Stop and smell the roses - Oct 25, 2011

Dear gardening friends

It’s great to see some rain falling because the lawn and garden was starting to get dry. I actually treated all my pot plants with Wettasoil on the weekend because I noticed the water was just running out the bottom. When it gets dry the potting mix becomes hydrophobic and so it just repels the water. This rain will help restore the moisture but if your plants are getting pot bound then you should Wettasoil your plants too. I mixed Harvest and Wettasoil together in a watering can and treated all my plants. I discovered Harvest a few years ago when I had a sick Frangipani. The stems were all shriveling up and the plant was dieing. I sent an email to Graham Ross and he suggested I treat the Frangipani with Harvest every couple of weeks. I did this and the Frangipani recovered and it now looks fantastic. Harvest is an organic liquid fertiliser that contains Fish,Seaweed,Trace Elements and Fulvic Acid. You can use it on all your plants including vegetables. It is totally organic so it is safe for the environment too. It is a good alternative to Seasol because it has a few extra goodies in it.

I had a customer bring in a photo of a sick plant during the week. Mobile phones are fantastic because you can use them to take photos and this allows us to get a better idea of what is wrong with your plants. They had a standard Abutilon that just looked tired. It had been in the same pot for 3 years and so the roots had filled the pot replacing the soil as it composted. Eventually there are only roots in the pot so there is no compost to hold the water. I suggested they cut the plant back hard and then repot it into a bigger pot using our Tim’s Best Potting mix. They could also cut 20% of the roots off and plant it back in the same pot. It is important to do this operation before it gets too hot or the plant could die.

When we get a few hot days in a row we sometimes get plants returned to us that have dried out. These plants are nearly always still in their original pots. We recommend that plants should be planted within 24 hours of purchase. Plants in the ground have got a much better chance of survival. If you put pot plants in the sun sitting on concrete then they simply get cooked. The potting mix dries out and then when you do remember to water them the water just runs out the bottom. A couple of days latter and the plant starts to droop and then the leaves go brown and drop off. The plant drops its leaves on purpose as a survival mechanism. If it doesn’t have leaves it doesn’t transpire water. These plants can sometimes be rescued by dunking them in a bucket of water. Wait until the bubbles stop, this removes the air from the soil and replaces it with water. Plant your plant in the garden, water it daily and within a week or two new growth will slowly appear.

Every year when the Melbourne Cup comes around we notice our rose bushes always look there best. Our plants are covered in lovely perfumed flowers now so it is a good time to give them the sniff test. Some of the newer varieties just don’t have the same perfume as the older varieties so that’s why you should sniff before you buy.

We have about 500 plants so the choice is still good. See Ryan our rose expert if you need advice.

I have attached a copy of this week’s ad in the paper. You might like to look at the pictures?

We have the Cera Fruit Fly traps back in stock. These new fruit fly traps kill male and female fruit fly using non poisonous bait. This really is the future of horticulture being able to grow fruit in your backyard without having to use dangerous pesticides. The trap has to be installed early so the fruit fly numbers don’t get a chance to build up.

Hang it on the sunny side of your fruit tree about 1500mms from the ground. One trap will protect 2 fruit trees. The trap costs $24.99 so it is cheaper than chemicals too.

Now is a good time to plant a second crop of tomatoes. These will produce fruit after Christmas. We still have the Taurus Tomato. My one at home has taken off this week with the hot weather.

Happy gardening