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new leafWelcome to February!  We've entered the Noongyar season of Bunuru - 'second summer'; the hottest part of the year with little or no rain, and hot easterly winds - and a cooling sea breeze (if we're lucky!).  It was the time of year the traditional people lived near the water, and fish/aquatic foods made up a lot of their diet.  It's also the time of the Marri flowers; and for those of us living around the hills, it's certainly a spectacular season for blossom this year.  Farmers say that indicates a wet winter is on its way...  we'll see!

For gardeners, it's a season of 'hanging in there!' - keeping gardens alive, and planning for Autumn, which officially is only a month away.  We know weather can be hot right up into April, but day length is shortening, nights are generally cooler, and there'll be a change in the air before much longer.  Speaking of April, this year's Perth Garden & Outdoor Living Festival is on again 30th April - 3rd May.  A little later this year, and outside of school holidays.  The Festival has been getting bigger & better every year, so put the date/s in your calendar and come along.  Green Life will be there so come and say 'Hi!'. 

moving signIt's hard to believe we've been operating out of our new home now for about a month (at time of writing).  It's a great space, and we appreciate that so many of you have visited us already.  There's still a lot of work to be done; you'll see things evolve over many months to come as we settle in and work on improving functionality and aesthetics so we appreciate your patience in the meantime as we work with what we've got.  We're still decommissioning the old site, and once that's done & dusted hopefully Paul and I can get a short break (because time off over Christmas didn't happen!) and then we'll be back clear minded for the future, and ready to roll into all the great things planned for 2020.  They say moving house is one of the most stressful things you do in your life - I can add moving business premises to that list I reckon!

Reminder - Bushfire Relief
Just a reminder that GLSC is donating $1 for every bag we sell retail & 50¢ for every bag we sell wholesale of our soil mixes for the months of January & February to bushfire relief programs. So no matter where you buy our soils, you'll be making a difference.  We're donating 70% to the Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund and 30% to WIRES for Wildlife rehabilitation.  I have seen some negative discussions on social media regarding The Red Cross - and a number of other charities; criticism which I believe is undue.  Please read their statement here on how funds are being allocated, and will be allocated over the months and years to come.   

2020 - International Year of Plant Health
plant health logoTo bring awareness to the importance of plant health to the health of the planet - and the ability for humanity to feed itself, the UN has decreed 2020 is the International Year of Plant Health.  Now, healthy plants have always been at the heart of what we do @ GLSC.  After all - healthy plants START with healthy soil.  We can all do our part to build plant health in our own back yards and to increase biodiversity.  If you're a keen photographer, there's an international photographic competition running (open to everyone over 18) with awesome prizes - so check out this link for more information (scroll to the bottom of the page for the photo contest details):  http://www.fao.org/plant-health-2020/home/en/  For those of you involved in teaching/communication, it's a great website to check out for resources, too.

I hope we can inspire you to get outside and look after your plants in your little corner of the world.

Happy gardening,

Linda & The Team @ The Green Life Soil Co

In this newsletter:

Jobs to do in the February Garden
What to Plant Now
Planning for Autumn - a quick checklist
Recycling - we're in!
VIP Special Offer
Photo contest winner
Retailer stockist update

Jobs to do in the February Garden

  • compost binsCheck your compost. Is it cooking nicely, and is it/will it be ready for Autumn planting? Turn it & wet it through ~ and keep it up over the next few weeks ~ to make sure it's good to go. New to compost? Check out our fact sheet here.
  • Plan & prepare! Consider what your priorities will be for Autumn planting, and start gathering what you need to improve the soil. Do your research on crop rotation & companion planting now, so you can work to a plan as the season rolls on.  (Click on the highlighted links to take you to our free fact sheets & see our checklist below for ideas to kickstart your plans.)
  • Get your winter vegies growing from seed. See 'What to plant now' below for ideas of what you can start off. We recommend our Certified Organic Seed Raising Mix and our range of heritage, organically grown seeds to get you started!  We have twice the shelf space for heritage seeds at our new premises - so come and check out the range.
  • citrus fruitFertilise your fruit trees late summer/early autumn. Stone fruits have nearly finished for the season, but are still actively growing; so before they go dormant for Winter, feed them up now with a good organic fertiliser to encourage healthy growth & crops for next year. Fertilise citrus too - make sure you water well before & after fertilising, and top up mulch if necessary. They're shallow rooted and will appreciate mulching and regular watering.
  • Propagate! The warmer months of the year (while plants are actively growing) is a good time to try your hand at tip cuttings for many shrubs; including natives. Cuttings don't need to be fertilised until they've grown roots, but they do need regular moisture in the soil. It's a balance between keeping soil too wet (as rot & fungus can be an issue) and too dry ~ but it's worth having a go. See our fact sheet here.
  • sunflowerProtect & persevere. The hot weather isn't over yet, so do keep an eye on the forecast and on really hot days provide some temporary shade (if you haven't got anything more permanent sorted for your garden). Your finger is the best moisture meter - use it! Check the soil moisture below the surface & below mulch from time to time and treat any particularly water repellent areas if plants are suffering.
  • Green manure. If you've got a summer crop that's spent; whack in some green manure; just make sure you water it well so it can germinate & grow quickly... then chop it back into the soil just before you do your Autumn/Winter planting. The sooner you can get it in, the more 'green' organic matter it can produce for you.  We sell 1kg packs for $13.50 - these are enough to treat about 20m2.  Check out our fact sheet here.

What to Plant Now

cauliflowerThere's still time to try for a crop of quick-growing summer vegies. Choose smaller cropping varieties towards the end of the season (eg. Sugarbaby Watermelon, Golden Nugget Pumpkin) - the theory being the smaller fruits mature faster. Things to still plant now include: Beans, Beetroot, Capsicum, Carrot, Celery, Chilli, Cucumber, Eggplant, Lettuce, Pumpkin, Rockmelon, Silverbeet, Sweetcorn, Sweet Potato, Tomato, Watermelon, Zucchini. Get them in sooner this month rather than later for one last crop.
If you're not ready for autumn planting but not wanting to nurture another summer crop - consider a green manure to grow quickly and turn into the soil before your winter seedlings go into the ground. 

Lots of people are asking for Garlic & Seed Potatoes already.  It's a little early to be planting them just now - but we'll keep you posted & may have more news next month, so check back in with us around mid March.

Your slow growing Brassica crops need to be planted (from seed) as soon as possible. Brussel Spouts don't tend to do well in Perth due to our warmer climate; but if you're in the hills or have the perfect spot - if you're wanting to give them a try now's the time. Cauliflower (pictured above) and Cabbage also do well if you get them off to an early start. Just remember that your ungerminated seeds and then tiny seedlings are vulnerable to heat for at least another month yet; so keep them somewhere protected and don't let them dry out.

sunflower sproutsIf you're yearning for fresh greens but sick of trying to keep leafy things like lettuce alive, consider a batch or two of nutritious microgreens.  (Sunflower sprouts pictured right) You can grow them in a sunny spot indoors or on a patio - and they're quick.  We have a range of microgreens seed available.  Check out our free fact sheet on Microgreens here.

For more 'when to sow' info for vegies & herbs - plus lots of other gardening info check out our FREE downloadable growing guides.

Planning for Autumn Gardening

With the change of season just around the corner, here's a few questions & tips to get you thinking:-

  • permaculture planWhat areas of your garden have been successful over summer?  What areas haven't been?  What is the difference between these areas?  Can you replicate the conditions of the successful area to help your garden survive next year?  Would you like a soil test done to check on any problem areas?
  • What areas need replenishing or replanting for Autumn?  What do you intend to plant out?  Are you needing new garden beds?  Or is  your garden too big?  How can you reduce the level of work & water you're currently providing?
  • soil pileWhat soil amendment(s) do you need to do prior to planting?  Do you need to improve water holding?  Or just nutrients?  Do you need to update/repair reticulation?
  • Are you growing new crops from seed?  Or are you buying established plants for your garden?  Have you researched varieties?  Do you need to order plants?  Planning ahead will mean you don't have to accept what's sitting on the nursery shelf; you'll have a wider choice.  Most nurseries would be happy to order in plants for you (and may even give you a better deal if you're looking at a larger order).
  • Plan your project in stages & avoid overwhelm.  It doesn't have to be done in one weekend.  Plan clearing the garden bed of old plants & debris, fixing retic, improving soil, planting, mulching as separate tasks and it will seem more manageable.  
  • garden crewDo you need help?  Gardeners & landscapers will be getting busier once it cools down and people are thinking about garden projects.  Ring around now to check prices & availability of reputable helpers, and book in ahead of time to avoid disappointment and any potential supply & demand price fluctuations.  Maybe check in with friends & relatives and 'bribe' them with a BBQ or meal and make it a social catch up too!  Interested in joining a Permaculture group?  Permablitzes can provide you with helpers - with the understanding that everybody pitches in and helps others in the group, too.  Many hands make light work.
  • WALDA logoDo you need inspiration?  Most landscape designers will offer cost effective on site visits to give you ideas and help you visualise the potential under your nose.  Whether you want a full plan drawn up, or some informal, verbal advice in a walk around - contact WALDA (Landscape Designers Assoc.) for help.  It doesn't need to be expensive; and you will save money in the long run by having a coherent vision to work towards. 

A new season around the corner brings the opportunity for a fresh start; so be ready for the cooler weather and embrace YOUR best Green Life!   

Recycling - we're in!  

recycling logoPart of the permaculture principles we like to live by and promote is recycling.  Waste reduction, composting - reducing our impact and reliance on the world's precious resources is something we all need to focus on.  As a business - we need to do that too, and we believe we can play a role in being a resource for people at the same time.

For some time now GLSC has been a recycling drop point for aluminium Nespresso capsules.  Now, don't get me started on what I personally think of these things - but if you ARE going to use them; please make sure the pods are recycled.  Aluminium is recyclable indefinitely - so it should never be sent to landfill.  (Hopefully the container reuse scheme coming this year will make a big impact on drink cans being recycled.  Manufacturing one new aluminium can from raw materials uses as much energy as does 20 new cans produced through recycling.)

label drop binWe're excited to now be a part of Labeldrop! We have a special bin in store where you can drop off plant labels, printed pot wraps & plant stakes that will be collected & recycled. This is a new local initiative with Labeldrop partnering with Precious Plastics to save them from going into landfill.  Precious Plastics is a world-wide initiative, often community based, this is their mission: Through education, engagement and participation, we will create behavioural changes and help our community to reduce, re-use and recycle their plastic consumption. Check out some of their cool stuff online.  The Margaret River group, for example, make and sell funky pots out of plastic lids (these are recyclable, but often NOT recycled by commercial recyclers).  

At our old premises, we had an unofficial community pot recycling system going...  which is something we'd like to extend this year.   If you have clean & reusable pots, please bring them in.  We have a crate you can deposit them in.  If you're looking for pots for a project - feel free to rummage and take what you need.  Check with your local council - MOST take clean pots; check the recycling code stamped underneath the pot (Usually PP5) and cross-reference to your Council's recycling information.

grow free trolleyWe've also started up a 'Grow Free' trolley.  At the moment - there's not much gardening related stuff on it (but bits & pieces we found in the move!).   We've got jars, egg cartons, a couple of nice drink bottles left over from workshops & never claimed, spare files, a heap of brand new tracing paper (don't ask) and some magazines...  Stuff that may be useful to somebody & too good to go in the bin.  As time goes on we will have more plant bits & pieces to add.  So in the meantime, if you have excess cuttings/seeds/excess produce - things you'd like to share with fellow gardeners, feel free to bring them in and leave them on the trolley. 

Did you know that most of our mineral products (those that we sell in tubs) can be bought by the kilo?  Bring back your tubs for a refill and save money AND packaging.  This initiative isn't new at GLSC - in fact, it earned us the honour of finalist in the 2012 WA Waste Authority's Infinity Awards program.  We believe we've saved thousands of single use plastic bags from landfill since then...  But the bags we use for our soils of course are still plastic (although they're made in Australia from about 40% recycled plastic material).  Buying bulk soil by the trailer load will of course save plastic - so why not get together with a friend and come on out to our yard?  

food cube imageSpeaking of recycled plastic - if you're looking for a wicking bed to buy off the shelf - come and check out the Foodcube - made in Australia from recycled plastic by Biofilta.  We've had these since before Christmas - but with the move, etc. haven't done any promotion...  However, we will be setting up some as a display garden in the near future, so watch this space!

We have always got our plastic use in mind - while we were awarded WA's small business awards for Sustainable Business in 2018 & 2019, there is always more to be done.  Stay tuned for some other exciting initiatives we have in the pipeline this year...   

VIP Special Offer

truck deliveryPhew...  February sure is HOT, and it's traditionally a little slow around these parts.  So, in order to keep us busy, and in order to help YOU prepare for a fabulously productive Autumn garden, we're giving you an incentive to book a bulk delivery of soil (or mulch).  Up until the end of February (close of business Saturday 29th February) - book and pay for a delivery and you'll get the delivery fee HALF PRICE.

Orders must be for a minimum of 1m3 to be eligible.

Depending on how far away you live, this can represent a pretty decent saving - so get onto it.  Bookings can be made ahead and scheduled anytime up to the end of March 2020.

Remember to ask for your VIP delivery special offer if booking in person/over the phone.  Unfortunately the nuances of our online shop don't allow us to do a discounted bulk delivery online without affecting other things in your cart - so best to flick through an email or call up to organise a delivery.

Any problems - please give us a shout.  Also - contact us if you've had a bulk delivery this month (we're sorry the newsletter is a little later than we'd have liked, so if you've missed out, we'll figure out a way to look after you for next time.)

Photo Contest Winner

CONGRATS to Althea Horn, from Mt Helena, who has won herself a $50 credit to spend with us - simply by sharing with us in photos the abundance of her lovely, green garden.  Sent in January, it just goes to show that even in the Perth Hills (where it gets really hot) with a bit of shadecloth & TLC you can have a thriving vegie patch.  This is what she had to say:-

"Feeling quite pleased with myself. All seedlings from Farrall Rd, plus the snake bean seeds you so kindly gave me. So thank you very much." 

So remember - send in a few pics of your garden, with a comment or two about what you're growing.  You can send via Facebook like Althea did, or email them to us with the subject line 'photo competition'.  There's someone picked every month - so send in pics as often as you like; you've got to be in it to win it!


altheas garden 1  altheas garden 2  Altheas garden 3 

Retail Stockists

bushfire picPlease support the local independent retailers who support us. They've got great local knowledge and are happy to help. (And remember 50¢ from every bag purchased at any of our retailers in January/February goes to support bushfire relief.)

All stockists carry different items (so give them a call and check!). If there's an item of ours they don't usually carry, in most cases they'd be very happy to add it to their next order for you.

Garden Elegance in Subiaco (for example) carries the following certified organic mixes:- Charlie Charcoal, Potting Mix, Vegie Mix, Vegie Concentrate, Blueberry Mix and our Rock Dust - so if you're in the Western Suburbs they're your closest stockist.

Beaufort Garden World - Inglewood 9271 0585
Garden Elegance - Subiaco 9381 2197
Guildford Town Garden Centre - Guildford 9279 8645
Nibali Stockfeed - Hamilton Hill 9433 2211
Stanbee Stockfeeds - Barragup 9581 2390
Thrive Sustainability - Lower Chittering 0408 157 301
Waldecks Bentley - Bentley 9458 5944
Waldecks Melville - Melville 9330 6970
Waldecks Kingsley - 9309 5088
Waldecks Stirling - 9254 6730
Zanthorrea Nursery - Maida Vale 9454 6260

Australind Landscaping Supplies 9796 1720
Busselton - U scape Garden Centre 9751 3995
Leschenault & Bunbury Markets - Fancy Plants Nursery 0428 844 597
Margaret River - Landmark 9758 7677

THANK YOU for being part of the Green Life family - we hope to see you soon in store (and here next month for the next newsletter - which we'll endeavour to get out earlier in the month) In the meantime - stay up to date with all the Green Life happenings by following us on Facebook and Instagram.

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