Sep 102019
 

Vegepod Raised Garden Bed Kits give you the best of both worlds and more. You get the size of a raised garden bed with all the benefits of container gardening. Not only that, you also get the benefit of an Raised Garden Bed Cover that extends growing seasons and accelerates plant growth.

Garden maintenance is minimal and watering is only required during the early stages of plant growth. Vegepod Raised Garden Bed Kits are simply the easiest way to grow your own vegetables.

Sep 012019
 

Photo © Bulleen Art & Garden

September is a magnificent month to be out in the garden. You can smell spring in the air and the soil is starting to warm up, just like us. Spring is the turning point for planting options… the variety of plants that are happy to hit the soil in spring is huge, no matter what type of garden you like. After a cold winter there is nothing better than waking up to a sunny Saturday, throwing on a T-shirt and getting stuck into some gardening. We all have loads of jobs that have been neglected all winter, get started today!

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Aug 062019
 

Soil… most people just think of it as dirt, something to grow a few plants in, and maybe something to play in when you are young. However, (healthy) soil is a living, breathing organism, vital for the health and well-being of our precious plants out in the garden. And just as we feed and nurture our plants, so must we feed and nurture our soils. But what determines a healthy soil, how do we achieve it, and how will it benefit us as gardeners?

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Aug 032019
 

Companion Planting (Photograph by Bulleen Art & Garden)

Many vegetables grow well with other plants in the garden and, using a few basic principles, organic gardeners can really have nature on their side in the biological control of pests.

The most commonly documented companion plants help to repel pests when planted alongside vegetables. Other plants attract pest predators to the vegetable patch. Some plant roots secrete substances that repel pests or provide nutrients to the plants around them. These plant interactions can work in specific ways between two or three types of plants or species.
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Jul 312019
 

Well, the last weeks of winter are finally here, with the scent of Wattle signalling the promise of spring just around the corner. The first Magnolias are in flower and the gold and purple of Acacias and Hardenbergias create a dramatic floral display. The cold, frosty mornings are a prelude to the burst of new growth that heralds the coming new season of life. We have already had our fair share of frosty mornings and more are likely, so continue on with those frost damage prevention measures for a few more weeks yet.
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Jul 282019
 

Photo by NSW Department of Primary Industries

Finally we have a new preventative for the infuriating gall wasp that has been decimating our citrus, lemon trees in particular, across Victoria.

‘Overhaul’ is an organically* rated kaolin clay (used in papermaking and ceramics) and has been used in broad-acre agriculture to reduce heat stress and sunburn in tree and horticultural crops (e.g. tomatoes) for 18 years; in that time an unexpected secondary benefit has become apparent: the fine coating of clay resulted in less insect damage to crops. It is hypothesised that the clay works in a variety of way depending on the insect: repelling, reducing egg laying, impeding grasping, restricting movement, altering behaviour, inducing paralysis and mortality, and camouflaging the plant. Whichever way it works, trials by the NSW Dept. of Agriculture in the Riverland and Sunraysia have found it significantly reduces the incidence of galls (from Citrus Gall Wasp) in their citrus trees. Both number and size of galls are reduced (70-90%).

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Jul 012019
 

Photo © Bulleen Art & Garden

Winter can be a challenge, but it sure puts a rosy hue in your cheeks when you rug up, brave the elements and go about doing some of those winter gardening tasks which have been beckoning from outside. Enjoy a warm drink – and the satisfaction of a job well done – when you come inside.

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Jun 252019
 

Photo © Bulleen Art & Garden

A healthy garden is full of life, from deep in the soil to the tree tops there should be fungi, bacteria, spiders, insects, worms, and innumerable other living creatures. These all cohabit in a generally harmonious way. Sometimes, however, a problem arises and the balance is temporarily upset. Reaching for an insecticide spray when aphids appear on your tender rose buds will often make the problem worse in the long run. Most insecticides are not prejudiced, they will kill everything, both the aphids and their natural predators.
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Jun 252019
 

Photo © Bulleen Art & Garden

Beneficial insects are insects you want in your garden, either for pollinating or for predating on pest insects. To encourage them into your garden you can provide them with nesting and hibernating sites, if a garden strewn with dead branches isn’t your thing, you may prefer to add in an insect hotel. These are particularly useful for solitary bees and solitary wasps.
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Jun 202019
 

Photo © Bulleen Art & Garden

Every garden is its own (or is a unique but connected) ecosystem containing an extraordinary array of living organisms including plants, fungi, bacteria, microbes, insects and animals that all impact on the health and resilience of the living network. We are each the stewards of our gardens, the actions that we take can positively or negatively impact on this ecosystem.
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Jun 152019
 

Photo © Bulleen Art & Garden

To combat the appalling white fly invasion that was tormenting Melbourne gardeners in summer 2013 we introduced a parasitic wasp and a mite. They are susceptible to certain sprays – so we eliminated those pesticides to give them every chance to do their work. We saw a definite improvement in white fly control.
We used Montdorensis mites from and Encarsia formosa (parasitic wasp)

In 2015 we engaged the services of IPM Technologies and jumped feet first into managing our pests in a sensible and intelligently planned manner. This was a bit nerve wracking as it meant a lot more monitoring of pests and NOT reaching for the spray pack. Angelica from IPM Technologies regularly inspects the nursery and is the source of amazing photos of what is going on around the nursery. At this point we have not sprayed the roses at all (unheard of!) and spray once for Pear and Cherry slug. We introduced a predatory mite (Persimilis) into our poly tunnel which rapidly cleared up a burgeoning spider mite infestation before it became a problem. Apart from that, it has been a matter of watching and waiting and allowing the natural predators which were visibly there, to build up in numbers and control the aphids on the roses and hellebores, and the white fly on the shrubs and trees.

In 2019 Jen and Claire went to an industry training morning on IPM and came back fired up to increase the focus on our natural predators. As a result we have more insectory pots around the nursery planted with native species. These act as breeding grounds and food sources year round for our beneficial native insects.

Jun 012019
 


I have been lucky to have been able to spend much of my working life surrounded by plants; studying and working in the natural environment, in local gardens and in garden centres. Like many of us, I love the opportunity to get out of the city and into the wilderness, regrettably these days it doesn’t happen quite as often as I would like. Fortunately Melbourne has been gifted with an amazing combination of parks and reserves that provide us relief from our increasingly busy lives and a sanctuary for many native species that share our city and surrounds.
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Jun 012019
 

A few years ago I wandered into the Wolf Bar in Carlton and was enveloped in the warm and heady nostalgic aroma of mulled wine. It shot me straight back to university days in the 70s and 80s, and  every June since has seen me reaching for cloves, cinnamon sticks and red wine. I just love this time of year: the satisfaction of a major clean and tidy up in the garden, planting for spring with all the hopes and promise ahead, the camellias in bloom and debating squeezing in just one more gorgeous tree only available in the bare root season. It may be getting chilly, but now I have my mulled wine. Read on!

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May 122019
 

Photo © Bulleen Art & Garden

When I feel blue, or need a distraction from the stresses of life, I head into the garden! Time slows and my mood becomes lighter when my fingers are in the dirt and the intricacies of the world beyond my back door come to life before my eyes. There are many health benefits to be had from gardening. Here are a few of my favourites…

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