Call:(08) 9250 4575
Mon - Sat:
8.30am - 4pm
until further notice
Become a member & download our FREE garden guides!
|item(s), Total: $0.00 View Cart|
|Shopping cart is empty.|
until further notice
Here we are in October - Spring has well and truly sprung; and hasn't it been lovely to enjoy the sunshine? I'm not sure where the years go to - but this October marks TWENTY ONE YEARS that Paul & I have been in business. Quite a milestone, I'm sure you'd agree! But THANK YOU for being part of the journey - without our loyal customers and our fabulous team members, we never would have made it this far.
Speaking of fabulous team members - WE ARE HIRING! We have a vacancy for a retail star approx 30+ hours/week.
Around this time of year the Nyoongar season transitions to Kambarang - the season of birth. The wildflowers are abundant, many native animals are rearing their young (it's magpie swooping season!), and we're starting to experience some warmer weather. It's a lovely time to get out into the local bush and see what you can find. Be on the lookout for reptiles though - as they're emerging with the warmth. SPRING - It's a busy time in the garden & it's super busy at GLSC - so thank you for your patience if you're coming in to store or organising a delivery.
This October we'll be at the Perth Garden Festival (27-30th October) at Langley Park in the city. Look for us at Stand #19. We'll have mushroom farms, worm castings, and various minerals & amendments available; along with information and displays on many more of our products and soil mixes. Come along, enjoy the day out looking at plants and garden related exhibits, and enjoy the free talks and workshops on offer - there's a very full program! If you're looking at going - buy tickets on line to save.
Speaking of inspiration; we hope this month's newsletter will get you itching to be in the garden.
Linda & the team.
PS: VOTE for us - PLEASE!!!
Vote for us - we need your help. The Green Life Soil Co is once again nominated in the Australian Organic Consumers' Choice Awards. We've won it in 2018, 2020 - so let's hope we can do it again in 2022. Please click on the link:https://www.organicweek.net.au/core/organic-consumer-choice-awards/online-voting/ and then select "Organic Specialist" to cast your vote. Hurry - voting closes midnight (AEDST) 13th October.
In this newsletter:
Jobs to do in the October Garden
Jobs to do in the October garden
What to Plant NOW
Check out our free 'When to Plant' guide on our website; but as a quick reference, it's time to plant:
Asian greens (Bok Choi/Tatsoi etc.) Artichoke (globe - pictured right), Basil, Beans, Beetroot, Broccoli, Capsicum, Chilli, Carrot, Celery, Celeriac, Choko, Cucumber, Eggplant, Ginger, Kale*, Kohl rabi*, Leek, Lettuce, Melons, Okra, Parsnip, Pumpkin, Radish, Rocket, Rosella, Silverbeet, Spring onion, Squash, Strawberries, Sweet corn, Sweet potato, Tomato, Turnip, Zucchini.
* these vegies are often better grown in cooler weather; if planting now, make sure you have a protected spot (they'll bolt to seed if too hot), and watch Kale/Kohl rabi in particular for caterpillars which are more active in the warmer months - insect netting is highly recommended.
There's also HEAPS of herbs that will flourish at this time of year - Basil, Chives, Oregano, Mint, Parsley, Thyme, Sage, Comfrey, Borage - just to name a few! Within each of these, there's multiple varieties available - so get creative and get a herb garden growing for your summer entertaining garnishes and tasty treats. You don't need a lot of space (a pot on your verandah will do!) to reap the rewards.
If you have room around your garden, add in some flowering annuals. They'll help bring in pollinating and other beneficial/predatory insects, as well as providing colour and decoration. At this time of year consider Alyssum, Calendula, Cosmos, Lobelia, Petunias (and as an added benefit - if you plant the white variety, their fluttering petals help confuse the cabbage butterfly!), Portulaca, Sunflowers - there's heaps more; just ask us (or your local independent nursery).
We've got heaps of fact sheets on specific vegies & growing information for Perth and WA freely available - check out our 'Learn' tab on our website.
The (Almost) A - Z of Plant Nutrition
We always talk about having healthy "nutrient dense" vegies as a result of growing in healthy soil - but what does that really mean? There are a range of 'nutrients' - chemical elements, proteins, enzymes vitamins and minerals that we need for healthy bodily function; it's the same for all animals and plants. And sources of those differ - so as gardeners, how do we know what we need to do with our soil? Unfortunately without laboratory testing, it's impossible to accurately assess what is in a soil (and what's lacking) - although we can draw some conclusions by how plants grow - looking for tell tale signs of deficiency, poor growth and susceptibility to pests and diseases.
pH plays an important role in the availability of nutrients in the soil - if you'd like to understand how this works a little more, see our fact sheet here.
To understand what nutrients you're feeding your plants, check your fertiliser labels. At a minimum, you'll see a breakdown of 'NPK' (for example). The availability of nutrients to your plants depends on many factors, and balance is always important. Over supply of particular nutrients can lead to toxicity and imbalance - as detrimental to plant growth as deficiencies are! As organic gardeners, we aim to provide a range of nutrients in a variety of ways - composts, aged manures, rock minerals, fish and kelp fertilisers. Recycling plant material (food waste, worm castings or green manure) and changing it up from time to time ensure we give our gardens a varied diet. The advantage of this is it tends to be gentle - it's what nature has always done - it's slower than feeding with a cocktail of quick acting sulphate fertilisers; but it tends to encourage healthier soils in the long term.
Minor nutrients are vital for various plant functions, but they're needed in much smaller amounts again.
And then there's the elements under our nose (literally) that we never see - Carbon (C), Hydrogen (H) and Oxygen (O) - which are essential to plants but are always in abundance - provided we water our plants and don't keep them in a vacuum!
Soil nutrition can seem very complex. How do you know what your soil might need? You can look for deficiency symptoms in plant growth, and use a reputable guide to help you narrow down possibilities (posting photos on Facebook may or may not be helpful - you have been warned). A bit of sleuthing is helpful too - consider surrounding conditions, water sources, weather conditions, pest/disease options to narrow down the problem. USUALLY assessing your soil's pH is the first step. Then, if there are no other obvious circumstances affecting the growth of your plants, applying sensible quantities of a complete balanced fertiliser at the right time of year should help. Laboratory testing can give you an insight into your soil - but it is only ever a snapshot in time; which is why commercial growers often do seasonal testing to keep track and to plan fertilising regimes.
In order to build healthy soil, unless you have major issues in your garden, it is enough to continue good soil building practices and using mulch. The quantity of organic material, the physical structure, and moisture in your soil has a direct bearing on microbial activity - which is hugely important. While I haven't touched on it in this article, many elements are made available to plants ONLY through the activity of bacteria and fungi in the soil, and delivered via available water - so to quote Dr Paul Hepperly from the Rodale Institute:
Want to know more?
@GLSC we've recently brought in copies to sell of "Gardening Down Under". This is a very useful Australian book written by former CSIRO soil scientist, Kevin Handreck. The book is full of easy to understand soil information, including ways to improve soil and deal with specific soil problems, growing in pots, compost making, efficient watering - etc. Copies are $50 and with Christmas just around the corner - why not grab one for the green thumb in your house!
Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) is a herbaceous perennial related to Borage - and if you're keen on making your own compost and fertiliser at home, or improving your soil generally - you should consider adding at least one plant to your garden; it's an extremely useful plant.
Comfrey has a deep root system, which is helpful in heavy soils as a pioneer plant to open up soil structure, and also as a soil stabiliser on banks or slopes. Additionally, because of its deep roots, it is known as a 'dynamic accumulator'- as it can scavenge nutrients deeper than other plants, which it recycles into its leaves as it grows. So, if you use the leaves in compost, liquid teas, or as a mulch, you're directly returning these nutrients to the soil and effectively recycling them. For an easy chop & drop solution, grow Comfrey around your fruit trees. You can trim off leaves several times a year and the plant will continue producing more. You can even go over it with a lawn mower!
Comfrey leaves have been shown to accumulate high levels of potash, nitrogen and phosphate, as well as calcium, iron, magnesium and silica. As dry matter, leaves can contain between 15-30% protein, making them comparable to legumes. Comfrey can be used as a fodder plant for poultry, goats and rabbits; but feed in moderation.
Comfrey dies back in the winter time, so stop harvesting end of Autumn to allow the plant to build up reserves before dying back. It is usually propagated by division in spring, although you can get away with division most of the year. Drive a sharp spade through the root mass to divide it, and re-plant small pieces (about 3-5cms) into pots or spread elsewhere in the garden - ideally leaving a good half a metre between plants. Plant growing tips a couple of centimetres below the surface, and keep moist until new leaves emerge. Comfrey can be grown from seed but it notoriously difficult to germinate; hence division is the most reliable method of propagation. Because plants go dormant, you may find Comfrey plants difficult to find in nurseries at certain times of the year. Stock is coming through again now - and we have plants available @ GLSC.
Comfrey originated in Europe and naturally prefers moist spots - however it is quite tough, and will thrive in Perth as long as you improve the soil, give it a good drink at least weekly and MULCH well. It can tolerate full sun (although leaves can wilt & burn) but part sun is more ideal. It sends out clusters of mauve/pink flowers on spikes that appear above the foliage - up to about a metre high - in late Spring (see photo below right). Plants can spread to about 1m wide, but regular trimming can restrict this growth.
Related to Borage, Comfrey has hairs on the leaves which can cause irritation for some people - so handle with gloves. Comfrey has been used in herbal medicine for centuries - known as "knitbone" it is used as a poultice to assist healing of broken bones, and also bruising, swelling, minor burns, cuts & scrapes. It is high in allantoin, a compound we can absorb through the skin which assists with cell development and easing inflammation. (This advice is of a general nature - please consult your Doctor!). To make a poultice, take fresh comfrey leaves and stems, wash well, and pulp in a blender. Add a small amount of flour/cornflour as a binding agent, and spread the paste onto a clean gauze bandage or piece of cloth, and secure over the affected area with another bandage, ensuring paste is in contact with the skin. Leave on for a few hours, then refresh. The paste can be frozen to aid in reducing swelling (as ice does) and to store a batch for later use.
Comfrey is a great additive to your compost - add a whole leaf as it will break down quickly; adding nutrients but also aiding decomposition of other materials. It's often called a "compost accelerator" - although truth be told I haven't tested this folklore to see if batches mature faster. You can also add leaves to worm farms - either shredded or whole.
Comfrey Tea (Fertiliser)
I'm sure once you've smelt comfrey "tea" you wouldn't be tempted to drink it - but let's be clear. It's not good for you to drink - but it's fabulous for your plants! Take a container with a lid (you will thank me re the lid) and stack as many leaves as you can into it. Cover the leaves well with water, and leave for about four weeks. If you can stir or agitate the container once a week it may speed up decomposition. Once the tea is dark and leaves are sloppy, pour out the liquid, strain the mushy leaves out (bury them or add to your compost) and dilute to one part "tea" to five parts water (roughly) and use around your seedlings, pots and elsewhere in your garden. You can apply kelp at the same time, or add the Comfrey tea into your fertiliser rotation regime. Making your own fertiliser is a great way to save money, and save resources - and as a bonus, your garden will thrive!
Photo Competition Winner
Congratulations to Irena D. who is the winner of our monthly photo competition. Irena has been sending in pictures for a while now - so it goes to show persistence pays off - she's this month's winner! Irena has lots of fruiting plants in her Ellenbrook garden - here's a young Mulberry tree. She also grows banana, apple, guava, fig, moringa, passionfruit, sambung, lilly pilly - as well as picking greens and herbs - both in the ground as well as her raised planter here.
So send in a photo (or photos) of your garden with a brief note about what you're growing. YOU might be the winner next month of a $50 store credit to spend with us @GLSC.
Photos can be submitted via email or through our Facebook page - with "photo competition" as the subject line.
Thanks again Irena and happy gardening!
VIP Special offer
It's Spring and time to feed your garden! This month, VIP's can pick up a 3kg of our ever popular Certified Organic Blood & Bone for HALF PRICE. Normally $22, if you spend over $100 the B+B will cost you $11. Please mention this offer to our team member if you're shopping in store or placing an order over the phone.
Online shoppers must be logged into the VIP/members section in order to see the special pricing.
Offer valid up until COB Monday, 31st October 2022. Valid one per customer. VIP offer not available at the Perth Garden Festival.
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 (but may be willing to get stock in for a custom order - if you ask nicely!).
Garden Elegance - Subiaco 9381 2197
Ardess Nursery (Albany) 9842 9952