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Hello & welcome to SPRING!
Such a busy time in the garden & life seems to ramp up at this time of year too. It won't belong before we start seeing Christmas decorations in the shops - but between now & the traditional festive season, there's LOADS to do if you want to be harvesting fresh garden produce by then, and enjoying a healthy, green outdoor space over the summer - when you're entertaining outside and can really enjoy it. This month we hope to inspire you to get out there and get dirty!
We need YOUR help, Green Lifers!
This year, The Green Life Soil Co has entered the Centre for Organic Research & Education's Organic Consumers Choice Awards - we've entered under the "Organic Specialist". The awards are held annually as part of National Organic Awareness Week. We're up against a Queensland organic day spa - so we need your online vote to win (after all, with Queensland getting the AFL grandfinal - do they need this as well?!!) So please - take a second and click on this link. You'll need to enter a valid email address, and there's only one vote per person for each category allowed. Voting is open from 7th September to midnight (AEST) Friday 9th October. THANK YOU for your support - we really appreciate it! Here's the link: https://www.organicweek.net.au/core/organic-consumer-choice-awards/online-voting/ (choose 'Organic Specialist' from their list)
And at GLSC - we've got some good news from one of our Team members. Brody, our Production Manager, and his partner Sharna, welcomed their new baby daughter into the world early September. (Pictured right) Welcome, Alyse! We wish you all every happiness - and lots of sleep. :-D
If you're looking to expand your fruiting garden this Spring, Joe Tassone (Tass 1 Trees - right next door) is having his auction on Saturday, 19th September. There's always a few bargains to be had, so come on down and check out his range and come and say Hi to us @ GLSC.
And one more event - if you're wanting to head down to Nannup for the Flower & Garden Festival (this year held over several weeks Aug/Sept) - Paul & I are doing a talk on 'Secrets of the Soil' at Holberry House Sunday, 13th September - places are still available. Click on this link for more info/bookings.
In this newsletter:
It's SPRING - so there are soooooo many things that you can plant at the moment! The trick is always timing - the weather will still be unpredictable for a while, with (hopefully) some rainy days & cool nights... If you're growing from seed, remember temperature of the SOIL is key - so it is still quite early to be planting out many summer crops. If you're wanting to grow from seed, I'd recommend planting out in trays or punnets at the moment - so you can move them around and molly-coddle them. Start off a few seeds every couple of weeks (rather than planting out a whole packet at once!) - that way you hedge your bets and will jag the right time eventually.
Each week now we'll have more varieties becoming available in our seedling range - so if you're time poor, this may be the best option for you. Here's some ideas as to what you can plant now (remember to see our FREE downloadable guides on our website - click here!)
Asparagus, Artichokes Jerusalem and Globe, Asian greens, Beans, Beetroot, Broccoli*, Cabbage*, Capsicum, Chilli, Carrots, Celery, Chives, Corn, Cucumber, Dill, Eggplant, Fennel, Kale*, Lettuce, Onion, Parsnip, Peas, Potato, Pumpkin, Radish, Rhubarb, Rocket, Silverbeet, Snow pea, Spring onion, Strawberries, Sweet corn, Tomato, Turnip, Zucchini.
* Brassicas will grow in Perth into Spring/Summer, provided conditions are suitable. Be aware increased pest pressure over the warmer months is likely; are you prepared to net your vegies or deal with cabbage butterflies, for example?
Start spring seeds off in a good quality seed raising mix (like our Certified Organic one!). It's fine to re-use recycled pots and punnets. Ideally, soak them in warm water with a dash of household bleach, give them a good scrub to remove any dirt, and allow them to dry in the sun. Keep your sown seeds in a warm spot, making sure the soil's surface doesn't dry out completely.We've got a free fact sheet on growing from seed - so check it out for more tips & tricks for success. Like it? Share it!
This pest (native to the Eastern States of Australia) was first discovered in Perth in 2013, and unfortunately has been spreading since - despite efforts by gardeners and the Ag Department to eradicate it. If you grow any citrus fruit, keep an eye on the stems of your trees for swollen lumps (or galls) - as this is a sign that your tree has been attacked.
The main method of control is pruning out the affected branches and shredding, solarising or burning the off-cuts to make sure the larvae contained in the galls are destroyed (if composted, there's a chance they can survive). The best time to inspect and prune off galls is April to June. About now, in Spring, the larvae will emerge from the galls and begin their life as adults. Holes in the galls indicate that has already happened, and you're too late.
The problem is that cutting off the affected branches can seriously reduce the size of your tree - many people are complaining that after a few seasons of the cycle, their citrus are reduced to sticks - not really helpful if you're attempting to harvest fruit! Recently, on Gardening Australia, Jane Edmonson shared a segment that suggested taking to the galls with a potato peeler could help. By attacking one side of the gall only and opening up the holes where the larvae are exposed, they'll die. Don't ringbark the branch, or the branch will die! Click on this link to view the clip & see their fact sheet.
It is also suggested not to feed your tree in early Spring - encouraging lots of sappy new growth forms the ideal habitat for the wasp - so delay feeding a few months, or else feed little and often throughout the year rather than a huge spring feed. Pruning time is a little contraversial too - for the same reason. (Pictured right - traps put in place as part of Ag Dept monitoring in Bassendean.)
Other ways people try to deal with the wasp include yellow sticky traps - but be aware you may also catch beneficial insects; so don't leave the traps in the trees for longer than a few weeks at the time of emergence.
While doing some research into Citrus Gall Wasp, we learnt that people overseas and over east have been having success using a fine grade kaolin clay as a spray. Traditionally, this treatment (which dries to form a white coating on the tree) is used for sunburn & heat stress protection by orchardists on young trees. Then it was discovered it helps with some insect attack, too. The coating seems to discourage insects from chewing on the foliage (it gums up their mouthparts) and makes it less ideal for the citrus gall wasp to lay eggs through. Spraying the clay every couple of weeks from early September through to Mid October seems to be useful in preventing attack. (Obviously - avoid using just before rain. Because the spray leaves a white residue, it is easy to see how much is still in place and effective.) Trials in NSW have shown that both the number and size of the galls is significantly reduced (70 - 90% according to the interwebs).
Additionally, the spray can be used to assist young fruit trees (avocado springs to mind) to help them through their first couple of summers; and also on tomato and capsicum crops to prevent sunburn/scorching on the fruit. It doesn't stop plants from photosynthesising, and it will simply wash off when you're ready to harvest! There's information online that shows the spray may also help with other insect pests (leaf hoppers, stink bugs, leaf miners, thrip), as well as powdery mildew.
We've sourced some fine grade kaolin clay (so fine - it's normally used in paper & ceramics manufacture) and have packaged it up for the home gardener. It's a natural product, containing no chemicals. The clay is so fine it mixes easily with water, but will settle out again. So we suggest mixing it thoroughly and using immediately. Rinse out your spray equipment straight away to prevent clogging. But that's it! Simple and safe to use - and HOPEFULLY highly effective in reducing the damage to your citrus trees.
500gms will make 10L of spray at full strength (half strength applications are recommended for subsequent applications to top up effectiveness) - so a little goes a long way. 500gms/$9.95.
If your trees are affected, by Citrus Gall Wasp, please do report it to the Ag Department (they recommend you use the FREE Mypest App to do so) - as they're actively monitoring the spread and working with home owners to eradicate what they can.
This month for our in-store customers only, we're offering 20% off our herbs & seedlings - perfect timing to get your summer vegie garden started.
Please remember to ask our team for the VIP discount when you're making your seedling purchase.
Online customers - we haven't left you out! Use the discount code SEPTVIP at checkout to receive a $10 discount on any order placed over $200. Please note - you'll need to add this in the 'discount' box at checkout; and it is CASE SENSITIVE.
Offers are only valid until COB Wednesday, 30th September 2020.
You may remember last month I did an article on Vertical Gardens - and asked whether any Green Lifers had success or tips to share? Well, this month's winner definitely answered the call - sending in photos of his garden that you can see below.
Jason from Wembley Downs (where the garden cops some salt laden sea breeze) said this about his garden:
Hii - I enjoyed your piece on vertical gardens and wanted to share my experience.
Despite much of the difficulties mentioned with growing a vertical garden in Perth we have managed to achieve a spectacular feature to look at from our living room with not too much ongoing effort on our part. The few key tips to success that we have found which we would like to share are:
1. Plant choice was key and specifically the order in which they were placed. Initially we had a diagonal pattern of red from the bromeliads but found that this simply did not work. After a rearrange we haven't had any issues
2. Our wall is on a south facing wall, so most of the plants are shaded from the harshest parts of the Perth sun during summer (except our bromeliads and succulents which love it at the top)
3. Water every day or every second day - our retic is only set to 1-2min each day but this ensures they always retain sufficient moisture
4. Soil choice is also key - we used green life co general mix but this has served us well
5. Last but not least, plant 2 to 3 of the same type per pot to limit size and hence limit how often they need to be replaced or split
(and in a follow up email - he said:) I forgot to mention one last tip that has helped...peahay! It has provided the plants enough nutrients (we don't regularly fertilise or apply seaweed solutions) and retains the moisture through summer.
Congratulations James! You've won a $50 voucher to spend with us @ Green Life! Next month it could be YOU. Send in your pics via email or share to our FB page & you're in the running.
New to gardening & not sure what you can grow at this time of year? Time poor and wish somebody would just organise it for you? The Harvest Club is for you! An initiative between Leesa (The Greenhouse Organic - our seed/seedling supplier) and GLSC. It's a seasonal kit in a box - we've selected 10 easy grow seasonal seed varieties & combined it with 30 biodegradable seedraising pots, our Certified Organic seedrasing mix, a small packet of kelp/soluable fertiliser to give them a little boost along for the important first weeks, and - perhaps most importantly - detailed notes on germination and growing your vegies/herbs from seed. We're planning on using social media to do our own weekly updates and provide help & support if people have issues along the way. The boxes are $60, and this includes postage. If you're interested (or know of someone who might be) please share the website for more info/ordering details. www.harvestclub.com.au
Please support your local independent retailer who supports us! There's nothing like local knowledge, and these retailers have it in spades.
Beaufort Garden World - Inglewood 9271 0585