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march headerWelcome to Autumn - well, officially anyway!  In the Nyoongar calendar, we're still in Birak - or 2nd summer.  Their knowledge of the land and how it changes with the seasons is quite accurate - we know there's usually some hot days in March.  However, I'm sure you've noticed that the days are getting shorter, and the angle of the sun is changing ever so slightly.  We can tell we're on the cusp of a change.  Gardeners get quite excited in Autumn - it is a FABULOUS time to be growing!  

Hopefully this newsletter can give you some ideas & inspiration to get you out there.  If your garden hasn't been so successful over summer, it's time to take heart and have another go.  With milder conditions things don't need as much assistance/interference to thrive - and for busy people it's a bonus!

Thank you to everyone who contacted us last month to touch base about the recent fires - it was lovely to hear from so many of you.  Our thoughts go out to many who are trying to rebuild their lives/homes/fencing.  You may not be aware - but the bushfire advice is STILL active all these weeks later, and even after rain.  Apparently smouldering tree roots underground and falling trees are still flaring up in some areas, and work is being done to ensure people are safe.  There's been an army of Western Power workers on the job too - restoring damaged power poles and lines is a huge task.  Let's hope for everyone's sake that the remaining hot weather causes no further issues with fires.

garlicAutumn means time to plant - each week we've got more seedling varieties coming on line; and a new seed order from Eden Seeds is imminent.  We have received our first batch of Certified Organic Garlic (Italian Purple) to sell; and also  conventionally grown (Rojo).  Seed potatoes are also not far away - so for all you early birds who are keen to get growing - make sure you come in soon!  Thankfully supplies are a little easier for seeds & seedlings this year (compared to the sheer craziness that last March brought with it!) so no panic buying required!  If you're new to gardening we've got some good tips right here on our website to get you started.

This month there's some information about a pest that's causing problems throughout Perth at the moment (particularly among Rose growers) - the Chilli Thrip.  Unfortunately it doesn't only attack chillis or roses (a wide range of precious edible plants are also at risk!) - so it's definitely one to keep an eye on.

Also this month Leesa has another article for us - focussing on the herb Mugwort.  This is a little known herb (with traditional and medicinal uses) related to Wormwood.  Leesa is running an online herb course - there's details below of that if you'd like to learn more, and as GLSC customers, you get a discount on the cost, too

So until next month - happy gardening, and we look forward to seeing you soon!.
From Linda and the team @ GLSC

In this newsletter:

Jobs to do in the March garden
What to plant NOW
VIP special offer
Chilli Thrip
Mugwort - What is it?
Photo competition
Retailer update

March Jobs in your garden

  • soil in handsPrep your soil! Where you intend to plant your winter vegies, get some OM (organic matter) into the soil. This could be your own compost, or some aged manure, or you can try our Vegetable Concentrate - which is made exactly for this purpose of enriching your sandy/depleted soil. If soil is particularly difficult to wet, use a good quality wetting agent (like Eco-wet), and look at incorporating more clay to assist with water holding next summer. Charlie Charcoal is also fabulous for helping gardens hold onto nutrients and moisture. We already use clay and Charlie in our mixes - but both are available as separate products if you choose to do your own amendments.
  • Check your compost. It's time to get it into your garden. If it's not quite ready (and you're not ready to use it) give it a good turn, maybe add water (if it's a bit dry) and get it cooking away for another week or two. You can dig in immature compost and it will continue to break down in the soil - but don't plant directly into it; instead use a few handfuls of a good quality potting mix to put around your seeds/seedlings so they can get established.
  • green manureGrow a green manure crop. Early Autumn is a great time to throw in some green manure seeds, which you can allow to grow for as long as you like before turning it through the soil. This is an inexpensive way to add organic matter to the soil (just remember the longer it grows, the more OM you get to 'harvest'). Just remember to slash it or dig it through before it sets seeds.Our green manure packs contain a wide variety of plant types - the theory is no matter what the conditions are in your garden, something is going to thrive and produce for you.  1kg will cover up to 20m2 (pack pictured right).  
  • Pumpkin & Zucchini might be showing signs of powdery mildew as the nights are getting cooler. This is quite normal and signifies the plant is nearing the end of its seasonal lifespan. You can spray with milk & water (1:9) every couple of days to help slow down the spread; but apart from that avoid overhead watering and keep nurturing the plant to help the last fruit reach maturity.  At the end of the season, pick off new flowers to get the plant to concentrate its energy into fruit that is already forming.
  • Save seeds! If plants have been great performers in your garden this summer, leave some fruit to mature and collect the seed to use next year (provided of course you have grown non-hybrid varieties). Remember to allow seed to dry (remove pulp, etc) and store in something like a paper bag or recycled envelope and correctly label it (your future self will thank you!). Store seed in a cool, dark place where mice can't find it! Seeds are very precious - so why not use the resource nature is providing you. 
  • seed sowingSow your seeds. While it's time to save your summer seeds, it's time to be planting your winter crops.  Use seedling trays (or recycle punnets/small pots - just give them a really good scrub first and leave out in the sun to dry).  This gives you a little more flexibility to move trays around and nurse them if we have any hot/dry spells.  Check out our top tips for growing from seed right here.  
  • Order bare rooted trees. If you're looking at planting either fruiting or ornamental trees over winter, now's the time to get some advice, and order what you're needing. Our friends at Guildford Town Garden Centre will be able to help you, and by putting your name down now, you won't miss out on popular varieties. A good nursery will be able to advise you on ideal location, whether you need a pollinator (for fruiting trees), how suited the variety is to your local conditions, and how large the tree will eventually grow. All things you need to consider BEFORE you buy. A tree is a fabulous asset to your home, and should be treated as an investment - something to treasure, but not rush into without due consideration.

What to Plant NOW

growing guideOooooh, so many things to choose from in Autumn! Check out our when to plant guides (there's one on vegies and one on herbs), plus there's also an extended e-guide 'Top 12 Edible plants for Autumn/Winter' - all are FREE to download.  If you're new to gardening, the Top 12 guide has come very useful info; looking in-depth at popular winter vegies. (Any trouble with downloads?  There's some behind-the-scenes website work going on at the moment which has caused the odd hiccup - so let us know if you have any issues, and we can send you info.)

A quick list to consider planting includes:

Artichokes (globe), Asian greens, Beetroot, Beans (runner beans & broad beans), Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Coriander, Endive, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leek, Lettuce, Onion, Parsley, Peas, Parsnip, Radish, Rocket, Silverbeet, Snow peas, Spinach, Spring onions, Swede, Turnip.

Plus - it's sooo close to Garlic & Potato season! Our seed potatoes will be in stock this week, and we have Certified Organic Italian Pink garlic available, and conventionally grown Rojo garlic .   (Click on the words 'garlic' and 'potatoes' to access our free fact sheets.)

VIP Special Offer

fish hydroIt's definitely time to get gardening - so I hope with this month's VIP offer, you'll be out there soon, showing your garden some love!  This month as our VIP special offer, we've got our awesome Fish Hydrolysate 1L FREE - with any purchase over $100.

So if booking a delivery, coming into store - simply ask our team members for your VIP special offer & grab some free fish hydro.   If making an online order - please add your request to the delivery notes section of your order.

If you've not used it before, it's a fabulous fertiliser for your winter crops (and everything else!). Fish hydrolysate is concentrated, and when diluted can be used ideally as soil fertliser, and added to compost piles or worm farms. It contains a wide spectrum of major nutrients and trace elements in organic, plant available form. It is suitable for all soils, crops, ornamentals, trees and vegetables.

Valid to close of business Saturday 3 April 2021.  Limit of one per customer.

Pest Profile - Chilli Thrip (Scirtothrips dorsalis)

chilli thrip dpirdConditions this year seem to have favoured the explosion of Chilli Thrip - a small, sap-sucking insect native to south-east Asia, but now found throughout much of the world - including Perth!  They are known to attack a wide range of plants including Chilli, Strawberries, Mangos, Blueberries, Citrus, Passionfruit, Sweet Potato, Asparagus, Bananas, Silverbeet, Grapes and Roses and many other ornamental plants.  The insects themselves are tiny (1-2mm long) so often go undetected, and are hard to correctly ID without a very good magnifying glass.  Eggs are microscopic.  The tiny adults are usually pale in colour with darker wings.  They prefer young growth, so are active usually around the growing tips of your plants.  The damage they do appears as distorted/puckered leaves with bronze patches, silvering off of leaves (similar to spider mite), and distorted flowers (in the case of Roses, where they attack the buds when forming).  The damage they do can be unsightly, but in enough numbers the Chilli Thrip can weaken a plant to the point it dies, and certainly make it more susceptible to heat/water stress and other diseases.  The thrips themselves can spread pathogens between plants (including Tomato Wilt Virus).    The photo above shows damaged roses.  (Photo courtesy of DPIRD, WA)

Their life cycle is about 2 weeks; so their numbers can build up very quickly in ideal conditions (females can lay up to 200 eggs in their lifetime).  Hot nights seem to be a factor in their breeding.   Eggs are laid within the leaf tissue, and the nymphs will feed on your plants.  Pupation can take place in crevices on the plant, under flower calyxes and also among leaf litter in the ground.

How to deal with Chilli Thrip.

chilli thripTrim off the affected leaves/growing tips/buds from your plants, and drop them straight away into a plastic bag.  Seal, and dispose of in the bin.  Chilli Thrips do have natural predators - like lacewings, predatory mites and wasps; and there are soil borne predatory nematodes that feed on pupae.  However, if you have an infestation and want to deal with it before it spreads elsewhere in your garden, organic treatments include neem sprays, potassium soap sprays, spinosad sprays are worth trying; but may need repeat treatments done at least weekly.  Once you're on top of numbers, as a preventative/discouragement a good squirt with your hose (up and under the leaves) to wet down the plant will make conditions less favourable for them, as thrips prefer dry conditions.  Numbers will start to build up again in Spring - so preventative treatment (and a close eye on your plants) will be helpful.  Mark your gardening diary to start looking for signs around September.  (Photo credit: photo by Lyle Buss, Department of Entomology and Nematology, University of Florida)

Herb in Focus - Mugwort (article by Leesa Caldwell)

mugwort 1Common name: Mugwort
Botanical Name: Artemisia vulgaris
Parts Used: Leaves and Roots


Traditional Chinese Medicine: Mugwort goes by the name Ai Ye
Herbal Actions: Anti-viral, Anti-bacterial, emmenagogue, stomachic, Choleretic, anthelmintic, diaphoretic, diuretic, Nervine
Energetics: Bitter, acrid, warm
Body Systems: Spleen, Liver, Kidney, Digestive System, Female Reproductive system

History (short version)

The history of Mugwort is fascinating. Artemisia, the Latin botanical name of Mugwort comes from the name of the Greek Moon goddess, Artemis. The moon, as a guiding light of the night, hints at mugwort’s abilities to enhance dreams. Over centuries mugwort has been admired for its magical, mystical, and spiritual uses, especially for clairvoyance and warding off evil energy. Herbalist Scott Kloos says that mugwort leaves in all forms – tea, tincture, smoke, or even hung above the bed or placed under the pillow – promote vivid dreams and help uncover, access, and transform areas of psychic unconsciousness. Regardless of the lack of research-based studies, this unique plant continually shows up in many different anecdotes and literature across time.

It also has a long history of being used as a smudge to clear negative energy from a space. In acupuncture, mugwort is used in moxibustion, a method of heating specific acupuncture points on the body by burning dried mugwort close to the skin. This technique is sometimes done alone or in combination with acupuncture.

Growing conditions

Mugwort thrives in well drained moist to dry sandy soil and prefers sunny position in your garden. If it happens to get a bit of shade throughout the day that is fine as well. It can tolerate many soil conditions, including alkaline soil with a pH range of 4.8 – 8.2.

I have Mugwort growing on my property and it can become invasive. I use it a lot as I make my own medicine and herbal tea, so to me Mugwort is not a weed, but if you don’t use it to much it can become a nuisance.
The root system is a mass of short, stout, horizontal, branched rhizomes from which adventitious roots are produced. This is how it can become invasive, very much like the mint family, the rhizomes are the main way by which mugwort reproduces.

Description

mugwortYoung leaves are opposite (2 leaves per node), rounded, unlobed, woolly underneath and attached to the stem by way of a long leaf stalk. The erect stems are 60cm – 2m tall and angular with longitudinal ridges or grooves. Colour ranges from green to green with purple ridges to entirely purple.

Mature Leaves are alternate (1 leaf per node) with smooth, dark green upper surface and a lower surface that appears silvery due to white-woolly hairs. The Leaves on the lower part of the stem are divided into 3 or 4 unequal, pointed lobes with coarsely toothed edges that are divided into even smaller segments. Each flower is composed of many yellowish disk flowers clustered onto a flat head that is about 2.5mm wide.  (On my plants, I can see the buds forming now.   When the flowers do appear, I will be making some beautiful flower essence.)

The plants have a certain magical “silver-glow” about them, almost as if charged permanently by the moonlight. Mugwort was thought to be named after the Greek moon goddess, Artemis, which is where the referencing to the moon comes from.

Mugwort has a bit of a nap in the colder months but come spring new sprigs appear and are soft and slightly furry to the touch – when rubbed between the fingers just a bit they are left smelling incredibly pungent with a sage like aroma, mixed with an earthy richness that uplifts, and sparks the spirit.

Harvesting

The best time to collect mugwort is right before its very tiny flower buds open, which is normally in late summer. Clip the tall stalks so that you are harvesting the upper third of the plant. Hang a bundle of the stalks upside down to dry.

How to use Mugwort

There are many different ways to use mugwort in herbal preparations – from topical to internal and inhalation. The most common ways to ingest mugwort is by making a cold or hot infusion or taking a tincture.

Topically Mugwort is used to address fungal infections on the skin. It can be applied topically as a tea, vinegar tincture or as a compress/poultice, and infused in oil to be used on the body or turned into a salve. A liniment can be applied to relieve itching, fungus or other skin infections and can be used for general skin healing of bug bites and stings, etc. Because of the pungent aromatic compounds in mugwort the scent is believed to repel insects and ticks. If you make your own Insect repellent, Mugwort would be a great addition.

Mugwort has been traditionally used to soothe anxiety due to its calming nature. Medicinally, Mugwort is well known as a bitter and digestive aid. It has been used to treat stomach disorders and improve digestion, while also having antifungal and antimicrobial properties. For arthritis, pain, swelling, aches etc. you can add mugwort tea to a footbath or a salt blend soak.

Mugwort acts strongly on the female system, increasing circulation to warm up the uterus and pelvic region, move the blood, remove stagnant blood – the source of cramps, stiffness and pain – can regulate hormone levels and is used as a general menstrual cramp regulator.

Caution

Leesa picMugwort is a uterine stimulant so if you are pregnant or wanting to fall pregnant you should avoid Mugwort altogether. Mugwort is potentially allergenic to people who are sensitive to plants in the Asteraceae family.

(Note - Herbs can affect how your body responds to prescription medication.  Always check with your Doctor or qualified medical specialist before ingesting herbal remedies.)

If you would like to learn more about Mugwort we have an “Herbal Folklore Study Group” which is studying Mugwort for the month of March. Each week you will be sent an email where we go through different use of Mugwort including recipes for you to practice that week. To find out more you can go to my web page. (Note:  use this link to get a 15% discount off the standard price - exclusive to GLSC customers.)   https://oaktreeherbalclinic.com.au/discount/Green%2520Life  

About Leesa

Leesa (pictured right)  is a qualified Naturopath, Master Herbalist, Nutritionist and Aromatherapist. She grows a range of edible and medicinal vegetables and herbs under her business “The Greenhouse Organic” – available at The Green Life Soil Co. You can visit her web page at www.oaktreeherbalclinic.com.au and www.thegreenhouseorganic.com.au

Photo Competition

Mike's gardenEach month we select someone who has sent in a photo (or photos) from their garden to win a $50 credit to spend with us @GLSC.  To be in the running, send in your picture(s) and a brief note about your garden and what you're growing and what you love about it.  We all love to get inspiration from what other people are doing, and learn from their successes (and failures) to help us in our own garden.

This month, I'd like to thank Mike Bullard from Willetton, who was kind enough to send in a testimonial:-

"We started gardening in the front yard in november. After a couple of big mistakes, we found you guys. You listened and gave great advice. We've now got good soil, right pH and we're harvesting a range of veggies everyday, just 3 months later. Thanks heaps. We sit in the garden every evening, it's a source of great satisfaction and regular conversations with neighbours. Guess who we recommend they contact???"

We love hearing how people are seeing their gardens thrive, and sharing the joy with friends and neighbours.  That's really what gardening's about, isn't it?  I can see so many productive plants in Mike's photo - so it shows that you don't need a massive space to enjoy growing some of your own food.

Thanks again Mike!  If you'd like to be in the running next month, email in your photos (or send via Facebook) with the title 'photo competition' - good luck!

Retailer Update


Please support your local independent retailer who supports us! The specialist retailers listed here will be happy to give you gardening advice and help you with our products - please call to check what lines they carry.

soils busseltonBeaufort Garden World - Inglewood 9271 0585
Evergreen Studio - North Beach 0419 091 095
Garden Elegance - Subiaco 9381 2197
Guildford Town Garden Centre - Guildford 9279 8645
Hass & Co Botanics (Indoor Potting Mix) - Leederville 0414001017
Nibali Stockfeed - Hamilton Hill 9433 2211
Richo's 4 Hydro - Joondalup 9301 4462
Stanbee Stockfeeds - Barragup 9581 2390
Swan Valley Station - Swan Valley 0427 371 001 
Tass1 Trees - Middle Swan 0419 988 344
Thrive Sustainability - Lower Chittering 0408 157 301
Urban Revolution - Victoria Park 6102 1068
Waldecks Bentley - Bentley 9458 5944
Waldecks Kingsley - 9309 5088
Waldecks Stirling - 9254 6730
Zanthorrea Nursery - Maida Vale 9454 6260

Ardess Nursery (Albany) 9842 9952
Australind Landscaping Supplies 9796 1720
Blossoms Nursery (Denmark) 9848 2014
Boyup Brook Co-op (Boyup Brook) 9765 1001
Margaret River - Nutrient Ag Solutions (formerly Landmark) 9758 7677
Soils Ain't Soils (Busselton) 97515 322

On a recent mini-break down south, we called into Busselton's Soils Ain't Soils store (pictured above right) and met the lovely Emma.  The store has a decent nursery attached, and it's a thriving hidden gem.  While were were disappointed that U-scape closed down, it's good to know Green Lifers in the South West still have a great place to visit (and stock up on GLSC goodies!)  So if you're a local, or a visitor passing through, why not stop in and say hello?  They're open 7 days.

Remember all stockists carry different items - 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.

Know of anywhere in your area that you'd like to stock our products? Let us know (as well as letting THEM know!) and we'd be happy to approach them.

Remember to keep an eye on our Facebook and Instagram pages for news & updates regularly.

THANK YOU for being part of the Green Life family - stay safe, stay healthy & keep gardening!





 

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