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Welcome to Summer - it has definitely arrived this week, after a loooong and mild Spring. The first heat always comes as a shock to our plants - and to us! But we know we're in for a warmer few months so it's time to acclimatise to the best of our ability - and to get our gardens set up for success too. More on that below! It's about now we enter Birak - the Noongyar first summer season; with warmer days and cooling afternoon sea breezes. This regular weather pattern made it the time to do cool burns through the landscape; enabling rejuvenation of the vegetation, and making areas easier to traverse. This time of year sees many fledglings and younger animals abound.
December means that Christmas is just around the corner - keep in mind we've got some great items for Chrissy Pressies for your green thumb friends - we've got 2023 Moon Planting Calendars in stock, fabulous long gardening gloves, growing guides and books, shampoo bars, and NEW all-natural Vanilla Mozi insect repellent. Also imminent are Greensmart wicking pots - so you can give someone an instant garden kit! Or if you're wanting to give yourself a BIG Chrissy pressie - consider a Foodcube! Plus we have Gift Vouchers ('real' and electronic) available if you'd rather leave it up to the recipient to choose. Want to give something unique and handmade? - we've got you covered for that too - read on for some clever DIY gift ideas.
We're taking a short break over the Christmas/New Year Period - our dates are:
Trading to 4.00pm Friday 23rd December
So if you're planning to knock off some gardening projects over your Christmas break, plan ahead to avoid disappointment! Cut off dates for orders - online run (bags, etc) will need to be lunchtime Monday 19th December. Orders can be placed for bulk deliveries right up until the 23rd - but it will be on a first come/first served basis so my advice is to book ahead!
We'd like to THANK YOU so much for your continued support in 2022 - it's been a whirlwind year. We lost a couple of long term team members, and have welcomed onboard a couple more. Our newest faces in the store are Brodie (who works with us Saturday - When Thrive Sustainability closed its nursery, we snapped her up!) and Lesley - pictured right (who works with us Monday - Friday. Lesley holds a PDC and is a passionate home gardener. She's made the move to us from a more corporate background - so is getting used to working with poo.) In production we welcomed Kobe K & Emmet who join Brant and the two Toms "out the back" keeping the shop stocked and the deliveries rolling.
As a community, it's been a bumpy ride these last couple of years through Covid - gardening has helped us all to feel more grounded (pun intended) and cope. We wish you a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and abundant 2023. We look forward to being part of your gardening journey in the new year!
Linda & the Team @ The Green Life Soil Co
In this Newsletter:
Jobs for the December garden
Jobs to do in the garden NOW
Christmas is ON OUR DOORSTEP! So it's time to get busy...
What to Plant NOW
Check out our FREE when to plant guides on our website - but here's a quick reminder list:
Basil, Beans (snake beans - pictured right - highly recommended for summer, as they can handle the hot weather), Beetroot, Capsicum, Chilli, Carrots, Chokos, Cucumber, Eggplant, Ginger, Leeks, Lettuce, Malabar Spinach, Okra, Parsnips, Pumpkin, Radish, Rockmelon, Rosella, Silverbeet, Spring Onions, Squash, Strawberries, Sweet corn, Sweet potato, Tomatoes, Watermelon, Zucchini.
Seed orders from Eden, The Seed Station & Thrive Sustainability are coming through regularly; so our range is continually changing. We've got fresh seedlings and herbs coming in weekly - so pop in and grab what you need to fill gaps in your Summer crops.
Hotter temperatures can make it harder to keep a steady supply of salad greens to hand. If you'd like a reliable supply of fresh greens, why not try your hand at growing microgreens? Microgreens are grown in soil so I've found them easier than sprouts (which I seem to have more fungal problems with. Sprouts are grown without soil - in special trays or jars, and must be rinsed regularly.) Microgreens are the young early leaves of many herbs and vegetables - just harvested at a very early stage when plants are around 10cms high. They are packed with nutrients and provide a quick crop - they're harvestable within 1-2 weeks. Ideally, have a few trays in circulation so you can rotate crops continually.
Our Certified Organic Seed Raising Mix is ideal - although you can use your own concoctions of potting mix, coir, worm castings - whatever you may have. Use shallow trays or any shallow container (recycling meat trays is great - just add drainage holes). You can grow microgreens indoors or outside - in a sheltered spot that receives good indirect light. Sow seeds thickly - you want the microgreens to grow 'like hairs on a cat's back' - rather than how you'd normally think of planting to allow room for growth. Lightly cover seed, gently tamp down, and keep moist - a gentle water with a sprayer is ideal. Once they're large enough to use, snip the stems with scissors just above ground level to harvest. Only take what you need and the remainder will continue to grow and keep fresh until next time.
Suitable choices for growing as microgreens include: Cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, watercress, radish, rocket, lettuce, endive, chicory, radicchio, dill, carrot, fennel, celery, onions, leeks, amaranth, quinoa, chard, silverbeet, spinach, cucumber - so you can see there are lots of choices to try!
We have microgreen seed packs and growing guides & kits available at GLSC - so why not give it a try? We have a free fact sheet on microgreens here for further reading.
Drought proofing your garden for summer
With the potential of a long hot summer in front of us, and with new restrictions for home bore use in place - now more than ever, we need to re-think our gardens and gardening practises. Here are some thinking points and tips:
Do you really need a large lawn, or lawn on your verge?
Manage heat in your garden
Improve the soil to aid water retention
By now I'm sure you've heard us say it many, many times... If you have sandy soil, adding clay and/or biochar will drastically help with water and nutrient retention. Keeping soil healthy keeps plants healthy. It really is that simple. If you have hydrophobic soil - use a good quality soil wetter; not just detergent which does nothing to help your soil health. We recommend Eco-Wet or Eco-Hydrate. 'Gutless' Bassendean sand pictured right.
Check your retic, and water wisely
Plant choices matter
Grow your own - appropriately!
Mulch and more mulch!
Savvy Santa Stocking Stuffers!
What do you give someone who has everything? Trying to come up with great gift ideas can be very stressful - not to mention expensive. So if you have a window of opportunity between now and Christmas, you may like to consider some homemade gifts for those in your circle. Even better if you have home grown produce to use! Here are some ideas - and I'm sure that there are plenty more to be found once you start looking!
Gather your rosehips and give them a light clean to remove any loose bits & dirt. Cover with water, and simmer until the hips are soft (time this will take can vary hugely on rose variety - from 10 mins to over an hour - just keep checking), then press through a sieve leaving the seeds and other coarse material behind. (Compost this or give it to your chooks!)
With the remaining pulp, use an equal amount of caster sugar (eg. 1 cup of pulp to 1 cup of caster sugar) and add a small quantity of lemon juice - [half a lemon to the 1 cup of pulp & 1 cup of sugar as a ratio]. Put back onto heat, stirring all the time until the sugar is dissolved and the sauce is an even consistency. Place into sterilised jars, label, and refrigerate once cooled.
Fetta and Rose Petals in Oil
Place ingredients in a jar, trying to make sure that the petals are evenly distributed. Fill the jar to the brim with olive oil, and store in a cool place - a cool pantry works best (if refrigerated the olive oil may harden. Sunflower oil is another option but flavour is not the same). Flavour improves with a week or two but obviously check cheese before consumption.
While 'proper' rose water is made through distillation, you can make a cheats version at home. You'll need at least 2-3 lovely roses (which haven't been sprayed with nasties) to give you 1/2 - 1 cup of petals. Choose blooms with a strong perfume if possible. Wash to remove dust & any insects.
Cover with distilled or filtered water - not too much; just enough to cover the petals. Allow it to just simmer, then cover and reduce to the lowest possible heat to simmer and leave the lid on. 'Cook' for 30 mins, then turn off the heat and allow to cool completely. Once cool, strain and bottle (remember to label). It will keep up to a month in the fridge. Rose water is great to use in home made skin care recipes too - if you're still looking for more ideas!
Photo competition winner
Thank you to everyone who sent in photos for the newsletter competition! There were a few to choose from and some lovely photos! Remember - there's a winner selected each month so keep those photos coming in - someone's gotta win - why not you??
This month I selected Silvia from Darlington, who had this to say about her garden:
Hi to the Team at Green Life Soil Co
I thought that I would share some photos of our garden in Darlington. All three photos show the profusion of colour in the garden at this time of the year – the yellow flowers of the St Johns shrub and from the cabbage plants going to seed. Offsetting the red of the stalks of the silverbeet brimming with health. Every part of our garden has bees buzzing and other beneficial insects working hard. A feast for the senses.
Take care, Silvia
I hope your gardens are brimming with life, too! Send in the pics via our Facebook page or email - with the subject line 'photo competition' to enter the draw for a $50 store credit to spend with us.
VIP Special offer
Some of you may have heard the sad news that WA Rose expert Bob Melville passed away suddenly last week. His knowledge of roses and experience with rose breeding is legendary. Just over a week ago, I was a guest on Curtin FM's "Let's Talk Gardening" show and he was one of the phone in expert guests for the day, giving tips on summer rose care. As part of that discussion, he talked about fertilising roses, and bemoaned the fact that blood & bone fertilisers these days were no good - not like the olden days! I couldn't help but interrupt him - because at GLSC we blend our own Blood & Bone and it's definitely the good stuff like grandad used to use! Anyway - he didn't mind the interruption and told me I was a "good girl"- I giggled; and that was the last memory I'll have of Bob - who I've known for a few years now through industry groups. It's a sad loss for his family and rose growers in WA, and our thoughts are with them at this time. - he will be missed.
But back to the VIP offer... (and hopefully not a disrespectful segueway!)
So what makes our Blood & Bone different? It contains blood meal, feather meal, and rock dust for added trace elements. That's it. No nasty fillers or artificial fertilisers. It's certified organic. And this month, VIP's get to grab some for HALF PRICE.
Spend $100 in store and VIP's get to buy any B+B for half price. Did you know we also refill your own tubs? Bring in a container and save packaging and you'll save money too; especially this month!!! Prepackaged blood & bone - 3kg is now $11 (save $11), 8kg is now $21 (save $21), 15kg is now $34.50 (save $34.50) and refills $1.75/kg (save $1.75/kg). While stocks last and valid until close of business, Friday 23rd December 2022.
If shopping in store or over the phone, please mention the offer to our team. If ordering online, to receive the discounted price you'll need to log in as a member to see the discounted pricing.
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!). Some of these fabulous retailers also offer a home delivery service - so why not go local? We're pleased to welcome a couple of brand new stockists this month - check out the list and see who's closest!
Daisy Field Organics - Fremantle
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!