Jan 202013
 

Photo © Bulleen Art & Garden

Every September we get customers bringing in thickened bubbly curled and distorted leaves from their peaches and nectarines, by then it is too late to treat and all we can do is offer a rueful smile and tell people what to do for next year. This is Peach Leaf Curl, a very unsightly and damaging problem caused by the fungus Taphrina deformans. If left untreated, it can cause dieback of new shoots, early fruit drop, reduction of vigour, and eventually death of the tree. The cool wet spring conditions in Victoria are ideal for this particular fungus, so you need to be proactive in controlling this disease.

If you have a bad infestation then apply three sprays in the first year to get it under control. Initially spray in autumn at leaf fall, then a week or so before bud swell in winter, and finally at bud swell (about a week later). Timing is critical, if you leave it too late, you have wasted your time. If there is significant improvement the following spring then you can move to a single spray at bud swell.

Which fungicide do you use? There are several options available to you. You can use one of the commercially available copper or lime based fungicide sprays, or you can make up a Bordeaux or Burgundy spray (these make the trees look slightly blue and are used when trees are completely dormant – never ever when they are in leaf).

Jan 182013
 

Perennial Vegetables

There’s finally room at BAAG for me to have the Perennial Vegetables bench that I have been trying to get for twelve months. As you can see in the pic, this is just the beginning… I will be adding more stock to the bench in the coming months. Be sure to have a look next time you are in. (It is in the herbs and vegies section over near the chook shed. Book Book)

Perennial vegetables can be a useful addition to the edible garden by providing an ongoing supply of vegetables that don’t need to be replanted each year. Well known perennial vegetables include asparagus and rhubarb, but there are many more out there that are available. As well as being low maintenance, perennial vegetables can provide other benefits to your garden such as habitat for beneficial organisms, soil building and edible landscaping.

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Jan 082013
 

Capsicum (Photograph by Liz Pye, http://suburbantomato.com used with permission)

Summer is the perfect time to get in your Chillie and Capsicum seedlings. Once the fruit starts to set there is nothing better than seeing splashes of bright red, orange, yellow and green dotted throughout the vegie patch. There are so many great summer salads and stir fries to use them in… what are you waiting for?

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Jan 032013
 


Since Ancient Times, Edible Gardening and producing food was motivated by survival. The Egyptians, the Persians and the Romans developed ‘Paradise Gardens’ that became increasingly elaborate, intermingling ornamental and edible plants. In Medieval Times, Christian Monastery Gardens used function in geometric patterns to enclose herb, fruit and vegetable gardens. Most of the peasant population also cultivated edible garden plots by their home or in community gardens, essential for their daily sustenance. During the Renaissance ‘Paradise Gardens’ were elaborate with fantastic gardens of clipped hedges, mazes and exotic plants, including fruits and vegetables carefully and often expensively sourced from all over the world.

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Dec 192012
 

What gift do you give the gardener that has everything? Surprise them with a log! Not just any log however, but a specially inoculated shiitake mushroom log that has matured and is ready to fruit. Pronounced she-TA-kee, these delicacies are commonly used in stir fries or miso soup. Traditionally they have also been used for their anti-cancer, anti-viral, anti-bacterial and nutritional properties.

Harvests of 200-250 grams each can be made up to four times a year and if kept well watered, in the shade and off the soil, logs may keep producing for up to 6 years. Considering that local fresh log grown shiitake mushrooms can cost up to $70/kg, by looking after your log, it could pay for itself in less than a year.

Continue reading for more info on caring for and harvesting your Shiitake Mushrooms.

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Dec 112012
 

Photograph by Bulleen Art & Garden

We are having a park care planting day this Thursday 13th December from 9am until noon and we need as many volunteers as we can get! We will need to know numbers, so if you are interested in helping to maintain the beautiful parkland adjoining BAAG, please rsvp to enviro@baag.com.au.

These days are always a lot of fun, and you will learn loads about the local vegetation. It is going to be warm, so make sure you bring a hat!

Nov 292012
 

When selecting the right cucumber for you there are a few things to consider. Regular or burpless, small or large, long or round. The regular cucumbers generally have a bitter skin that requires peeling, whereas you can eat the skin of a burpless and remain indigestion-free (probably best in front of the Queen). The skin is very good for you!

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Nov 222012
 

We had a great time at the Manningham Multicultural Festival last Saturday. Joy gave two wonderful talks on Produce from around the world and Bec had a great time with the kids making some found objects collages.

Congratulations to Ita who won the BAAG ‘Guess the Beans’ competition. Her guess was 1890, and was very close to the actual number (1863). Ita wins a Worm Café worm farm worth $99.95.

There were more than 6000 people at the Festival and everyone had a fantastic time. Put it in your diary for next year, it really is worth a look.

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Oct 312012
 

When you buy a product with the Fairtrade label, you’re buying an ethical and sustainable product. Fairtrade standards apply to traders and producers of food and non-food products in developing countries. Fairtrade Labelling is a certification scheme that works with traders and producers in developing countries to achieve sustainable prices, better working conditions, and opportunities for local communities to have more control over their future.

By requiring companies to pay sustainable prices, Fairtrade addresses the injustices of conventional trade, which traditionally discriminates against the poorest, weakest producers. Producers are not simply beneficiaries; they are joint partners in Fairtrade.

Twenty years ago Fairtrade Labelling initiatives were set up by major development charities and had as their core purpose the alleviation of poverty and sustainable development. The Fairtrade system benefits approximately 1 million workers and farmers in 60 developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Including their dependents, five million people are affected. Fairtrade certification allows them to achieve economic independence and empowerment while improving their standards of living.

Fairtrade secures for producers a fair price paid for their products, but also puts in place a Fairtrade Premium – a sum of money paid on top of the agreed Fairtrade price, decided upon democratically by producers within the farmers’ organisation or by workers on a plantation. This premium goes towards things like access to low or no-interest loans; building infrastructure; communications systems and transport; health, education and training.

Fairtrade also rewards and encourages farmers and producers who practice environmentally sustainable methods, like minimizing pollutants, pesticides and herbicides, and use organic agriculture principles.

So apart from looking or tasting great, and making a nice present, Fairtrade products are helping communities in developing countries to be more financially independent, and have better and sustainable working environments. That’s a feel-good gift if I ever saw one.

Oct 292012
 

Basil (Photograph by Bulleen Art & Garden)

Basil is one of the best known herbs in the world, and with good reason. It’s tasty, attractive and very easy to grow. With over 100 different species to choose from, Basil is never faulty!
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Oct 282012
 

Passionfruit vines don’t have to be pruned to get good fruit set, but pruning in early spring (after last frosts – important) will help promote new growth where the flowers and subsequent fruit will form. Pruning will also keep a rampant vine under control. Avoid pruning the main stems and main lateral stems, clean up the twining often rampant side stems. You can remove as much as one third of the previous year’s growth.

Keep the vines well fertilised (and watered) all the way from spring through to autumn. In this instance it is helpful if you use a fertiliser which has a N:P:K ratio weighted towards the Phosphorus and Potassium end, so a ‘Flower and Fruit’ or a Citrus fertiliser will work well.

A common complaint is lots of flowers and no fruit. Try hand pollinating if the bees are not doing the job, using a fine paint brush, transfer pollen from the stamens (5 of these per flower) to the stigma (three of these per flower). If that is too tedious simply pick a flower and swipe it across other flowers using a downward motion to transfer pollen onto the stigmas. Also try planting something like lavender nearby to encourage bees into the vicinity.

At the nursery we no longer stock grafted passionfruit. We decided to do this after finding that the very vigorous rootstock heavily suckered and eventually outgrew the grafted material on too many of our customer’s plants. All the good advice and intentions in the world to remove suckers didn’t seem to work, hence the decision to nip the trouble at the source as it were, and stop stocking grafted passionfruit.

Oct 282012
 

Photo © Bulleen Art & Garden

You need a male and a female of these very vigorous vines, so allow for both a sturdy supporting structure and plenty of room.  They grow at a very fast pace over spring and early summer and will rapidly cover a large structure with lovely rounded leaves providing perfect summer shade, but also dropping their leaves in winter to allow winter light in.  Flowering in late spring, the male flowers will pollinate the female flowers and the fruit develops slowly, being generally ready to harvest over winter.

Intolerant of poor drainage, doing best in good quality deep loamy soil well enriched with manures.  Feed well over spring (high Nitrogen fertiliser) when the vines are growing rapidly and water well in summer.  Be patient because your kiwi will not fruit for the first few years, fruit will start to appear after 5 years or so and gradually the crop will become heavier until you have a very prolific fruiting vine at age 7 or 8 years.  Prune hard in winter.  Their vigorous growth habit means they will end up a tangled overcrowded mess unless you remove excess growth.  Fruit appears on the first 6 or 7 buds on new wood.

 

Kiwi Fruit – Haywood (Female)
Deciduous twining vine, covered with fine hairs, with large, rounded, lime green leaves. Female flowers have central thick white styles. Also known as Chinese Gooseberry. Late season maturity. Suited to strong trellis or pergola, this cultivar isn’t quite as rampant as other cultivars. Large, even-sized broad oval fruit. The greenish-brown skin is covered by short, fine silky hairs. Excellent keeping qualities and good flavour. Used for fresh fruit, jam, wine and food presentation. Very high in vitamin C.

Male Vine
The male vine is more vigorous than the female vine. Plant in a protected site on secure trellis. Winter prune to remove water shoots. Does not produce fruit but necessary for the production of fruit on the female vine.

Kiwi Fruit – Bruno (female)
A very vigorous climbing plant, which is highly productive of delicate tasty fruit that ripen in May (earlier than Haywood). Needs frequent pruning to keep in check but capable of bearing very heavy crops. Large and elongated, with a dark brown skin, with dense, short, bristly hairs. Light green flesh of good flavour. With a relatively low chilling requirement.

Kiwi Fruit – Dexter (female)
A low chill cultivar which bears early in life and keeps longer than Bruno. Needs fruit thinning and severe pruning.

Oct 252012
 

These beautiful bookend sets have been getting a lot of attention since we started selling them. Designed in Melbourne by local designer OSHI, they are $99 for a set of two. You can choose either two Skipping Girls, or a combination set with a Skipping Girl on the left and the Nylex Clock on the right.

Click through to see a pic of the Nylex bookend.

If you have any queries about our range of Unique Gifts please call 8850 3030 or email gifts@baag.com.au

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Oct 042012
 

Geraldton Wax (Photograph by Bulleen Art & Garden)

When I’m not strutting about issuing forth proclamations of greatness I like to skulk about, eavesdropping on fellow nursery staff whilst pretending to be busy. They can be heard chatting excitedly to each other as they go about their work, uninhibited plant enthusiasts in their natural environment.

“Can you believe how beautiful these Chamelaucium (pictured) are?” I hear them exclaim. “We are so lucky we get to work with these beautiful flowers”. And it’s true. After shivering and sniffling through winter, spring is our reward. We get to work with beautiful plants but there is so much more than that. While the sun warms our backs we are kept company by blue-tongued lizards coming out of hiding, kookaburras mocking us from the trees and orb-weavers spinning beautiful dew-dusted webs to catch us in the mornings.

We will go back to complaining in summer as we fight off mosquitoes and dodge venomous snakes but the joys of outdoor work at this time of year are many and we have lots of exciting things happening in the nursery at the moment to inspire you in your own outdoors.