What Happens If You Don’t Turn Your Compost?

Many gardeners compost their garden waste, but quite a few don’t make the regular effort to turn their compost! Composting is a process where microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi and protozoa are utilised to break down plant matter and other biodegradable materials into a dark, crumbly, decomposed organic matter that resists further breakdown, known asContinue reading “What Happens If You Don’t Turn Your Compost?”

How Much Sun Do Vegetables and Herbs Need to Grow?

The amount of light that vegetables and herbs require varies, depending on the type of plant. We can make most of available garden spaces by observing which areas are in full sun and part shade, both during summer and winter, and then selecting the right plants that will grow best in the available light. SunContinue reading “How Much Sun Do Vegetables and Herbs Need to Grow?”

How Much Potting Mix Does a Garden Pot Hold?

Plastic garden pots come in a range of standard sizes. When filling a large pot, or a number of smaller pots, gardeners often have to estimate how much potting mix they will require. Bags of potting mix specify how many litres they hold, usually 25-30L for a standard bag, and 40L in the extra-large ones.Continue reading “How Much Potting Mix Does a Garden Pot Hold?”

What is the Ideal Soil Depth for Wicking Beds?

Wicking beds are self-watering raised garden beds, that operate on the principle of sub-irrigation. Water stored in a reservoir located at the bottom wicks water upwards to the soil above, watering the plants from below. When constructing wicking beds, it’s important to understand how they operate, and the needs of the plants that will beContinue reading “What is the Ideal Soil Depth for Wicking Beds?”

How To Prune and Train Blackberries and Their Hybrids

Blackberries and blackberry hybrids, such as thornless blackberries, loganberries, boysenberries, youngberries, taybberries, silvanberries, marionberries and lawtonberries all belong to the genus Rubus, along with raspberries. Unlike raspberries which have vertical growing canes, blackberries and their hybrids have long trailing horizontal canes, which are usually supported on trellises, or horizontal wires attached between fence posts. HowContinue reading “How To Prune and Train Blackberries and Their Hybrids”

Does Potash and Epsom Salts Really Make Citrus Fruit Sweeter? Garden Mythbusting!

Is the advice to “use potash and Epsom salts to grow sweeter citrus fruit” based on scientific fact, or is it just gardening folklore? Adding potash (potassium) is only helpful when citrus trees are suffering from potassium deficiency, which is rare in healthy soils, and can be diagnosed by observing the leaves and fruit. TooContinue reading “Does Potash and Epsom Salts Really Make Citrus Fruit Sweeter? Garden Mythbusting!”

Plant Biology Basics – Guest Post by Daniel Fuller

Most gardeners get by knowing how much water and fertiliser to put on their tomatoes, and when. But someone that has basic plant biology knowledge just understands plants in a way that’s hard to describe to people that don’t have basic plant biology knowledge. It’s kind of like how some people really know cars. TheyContinue reading “Plant Biology Basics – Guest Post by Daniel Fuller”

How to Make an Earwig Bait Trap Using Oil, Water and Soy Sauce

  The European earwig (Forficula auricularia) is one of our most common earwigs found worldwide in gardens. These insects are scavengers, and they are omnivores –  they are voracious feeders on soft-bodied insects such as aphids and insect eggs, they also prey on mites, spiders, and various insects, so they do serve a role asContinue reading “How to Make an Earwig Bait Trap Using Oil, Water and Soy Sauce”

How to Plant Two or More Trees in the Same Hole for High Density Tree Planting

High density tree planting, where two or more trees can be planted in the same hole to form a single canopy with multiple trunks, is drawn from the system of Backyard Orchard Culture, developed by the Dave Wilson Nursery of Central California. In this system, fruit trees are kept small in size by planting themContinue reading “How to Plant Two or More Trees in the Same Hole for High Density Tree Planting”

How Many Straw Bales Do I Need to Mulch My Garden?

Straw mulches such as hay, lucerne, pea straw and sugar cane mulch are popular for use in vegetable gardens because they’re easy to apply, and they work well to conserve water and effectively suppress weeds. These non-woody mulches breaks down very quickly, in around six months, adding carbon to the soil very quickly. They’re classifiedContinue reading “How Many Straw Bales Do I Need to Mulch My Garden?”

A Better Way to Stake Up and Support Vegetables in Pots

Many gardeners grow vegies in pots, tubs, planters, and self-watering pots. Container gardening is an excellent solution when space is limited or more growing area is required. When growing climbing vegetables such as beans and peas, indeterminate (vining) tomatoes, pumpkins, cucumbers, and zucchini in pots, staking them up to support them in containers can beContinue reading “A Better Way to Stake Up and Support Vegetables in Pots”

How to Neutralise Glyphosate (Roundup) Herbicide Contamination in Soil

Glyphosate (chemical compound N-phosphonomethyl glycine), also known by the trade name of Roundup, is a non-selective, post-emergence, broad-spectrum systemic organophosphate herbicide used for control of annual and perennial plants. This weedkiller is the largest selling herbicide chemical in the market today, and the most used herbicide in human history. From 1994 to 2014, 825.8 millionContinue reading “How to Neutralise Glyphosate (Roundup) Herbicide Contamination in Soil”

How to Get Multiple Mulberry Crops from One Tree in a Single Season

Mulberry trees are deciduous trees which are traditionally winter pruned when they’re dormant and have no leaves, with the pruning carried out in late winter. When spring arrives, the buds on the bare branches open to produce new leaves, as well as new branches which carry the mulberry fruit. Yes, I did say fruit. Botanically,Continue reading “How to Get Multiple Mulberry Crops from One Tree in a Single Season”

What is Osage Orange, and is it Edible?

Osage orange (Maclura pomifera), also known as Bois d’ arc, Hedge Apple or Horse Apple, is a member of the Moraceae family, to which figs, mulberries, breadfruit and jackfruit also belong, and is native to the south-central United States. This thorny, fast-growing, medium-sized tree or shrub which grows up to 20m (60′), tall, but isContinue reading “What is Osage Orange, and is it Edible?”

Can Eucalyptus Leaves be Composted or Used as Garden Mulch?

In Australia, one of the most common trees are eucalyptus trees, also known as eucalypts or gum trees. These evergreen trees manage to drop a decent amount of their leaves, branches, twigs and gumnuts below their canopy. Since this debris doesn’t rot very easily, it can persist for a very long time. It’s tempting forContinue reading “Can Eucalyptus Leaves be Composted or Used as Garden Mulch?”

How to Sterilize and Disinfect Pruning Tools

Plant diseases, caused by pathogens such as bacteria, viruses and fungi, can easily be spread from one plant or tree to another if pruning tools are not disinfected before use. Sap from trees and plants usually sticks to the blades of secateurs, loppers, saws and other pruning tools. Any infected sap can transfer diseases toContinue reading “How to Sterilize and Disinfect Pruning Tools”

Is Tree Stump Killer Herbicide Safe Around Ponds?

The active ingredient in herbicides used specifically for killing trees and tree stumps is triclopyr butoxyethanol ester (triclopyr BEE), which is NOT safe to use around ponds, lakes, rivers, streams, any other waterways or bodies of water. The product leaflet for Triclopyr 600 Herbicide issues the following warning: PROTECTION OF WILDLIFE, FISH, CRUSTACEANS AND ENVIRONMENTContinue reading “Is Tree Stump Killer Herbicide Safe Around Ponds?”

Why Do Earthworms Gather at the Top of Compost Bins or Worm Farms and Try to Escape?

Compost worms in worm farms and earthworms in compost bins can often be seen gathering in large numbers inside the lid, often trying to escape. This usually happens when it’s about to rain. Before it begins to rain, the air pressure (barometric pressure) in the atmosphere drops, and the worms can sense this, so theyContinue reading “Why Do Earthworms Gather at the Top of Compost Bins or Worm Farms and Try to Escape?”

How to Repair Broken Terracotta Pots and Garden Features

Terracotta is a hard, fired clay that’s reddish-orange in colour, and is commonly used for making pots and garden features. This material has been used by human civilisations for centuries, dating back to the times of ancient China, Greece and Egypt, a testament to its usefulness. Unlike plastic pots which degrade over time with exposureContinue reading “How to Repair Broken Terracotta Pots and Garden Features”

How to Identify and Treat Herbicide Contamination of Commercial Soil, Compost and Manure

  Over the last decade, there have been increasing reports from gardeners that their vegetables and flowers have been damaged or killed after adding manure or compost to their gardens, or when they’ve planted into new soil they had delivered. In fact, the problems of contaminated composts adversely affecting horticultural crops first surfaced in 1999.Continue reading “How to Identify and Treat Herbicide Contamination of Commercial Soil, Compost and Manure”