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HAPPY NEW YEAR! I trust you had a lovely Christmas and some time to yourself to enjoy some quiet time outdoors! Now that the new year is here; it's a time of celebration and reflection - in our gardens, too! Hopefully you're celebrating with harvests of homegrown goodness; and reflection on what's worked well, what you'd like to remember for next spring, and what your intentions are for the autumn season - when it eventually rolls around.
Paul & I came down with Covid just before Christmas - it threw our end of year plans a little (and meant we missed GLSC's Christmas Party!) - but at least the timing meant that we were recovered by Christmas and able to spend time with friends and family. Whilst it's never pleasant feeling unwell, I'm grateful that the ever-capable GLSC team kept everything going in our absence and we were able to simply rest and recuperate. It has given me personally the longest break away from work since we've owned the business (21 years) so in a way I have enjoyed the down time and utter relaxation... once I was over the worst of the illness! I tried to have a 'digital detox' as much as possible which has been refreshing too! I can't say I've achieved a great deal around the home or garden - but you know what? Sometimes that's perfectly ok!
The weather over this Christmas break has been a little kinder than it was last year... I know some of you may have been disappointed we were closed over the period as you wanted to take the opportunity to get into the garden. As a small business we have to take a punt on whether it's worth opening (because it certainly isn't if the weather is in the high 30's) - and our team do value a good break after Spring busy-ness... So I apologise if you attempted to shop with us. We try to publicise our closing dates as much as possible.
Which leads me to mention that we will be CLOSED FOR THE AUSTRALIA DAY PUBLIC HOLIDAY, JANUARY 26TH - for just the one day.
Anyway - the new year is here so it's time to get back in the saddle and back to work! Hopefully we've got some interesting tips & advice for you in this newsletter. Feel free to let us know if you have suggestions for future topics. Remember that we have all previous newsletters available on line (see the 'newsletter' tab) for you to read through; plus lots of other fact sheets available (pages & pages worth) under the 'learn' tab. If you're stuck indoors grab a cool beverage and take some time to have a look through. It's all free!
Remember we're open & able to help with your summer garden essentials - mulch, shade cloth, soil wetter and much more in stock now. We hope to see you soon!
Linda & the Team @ The Green Life Soil Co
In this newsletter
Jobs to do in the January garden
Jobs for the January Garden
What to Plant NOW
It's the hottest time of the year in Perth making gardening extra challenging. Remember we've got 50% and 70% white horticultural shadecloth in stock (see below for our VIP special offer!) - so get some protection up for your vegie patch and with a daily hand water you'll still be able to have a productive garden. Now's the time of year for some succession planting, time to think about starting winter brassicas from seed* (well, almost!), and time to think about your Autumn/Winter garden and what is going to follow on from your summer crops when they run out of steam.
Plants to consider growing now include: Basil, Beans (snake beans highly recommended for summer), Beetroot, Capsicum (pictured right), 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.
* Remember that Brassica vegetables (Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, kohl rabi) are best grown as Winter crops here in Perth. While they will grow in Summer, they are more susceptible to pests like Cabbage Moth & Cabbage Butterfly, so it's best to keep them under insect netting at this time of year. Keep up the water as stressed plants will bolt to seed, and ensure seeds & seedlings aren't allowed to dry out. Brussel Sprouts are borderline in Perth - they thrive in cold weather; and usually our Perth Winters are too mild for them. Brussel Sprouts and Cauliflower are slow to produce - so for your best chance of success, start off seeds early so that once conditions cool down in Autumn you have advanced seedlings ready to go in the ground... I think it's a little too early YET - but check on your seed stocks so you're ready in a few weeks, if you want to try. Of course - here's where it get's really tricky - you need to predict WHEN it's going to get cool enough; so starting a few seeds off every couple of weeks will be helpful.
Check out our FREE downloadable 'When to Plant Guide' here - we've got one for vegies and another for herbs, in a handy month-by-month list. (You'll need to sign in as a member to access our FREE downloads.)
Powdery Mildew is a fungal disease that affects a wide range of plants. The spores are spread on the air, so it can be difficult to avoid it completely. It thrives under warm and humid conditions. Infected plants show a dusting of grey-white 'powder' on the leaves. Stems and new leaves can look distorted and crinkled. Sometimes, spore spots start on the underside of leaves; often in the lower portion of the plant. If left untreated, the spots spread and join up, and the entire plant can be affected.
Like with most diseases, plants that are under stress or undernourished can suffer the most.
Make sure there's good airflow around your plants - either thin out plantings or do some judicious pruning of leaves/sections of plants.
Seaweed/kelp extracts can be a useful plant tonic - not only do they help stimulate beneficial soil biology, seaweed is often high in potassium and trace elements - so spraying foliage with a diluted mix and treating the plants can be beneficial in providing elements needed for healthy growth and disease resistance.
Note - these treatments are effective by coating the plant surface; making it less likely the fungal spores can thrive. To be effective, treatments may need to be repeated every few days while you're fighting the problem. You'll also need to reapply after rain, or if you do have an overhead watering system.
Be aware many zucchini plants have a natural mottled pattern on their leaves which some people think may be powdery mildew - but in fact, it's a perfectly natural variegation. If it's "just" the plant - the pattern will be symmetrical and uniform - if it's random (and you can wipe it off to a degree) - it's powdery mildew.
Tomatoes - Top Tips!
Home grown tomatoes are the holy grail of most vegetable gardeners... They are the most popular home grown veg (ok, fruit) by a mile. They can be tricky - being one of the most susceptible crops to a number of diseases (many having similar symptoms making it harder to diagnose). But take heart - even plants that look like they're on death's door can bear fruit - so it's worth aiming for the healthiest plants you can grow but accepting that things may be a drama. If you planted your tomatoes in September or October, you're likely to be harvesting crops already. But if you missed that window - don't despair! Last year, because life got in the way, we didn't plant any until the week between Christmas and New Year. We enjoyed great crops through Autumn and while they slowed down in the cooler months, we picked fruit all the way through until August - so it's definitely not too late to get plants in your garden this summer.
Photo Competition Winner
Congratulations to Simon from Dianella who sent in these great photos of his passionfruit vine & had this to say:
Summer Means Passionfruit!
We agree Simon - Passionfruit are totally rewarding plants to grow! I'm watching mine develop at a similar rate and very much looking forward to the harvest.
If YOU'D like to be our winner next time - send in your garden photo/s with a little bit of info about what you're growing. They can be emailed or sent via Facebook with the heading "photo competition". Each month we pick someone at random who receives a $50 store credit to spend with us - so what are you waiting for?
VIP Special Offer
Summer is here! It's always something of a shock to see our gardens in the heat; and we need to make sure we help them through the next month or two until we're over the height of summer temperatures. So this month, VIP's can get discounted shadecloth!
Normally $18 per metre, spend $60 with us this month and the price reduces to $12 per metre (save 33%)
We have white 70% in stock and White 50% in stock. The grade of shadecloth you need will depend on the exposure and situation of your garden. Our vegie patch is exposed to full sun, and in the hills it gets baking hot. We originally trialled 50% and then increased it to 70% and the plants fared much better. If your garden is a little more protected and perhaps gets part day shade from other structures, 50% may well be adequate for you.
White is regarded as being the better colour to use for plants, as it doesn't alter the colour spectrum of light passing through. Darker colours are more comfortable for humans; but can lead to straggly growth of plants. Generally - lighter colours are better to choose for dedicated garden shade.
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 (marked with *) - so why not go local? (Please contact the store directly for details.)
Daisy Field Organics - Fremantle
Ardess Nursery (Albany) 9842 9952