While the mornings have been getting colder the days are still very warm. So it’s still all systems go in my yard.
I read a great little article the other day on 5 ways to maintain your garden during spring. I thought I’d add to it with a few more tips.
I always mow and then spray about three days later. I use Searles ‘Lawn Perfect’ as it kills most of the weeds coming up at the moment. I don’t worry too much about winter weed as I find out it dies out quickly as soon as the weather warms up.
About two months ago I soil wetted and fertilised my lawn with organically certified soil soaker and lawn fertiliser so it’s really thick and hopefully will survive the winter.
Spray my fruit trees and change my fruit fly trap wick
I wasn’t paying much attention to my citrus this year. I trimmed them early and now all the new growth has been attacked by aphids and mites. I am going to spray them with Eco-oil (BFA certified organic spray) and I am going to give them a fertilise with Organic Link (BFA certified organic fertiliser). I should also start a fortnightly fertilise with Plant Care to give them an immediate boost.
If you have any sick plants in your garden at the moment, this would work a treat for almost any plant.
Any fruit I did get was hit by fruit fly so I also need to refresh my Fruit Fly trap wick and start using Eco-naturalure. I’ve just started to get tomatoes and I don’t want them hit by fruit fly.
Feed my winter flowering plants
My camellia sasanquas are all looking good (I remembered to fertilise them in Autumn) Now its time to feed with Organic Link my rondeletias, zygo cacti, azaleas, camellia japonicas and my poinsettias to keep them looking good and help promote flowers. I will also start Liquid fertilising with Silica and Potash.
Fertilise and use soil wetter
I have been a bit slack in some areas of my garden and its starting to show in the health of my plants.
My gardens need a soil wetter treatment and a fertilise.
I am trialling the new natural Soil Soaker by Plant of Health. Soil Soaker enables hydrophobic soils to become water penetrable and retain water. It also houses beneficial microbes, nutrients, silica and diatomaceous earth these make soil healthy which in turn improves root and shoot development and also reduces plant stress. I will use Soil Soaker first then in a week or so give them all a good fertilise with Organic Link. Late winter they will all get a good haircut.
Enjoy my Vegetable Patch
I’ve reduced my vegetable patch this year and I’m focusing more on herbs, leafy greens and snow peas. I could eat snow peas until I turn green! I am enjoying having a smaller area to take care of as its easier to manage. All vegetables are planted and I have been giving them a fortnightly liquid fertilise with Triple Boost and Neem (to help reduce bugs). One month in and I’m already enjoying bok Choy, spinach, cherry tomatoes and silverbeet.
Jobs done … I can kick back relax read my Winter About the Garden Magazine and enjoy the sunshine!
Beautify the Inside
Over the years there has been so much research into not only how being outdoors improves your life but how being surrounded by green living plants inside improves your life, health, brain functioning and even your bank balance. (check out Plant Life Balance website for more details)
Plants aren’t a luxury they are a necessity outside and in.
Sometimes though it’s a little hard to keep indoor plants thriving especially in our offices.
We are usually faced with problems such as – no natural light, air conditioning and inability to keep regular water to plants as too much water leads to water overflowing all over desks.
At Trevallan we are trying to come up with ways to make indoor plants easy but still really pretty!
Planters, terrariums, kokedamas, plants in bowls … anything that works!
There are plants better suited to indoors and sometimes it’s about giving up on our perfect plant to have an amazing plant that looks good all the time. So what if it’s common or not in the magazines … if it grows, looks fantastic and you love it, go with it!
Sometimes a really boring plant can be made to look amazing in the right container!
Some of The Ways Trevallan is bringing a a plant life balance to your workplace!
I have found that using planters (pots without holes) has been my saving grace.
I used to under water and ultimately kill my indoor plants as I was worried about water going all over my furniture.
Planters have no hole in the bottom. I just place my plant in the planter (I do not pot). I then can give my plant a really good drink without the hassle of worrying about water going everywhere as its contained in the planter.
If by chance I decide I don’t like that plant or want to swap my plants around I just remove the plant from the planter and swap them around. This way I am always keeping my décor the same (by keeping the same planter) but I can switch my plants.
It can take a while to get used to watering with a planter but once you get used to it you will wonder how you ever survived without them.
I love the meaning of Terrarium – a sealed transparent globe or similar container in which plants are grown! You cant get any more exact than that.
What a lovely idea to have a mini landscape sitting on our desks that only requires a small drink once every few months, in a closed terrarium or every few weeks, in an open terrarium.
I love staring at terrariums and seeing the mosses grow and the plants changing. The maintenance is minimal but therapeutic as its a delicate process.
This is like an open lid style of Terrarium. The plants are planted in glass jars or decorative bowls. Instead of the plant being inside the container as they would in a terrarium they actually come up out of the container. There is no need to worry about water running everywhere as the containers are sealed. Water them as you would a terrarium (at least once a week).
Kokedama is a style of Japanese bonsai. It is made by binding the plants root ball with a unique soil mixture, moss and string.
Kokedamas are usually seen hanging from ceilings or specially made stands. I find for the office I like to put them in a bowl. This way I can just fill the bowl with some water and the plant can slowly soak up the moisture as it needs it. I have tried numerous indoor plants with Kokedamas and they all work really well. These plants can be a real talking point in your office.
The beauty and power of crystals has been long recognised with healers, shamans and priests using crystals for their unique and special properties. It is widely believed crystals vibrate at the same pitch as humans – such that the resonance between the stone and the human either combats the vibration of the illness or amplifies that of health!
There are thousands of different crystals on the planet.
Many crystals would be useful in the office especially ones that amplify harmony or resolve conflict or even attract sales!
Some people may think you are a little kooky if you start having crystal grids on your desk! So Trevallan has come up with an idea to have these crystals in your workspace without others even realising.
We have planted plants into some crystals that we think would be beneficial to have in your office.
All you need to do is keep the moss wet and you should start to notice the difference straight away!
You could also place some of your crystals on top of your plants soil. This keeps them earthed and cleansed… it also looks really pretty!
For some ideas on what crystals are best for your office click here.
Want to improve your plant life balance or maybe someone else’s? The Trevallan Girls can help.
We can help you decide on the right plant and now we are offering local deliveries on a Friday so we can get it straight to your office.
Last year we had great success growing our own potatoes. It was really easy and loads of fun! I can’t wait to start again this year.
Apart from doing something a bit different in my garden, why would I grow potatoes?
Did you know that potatoes rank among the most contaminated with pesticides and fungicides. Twenty-nine pesticides are commonly used, and 79% of potatoes tested exceed safe levels of multiple pesticides (according to research done by FDA and USDA).
Now I don’t know about you but I used to use potatoes all the time in cooking. So this little piece of information didn’t sit terribly well with me. If I started buying organic potatoes it would cost me around $4kg. So I thought I’d give growing them a go.
Now I didn’t just get an old potato and put it in the ground, read here to find out why. I got some certified seed potatoes and planted them in the ground.
Usually the best time to plant potatoes is 2-3 weeks before the last frost but we don’t get a frost so we planted ours in July. This year we are going to plant one lot in June and another lot at end of July.
The seed had shoots of about 1cm long (we didn’t’ cut any of our seed potatoes either). We planted our potatoes in a few different areas around our yard using a few different methods. We found the best ones grew in a sunny well drained position. The soil was quite rich and had not had potatoes grown in it (for at least 3 years, to be safe).
We dug a trench and placed the seed in it and covered it with some soil. As they grew and the potatoes foliage started to show (about 10cm) through the soil we would pile more soil up around them. We found that the soil had to be very loose so we mixed some sugar cane mulch and compost together. Potatoes form on the surface, when you pile soil up onto of them continually it helps stops the potatoes from being exposed to light and going green. (Green potatoes can upset the stomach) This process also helps produce more potatoes.
We continued to pile up our soil mix until we noticed the lower leaves turning yellow. We then started to harvest. We did find that the potatoes only really grew down at one level (see picture).
So this year we are digging about a 15cm deep trench and then only piling the soil back up until a 15cm, mound has formed.
We harvested from some bushes continuously and other plants we left and harvested all together.
From 2kgs of seed potatoes we got around 15-20kg of amazingly delicious potatoes. I have never tasted anything so good.
I am really looking forward to this year crop. Trevallan has five different varieties available this year and I’m thing I might give one of each a go …
A long to oval shaped all-rounder with white flesh and skin that’s common in supermarkets and green grocers around Australia. This potato is great for boiling, mash, roasting, baking, chips and mash.
A very reliable all-rounder with pink skin and white flesh. Great to boil, bake, roast, microwave and mash but not so suitable for frying.
A very popular all-rounder with pink skin and pale yellow, firm flesh that holds its shape well so is excellent boiled, baked, mashed and in salads but not recommended for frying.
The queen of potatoes! They’re a large waxy oval potato with yellow flesh, thin skin and a rich, buttery taste. They make gorgeous mash or are equally delicious boiled, roasted, baked and pureed.
Which one will you try this year?
Chrysanthemums are traditionally given at Mother’s Day as they flower profusely during autumn and they contain the word mum!
Because of this tradition people tend to shy away from having Chrysanthemums in their garden. These flowering forever plants are one of the best for gardens in the full sun.
They are so many varieties of chrysanthemums available today, one to suit every garden. The US National Chrysanthemum Society has derived that there are 13 different types of flower forms. Then there are the colours, I think every year they get more exquisite. There are single coloured and multi-coloured blooms ranging in colour from brilliant yellow through to deep maroon.
Chrysanthemums are one of the easiest plants to grow and are perfect for green or brown fingered gardeners! Chrysanthemums have long lasting flowers and are relatively pest and disease free. This makes them perfect for everyone as this enables us to enjoy these plants hassle free for many years to come.
Potted chrysanthemums can flower for several weeks indoors but thrive best if placed in full sun. They can be grown in pots or in the garden. To keep them looking fantastic and to promote more flowers all spent flowers and discoloured leaves should be removed and liquid fertilised fortnightly. After flowering chrysanthemums should be cut back to about 15cm (6″) high and given Organic Lfertilised. They will usually flower again in the spring.
Chrysanthemums aren’t just the perfect idea to brighten up one’s garden.
They can be used in cooking and teas. NASA Clean Air Study also found chrysanthemum plants can reduce indoor air pollution. Extracts of chrysanthemum plants have been shown to have a wide variety of potential medicinal properties, including anti-HIV-1, antibacterial and antimycotic. Pyrethrum a well-known insecticide is also derived from chrysanthemums.
This Autumn don’t stress about finding a beautiful, versatile, easy care plant just buy a Chrysanthemum.
Azaleas are the blaze of colour that brings warmth to the cooler months garden. These divine mass flowering plants will do well for many years but they do need a little TLC to look their best.
These beautiful plants have dark lush green foliage and come in a wide variety of colours from white, through to pinks, purples, reds and oranges. There are two basic flower types – single and double. The double is my favourite and luckily many double flowering azaleas spot flower throughout the year so I can enjoy this lovely plant all the time!
Most Azaleas will thrive in semi-shade but some will also look fantastic in full sun or full shade. I prefer the smaller more compact varieties that usually grow to around 50cm to 1m high. Azaleas love acid soil; the pH range should be between 5.5 and 6.0. Many Ipswich residents find that their garden’s soil pH is too low and prefer to grow azaleas in pots.
Azaleas have a shallow tight root system. If a good layer of mulch is applied, pots or the garden, and a soil wetter is used at least every 12months azaleas should thrive. The mulch helps to keep moisture in the soil, and also helps keep the roots warm in winter and cool in summer. The soil wetter helps water penetrate the soil and root ball as after a period of time your soil can become hydrophobic (resists water).
To keep my azaleas looking their best I use Organic Link every three months. If I want my Azaleas to look outstanding I will also try to give them a Triple Boost every fortnight. When my azaleas have finished flowering I prune them back by about one third.
Azaleas do have some pest and disease problems, often when the bush has a magnificent display of flowers. Petal blight is a fungal disease that turns the beautiful flowers suddenly brown. The easiest solution is to pick them off and throw them away.
A common problem with azaleas is one where the leaves loose their colour and lustre; it looks like it has been sand blasted. If this occurs turn the leaves over and you may see black spots. This is a sign of Lace bug. Severe infestations can lead to reduced plant vigour and loss of leaves. To combat this problem you will need to spray with Congaurd (chemical) or Eco-fend (organic). You may need to spray a few times to control your infestation and unfortunately once the leaves have that sand blasted look they will stay that way. A good trim and fertilise will help promote nice new healthy growth to cover the unsightly affected growth.
I love how azaleas can enliven garden dull spots and bring a smile to the face of a friend when given as a present. These plants truly will give your life the TLC it deserves.