Radio Round Up November 21 - 2221 November 2015 Linda Ross
Grateful for the cooler morning after a record-breaking end of the week scorcher, Linda Ross is back at the helm of the good ship Garden Clinic.
We’re talking rainforest natives, beneficial insects, bottling peaches, and busting those bothersome snails and slugs in the veggie patch. Let’s get into the garden.
Beat the Heat:
If last week is to be an indication of what’s to come the scorching sun will be intense this summer. And just-burst spring foliage and just-planted summer vegetables will be most at risk over the next week or so. They’ll be in desperate need of 30+ protection. Get up early and water plants most at risk.
Check out my blog, ‘Protect your plants from sun’ here. You’ll find some other quick strategies we use to protect them from scorch and sunburn.
My 'Garden Angels' veggie patch was great but it's gone now. Unfortunately, like much of Beecroft, the site has made way for apartments. Photo - Linda Ross
I just love my new Staghorns & Elkhorns. They’ve just been mounted in a shady spot where they will catch lots of leaf-litter from our great big pin oak tree in autumn, and lots of spring and summer rain.
Staghorn. Photo - khwanchai.s / Shutterstock.com
These garden favourites are native to north-east New South Wales and Queensland, but are such a tremendous success-story in propagation that they can be found in gardens as far south as Melbourne. Stags (Platycerium superbum) & (Platycerium bifurcatum) elks are bracket epiphytes that naturally occur under the rainforest canopy where they feed on leaf litter falling into the nests created by their fronds. In fact the non-fertile humus-collecting fronds can expand to about a metre wide, and the fertile fronds, which hang down under the nest, resembling the horns of a stag, can reach 2 metres long.
Make sure you mount your stags and elks securely on a marine-quality timber backing board. They are rainforest plants, and as such will need water and shade. This unfortunately makes them unlikely to thrive under the eaves of our houses. They are arboreal plants in the wild, so the best success will be found mounting your stag to a large, shady tree.
Stag and elk ferns will like a slightly acidic environment and some growers recommend throwing your tea leaves and banana peels into the nests.
Are you seeing lots of hoverflies in your garden? Many mistake these beneficial insects for pests, reaching too hastily for the nearest insecticide. But these little guys are helping pollinate your plants, so put that sprayer down!
The humble hoverfly. Photo - JGade / Shutterstock.com
Hoverflies, sometimes called flower flies or sweat bees, are often seen hovering over flowers where the adult flies feed on nectar and pollen. The hover fly larvae eat a wide range of foods including decaying plant and animal matter in the soil and aphids, thrips, and other plant-sucking insects, making them very useful indeed.
So for an organic way to help pollinate your plants and control pests you can’t beat a hoverfly.
Delicious & in season now:
I recently had the privilege to pick peaches at my dear friend William's orchard. I managed to get peach juice all over my face, arms and clothes in the process, these peaches are so perfectly ripe and juicy it's impossible to resist eating whilst picking.
If you're in Sydney and would like to get peaches fresh from the orchard you can head out to Glenorie and buy them from William. You'll find him at Glenorie
Mowers, 64 Cattai Ridge Road Glenorie.
Photo- Alexei Shiop / Shutterstock.com
I'll need to preserve, can, bottle, and make jam from them now, as there are more peaches in the fridge than my family can eat at once. My favourite Peach & Lime Jam recipe is from Cornersmith Cafe Sydney. Read on, I've included it at the end of this blog!
In the Veggie Patch:
Snails & slugs can be such a pain in the veggie patch. You just can’t spray edible plants with chemical insecticides. But that doesn’t mean we have to live with these slimy little pests either.
Crushing egg shells in the garden is a great way to deter these critters from feasting on your fledgling veggie seedlings. And egg shells also boost calcium levels in the soil.
Like most gardeners on a hot day, snails and slugs cannot resist a beer. A well-positioned beer-bowl is quite an effective snail and slug trap. They’ll fall in and get too drunk to get back out. What a way to go!
On tour with Garden Clinic:
The Grand Gardens of Europe tour is one grand tour to rule them all. We will see the highlights of a European spring – great flower displays in Holland, France and England including Monet’s Giverny, Keukenhof’s tulips, the Chelsea Flower Show and so much more. Go to the Ross Tours website, or call Royce or Roslyn at Ross Tours to reserve your place on 1300 233 200 for more details on the tour.
Keukenhof's tulip display.
Peach & Lime Jam
This is my new favourite jam recipe from the new book by Cornersmith Café (under the same name, Cornersmith). It’s a fresh , light and tangy jam that Cornersmith teach in their jam-making workshops. The peaches can easily be substituted with other stone fruit, such as nectarines or apricots, and the limes with lemons. More lime (or lemon) zest can be added too, according to your taste. Make enough to last you through the year – it’s great popping open a jar of this on a wintery morning.
Peach jam is a great thing to have on a cold winter morning. But you only get to enjoy your own if you act now. Photo - Elena Veselova / Shutterstock.com
2 kg (4lb 8 oz) peaches
1kg (2lb 4oz) caster sugar
Juice and finely grated zest of 4 limes
Halve the peaches (or your choice of fruit), remove stones, then chop into 2 cm (3/4 in) chunks. Put the peaches and 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) of water into a large saucepan over a low heat and simmer slowly until the peaches are soft and falling apart about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, sterilise your jars by giving them a good wash, dry, and bake for 10 minutes in the oven on 110 degrees Celsius. Sterilise the tops by boiling them in water.Add the sugar to your peaches and stir until completely dissolved, then stir in lime juice and half of the zest. Turn up the heat and boil rapidly for about 15 minutes or until setting point is reached. Keep an eye on the jam while cooking, and stir occasionally to prevent it burning. Remove from the heat, stir in the remaining lime zest and let the jam sit for a few minutes.
Carefully pour the hot jam into the hot jars. Wipe the rims with a clean damp cloth or paper towel, then put the lids on.
Store in a cool, dark place for up to 2 years. Once opened, refrigerate and use within 6 – 8 weeks.
If you missed the show you can read up on what we talked about here, or listen to the podcast at 2GB.com.