By David Miles
Sales Manager – Richgro Landscape & Commercial
It doesn’t seem that long ago, when all we could really use for fertilising all our plants in the garden and allotment, was the product Blood and bone. Rarely mentioned, but still used widely in all forms of horticulture. 40-60 years ago, our parents and grandparents used to feed all their fruit and vegetables with this product and look how good the gardens were then! Such an amazing product that is starting to make a real come back as we turn into the next decade of 2020.
Such a versatile product as the plants cry out for something other than synthetic inorganic fertilisers and gardeners , look to more environmentally safe option. The product breaks down in the soil very quickly and never a danger of leaching into the groundwater or rivers and seas.
The all-natural blood and bone meal are by-products of cattle processing, most often collected from the end process of the slaughterhouse. It’s made of animal blood that has been dried and boiled and then ground into a powder form.
Blood and Bone is a good natural source of all three of the major nutrients. Used as a general-purpose food, for a wide range of plant types. Having some phosphorus makes it particularly good for stimulating strong, healthy root growth.
It is an organic based plant food that helps to build up the soil structure, especially suited to the WA sandy soils. It can also be mixed with other fertilisers to become even more beneficial to the existing soil and has a long lasting effect and safe to use in any situation.
The benefits of Blood and Bone defined as 65% pure high quality organic meat meal are substantial to plant and soil health:
- Improves soil structure and drainage
- promotes soil micro-organisms and encourages earthworms
- Includes cow manure, which is a gentle source of nutrients
- Greatly boosts growth of all vegies and flowers including exotics and natives
- Promote early growth on young plants and strong root development
Blood and Bone is widely used in horticulture and home gardens. Customers using it range from growers needing to give plants a boost in pots; Applying to roses for stronger and healthier plants and blooms; Using for feeding established plants in orchards and vineyards; Top dressing for turf for added organics in hungry, sandy soils.
Useful Tips Application Rates
- General: Normal application rate of 200g per square metre.
- Vegetable & Annual Flowers: Apply 200g per square metre at planting for all vegetables and annual flowers
- Roses, Fruit Trees & Shrubs: Apply between 200-300g per square metre twice yearly, lifting the rate toward 300g if the fruit tree is established.
- Broad Acre Spreading: Apply 200-400kg per acre, on pasture; late Autumn & Winter apply liberally enabling the soil to be primed for production in spring.
- Australian Native Plants: Use no more than 25g per square metre around Australian Native Plants.
Now is the time to get your summer vegetables into the veggie patch but of course to get the biggest and best harvest you’ll need to do a bit of prep work.
Do a clean up
Start by clearing out any spent crops and removing any weeds, the more time you take pulling out weeds the less you’ll have to do down the line. If you have a blanket of weeds you can spray them with Richgro Beat-A-Weed. It’s completely natural so safe to use in your vegetable patch and gets to work instantly knocking down weeds to nothing in no time.
Improve your soil
With a clear area it’s time to improve your growing media. Vegetables like high nutrient and water holding soil as they take so much from the ground for their rapid growth, so you’ll need to improve what you have. I use a bit of home made compost, but as I don’t make that much I always add to it with Richgro Organic Compost and Cow Manure. I like adding cow manure as it increases the water holding capacity of the soil and as I travel so much it gives me a buffer if I can’t water everyday.
I then add some slow acting fertiliser such as Richgro Blood and Bone, which has so much more than just standard blood and bone. It has natural potash, organic phosphorus and blood meal that is a fast acting nitrogen and I like to mix this through the soil with the compost as it’s a great way to establish your veggies and give them the best start.
It’s important to dig the compost, manure and fertiliser into the soil as this will mix it through evenly as well as de-compact the soil making it easier for new roots to get out and find the nutrients. If your soil is dry or water repellent it’s a good time to add Richgro Ezi-Wet as this will ensure the garden absorbs water more efficiently and your veggies won’t dry out as quickly.
Once the prep stage is complete you can get onto planting. My favorite thing to plant at the moment is Zucchini as they are prolific flowerers and therefore provide an abundant crop. They do take up a bit of space so give them room to grow and keep an eye on them as the crop grow so quickly. Sweet zucchini can quickly become large, bland and tasteless.
Another issue with Zucchini is a powdery mould that can be combatted with a simple milk spray. Dilute full cream milk by 20% with water and use a garden sprayer to coat the leaves. I like this method as it keeps the lady bugs safe and keep on top of the aphids.
Before mulching to help keep in moisture and suppress weeds I like to top dress with Richgro Organics for vegetables as it is a great way to feed your plants safely and organically with everything they need. A top dressing also ensures the nutrients leach down to the root zone of the plants.
For an extra boost of nutrients to really give your crop a quick, you can use a Liquid feed such as Richgro Black Marvel Fruit and Citrus. A liquid feed is absorbed instantly as it’s water based and is great to use in conjunction with slow release products. I would use a liquid feed weekly or every 10 days for ongoing maximum effect.
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Fertilising your plants can be a bit confusing as fertilisers come in many different forms and compositions. They all contain nutrients that your plant can use for growth, some are complete and have all the 16 nutrients and others are for specific needs such as fruit and flower, greener lawns or an obvious mineral deficiency. There are also solid and liquid fertilisers in both inorganic and organic so it can get a bit baffling to say the least.
I like to use Richgro Black Marvel Granular on all my plants as its nutrient content ensures my plants get all the stuff they need. The black colour that gives this fertiliser its name is actually Iron and this combined with the nitrogen content gives your plants that fresh from the nursery shiny green leaf. Not only does it make the leaves look great but it gives plants the exact nutrients they need to flower and therefore fruit to their maximum yield.
Liquid and solid fertilisers work in different ways. A solid fertiliser needs to be broken down with water and temperature to become available to your plants. Black Marvel for example won’t break down completely in one rain so the nutrients are present for the next time it rains … lasting for about 6-8 weeks. Slow release fertiliser like this are great for the time poor. Liquid fertilisers work differently as they are soluble they are ready for a plant to take up immediately by the roots and therefore give an instant effect.
As I love the effects of Richgro Black Marvel in the pelletized form I was so happy to find out its now available in liquid form and I’ve been trialing it for a few weeks now with great effects. Black Marvel Liquid fertiliser is not only taken up by the plants roots but by the leaves as well so it is really easy to apply, simply spray on the plant and allow the runoff to drip down to the roots. With liquid fertiliser its best to use a little more often as your plants can really maximize the nutrients and I still apply the liquid food as well as the pelletized version as the combination means your garden will really sing.
All liquid fertilisers are best applied at the time they’re actually needed, when the plant’s actively growing or when it’s flowering or fruiting. That way there’s little chance of the fertiliser leaching out and raising excessive nutrient levels in the soil.
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Clay, because of its density, retains moisture well. It also tends to be more nutrient-rich than other soil types. The reason for this is that the particles that make up clay soil are negatively charged, which means they attract and hold positively charged particles, such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium.
Perth soils are often depleted of any clay and only consist of sand, therefore adding 1-5% of clay to soil mixes mix has numerous benefits:
• Proven that water content of clay amended soils were double that of unamended soils in low irrigation areas;
• Added clay increases soil moisture retention rates;
• The clay can disperse with wetting and reacts with other soil components;
• The clay has high cation exchange capacity which helps the positive and negative ions in the soil to work together;
• You only need a small percentage 1-5% to make a huge difference to the soil profile.
With water allocation rates and costs of water used on council parks, gardens, lawns, golf courses and so on, this is becoming quite an issue for all the parks managers and superintendents of sporting grounds.
Richgro adds Bentonite clay to mixes which is a high-grade calcium bentonite clay mined from an area 250kms north of Perth. Mixing in or adding small percentages of clay to the Richgro range of landscape and turf products makes the soil so much more beneficial to the end user.
City of Bayswater – have a turf mix with added Bentonite clay to help the turf and recover from stem nematode damage.
Deep Green Landscaping – use Bentonite in their rooftop and garden mixes to give the soil the best chance of holding onto water and nutrients, especially new plantings.
Environmental Industries – adding a small percentage of Bentonite clay to their landscape mixes have proven a winner for them in newly planted areas with fewer plant losses.
Wetting agent with Bentonite clay
Richgro supplies a commercial granular wetting agent that has 50% granulated Bentonite.This provides much more than just holding water and nutrients longer in the soil profile; it is a huge benefit in the long term and the clay will be there forever.
Richgro also make many special mixes for clients for use in landscaping, rooftop gardens, turf topdressing, supressing of nematodes, horticulture and general garden use.
When planting in sandy soil, it is essential to incorporate a clay amendment such as Bentonite. Clay based amendments make the soil more friable and help to hold on to both moisture and fertiliser, thereby saving you money and preventing our precious rivers from excess nitrogen pollution which may cause issues in the waterways.
It goes without saying that our nutrient depleted soils need soil conditioning. Usually a ratio of between 30 and 50% soil conditioner to 70-50% soil is recommended; the amount varying depending on the quality of your soil. Soil improver comes in bags or bulk quantities from Richgro. Manure is also often added to the planting hole, of which I would recommend our Blended manure because of the 3 types of animal manures in the bags incorporated with composted sawdust.
Always thoroughly mix soil conditioner and clay amendments with the existing soil, using water to achieve a chocolate-y loam texture. Never plant straight into a hole with unmixed soil conditioner or compost. Your plant roots will burn and most likely it won’t be long before the plant dies.
2nd September 2019
• Richgro expands popular Black Marvel premium plant food range
• Fast-acting iron, high nitrogen levels and a potash boost delivered in liquid form gives plants a rapid boost
Whether you’re yearning for abundant and aromatic fruit trees or bigger and brighter blooms a new secret weapon is hitting shelves around the country, in the shape of Black Marvel Liquid Plant Food.
Absorbed and metabolised through the leaves and roots, this liquid formulation will deliver a fast-acting dose of essential nutrients enabling your plants to thrive during peak growing season.
Packed full of a tried-and-tested balance of nitrogen, potash and iron, Black Marvel supports even growth; glossier green foliage; eye-catching flowers and juicer fruit – everything a home-gardener wants.
Just like the popular Black Marvel granular style, which has been in the market for over a decade, there is one specifically designed for roses and other flowering plants and another with a balance well-suited to heavy-feeders such as citrus and other fruit trees.
Gardening enthusiasts can choose between a great-value 1 litre concentrate which provides 450sqm coverage and the convenience of a ready-to-use 2 litre style that simply clicks into a hose, providing 150sqm coverage.
On/Off Cap – a must for water-conscious gardeners
These caps have a two-tier system enabling users to control the flow meaning less product and water is wasted.
Simply clip the hose on, turn on the water and control the water flow with a twist. Choose when to fertilise by using the black switch to turn on/off the flow of fertiliser.
The hose-on spray bottle is refillable too – all you need to do is mix 500ml of concentrate with 1.5 litres of water.
Supercharge your growth potential
Combine the two Black Marvel fertiliser formulations, liquid and granules, to really bring your garden to life.
Richgro recommends that during growing season (typically spring) the liquid is applied every 1-2 weeks, while the slow-release granules should be applied every 8 weeks. In fruiting and flowering season the liquid can be used every 4 weeks to give an added boost.
New Black Marvel products
Concentrate – Rose and Flowers (1 Litre)
Concentrate – Fruit and Citrus (1 Litre)
Hose on with ON/Off Cap – Rose and Flowers (2 Litre)
Hose on with ON/Off Cap – Fruit and Citrus (2 Litre)
Available exclusively in Bunnings from this September.
Spring is a fantastic time in the garden. It is also a time when things can easily get away from you so I suggest starting your spring gardening campaign with a blast and use these 5 handy hints to give your garden a good old fashioned spring clean.
Start by pulling out all the weeds that grew over winter. It’s amazing how all your ornamentals slow right down over winter however there is no stopping weed growth! The most effective way to kill weeds roots and all is to get under them with a fork and pull/lift them out of the soil. This does have its drawbacks as you often break the roots off but they regenerate.
With all the recent exposure on the negatives of using chemical sprays, I have fallen in love with Beat-A-Weed, an all Natural weed spray, it’s basically salt and vinegar with a few other natural ingredients thrown in and you can literally watch the weeds perish as the day ticks on. For really tricky weeds, a second application may be required but unlike chemical sprays it’s fine to do so the next day.
Then you need to prune your deciduous trees and shrubs before they put on leaf again. They will require a good prune whilst you can truly appreciate the shape and start by removing any dead wood to open up the shape of the plant. Then remove any crossing and rubbing branches as these could cause infection to the plant if left to rub the bark off completely. Finally, prune to the shape you are after – most trees can be left to take their own natural shape but certain shrubs look better with a more formal pruning.
For rejuvenating old and tired shrubs (both evergreen and deciduous) most can be cut down by a third and they will bounce back with renewed vigour and denser growth.
Enrich your soil no matter the type with with Richgro Compost; This will help retain moisture and nutrients in the soil and give the plants some long lasting food throughout the season. For new beds, dig it through the soil and for existing full garden beds, apply to the top of the bed like a mulch.
Fertilising your plants is really important as they will be just about to put on lots of new growth as the heat of spring comes back. I fertilise now with a slower release fertiliser such as Richgro Blood and Bone as this will release its nutrients slowly and when needed. Applying a slow release fertiliser now ensures it is there ready to go and none is wasted by applying it earlier where it could simply wash through the soil.
I also supplement with a liquid fertiliser when the plants start showing signs of growth. I like a liquid fertiliser high in Nitrogen and Iron such as Black Marvel Rose / Black Marvel Citrus as these are the nutrients that supports the important leaf growth at the beginning of the season. Liquid is a great way to feed as it is taken up instantly so only need applying when you see growth.
Now for the fun part where you see fast results – plants! Fill in all the gaps and empty spots in the garden beds remembering to plant with enough room to allow the plants to grow. There is nothing worse than overplanting and having to rip things out.
Getting some seeds going for a late spring plant out in the veggie patch is also a good idea and you can get an early jump on things like tomatoes and soft salad leaves if you germinate them inside on the warm windowsill.
After all the hard work of weeding, digging and planting, giving the garden a good soak is a great way to start the season off on the right foot and help to settle the new plants in. Applying a soil wetter is vital to the ongoing success of your spring garden and as we have had a very dry winter. When you have a prolonged period of drought the soil can get a film over it making it water repellent and any water applied simply runs off instead of in. Combating this with Richgro Ezi Wet soil wetter either applied via a watering can or a spray on hose applicator will make all future watering and rain soak down to where the plants need it rather than off down the drain.
After a good soaking apply a layer of organic mulch, such as Richgro Pine Bark. This mulch helps water to get into the soil more slowly so it is more useful, prevents evaporation and soil erosion, looks good, helps keep weeds down and breaks down to help feed and add organic matter to the soil over time. I apply mulch to a depth of 75mm – any more and water finds it hard to get in and any less you’ll suffer too much evaporation from the ground up, and the weeds will still push through.
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By David Miles
All my recommendations for good soil health, will be the same as we all do for our body. A healthy body = everything in balance.
The jobs that need to be done, or are essential for a healthy lawn coming into the cooler winter months are:
Aeration – the ideal soil structure should be made up of 25% air, so it is vitally important this is maintained leading into the winter to allow oxygen and healthy living organisms. Coring the soil, or a way of getting air into the soil profile of 100-150mm deep is critical to ensure enough air into the root zone.
Fertiliser – providing enough nutrients for the turf throughout the winter months is critical for the health of the turf as the grass and roots are under stress from the cooler and wetter days, rather than the hotter, drier days. A soil sample is the best way to find out the amount of nutrients in the soil. Then an application of mostly NPK + trace elements can be applied to keep the turf going right through until the spring.
Root growth – by applying the correct amount of nutrients and aerating the soil, will help the turf have a healthy root system. This will keep most or all of any disease at bay and allow the good bugs and organisms to work away under the surface (very much like our blood system) to ensure the coming few months go smoothly and allow as little stress to the turf as possible.
Mowing – this is reduced to probably only once every 3 weeks. Usually on a higher setting to allow the turf to photosynthesise as much as possible from the reduced light levels.
Organics – most WA soils have a very sandy texture with little inherent nutrient reserves. This is more so, if the soil has a low percentage of organic matter. The ideal rate for turf would be around 8-10% of organic matter, which allows the soil to hold onto nutrients, water and help the living organisms to thrive for longer. Organics also reduce the amount of leaching through the soil profile which is very common with WA sandy soils.
Water repellence – autumn/winter is still an opportune moment to apply wetting agents as coming out of a hot summer, many sands can become water repellent. I have seen many soils over the years that even after a 50mm downpour, can be completely dry as the water runs off and not flowing through the soil profile. Therefore, applying wetting agents is just as important at this time of the year as it is at the start of summer. Make sure you wet the soil before and after you apply the wetting agent. Water repellence can also be caused by thatch — a layer of vegetative and dead material which accumulates as the lawn grows.
Avoid wet spots – If there are any waterlogged areas that usually are only seen in the winter, it is imperative to make sure these areas are treated to avoid any disease problems spreading to other areas.
Healthy turf – all work done at this time of the year is certainly very beneficial to aid coming out of the winter and then into spring. Like a great cricket wicket – do all the work in autumn, then see the health of the turf in the next spring and how much easier it is to work with then.
David Miles is the Sales Manager of the Landscape & Commercial Division of Richgro. David has been in horticulture all of his working life and comes from a farming background. He has a National Certificate in Horticulture and has many years of experience in all things horticulture. He has run his own landscaping business, been a production manager at a nursery and has spent many years at leading horticultural product suppliers in Perth. He is passionate about the environment, nature and plants.
Autumn in Australia is a gardeners dream, the heat of summer is dying down and plants feel less stifled so they start putting on some growth before winter. It’s a great time to get into the garden and enjoy it before the cold slows everything down to a halt. Here are some sure fire tips to enjoy your garden and ensure it is ready for Winter.
Planting – Yes Planting
The soil is warm but the air cool so now is the time to get new shrubs and trees in the ground. The warm soil promotes new root growth and the cooler air means less stress on the leaves so your plants establish well. To maximise this perfect period of growing enrich your soil with Richgro compost or cow manure to aid in holding nutrients and water. I would also apply a dose of Ezi – Wet soil wetter to ensure the new plant gets all the available rain water possible.
You may not see much leaf growth straight away but come next spring these plants will have a definite jump on the rest as the roots will be well established.
Lift and Divide
For the same reasons as planting, now is a great time to lift and divide perennials. For those that have got congested try to dig the whole plant out of the ground, keeping as big a root ball as possible. Use two forks back to back to prise the root ball apart into various smaller plants. The fork method reduces damage on the roots so several new plants can be re planted and spread around the garden, or even grown on in pots. Feeding with Charlie Carp helps settle the new roots in and works quickly.
When planting or dividing finish the process off with a good quality mulch such as Richgro Pinebark Mulch as this helps keep the roots protected from any coming frosts or dry periods.
Feed for the Winter Ahead
Your deciduous trees and shrubs, those that lose their leaves over winter, are now storing up energy for spring, so if you haven’t already fertilised with a slower release fertiliser such as Richgro Rock Minerals, now is a great time. This will add microbes to your soil as well as nutrients. For big trees soak the ground with a hose for an hour and then use around five to eight watering cans of liquid fertiliser spread evenly on the ground below the tree canopy.
Make your own Soil Improver
Leaf mould is soil improver that can be used in conjunction with compost but is made solely of all the fallen autumnal leaves. Collect yours up and cram them in a black plastic bag as tightly as you can. Then fill the bag with water and put only one or two holes in the bottom. Leave this behind your shed for six months and you will find a great soil conditioner has formed that can be added to your garden beds, used as a mulch around roses or added to Richgro cow manure or Compost to give it a boost and extra structure.
Cut and Trim
If you have a lot of hedges give them a cut back now and use the leaves in the leaf mould. They may have a fresh spurt of growth before winter so don’t worry if you go a bit hard.
Mulching under hedges with Richgro pine bark mulch is also a good idea as it will suppress any weeds that may just be germinating and that way you won’t have to think about your hedges until early spring.
Don’t Forget the Lawn
The lawn could do with a spruce up as well, start by giving it a stiff raking with a metal rake followed by a plastic grass rake to remove any thatch – this is the brown dead material clogging up the lawn.
Aerate by plunging a fork through it at 200mm intervals and then fertilise with Richgro Extra Green Lawn Food and water it in well.
Now is the perfect time to give the tools a bit of maintenance as well, clean air and oil filters in petrol powered tools such as lawn mowers and sharpen blades on hedge shears and secateurs. Just before winter sets in its also a good idea to remove any grime or dried sap from all your tools so they don’t corrode over winter.
Osmocote® fertilisers have been used for many years with proven results by growers and councils and the latest range, Osmocote® Pro, is making it easier than ever to boost overall plant nutrition and growth of all plant species including native plants. Use now before winter to help with growth coming into spring.
• 100% coated high NPK*
• Full package trace elements
• Fixed longevity – 3 – 4 months up to 12 – 14 months.
• For pots and in ground
• Cost efficient 2nd generation
• Safe and reliable
*Also available in Low P for natives
Apply Now for Better Spring Growth!
Distributed by Richgro Landscape & Commercial
For more information contact David Miles, Sales Manager – email@example.com or T: 0402 345170
28th February 2019
Autumn 2019 will see the launch of Richgro Organics, a fully certified, 100% organic line of fertilisers formulated to meet the needs of Aussie gardeners.
Having reformulated its popular Mega-Booster range, Richgro is making it easier than ever for environmentally conscious gardeners to nurture their veggie patches, lawns and garden beds effectively.
With the Australian Certified Organic bud logo prominently displayed on new cream coloured packaging, gardeners can be confident that Richgro Organics products have been independently verified as being free from synthetic boosters and will be kind to the biodiversity of their gardens.
The nine-strong range includes fertiliser varieties designed to provide the right nutrients and improve soil quality for a range of common plant types, garden styles and to tackle specific mineral deficiencies.
Specialist Richgro Organics formulations available from March 2019 include:
• Vegetable and Tomato Plant Food
• Fruit and Citrus Plant Food
• Native and Protea Plant Food
• Palm and Fern Plant Food
• Rose and Flower Plant Food
• Garden Complete Plant Food – a solid all-rounder
• Nitrogen Growth Booster – for richer greens
• Potash Fruit & Flower Booster – to improve yields of flowering and fruiting varieties
• Phosphorous Root Health Booster – for quicker growth
While organic isn’t a new trend, it’s certainly been gaining momentum in recent years. Some 8 million Australian households purchase organic products each year now, with a total market growth of around 88% since 2012. Sales of organic food and drink items lead the way (Australian Organic Market Report 2018).
The fact that gardeners would also be embracing more organic products to use at home, particularly those growing their own produce, was something that made sense to Richgro Managing Director Geoff Richards.
“We’ve been producing organic fertilisers for about 50 years now and, while demand has been steady, we’ve definitely noticed increased interest in people looking at how they might be able to get a bumper crop without having to rely on chemicals that might damage the delicate biodiversity of their soil, or leach into their food,” he said.
“We’re proud to be able to offer the most extensive range of organic fertilisers – and hope to be able to bring even more organic options to the market in coming years,” he added.
— ENDS —
Beating the heat in the summer is all about timing – you need to be up early and taking advantage of the light evenings, keeping out of the sun in the middle of the day.
The heat in January not only knocks us about but has an effect on the garden and plants too. Keeping sufficient water going into the garden is the key to managing your plants’ stress levels.
The first step is to Improve the soil with Richgro Mushroom Compost as this helps retain moisture and nutrients. For very sandy beach side soils, try Richgro ‘Bentonite Natural Sand to Soil’. This is a combination of minerals and clay that helps bind the sand which then increases water and nutrient holding capacity.
I then use a soil wetter such as Richgro Ezi-Wet. Sandy soils can get very dry quickly which makes it a breading ground for bacteria that can coat the soil effectively making it water proof. So water runs off instead of in. Applying a spray-on soil wetter will remove the waxy coating and allow water to penetrate into the soil and down to the roots. I often use this on clay and loam soils as well as any type of soil that can get hydrophobia and have excessive run off.
Reduce water loss through mulch, studies show the ideal depth is 75mm as this slows water into the ground, preventing run off but also suppresses weed growth and water evaporation. I use something organic based, such as Richgro All Purpose Water Saving Mulch, that will break down over time and add organic matter to the soil.
Water early and late to minimise evaporation and water for longer periods less often rather than a little bit each day as this teaches roots to grow deep into the soil. Deeper roots are more tolerant to drought, especially if you are planning on going away for a few weeks.
Automated Irrigation systems really take the stress out of having to water and can be programmed to come on early morning and late afternoon. Drip systems are great for hiding under mulch and getting water directly to the plants’ root zones, however they can block up over time and may not wet all the soil, leaving some to dry out. Spray irrigation systems use more water but often replicate a rain effect with their dispersion so plants behave in a more natural manner when using these systems. If you’ve got the water available I prefer sprayers.
Fertilising should never be done when a plant is heat stressed, so steer clear of liquid fertilisers, especially in the middle of the day. One of the best fertilisers to use over the hotter months is Richgro Blood and Bone, it is organic and slow release which means it will not burn you plants when they are heat stressed
Potted plants also need a bit of care as the mix in them often dries out quickly, I have my pots on wheels so they can get some morning sun but avoid the harsh late western sun that is often very damaging. I used to sit my pots in a saucer of water so when it was really hot they have some reserves in the heat however I found this became a breeding ground for mosquitoes and a nuisance to wheel around so I have started to add water saving crystals to my potting mix that releases water into the soil when the pot dries out – giving the plants an extra reserve.
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When pawing through garden design books, Instagram and Pinterest as well as all other forms of inspiration, it appears the beautiful gardens and vegetable patches around the world live in a pest free zone. Let me tell you, this most certainly is not the case! Every garden gets pests; but a varied management plan is a successful one and here are my 5 tips to creating one.
1. Call in the Cavalry
You’ll need a cavalry to fight for you against the most common of pests such as aphids, mealy bugs and cabbage moth so build yourself a bug hotel. These come in various shapes and sizes and can easily be made out of twigs, bricks and stones found around the home and garden – all you’re trying to do is create a place for bugs to shelter, especially over the cool of winter and the heat of summer. If you can entice blue tongue lizards into the garden you’ll never have a snail or slug problem again so make sure there’s some water around too.
2. Call in Air Support
With the ground troops sorted for accommodation you’ll also benefit from the airborne cavalry. Flying insects such as wasps will also prey on your pests too, but you need to bring them in by providing landing pads for them. These can be grown and you’ll need to plant flowers that have umbel shape or those that spread out. Dill and parsley work well as do carrots if left in the ground over winter and let to flower the following season.
3. Create a Housing Estate
Pests such as beetles, slugs and snails like to shelter under large broad objects so set traps with some large pieces of bark or even cardboard will do. Come back and check your trap regularly and remove the findings so you can dispose of them however you see fit.
I’ve had varied levels of success with setting traps of beer to bait snails and slugs. Apparently they find the smell and taste irresistible and end up drowning themselves as they gorge on the beer – not too bad a way to go I suppose!
4. Defend Your Garden
For chronic outbreaks of pests, I’m not against using chemical sprays to get them under control and if possible I use the organic or eco variety. Always read the label and follow the instructions to the letter – just because you use more doesn’t mean it’s more effective. I love using Richgro Beat-A-Bug on all my plants especially edibles as it’s made from all natural ingredients such as Garlic and Chilli that repel all sorts of insects including everything from earwigs to aphids.
In areas affected by Fruit Fly, it’s best to get on top of it early. There are several methods to prevent fruit fly such as baits and traps. Richgro Fruit Fly Spray contains Garlic and Fish oil which can be sprayed on all your fruit to prevent fruit fly from coming onto your fruit.
Ants can be a real issue in the garden as well, they often come around when your lawn is really dry. I start my protection against them with a soil wetter such as Ezi-Wet as this ensures water penetrates the ground and doesn’t dry out as quickly, keeping lawns hydrated. You can then follow up with Richgro Ant Killa products. Either sprinkle around ant nests and trails or spray where pests are prevalent. Do not use these products around your vegies though.
5. Keep it clean and tidy
Simple mechanical removal of visual pests is effective but also not easy and very time consuming so protect your plants with small covers. Cloches or tunnels made of shade fabric will protect your seedlings as this stops bugs getting to them. It also speeds up new seedling growth as it creates a pocket of warm air around your plants leaves.
The simplest and most effective way to get pests out of the garden is to keep it clean and tidy by removing spoiled fruit and spent plants. This gets rid of excess food and breading grounds for pests and diseases, as well as making the garden look Instagram worthy!
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I love gardening in the summer months, I’m up early when its cool and can stay in the garden late with the sun still high in the sky. I’m not out there all day though as I normally lounge around in the house or under the shaded pergola to beat the energy sapping heat of the day.
Such heat takes its toll on the plants as well and helping them through the hot months starts as early as possible, which begins with improving the soil. I like to add compost and other forms of organic matter such as Richgro Mushroom Compost to the soil, as this really aids in holding onto water and nutrients for longer. You can also fertilise with a well balanced fertiliser as the macro nutrients such as magnesium help aid in heat stress in the plants cells. I recommended Richgro Black Marvel for my Flowers and Fruits, but it can be used in the whole garden.
Reducing water loss is the key to keeping your plants through the hot months and the best way to retain moisture in the soil, is by applying a layer of mulch. Research shows a depth of 75mm is ideal for suppressing weeds and locking moisture in the soil. This depth also allows rain water in slowly, so it’s taken up more effectively. An organic mulch such as Richgro Pinebark or Hardwood Mulch is great, as it does all of the above but also breaks down to slowly feed the soil and add organic matter.
Before I mulch, I use Ezi-Wet Soil wetter as this helps water penetrate in the soil so it’s more effective. It doesn’t run off and gets the water and future waterings right down to the roots of the plants. It also helps to rectify hydrophobic soils, that repel water, so its good practice for all gardens no matter what the soil type.
When watering, I always water early morning or late evening, as less water is lost to evaporation. There is also no chance of burning the plants leaves as the water magnifies the sun rays often burning the plant. If you are suffering mildew or fungal problems, I suggest only watering in the morning as wet leaves overnight can escalate these issues.
When watering your lawn, I prefer longer watering sessions less often, as this teaches your plants roots to grow deeper into the soil, which in turn makes them more drought tolerant. Don’t forget Ezi-Wet on your lawns as well.
I like to leave the lawn a bit longer during summer, the longer leaf may transpire a bit more water and thus look less plump during the hot months, however, you’ll protect the roots from burning which will in the long run make your grass healthier.
I try not to plant in the summer months as plants tend to go backwards in the heat, even with the smallest amount of transplant shock. However, if you are adding to a bed or planting a new one altogether, make sure you fill a big bucket of water and dunk the root ball of the plant in the water until it stops bubbling.This ensures the root ball is completely soaked and then you can plant it out with confidence. Don’t forget to water it in well, to remove all the air pockets left in the soil that dry out and effect the roots.
Finally, you’ll need to look after your potted plants in summer as well. For tender delicate plants, I move them in to the shade in the afternoon making sure they still get a bit of morning sun and if I’m heading away, I place them in a deep saucer of water so they have a reservoir of water to rely on.
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PRESS RELEASE: 19th NOVEMBER 2018
Richgro and TV horticulture expert Charlie Albone are joining forces, and the country’s gardens are set to benefit!
Albone, best known as co-host of Foxtel’s much-loved Selling Houses Australia, is a passionate landscape designer and has been winning over audiences for more than a decade with practical advice on improving outdoor areas.
The award-winning presenter and designer is working with Richgro to create a range of educational resources to help at-home gardeners troubleshoot a variety of common problems.
It was more than just Richgro’s 150-strong product range – consisting of everything from fertilisers to soil conditioners, potting mixes, water savers and plant protection – that encouraged Albone to establish the partnership, it was also the family-owned company’s approach to doing business.
“I’ve been using Richgro products for years – they’re well-made and consistently deliver results, however, what I really like about the company is that the people behind it genuinely care, both about their customers’ gardens and about the environment,” Albone said.
With a series of explainer videos, blog posts and newsletter articles due to launch over coming months, Richgro’s National Marketing Manager Heath Okely described the partnership as exciting for Richgro customers.
“We know our customers are generally looking for solutions when they hit the gardening aisles of their local hardware store or garden centre, so we thought ‘how can we give them even greater confidence in their choices?’ Getting someone like Charlie, who is so knowledgeable and has such a down-to-earth way of explaining things, seemed to be a good way to do that,” Okely said.
Fans of the TV star and gardening enthusiasts alike can have Albone’s advice delivered direct to their inbox monthly by signing up to Richgro’s monthly newsletter using the form at the bottom of this page.
PRESS RELEASE: 31ST OCTOBER 2018
A.Richards Pty Ltd is proud to announce the launch of the New Richgro Landscape & Commercial Division. This division was formed through the merger of Amazon Soils and Richgro’s Commercial Division.
Amazon Soils and Landscaping Supplies was acquired by Richgro in 2004. They are a major supplier of quality soils, mulches and landscape products into the consumer and commercial landscape sectors in WA.
The Richgro Commercial Division has been at the service of the horticultural, landscape and garden maintenance industries since 1970. The division specialised in the supply of quality bulk growing media, fertilisers and a broad range of horticultural products.
Amazon was an ideal “fit” with the existing Richgro business, joining two leading Soil and Garden Suppliers together, to provide a superior service and products to the WA Market. Having worked side by side for years the merger of the two companies will strengthen the core of the business and enable better economies of scale and operations for growth and diversification.
The NEW Richgro Landscape & Commercial division specialises in the supply of high quality growing media, landscape soils, mulches, organics, fertilisers and specialist products. This division aims to supply commercial nurseries, landscapers, local government authorities, contractors, schools, vineyards, golf courses and the turf markets, with an eye to expand further into the horticultural, viticulture and agricultural markets as new products come on line.
A.Richards Pty Ltd is now over a 100 years old and still 100% Australian owned and operated and Richgro is very proud to be recognised as one of Australia’s top gardening brands based right here in Western Australia.
Whilst we are excited about this change, business will continue as usual for all our valued customers. Although the name is different, the great service and products will remain with experienced Manager Rob Gileno and Sales Manager David Miles still at the reigns.
A.Richards Pty Ltd