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july templateHello and welcome to July - wow, what a start...  We’ve passed the Winter Solstice so days are getting longer.  We've had another lock down, freezing cold temperatures and...  RAIN!!  So. much. rain.  I know we need it, but it tends to scare the customers away!!!  And we've had a number of frosts up our way already - with a few ornamental plants suffering as a result, but they're hanging in with new growth coming through.  

When you venture back out into the garden, we'd really love to see you @ GLSC and we'd really value your support.  It's been a very quiet few weeks so come and keep us busy!!!  We've got a fabulous VIP offer this month to kickstart your garden for Spring - details below.  And WE NEED YOUR HELP in another way, Green Lifers!  We've put together a survey for GLSC customers, and we'd love to know what you think of us.  It will help us greatly improve our products and service.  It's up to you if you'd like to answer anonymously; or if you're ok leaving your details, you could WIN a $25 voucher to spend with us (we've got 4 to give away).  Click on this link which will take you to the survey:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GLSC2021

hills garden groupPaul & I have been busy these last few weeks presenting talks; we visited the Kalamunda Community Garden, we had the Hills Gardening Group visit us (pictured right), then we went and visited the Piney Lakes Community Garden down at Murdoch. It’s always great to chat to gardeners and give them a little more insight into what we do (and why we do it!).

It's been a LONG time coming; but you will soon see some changes to GLSC's website.  Hopefully it'll be easier for customers to find either products or information they’re looking for.  When launched in the next couple of weeks, we’d love to know what you think of how it works for you (the buzzword is “CX – customer experience!”) and what you think of the updated look. If you happen to find bugs; please let us know. Despite rigorous testing there’s bound to be something we miss… It will also mean that you'll need to reset your password to log into the members' section; unfortunately for security there's no way this information can be accessed and transferred from our end.  

This month we've got lots of tips & tricks for winter gardening in Perth... we hope you're inspired to get out and get busy; at least between the showers!

survey promoSee you soon @ The Green Life Soil Co 

Linda & the team

Jobs to do in the July garden (and school holidays)

  • rosesPrune your roses & deciduous fruit trees. It's always a bit difficult to say exactly WHEN it's pruning time in Perth - but have a look at your plants and see if you think they're telling you it's time! There's plenty of workshops, YouTube tutorials and articles on pruning - have a look at a few if you lack confidence - but the most important thing is to keep in mind the size and structure of how you're wanting the plant to grow. For fruiting trees, it makes sense to keep the branches at a suitable height for picking fruit, or netting fruit; and to keep the structure as open as possible for sunlight & airflow. It pays to be aware of whether your trees will fruit on new wood or 2nd season wood to maximise crops. However - if a tree has been neglected and NEEDS trimming back you may have to wear one season's lack of fruit for future benefit of better yields.
  • Plant your bare rooted fruit (or ornamental) trees.  Nurseries have just been delivered their stock so go & have a chat to choose the best for your needs.
  • Get ready to spray for peach leaf curl if your nectarines and peaches suffered from this last year. It's a bit early yet - but get hold of your treatments and make it part of your garden routine to check on your susceptible fruit trees regularly. There is a window of opportunity to spray in late winter as the buds are just about to burst with new growth; you don't want to miss it.  Wait for a couple of dry days before spraying.
  • rhubarbPlant rhubarb & asparagus. We're still to receive our stock - but it will be here soon!! Get the ground ready by digging in lots of aged compost/manure (or some of our vegie concentrate) and let it settle. Stay up to date with our Facebook page for the announcement of when stock arrives. Hopefully by the end of the month.
  • Watch for yellowing on your citrus trees. It's very common in Perth and usually is nothing to worry about; it tends to be seasonal in cold weather. Here's a link to our fact sheet on citrus care for further reading. Wait until early spring to give them a proper feed with trace elements (we recommend our Rocky Rock Dust) and some good compost or general concentrate.
  • Select and prepare for your spring vegies. Order seeds for things you'd like to grow; and if you're really keen - you could perhaps start a few off in trays. It may be a bit early but that's the gardener's gamble. Sowing a few seeds every couple of weeks means that you'll hit the 'sweet spot' sometime when the weather is just right for planting out.  Not sure what to grow?  Check out our free spring/summer vegie guide.
  • Lift & divide perennials. Now's a great time to tidy up things like day lilies, agapanthus, etc, and divide plants that are getting a bit big - bonus; free plants for you to use elsewhere in your garden or to give away. Also herbs like chives, mint, etc. will benefit from being rejuvenated and divided.
  • Feed your winter vegies. Keep your producing vegies going with weekly or fortnightly weak doses of liquid fertiliser - especially your leafy green crops. If you've got spring flowering bulbs growing - give them a feed too (potash is a good option) to encourage a lovely show of flowers.
  • white oyster mushroomsGet growing indoors. Don't let winter stop you from bringing out your green thumb! Grow some indoor plants, experiment with microgreens, or grab yourself a mushroom kit. They're highly productive and easy to use - a great little holiday project for the kids!  We've just got in NEW locally made kits from The FunGuy @ $30.00 each (pictured right).
  • Start a worm farm.  A great way to turn your kitchen scraps into 'black gold' - a useful way to build your soil health.  It's something kids get really interested in, so involve them in the process.  Worms make easier pets than many other creatures, too - they don't need to be fed every day.  We've got fact sheets on keeping worms & another on using their castings...  click on highlighted text for the links.  
  • bean leaf roll virusSomething we've seen a bit in the last few years is people asking why the growing tips of their Board Bean plants are curling upwards and looking stunted & a little deformed. (Pictured right) It’s Bean Leafroll Virus - spread mainly by aphids, it causes twisted, curled growing tips and can effect bean production by about 50% or more. The good news is, it isn't spread from seed or soil - so if your bean plants are displaying symptoms, you have the choice of ripping them out or seeing how well they do (my recommendation). Destroy the plants after they've cropped, and if you save your seed, it will be interesting to see how next year's crop fares... Keep an eye out for any sign of pests/aphids and jump on it ASAP.
  • Respond to our survey!  :-D  Here's the link (again)  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GLSC2021

What to plant now

globe artichokeSome things you can plant in your garden NOW are:-

Artichokes (globe [pictured right] & Jerusalem types), Asparagus, Beetroot, Broad Beans, Broccoli, Cabbage, Celery, Celeriac, Coriander, Endive, English Spinach, Kale, Kohl Rabi, Lettuce, Mint, Onion, Parsley, Peas, Potatoes, Radish, Rhubarb, Silverbeet, Snow Pea, Spring Onion, Strawberries, Turnip.

It's a little borderline now whether you can grow winter crops from seed... it's always worth a try if you're feeling lucky! Otherwise, look for healthy seedlings to plant out. You'll be saving yourself 4-6 weeks minimum, so you'll be picking your crops sooner. If Spring (and hot weather) is early - you'll want to make sure you get a harvest asap. Another tip is to select dwarf or small growing varieties - they tend to fruit quicker as they don't have to spend as long growing to their maximum size before flowering.

Check out our FREE downloadable 'When to Plant in Perth' guide here. We've got one for vegies & another for herbs ~ as well as heaps more info on individual vegies, natural pest control, building healthy soil and SO much more!!! If you're stuck inside due to inclement weather - spend some time and explore what we've got for you (click on the 'learning centre' tab).

asparagusWe're expecting Rhubarb & Asparagus crowns to arrive about mid/end July. Please give us a call (or keep an eye on our Facebook page) to confirm stock has arrived.
(Click on the highlighted text for growing guides on these great perennial plants.)

New products & July VIP Special offers (yep - there's more than one!)

truck deliveryDiscounted Delivery - until the end of July 2021

Book and pay for any bulk delivery over 2m3 before the end of July to receive $25 off the delivery price.  

Depending on whereabouts you are; that's probably between 25% - 50% off the normal cost of delivery!

Valid for residential customers only (must be booked & paid by 31.7.21); and deliveries must be scheduled by the end of August.  Remember to ask for your delivery discount.
You can book your delivery in store or over the phone (9250 4575) - give us a call to discuss your gardening plans, so we can recommend your best option.  

Bulk Worm Castings  -  Limited Offer for VIP's

worm castings bagWe were recently approached by a commercial worm farmer who had excess castings; we've bought a small bulk load and we have it available by the scoop, and we've bagged some of it into 20L bags (pictured right) - so if you're looking for a great way to add minerals, microbes & water holding ability to your soil; this may be a great option for you. Try steeping a cup of castings in a bucket of water. Allow to steep for a day then drain off the liquid to use as a liquid tonic for your garden. 

20L bags are $50 (or buy 2 for $75).*  By the scoop; it's $120 for our VIP customers (usual RRP $145/scoop).  While stocks last.  Getting a trailer of soil or a bulk delivery?  We can arrange to mix it through for you - just ask.  (*And if you log into our online members only section; for a limited time, bags are $40 each!)

Final Clearance - Raised garden beds

aluminium garden bedWe advertised these last month and we've just got 5 left! These beds measure 1.2m x 0.6m and are 0.325m high - perfect for a vegie garden. They are locally made from aluminum panels; powder coated in a wood look finish. They're rust free, and if damaged, the panels can be removed and flipped over - so they're long lasting and robust. We've put them into a kit with geotextile (to form a root barrier at the bottom) and 9 bags of our Certified Organic Vegetable Mix to fill the bed, and your choice of 4 vegie punnets. It's a great way to get an instant garden! Kits are $275 at a clearance price - first come, first served! (We can deliver Perth metro for an additional $25 - although the beds do fit in the back seat of medium to larger sized vehicles; or borrow one of our trailers [bring your own tie down straps])
This kit is NOT listed for sale on our website; please call us on 9250 4575 during business hours or use the contact us form to get in touch.

Bulk Fill

fill pileOur fill soil is made up of lots of bits n bobs - tail ends of mixes when we need to clean the bay for another recipe, etc.  It's not one thing or the other - but it's made up of all of the good stuff!  We have a huge pile of it we'd like to move; so if you're making high/raised garden beds this spring and need something basic as the first layer - this could be a very economical way to go about it.  It would also be fabulous for topdressing paddocks or for mixing into heavy soils.  It's as cheap as chips - $45 per cubic metre.  Want a truck load?  Talk to us!

Plant Partnerships 

couples handsOne of our popular free fact sheets on our website is our 'Companion Planting Guide'.  One of my favourite past times is reading articles on companion planting - because there are so many contradictory statements out there, and many articles pooh-pooh the whole concept!  It seems little actual testing has been done - and when it has; even that can be contradictory.  And a lot of the folklore comes from the Northern hemisphere; where seasons and gardening conditions are quite different to ours.  We all know as gardeners that as things change; weather, moisture - etc. this all has an effect on plants and insects; so the goal posts are always moving; but it's definitely interesting!  Does companion planting help keep pests away?  Maybe.  It's definitely not a silver bullet - but it does seem to help.  Here's some info here to consider when you're planning your Spring garden, and we'd love to hear what worked for you: There are lots of plants that seem to benefit from being in close proximity to their planty pals... And others are definitely not good friends.
One issue expressed is how do you measure what is beneficial?  Is it purely measured by less pest attack?  Or is it the yield you receive?  It seems that while companion planting can be positive in one aspect - it may not be so much in others.  

Here are several common companion planting partnerships that most gardeners agree with!:-

Marigolds with everything

marigoldYou'll hear it said that it's useful to plant Marigolds Tagetes sp. with your vegie garden.  Marigolds exude a compound that either repels or kills nematodes; but you have to (a) plant LOTS of them - not just one or two dotted around - they need to be no more than 20cms apart; and (b) they need to be in the ground 3-4 months.  Preferably half of that time before you plant your susceptible crop!  Some articles suggest that instead of the root secretions being distasteful to nematodes, it actually attracts them, trapping them - so they leave your vegies alone.  Marigolds are reputed to repel aphids and some beetles - and attract pollinators, and also small parasitoid insects; (insects that prey or lay eggs in pest insects - the good bugs that help you!) Marigolds are not supposed to get on with beans; trials have shown it results in stunted growth.  They're certainly bright and cheery in your winter garden!  Marigolds are different to Calendula (sometimes called pot marigold) - another good plant to grow for pollinators.

Three sisters planting

corn plantsFrom the Americas - the practice of planting corn first, then runner beans some weeks later (to enable the beans to grow up the corn; thus providing support) then squash (or really any member of the pumpkin family) to ramble over the ground to provide shade and protect the soil.  This is known as 'Three Sisters' planting.  This type of companion planting makes good sense; each plant has it's own growth habit that compliments and doesn't compete with the others.  However, as you're growing fruiting crops in a small place, you'll want to make sure you really feed up the soil - corn in particular is a hungry plant.  If you don't provide enough nutrition in the soil, any advantage from the planting will be lost and your yield will be reduced.  While some gardeners claim that the nitrogen fixing beans improve the soil for the corn, other reports claim that this effect is negligible until the bean plants die back, releasing the nitrogen from its tissue as it decomposes.

Garlic & Roses

garlicPlants in the Allium family (garlic, onions, spring onions, chives) are said to repel aphids; so traditionally they're grown among roses to help repel them.  (Saying that, there's a particular type of aphid that DOES attack members of this family - so go figure).  It seems Garlic does reduce the number of some pests; so it appears to be beneficial for the roses.  However, garlic doesn't like root competition - so planting heavily around roses MAY affect the size of your garlic bulbs.  Garlic is said to be a bad companion to beans and strawberries.  (And garlic & strawberries would be a pretty awful taste combination too!  If you want to increase the yield of strawberries, borage is the recommended companion!)

Cabbage (and other brassicas) and Cabbage Butterfly

cabbageThe cabbage butterfly and cabbage moth (yes - there's two distinct bugs that devour your brassicas) is attracted to Landcress (check the latin name to make sure you're getting the right variety:  Barbarea vulgaris) - but compounds in the cress kill the caterpillars!  Neat, huh?  Nasturtium unfortunately don't harm the caterpillars - but it's useful as a sacrificial plant; the caterpillars seem to prefer it.  Dill & sage are reputed to repel cabbage butterfly and Yarrow attracts parasitic insects that can help control the caterpillars.  Another good tip is white petunias interplanted; the billowing petals are supposed to act like wings of other butterflies; seeing as they're territorial, they will move on to find a less populated place to lay their eggs.

It makes good sense that some vegies do well around others. They provide physical shade (taller plants like beans, corn and tomatoes can shelter things like lettuce in summer, for example). The general consensus is that the act of mixing up your garden beds with a variety of vegetables and flowering plants is the key thing... It's really the biodiversity that helps all plants thrive (as well as being beneficial for a wide range of insects and soil biology, and out competing weeds). If that's the case; it may not be quite so critical as to what plants are good or bad neighbours; don't go losing sleep over it! 
Rather than strict rows and family/variety groupings of your vegie patch - why not try mixing up your vegies this Spring & add some flowers too - we'd love to hear what works for you.  Remember to take some photos along the way (and send them in so we can share ~ and you might even be a winner of our monthly prize draw!)

Photo Competition Winner

Thank you to everyone who sent in photos for our monthly competition.  Here's the winner we chose:-

catherine's eggplantHi Green Life team,

Thank you for the winter update and ongoing ideas and inspiration.

When we moved to Perth from Adelaide last year the first thing we did was make wickingbeds and fill them with your fantastic soil.
Growing our veggies through all the COVID craziness in a new city kept us grounded.

We recently had our eggplants get infested with a nasty worm and attacked by crickets. After a blitz on removing all the infected fruit and crickets the eggplants have come back to good health with a vengeance. Can’t believe how much fruit the plants are pumping out now… and it’s winter!!!

Thanks again,
Catherine and Naomi

Thank you Catherine & Naomi for sending in your pics. 
Please everyone -  keep those pics coming in - we choose someone at random every month to win a $50 credit to spend with us.  You can enter every month if you like!  send in your pics via Facebook or email (with the subject 'photo competition' - with a brief explanation) and YOU could be our next winner! 

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.

veg mix bagsBeaufort 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
Hello Houseplant (Indoor Potting Mix) - Carousel 0423 460 520, Joondalup 0478 704 786 & Perth CBD 0421 058 923
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 Melville - 6317 0939
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

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.  PLEASE hop over to surveymonkey and complete our survey:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GLSC2021

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

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