Why You Shouldn’t Fertilise Gardens in Winter in Cool and Temperate Climates

For adequate plant nutrition, gardens should be fed with fertiliser twice a year at the very minimum. Once at the start of spring (September in the southern hemisphere, March in the northern hemisphere) for warm season crops, and then again at the start of autumn (March in the southern hemisphere, September in the northern hemisphere)Continue reading “Why You Shouldn’t Fertilise Gardens in Winter in Cool and Temperate Climates”

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?”

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!”

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?”

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?”

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?”

Can You Put Earthworms in the Compost Bin?

In nature, earthworms consume decomposing plant matter, and if a compost pile is constructed, they will often move into it on their own when the plant material is broken down and the compost is completed. When compost materials are piled up, or a compost bin is filled, bacteria will begin the breakdown process, which canContinue reading “Can You Put Earthworms in the Compost Bin?”

Can You Use Shells for Drainage in Houseplant Pots?

Sea shells should not be used in plant pots because they are made of calcium carbonate (chemical formula CaCO₃), which is exactly the same substance as limestone and garden lime. They will make the potting medium extremely alkaline. Some plants don’t grow well in alkaline soils! Any material that is added to improve drainage shouldContinue reading “Can You Use Shells for Drainage in Houseplant Pots?”

Are Ornamental Sweet Peas Edible?

Are Ornamental Sweet Peas Edible? Ornamental sweet peas are not edible, they are toxic and should not be eaten! The common sweet pea, Lathyrus odoratus is an ornamental leguminous annual climbing plant which is native to southern Italy, and is grown purely for its very fragrant and colourful flowers. Are Sweet Peas and Edible PeasContinue reading “Are Ornamental Sweet Peas Edible?”

How Many Trays to Use When Starting a Worm Farm?

  When setting up a worm farm vermicomposting system, how many trays should I start with? Most of the worm farms that are sold at garden centres use a stackable tray design, and when first starting, use only a single tray. When the first tray is full, when the contents reach the fill line onContinue reading “How Many Trays to Use When Starting a Worm Farm?”

Can You Grow Nasturtiums from Cuttings?

Can nasturtiums be grown from cuttings? Nasturtiums are usually grown from seeds but can also be propagated from cuttings during the warm growing seasons, the best period being spring or late summer when weather is milder. How to make a nasturtium cutting: Cut a piece around 10cm (4”) long, making the cut below a leaf.Continue reading “Can You Grow Nasturtiums from Cuttings?”