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Hello & welcome to AUTUMN!
As I write this, it's a lovely mild day and we even had a teensy bit of rain in the past couple of days! The nights & mornings are cooler, and day length is shortening. It seems that Autumn arrived right on time this year. But don't let it's mild face lull you into a false sense of security... based on previous behaviour, we can expect some hot weather over the next month. It's an interesting time to garden - with lots of guesswork as to WHEN to plant things. We know interest is intensifying in winter veg seeds & seedlings - but most seedlings will still be some weeks away. Wild Gaia Plants (who grow our lovely organic seedlings) grow to season and nothing's artificially forced in greenhouses. Buying many commercial seedlings that have been raised this way often leads to disappointment; when planted out 'real life' gardens - often they simply can't cope. So patience is a virtue when it comes to gardening; but I'm sure you already know that.
We're excited to announce that we have a NEW seed supplier - we're now carrying some of The Seed Station's packets of seeds. There's an interesting range of varieties which adds to our existing non-hybrid seed stock we source from Eden Seeds and Thrive Sustainability. Come in and check out our range soon - it's arguably the largest in Perth. Stock turns over very quickly - if there's something in particular you're looking for, feel free to give us a call. We can set seeds aside for you or do our best to get something in next time we order. Postage can be arranged.
Things @ GLSC are ticking along as we start to gear up for Autumn, which is traditionally a busy time of year for us. If you're wanting to get your garden beds revamped or are building new ones, come in and see us soon! If you're looking for an option to make pathways around your new garden beds - check out our new product; recycled & crushed red brick. We've trialed it at home and are very happy with it. Water can permeate, but it compacts well, it's easy to get wheelbarrows, etc. over, and can be lightly raked to refresh/tidy up the surface. Weeds can germinate in it but as it compacts down so well it's difficult for them to get roots down far, so they're easily removed. And we think it looks great! (Photos below/right)
GLSC will be at this year's Perth Garden Festival - planned for 5-8th May 2022 at Langley Park. It's Mother's Day weekend - so bring Mum along for a day out and come and say 'Hi'. Speaking of meeting people - Paul & recently spoke at the Perth Hills Permaculture group, and next week we're speaking at the Mundaring Garden Club. It's lovely to get out & about and meet passionate gardeners - we always learn something along the way.
We look forward to seeing you soon @ GLSC so we can help YOU on your gardening journey, too!
Until next time - happy gardening!
In this newsletter:
Jobs to do in the March Garden
March Jobs in your garden
What to Plant NOW
Oooooh, 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.
To access our free downloads - you must sign up to become a member. Once you've signed up, you MUST check your email and activate your membership in the link sent to you in order to gain access. (It is a required security default.) (Any trouble with downloads? Let us know if you have any issues, and we can help. We know there's been a few kinks in the system but we believe they've been ironed out now.) The member's section has a quick monthly guide of what to grow, plus a reminder of the moon phases for optimal planting out - so why not give moon planting a go and see how it works for you? (We still have 2022 moon planting calendars available for sale if you want to get a jump on the season.)
A quick list to consider planting includes:
Artichokes (globe), Asian greens, Beetroot, 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! Stock will be here in coming weeks - keep an eye on our Facebook page for the announcement once it arrives.
Getting Your Soil Ready for Success
Summer is undoubtedly the hardest time to maintain a garden in Perth. Especially with the heatwave conditions we've experienced this year - I'm sure (like me) many of you have lost plants and struggled to keep some alive. The good news is that over Autumn and Winter; it is MUCH easier to get your garden thriving, and to benefit from successful harvests throughout Winter and Spring.
If you have dead & dry zones - it can be a bit of work to rejuvenate them, but it certainly can be done. It takes a little time, some inputs and probably a whole lot of water but it's not impossible. Do come in and speak with us if you're having issues. Feel free to bring in soil samples (no more than about half a litre is needed) and we can play with incorporating inputs to demonstrate the difference they will make to your garden.
Here's some step by step things to consider:
Introducing "Sassy Frass"
GLSC is excited to work with innovator Future Green Solutions - who have been working to develop a solution to waste issues using black soldier fly. BSF larvae are voracious eaters; getting through waste more quickly than worms, and they provide some valuable resources. The larvae themselves are very high in protein, and are sought after in aquaculture and pet food products. (Some people farm BSF as supplementary feed for their chickens - you may find some in your own home compost piles in the warmer months as they're attracted to decomposing material.) Adult soldier fly have no mouthparts - they live a short while to breed, and are not harmful or annoying to humans.
The frass (their poo & skins shed as they moult) are a fabulous resource in agriculture/horticulture. Future Green Solutions approached Green Life Soil Co some time ago to trial the frass and work with them to find a use locally for it. The larvae are fed a mixture of food waste from known sources (brewery, cidery and farm) and they've experimented with piggery waste. Future Green Solutions will be opening a large scale commercial waste disposal site in the future, and their processes will divert a lot of material currently going to landfill and causing potential pollution. The technology can be replicated in other locations and may be a useful system for many other countries around the globe.
Frass material provided to GLSC is monitored, and we have had a number of tests done. I'm pleased to say that the insect frass (which we're going to market as "Sassy Frass"™) is now added to our stable of Certified Organic products, and we've got the green light to use it in our Certified soils & soil improvers.
Watch this space - there's a lot more you'll hear in coming months about this exciting product.
What is Frass and why is it so good for gardens?
Frass is insect manure; and like any other manure, it's a concentrated source of nutrients depending on the original feedstock of the animal (or insect). There are two standout features of frass. One is that testing shows it promotes beneficial soil fungi quickly - and small quantities of frass make a difference. Fungi is one of the harder/slower forms of microbiology to encourage in our gardens. It forms an underground network that allows plants to not only forage for nutrients and water, but to communicate with each other (weird, huh? Check out the book "The Hidden Life of Trees"). Fungi is delicate and is easily destroyed by digging in the soil (hence the value of no-dig gardening, once you've worked initial improvement into the soil); and is also rarer in our sandy soils which struggle to hold the moisture fungi needs to thrive. We've found by looking under the microscope, mixes we've made incorporating frass have higher fungal populations. (Soil fungi under the microscope - pictured right.)
The other interesting thing is that as the larvae grow, they shed their skins. Insects (and some sea creatures) that have an exoskeleton for protection produce a protein called chetin (pronounced "Kite-in") - used by fungi in its cell walls. Plants have an interesting relationship with chetin - they have receptors that are thought to detect fungal and/or insect attack by 'sensing' the chetin, so they start to act defensively - thickening cell walls to deter attack. This strange reaction is actually beneficial - stimulating stronger growth that is less susceptible to pests and disease and creating more robust plants.
Extensive trials by UWA students working with Future Green Solutions have shown the benefits of using frass as a soil amendment in a wide range of plants; showing promising benefits in plant growth & health, and healthier soil life. Exciting, huh? If you're buying GLSC soils & soil improvers this Autumn, Sassy Frass will be included as one of our special additives. It will soon be available separately - we're working on packaging.
Photo Competition Winner
Congratulations to Geoff Sargent - he's the winner of this month's competition for sending through photos of his zucchini garden bed - which has absolutely thrived over summer. Geoff sent me in a few photos - I've chosen my favourites to share with you here. He had this to say about his garden:
Every year I grow zucchini, and always struggle with powdery mildew, despite regular spraying.
This summer I have grown them in your Premium Vege mix, neat as purchased. I've sprayed regularly, as usual for powdery mildew, and have a small amount, but they are without doubt, the healthiest zucchinis I've ever grown. I'll show you a photo which demonstrates the health of the plants. So much so, that my wife complains about the never ending supply of zucchinis!!!
I freely admit that before planting, all the seedlings were soaked in a bacterial solution, and I apply this about every three weeks, along with Mg, but I’ve been doing this treatment for the last three years. This is the first year that I’ve planted into your Premium Mix – maybe it’s just a coincidence – not sure – just impressed with the outcome.
I grew up on a farm in the wheatbelt, but despite my extensive knowledge in growing crops etc, I’m still learning, and confess, it’s very uplifting when things go this well!!! I’ve experienced plenty of failures in my lifetime, but that’s the pathway to learning what works and what does not work.
I forgot to mention that we’ve confirmed the nutrient value of our vegetables by the use of a Brix meter.
Thank you Geoff for taking the time to email us & send in your photos. I'd agree that gardeners are always learning from one year to the next - there's always something different to consider. We're glad that you've enjoyed a bumper crop & hope you enjoy the $50 store credit to use with us.
If you'd like to be in the running next month, send in your photos via email (or send via FB) marked 'photo competition' - we draw somebody at random each month - so keep those entries coming - who knows; maybe it will be you next time!
VIP Special Offer
It's time to revamp garden beds for Autumn planting! For existing garden beds, it's a great time to feed up plants (fruit trees, roses & just about everything else!) A great fertiliser to use for your garden is Blood & Bone. GLSC mixes our own Blood & Bone - using simple ingredients and NO FILLERS. It's true, old fashioned blood & bone - and we add volcanic rock dust to provide trace elements at the same time! It's also Certified Organic - so you know it's got no nasties and is fabulous for edible plants.
We sell our high quality blood and bone in tubs (3, 8 & 15kg) - and what's more; you can bring the tubs back for a refill and save money and plastic!
This month, if you spend over $75, we're giving you a free 1kg sample pack to trial. We know you'll love it!! Remember to ask in store or over the phone for your VIP freebee - and if ordering online, add "VIP Blood & Bone" to your delivery instructions. Offer valid one per customer until the close of business Thursday, 31st March 2022.
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 as they can't stock all of our products. (Photos are of our own yard - bulk product is available direct from GLSC for pickup or delivery)
Beaufort Garden World - Inglewood 9271 0585
Ardess Nursery (Albany) 9842 9952
THANK YOU for being part of The Green Life Family! Keep up to date with news & info on our Facebook and Instagram pages.