assured they ARE coming when they're ready, and you'll have a better chance of them surviving once you get hold of them and plant them out.

Did you get to attend The Greener Garden Festival on 3rd September? We had a great day; several hundred people came through the door during the event, and we know people enjoyed and appreciated the free talks by garden experts Sabrina Hahn, Charles Otway and Sue McDougall. Considering how unreliable the weather has been so far this spring, we were blessed to have a perfect, sunny day. (Phew!) It was a great opportunity for the Harvest Club participants to get together - this is the mob @ the Festival. We wanted a group photo with Sabrina and she's in there - the tiny little head poking out from the back that I've circled!! #photofail!

But there's still more fun and frivolity being planned @ GLSC for October. This month marks the 15th anniversary of Paul & myself having the business, so we've got a birthday bash planned with lots of garden goodies to be won. See below for more details.

Also 'Do it in a Dress' - last year we had lots of fun donning school uniforms in order to raise money for 'One Girl' - an Australian charity that raises money to educate girls in Africa. Last year we raised enough money to ensure the schooling of three girls. This year it would be marvellous to help even more. Statistics show that educating girls has a knock-on effect in their entire community, with educated women marrying later, having fewer children, having healthier children, and contributing more to their community.

So make sure you visit us on the weekend of 29-30th October; bring some loose change to donate to the cause and grab a cuppa & some GLSC birthday cake to celebrate. Hope to see you there!

Cheers (and happy gardening!)
Linda & The Team @ The Green Life Soil Co

Vote For Green Life Soil Co! This year we've entered the CORE Consumers Choice Awards in the category of 'Organic Specialist' - PLEASE click on the link here to vote for us. 

http://www.organicweek.net.au/core/organic-consumer-choice-awards/organic-specialist/ 

You'll go in the draw to win some fabulous organic prizes! Last year GLSC came 3rd in this nation-wide vote; so we'd be really thrilled to get your vote this year to help us do even better. Voting closes 16 October so please vote today!

In this newsletter:

What to Plant Now
Jobs to do in the Garden
Harvest Club Update
Focus on Endive
New Products @ GLSC
Birthday Competition - WIN prizes!

What to Plant Now

It's the perfect time to get planting. See our downloadable guides for 'when to sow' - we've got one for veggies & one for herbs; plus our '12 Edible Plants for Spring/Summer' guide. Some ideas are:

Basil, Beans, Beetroot, Broccoli*, Capsicum, Chilli, Carrots, Celery, Choko, Coriander*, Cucumber, Dill, Eggplant, Endive (see article below), Kale*, Leek, Lettuce, Melons, Okra, Pumpkin, Rocket, Rosella, Silverbeet, Spring onions, Squash, Strawberries, Sweetcorn, Tomato, Turnip, Zucchini.

Many herbs will do well now too - things like Thyme, Oregano, Mint, Parsley.

There's still time to plant seeds of these crops, but don't put it off much longer.
* These crops will grow over the warmer months but are more sensitive to either temperature and/or pests. Consider the planting site and provide protection to get best results.

Jobs to do in the Garden

  • Plant your Spring/Summer seeds (if you haven't already). We've got a great range of non-hybrid, heritage & organic seeds @ GLSC; plus our fabulous certified organic seed raising mix. (Did you know we're the only manufacturer in Australia to be Certified for this product?)
  • Weeding. Yeah, boring we know - but all this wonderful rainfall we've had had certainly produced a bumper crop of weeds at our place. Slash them, pull them, mulch over them- but try to prevent seed heads being exposed to the wind, or you'll most certainly have more to deal with next year.
  • Keep an eye out for bugs in the garden as weather warms up. White cabbage butterfly are starting to emerge. Try companion planting of Dill & Nasturtiums to confuse them or act as decoy plants. Last year my nasturtium was hammered and the nearby kale was largely left untouched. Also white flowers like petunias, pansies, cosmos etc. that flutter in the wind can help protect plants. In the same way some people use upturned eggshells on sticks, or make butterfly mobiles out of old milk bottles; you can make the white butterflies look for somewhere less populated to lay their eggs. They will avoid areas that are 'taken' to give their offspring a better chance of survival; so use that territorial instinct to your advantage!  We've now got packets of seeds with a mixture of beneficial insect attracting plants in stock (produced for WA) - so come in and grab one for $4.00
  • Take cuttings - it's a great time of year to try cuttings of lavender, rosemary, wormwood etc (herbaceous perennials). Don't over water them and keep them warm.
  • Lightly prune shrubs that have finished flowering.
  • Lawns should begin to grow more actively once weather warms up, so now would be a good time to top dress (see us about our top dress mix) or fertilise. Make sure you use a good slow release fertiliser that is suited to lawns. Growsafe is a new product we have in stock that is perfect to use.
  • If you haven't already fed your citrus & roses, it's a perfect time. Empty out your compost bins & use this around your garden; ideally adding some rock dust to provide trace elements.

Harvest Club Update

Our Harvest Club gardens have been growing almost a month now. We have seen very slow growth all over the metro area, due to the weather. A couple of our participants have had to replace zucchini and/or cucumber; the cucurbits are really struggling with low temperatures.

But overall the health of the plants looks good, so I am hoping once we have some warmer weather we should see quite rapid growth.

Test results have come in for the soil samples we took, and it is fascinating to see the wide range of results we have across Perth.

We will have a report done on the results and will share this in a future newsletter, and on the blog. Have you met all our participants yet? Check out the blog: www.greenlifesoil.com.au/harvest-club-articles

Endive - Cichorium endivia  - Eat your Greens
(by Leesa Caldwell from The Greenhouse Organic)

Description
Endive (in the family: Asteraceae) a leafy annual (sometimes biennial) in the sunflower family that is closely related to the perennial Cichorium intybus - Chicory. Starting from the bottom (the part nearest to the stem) and halfway up, the leaves of the Endive are pretty much white. There are flat leafed and curly leafed varieties.  Salad King variety of Endive has narrow, finely cut, curled and twisted leaves. The outer leaves are usually dark green, fading to a paler colour towards the centre of the head. The plant looks rather shaggy and is low growing. 

Cultivation
The plant requires a rich, light, well-drained, unshaded soil. It can handle sandy, loamy and clay soils as well. When sown late in the season, it behaves as a biennial. The higher the intensity of light during the growing season, the greater the vitamin C content in plant tissues.  Endive tolerates a pH in the range 5.3 to 8.3.

Propagation is by seed either direct in the ground or sown in punnets.  Autumn through to spring seasons are preferable with optimum conditions ranging from minimums of 15-18C and maximum temp of 24C. It will bolt in hot weather reducing leaf growth.

History
Endive originated in the eastern Mediterranean region and was also known to the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, but it does not appear to have reached central Europe until the 16th century. It is now grown throughout the world, including the tropics.

Medicinal Uses
Endive is loaded with various nutrients, including essential amino acids, starch, fats, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium and a number of vitamins.

The vegetable is packed with vitamin K- a potent natural anti-inflammatory nutrient with great cancer-preventive properties. 
It is a rich source of vitamin A, potassium, folate, and various antioxidants, and dietary fibre.

Endives are a good source of inulin, a special type of soluble dietary fibre which was shown to help stabilize blood sugar levels. They are safe to eat if you are struggling with prediabetes or diabetes. Inulin is a natural probiotic and is great to help maintain a healthy gut flora. The good bacteria in our digestive system not only supports the digestion process by helping digest certain fibres, sugars, starches, lactose and so on, but also protect the gut mucosa from injury and supports immunity.

Culinary Uses
Endive belongs to the chicory family and can be consumed raw or after cooking. Similar to all other plants belonging to the chicory family, the flavour of green endive is somewhat bitter. The flavour depends immensely on the stage of ripeness. If harvested before they reach full maturity, endives are tender and crisp and only slightly bitter. At this stage, they can be used raw, in salads or as a side dish. If left to mature, the leaves turn woody and bitter and will most likely need cooking to be made more palatable.

Sesquiterpene lactones present in endive’s leaves are responsible for the bitter taste. They promote appetite and stimulate the secretion of bile. For many people the bitter trait is undesirable so in order to enhance the taste, endive plants are subjected to a bleaching treatment. About three months after sowing, the plant’s outer leaves are tied together or are covered, to exclude light. This prevents the development of the natural bitter taste. This bleaching process takes 10 days to 4 weeks. Bleached leaves are crisp, of yellow-green colour and have a delicate taste with a middle absent of bitterness.

Endive juice blended with celery, carrot, and spinach as well as parsley juices is extremely beneficial for people suffering from degenerating eye disorders, such as glaucoma, cataract, macular degeneration and others. For best results, it is advisable that such people should drink this blended juice in measures of approximately 180 ml regularly.

Storage tips
Endive should always be stored in a cool place and away from light. These plants will turn bitter when you expose them to excessive or bright light. In case you plan to store the endives in a refrigerator, you should ensure that you put them in a plastic bag or, even better, in a sealed jar. In case there is any type of condensation, use a dry paper towel to soak up the moisture. You may place a dry paper towel along with the endives in the plastic bag or air-tight jar. This lettuce is so sensitive that it will remain in good shape only for three to five days even when stored in a refrigerator.

Leesa's full article with references can be found here:  //www.thegreenhouseorganic.com/herb_of_the_month

New Product/s @ GLSC 

This spring we've got a few new bits & pieces around Green Life; we're in the process of expanding our range of mulches so keep an eye out for those in our new bays.

We've got WA made oyster mushroom kits in stock - grow your own tasty, gourmet mushies at home!  $29.95

Also, we recently brought in Growsafe Fertiliser - a new, WA made fertiliser which is great to use for everything - lawns, fruit & vegetables, flowering plants and natives.  It is a mineral based fertliser, with a broad range of nutrition and coated with beneficial microbes to help make the nutrients plant available.

Available in 10kg packs, we have Growsafe at an introductory price of $29.95.  Come and grab some!

Birthday Prize Draw!

This October marks our 15th birthday in business, and to celebrate we're giving YOU the presents.

Make a purchase from today onwards and you can enter into the draw to WIN one of 15 prizes (from a prize pool of approx. $500 garden goodies, including):

  • Organic Gardener magazine
  • Homegrown magazine
  • Square Metre Gardening book
  • Protect-us certified organic snail pellets
  • 5 packets of seeds
  • 5 premium GLSC soil bags (eg. potting mix, vegie mix, seedraising mix)
  • 5 budget GLSC bags (eg. manure/compost)
  • 5 punnets of certified organic vegies
  • 5 herb pots
  • Growsafe 10kg bag
  • Sand Remedy 5kg tub
  • Blood & Bone 8kg tub
  • Fish Hydrolysate 5L bottle
  • Mushroom Farm kit
  • 5 bales of pea hay 
So there will be 15 lucky people who will each win an item from the list!  Everytime you come back to GLSC until the end of October and make a purchase you can enter into the draw.  Online orders & bulk orders will be entered automatically.

So you've got to be in it to win it...  We hope to see you SOON!






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