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So who can believe we're officially one month into Autumn already? It seems to be a bit of a pattern now that Summer's last hurrah comes late & into Autumn, and this year seems no exception, with some warm days making us wonder about the timing of new plantings and soil preparation.
But the plants are aware of the shortening of daylight hours, and the cooler night temperatures, and we start to see the changes.
Paul & I were lucky enough to get to Melbourne for a few days in March to see MIFGS (Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show) for the first time this year. We also got to attend the Horticultural Media Australia Association's Laurel awards presentation - and it was great to see WA's Deryn Thorpe & Steve Wood awarded the win for their podcast 'All The Dirt'. Congratulations to them! - It's always fun and informative to listen. If you haven't already, click on the 'All the Dirt' logo on the left hand side of the newsletter screen and download episodes from their website, or else via the app store on your smartphone. With lots of local gardening info & interviews with all types of gardening experts, there's something for everyone. I was fortunate to be invited in as a guest last year - if you want to learn more about Green Life Soil Co's story - click here.
There were some fantastic displays and show gardens at MIFGS - so we're inspired and getting ready for the Perth Garden Festival which happens 12 - 15th April at McCallum Park, in Victoria Park - right near the river. Make sure you get along this year. We'll be at stand 157 - so come along and say hi! I'll be doing a talk at the BUPA tent 2.30pm, Thursday 12th on "Soil Matters"; if you manage to get along on the first day. Check out the Festival guide (pick one up at GLSC, or your local nursery) for a timetable of all the speakers and topics - there's always lots to do and learn. You can buy your festival tickets online here (and buying online puts you in the draw to win a fantastic outdoor kitchen courtesy of sponsor Kleenheat).
Speaking of learning - remember to check out the Events page on our website for upcoming workshops @ GLSC. We're holding our first 'Waterwise Gardening' workshop on Sunday, 29th April. This will be FREE to attend - but bookings are required as places are limited. So if you want to know how to plan or improve your garden to be more successful AND use less water, register today.
It's the time of year to replenish your garden beds & get planting Winter crops. We can help you grow some fantastic vegies, have the best lawn in the street, or have a thriving native garden that brings in birdlife. Whatever your vision for your garden, come on down to Green Life Soil Co and let us help your garden dreams come true!
If you can't get out to see us, you can shop online 24/7, book a delivery over the phone, or pick up some of our bagged products from a local independent stockist. (We're thrilled to welcome Waldecks Melville on board as our newest retailer!)
See you soon,
Linda & the Team @ GLSC
Photo below/right - Paul and I all glammed up for the HMAA Laurels Awards Dinner. If you're used to coming into the yard, you may never have seen us so clean!
In this newsletter:
Green Manure is a great plant to sow now in areas you can leave for a while. By allowing the green manure to grow, then (before it goes to seed) turning it into the soil, you're increasing the organic matter of the soil easily and cheaply. We've got mixed green manure packs available now at Green Life.
Garlic - we've just received local organically grown garlic. The grower called this variety 'Hot Purple Garlic'. It has fairly large cloves and a strong scent. (Pictured right.)
Potatoes - our certified organic seed potatoes are only a couple of weeks away. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for the announcement when stock arrives. This year's varieties include Eureka, Dutch Cream, Delaware & Ruby Red.
Artichokes (Globe), Asian greens, Beetroot, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chives, Coriander, Dill, Endive, English spinach, Garlic, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leek, Lettuce, Mint, Onion, Parsley, Parsnip, Peas, Potato, Radish, Rocket, Silverbeet, Snow peas, Spring onions, Swede, Turnips.
If you're looking for growing tips on individual herbs and/or vegetables, did you know we have a heap of free fact sheets available? Click here and scroll down the list to find what you're looking for! Also - use the search box (top left of the website) to look for specific topics - there's a good chance there'll be an archived newsletter article that might be useful. We're always happy for ideas on what topics to include in future editions, too.
Towards the end of summer we see lots of people struggling with their gardens. As you know, Perth is a tough place to grow many plants. The climate and native soil is challenging. Come autumn people are getting excited about getting outdoors in their gardens (once the heat has passed) and often this is a great time to improve your soil that will bring you benefits for next summer - as far off as it may seem.
From time to time, we have surveyed our customers to find out what their biggest gardening challenges are, in the hope that we can help with information and products to ease their frustration and make gardening more successful.
The top issues people report are:
1. Water repellency. At the end of summer; this problem is at its worst. The hot weather can dry out the top layers of soil where the microbial life is, and nutrient recycling and water holding just isn't happening. Water will pool on top of the soil. Often, when the rains start, people are dismayed to find when digging in their soil that the moisture hasn't penetrated below the top few millimetres. In our sandy soil, this is a very common problem.
The other fantastic product that will help with water repellency is Charlie Charcoal. Charcoal by its nature is highly absorbent, and is a permanent source of carbon in your soil - hugely beneficial for microbes and for nutrient holding, and as a bonus - it has a very low pH, so if you struggle with high alkalinity (as do many people along the coast) - this is the perfect product to use. Charlie & Cassie work so well together in your garden that we would say it's a match made in heaven!!
2. Lack of organic matter - "gutless sand". The frustration is real! People top up soils regularly with compost and manure - only to find that it disappears!
Charlie Charcoal (biochar) is a permanent way to add carbon to your soils. Check out terra preta soils - developed thousands of years ago in the Amazon, the charcoal is still in the soil today and promoting soil fertility.
Tree loppers' mulch (woodchips) layered down thickly (10 - 20cms) on the surface of your garden will turn your sand into lovely, dark soil in a few years - more quickly when there's more water available to help with decomposition. As a bonus, a really thick layer of mulch like this will help against weeds, too.
3. Pests. Slaters, snails, aphids, slugs, caterpillars, grasshoppers, thrip, whitefly, scale, ants... I'm sure there's plenty more to add to the list!
5. Space (lack of) In our typically smaller lots, space is a premium for growing. Given our higher density living, there's also more walls, fences etc. that can mean it is very difficult to find a growing area that gets enough sun (in winter) or isn't baking hot with reflected heat (in summer).
If you really want to develop your green thumb and don't have the space - check out your local community garden. These are springing up all over the place, and getting your own plot to grow on is inexpensive. Plus you'll have the opportunity (if you want it) to engage with other members to learn & share knowledge, swap seeds and produce, and make new friends!
6. Lack of time & lack of knowledge
The solution (ha!).
There's a great quote: "The best fertiliser is a gardener's shadow"... and it really is true. There's no substitute for being present.
As far as lack of knowledge goes - gardening is a lifelong journey. Nobody ever knows everything - and if they DO - it's probably totally irrelevant in YOUR garden as opposed to what they do in theirs. So relax! Join a garden club, community garden, attend workshops (check out our events) - read. Connect with other gardening friends and share your knowledge. You probably know more than you think.
I wish I could make it easier for you - I really do! I'd like to think that Green Life Soil Co's products help a little here - with complete mixes that get you all ready to go & grow without guessing what else you need to add. Without a doubt, the biggest challenge people have in Perth is gardening on sandy soil. I know we can help with that - so come and talk to us today and we'll do our very best to help.
Congrats to our March winner of a $50 voucher - Jenny M who sent in a gorgeous photo from her garden with the comment:
"I have sages and salvias amongst the pumpkins to attract the butterflies."
Remember - there's a winner drawn every month, so you may as well keep those photos coming! Tell us a little bit about your garden; what you love about it, and what Green Life products you've used.
Photos can be sent in by email (marked 'monthly photo competition') or via our Facebook page.
Grab a free Perth Garden Festival magazine/program next time you come into GLSC. There's a map of exhibitors, a timetable of speakers, and some great articles on autumn gardening to get you inspired! Once more, this year's Festival is at McCallum Park in Victoria Park, and runs Thursday 12th through to Sunday 15th April. Tickets can be bought online or at the gate. Buying online helps you beat the queues and puts you in the draw to win a $9,000 outdoor kitchen.
Green Life will be there on Stand 157, showcasing our soils, introducing Charlie Charcoal to Perth, and also Lucerne pellets as something new!! Unfortunately we can't take EVERYTHING down to the show to sell... so unless you give us a bit of warning to make sure we can take down items you are wanting to pick up at the show - you're best to come out to GLSC or to order online as usual. But do come along and say hello!
If you'd like to WIN A DOUBLE PASS to the show (we've got a couple to give away) - here's how you can do it!
You'll be aware that we run a regular photo competition, right? Send us in your lovely & inspirational garden pictures with a few lines about the picture - and you can be in the draw to win a $50 voucher, drawn at random each month. (Just like Jenny did!)
Well - we believe the Perth Garden Festival should be inspirational and provide encouragement to even the WORST gardeners out there - so this time get creative and send us your WORST gardening photo!!
We're looking for the most creative and entertaining entries as to WHY you need the inspiration of attending this year's PGF.
For those of you who access instagram - there's an account - excuse the French here - @shitgardens that may be of interest. This particular account is about celebrating the quirky and isn't about criticising. (See an article in the New York Magazine here about them that has info & some examples.)
We're not out to poke fun at people - but trying to find the balance of a little humour in all things green. Or perhaps things that should be green. Or once were.
So - send in your photos to our Facebook page (CLEARLY tagged #GLSCPGF) or you can upload them to our website here. But get cracking - winners will be announced 11th April.
It's the time of year to get growing and get your soils replenished for the season ahead. So this month - grab a bag of our Certified Organic & Waterwise Endorsed Charlie Charcoal to try for a special price of $12.00 per bag.
Note: Standard price is $18.00 per bag. Regular VIP price online (as a signed-in VIP member) is $16.00 per bag.
Offer is valid in store or online only until the end of April 2018. If shopping in store (or placing an order by phone) please ASK for the newsletter special offer.
Please support the local independent businesses who support Green Life. You'll find great advice and service close to home.
Remember to check with individual stockists what products they currently have in stock - as it will vary between retailers:
Beaufort Garden World - Inglewood 9271 0585
Until next time - happy gardening!