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Hello and welcome to NOVEMBER - It's been a mild Spring so far - while cold mornings aren't great, I've loved the fact that it's bought me some time to get the Spring/Summer garden whipped into shape. It's always a busy time for us and our own garden gets neglected; so it was great to have a day off yesterday and get outside. We ripped out a lot of crops that had finished and gone to seed, and I mulched up a heap of them along with shrub prunings. The resultant mulch was almost more like a 'green smoothie' - with silverbeet, kale, parsley, coriander and spent cauliflower plants. It was a bit of work but a great way to recycle the nutrients and return them to the garden. We planted out a couple of tomatoes and planned out where some other crops will go - for the next time we can get the opportunity! Oh and weeding. There's always weeding. Given that many are going to seed I wanted to reduce the amount that can spread - I'd like to think that I made some progress there but next Winter I'm sure they'll manage to proliferate as always. Oh well!
Last week we exhibited at the Perth Garden & Outdoor Living Festival - did you get a chance to attend? Numbers of people through were quite good - so it seems like a lot of you took the opportunity to head into the city to check it out. Thank you to everyone who came and said "Hi" - it's lovely to catch up with customers and friends. This year we took along Foodcubes - the wicking bed kits we sell; and a number of their accessories (see pic below). There was a lot of interest, and it surprised me that many were unfamiliar with the concept of wicking beds and how they work; so it was good to be able to share this with a whole new group of people who may be thinking about growing vegies and advising on ways they can do so more easily. If you're interested in checking out the Foodcube or the Foodcube Slim - do come in soon. Prices will be going up so if you're wanting to grab one for Christmas now's the time to secure one at current pricing. We're also getting in an order of the net systems - but don't intend to carry these in stock permanently; so if you're interested don't delay.
This week we received lovely news - we WON the 2022 Organic Consumers' Choice Award! Thanks to YOU - we were voted "Organic Specialist". We really appreciate you taking the time to cast your vote - it means so much to us that our customers believe in and support what we do. We're really chuffed & humbled; thank you!!!
We hope you enjoy this newsletter - as always; we aim to inspire and assist you in your gardening journey, and your feedback and suggestions are welcome.
In this newsletter
Jobs for the November Garden
Jobs for the November garden
What to Plant Now
You're definitely not too late to plant summer crops from seed - our mild Spring means soil temperatures haven't warmed up, so if you're keen to get seeds going - give it a try! It's the perfect time of year for many vegetables and herbs - check out our When to Sow guides available on our website (we've got one for vegies & another for herbs - scroll to the bottom of the linked page). Here's what we'd suggest to try:
Globe artichokes, Asian greens, Basil, Beans (Snake beans are a heat loving variety), Beetroot, Capsicum, Chilli, Carrots, Celery, Choko, Cucumber (pictured right), Eggplant, Ginger, Leek, Lettuce, Melons, Mint, Okra, Parsley, Parsnips, Pumpkin, Radish (see article below) Rocket, Rosella, Silverbeet, Spring onion, Squash, Strawberries, Sweet corn, Sweet potato, Tomato, Zucchini.
Whether you're after seeds or established seedlings, we have fresh stock arriving weekly. Come and see us for advice and all you need to have a fabulously productive garden.
Don't forget to include some flowering plants/annuals with your vegies - they add lovely colour and help with attracting all the good bugs & pollinators to your patch. A tip I received recently from a biodiversity specialist is to plant lots of yellow and blue flowering plants - insects seem to prefer these; and it will help build the food chain. (Did you know that most insects can't see red?)
Square Foot Gardening
We're often asked why we make a product called "Square Foot Mix". It's grown to become one of our most popular mixes we make - people love the versatility of it in pots and planters; and it's perfect for wicking beds! But what is it all about?
Some years ago now, through local horticultural legend, Nick Bell, we were introduced to the concept of 'Square Foot Gardening'. Developed by an American former engineer in his retirement - Mel Bartholomew. Working with a community garden for something to do, he began to question the traditional method of planting large areas in straight rows. Large gardens take more management, more inputs and more weeding! So he began experimenting, and Square Foot Gardening was the result!
The whole system relies on planting out in a grid - each grid being 1 foot x 1 foot. This converts to 30cm x 30cm. While you can make the area any shape or configuration you like - the 'basic' system is 4 squares x 4 squares - so a Square Foot Garden (SQFG) is 1.2m x 1.2m. This space is enough to grow a whole heap of different vegies & herbs. So you really don't need much space to have a garden! There are recommended planting quantities of specific plants depending on whether they fall into categories - 'small', 'medium', 'large', 'extra large' - we won't go into those here but if you're keen to learn more, we have a FREE downloadable Square Foot Gardening Guide here; and we also sell the 'Square Foot Gardening' book; which has been adapted for Australian seasons. It would make a great Christmas present, with lots of great growing advice on different vegies as well as the full details of setting up your very own SQFG.
As well as being small & manageable with less maintenance, the other advantages of SQFG are that you need less soil. The idea is to grow in a specific mix that doesn't need to be deep, and doesn't need a whole heap of work each season to rejuvenate it. The original 'Mel's Mix' to grow in suggests 1/3 each of quality compost, vermiculite, and peat. That's it. At GLSC, we don't use peat - it's not a sustainable product and is usually imported from ancient wetland areas in the northern hemisphere - mainly eastern Europe. So we use cocopeat; and have added a range of our own secret 'herbs and spices' to promote nutrient dense vegies. Our SQFM is Certified Organic - perfect for your vegetables & all edibles.
The key thing about SQFG is the grid. It is highly recommended you make a simple grid to lay over the soil when planting (you can leave it there permanently - some clever people even use their irrigation as the grid itself!). Grids can be as simple as a string line, bamboo stakes tied together, or slatted wood held together with screws for a more robust option. The grid is the essential element -otherwise human nature tends to plant things out further apart than the methodology suggests. So use the grid, and follow their suggested planting ratios - especially if you're starting out. Of course - some large & sprawling vegies are not well suited to SQFG - although you can add a trellis for climbers or let spreading vegies spill over the sides (eg. pumpkin). Plants that need deeper growing depths (eg. potatoes) can be catered for by a simple "topper box" that sits on top of that square for that growing season to increase the height of the soil therein. Because you're planting out so densely, you do need to maintain the garden regularly. Snip and prune to allow airflow and sunlight. But little and often is the key to this. Because the garden area is small, it shouldn't be overwhelming to manage - that's the beauty of it.
So if you're looking at setting up a new garden bed - consider Square Foot Gardening! You can do it just about anywhere - even growing directly on paving or concrete - so pick the spot in your yard that is most suitable for growing and get started. You can use recycled materials to make the bed itself so it can be done cheaply. It's ideal for wicking beds, whether you make your own or look into a Foodcube. Growing vegies so intensively means you do need to ensure adequate water - so providing plants constant access when they need it via wicking is perfect.
Square Foot Mix Vs. our Premium Potting Mix
People often ask what's the difference between SQFM & our potting mix and when you'd choose one product over the other. In some instances, they're interchangeable - but we do have recommendations. Here's the pro's and con's...
Our Premium Potting Mix is also Certified Organic, and suitable for growing vegetables and herbs. It is more of a traditional potting mix - it is a true soil rather than a growing medium. In larger pots where you're growing fruit trees, shrubs, ornamentals - things that are going to be in planters a long time, I'd personally go for the potting mix. You could certainly blend potting mix & SQFM if you wanted to. For pots over 20L volume, I'd also go for the potting mix. SQFM is designed for shallow growing depth; so is great for small pots & containers. Because potting mix is a soil, it has better drainage and aeration for long term growth. As a 'sharper' mix - I'd grow succulents and hardy perennials in potting mix.
Radish - from humble to Rad!
I admit to having been rather 'meh' about growing and eating radish. But earlier this year, I lost a bit of weight following Dr Michael Mosley's "The Fast 800 Diet" and there are a number of recipes that include radish, so I thought I'd give them another go. I have to admit that their pungent peppery flavour and crunch has grown on me over the years. So much so that I now consider them a worthwhile addition to the vegie patch!
It turns out they're quite good for you - high in dietary fibre so excellent for gut health, as well as being high in Vitamin C and containing a number of antioxidant flavonoids. All parts of the radish are edible; and in fact, they're a very popular choice for microgreens - grown to eat the very young leaf growth. While they look delicate on your plate, they provide an interesting flavour hit. If you struggle to grow radish in summer, microgreens are a good way to enjoy the flavour - you can raise them in a bright spot indoors - no garden required.
There are several different types of Radish that generally fall under three categories: 'French Radish' - the smaller, red radish usually added to salads (pictured right). 'European Radish'- larger, and often black skinned, and 'Asian Radish'- often larger growing like the Daikons (pictured below). Asian Radish tend to have a longer growing season, while French Radish are very quick crops (European Radish fall somewhere in between).
They're members of the Brassica family - related to cabbage, broccoli, turnips, kohl rabi and cauliflower! So they're great to grow in areas where you suspect root knot nematode. Radish exude a pungent chemical compound that helps repel some pests - making it a good companion plant for other vegies. That said, they are on the hit list for cabbage butterflies - but unless they're decimating the leaves of your radish to the point the plant is set back, they won't affect the bulb itself.
Radish will grow year-round in Perth, although the milder weather produces better results with less effort. Radish require full sun, but also regular water - so in the middle of our summer, shadecloth would be beneficial to prevent plants from becoming stressed. Stressed plants will give you more bitter/hotter radish. In our current Spring there's still time to get in a crop - they're at harvest stage within 4-6 weeks (although you can harvest any time you like). Be quick & get a crop growing now. Grow radish in fertile soil, and don't overfeed them with nitrogen or you'll get lots of leaf growth at the expense of the bulb. Feed weekly with a gentle plant tonic like kelp or worm wiz and make sure they're moist - dry soil will slow growth and also promote those bitter compounds.
Radish don't transplant well so plant from seed - they'll germinate in around a week (sometimes less) - they're perfect for kids to grow as they'll see results quickly. Plant seeds about 1cm deep (max) and about 2-3cms apart. Thin to about 5cms apart for French Radish and space European and Asian radishes to at least 10cms apart. Once the seeds have germinated and grown a little, mulch well. You can also hill up radishes with a little more soil if they're sticking up a bit too much above the surface.
They're a versatile vegie - you can eat them raw in salads, sliced to use instead of a cracker with dip, cooked (add to a root vegie roast mix, or add to casseroles), and they can be added to fermented vegie mixes like sauerkraut or kimchi. The heat is mainly in the skin - so for milder flavour, peel before eating them. Pick the when young, carefully brush off the dirt (don't wash) and they'll keep in the fridge crisper for a week or two before slowly going soft.
Good companion plants for Radish include: eggplant, tomatoes, capsicum, cucumbers, lettuce, spring onions, and above ground brassicas (cabbage/cauli). Not recommended for planting with: below ground brassicas (kohl rabi/turnip) as they compete for the same nutrients, pumpkin, corn, sunflowers - as these may provide too much shade.
Photo Competition Winner
Congratulations to Amanda from Henley Brook who sent in these photos with the comments:
"At the moment , the spring annuals are flowering, the roses are budding and the liliums are growing. The fruit trees have been blossoming. Such a beautiful time of year to be in the garden.
The neighbour’s chooks visit on a daily basis and keep down any snails and slugs but it does mean that all my new seedlings need to be chicken-proofed. I have re-purposed a couple of cocky cages found on the kerbside for the job. Reduce… Reuse…Recycle
Congratulations Amanda - you're this month's winner of a $50 store credit to spend with us.
If YOU'D like to be the winner next time, send in your photos via Facebook or email with the subject "photo competition" and you can be in the draw! Each month we select a random winner; but you've got to be in it to win it! Happy snapping!
VIP Special Offer
Keen newsletter readers will know earlier this year we introduced you to "Sassy Frass". If you missed the article, the link to that newsletter is here to catch up!
We've been using Sassy Frass in some of our mixes for about a year - and we're really pleased with the results; particularly in relation to the growth of fungal strains in the mixes, which can be slower/more difficult to encourage. There's a great story behind Sassy Frass and the role of Black Soldier Fly in waste management - we're really pleased to be working with Future Green Solutions to bring their holistic vision one step closer by bringing Sassy Frass to life.
As an introductory special, VIP's can grab a FREE Sassy Frass bag with any purchase over $60. So come on in to grab one! If purchasing online or over the phone, please add the request to your order details (for online orders) or ask our team member (for over the phone transactions). Limit of one per customer while stocks last, and valid until COB 30th November 2022.
Conduct your own experiment and let us know how you go!
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!). [Picture right is part of our Garden Festival Display]
Garden Elegance - Subiaco 9381 2197
Ardess Nursery (Albany) 9842 9952
THANK YOU for being part of our Green Life family! We hope to see you in store soon. Check out our newsletter next month & stay up to date with our Facebook and Instagram pages for announcements, stock arrivals and general good gardening vibes!