Autumn is one of the times of the year you should be fertilising your garden. Your plants are still growing even though it’s a bit cooler. Some are repairing themselves from the heat of summer, so a boost of nutrients is just what they are after.
1. Feed your roses
Early Autumn is the last chance you will get to give your Roses a feed as any new growth too close to winter will just die back and cause damage when the cold really sets in. I apply Black Marvel Rose and Flower food in granular form but also in liquid form, so that they get long lasting help from the granules and a quick boost for more instant effects from the liquid.
Applying fertiliser now to your Roses will also ensure they have plenty of stored energy over the winter for an incredible display in early Spring.
2. Apply fertiliser at the right time
This theory also applies to your deciduous shrubs and trees. You want to be applying fertiliser just before the leaves have turned to their Autumnal tones, so they absorb as much as possible, ready for Spring. An application of Richgro Premium Blood and Bone works well in conjunction to the Black Marvel Liquid Rose and Flower when applied to the leaves.
Fertilising now will also prep your perennial plants that you are looking at lifting and dividing in Winter. Making plants as robust as possible will only pay dividends when they get dug up, cut up and replanted.
3. Feed your Winter Vegetables
By now your winter veggie seedlings should be well settled in with roots out into the surrounding soil. Give them a boost with Black Marvel Tomato and Vegetable Liquid Food. Winter seedlings are putting on a lot of growth and you want to maximise size now before it all slows down in the cooler weather. So, feeding with a liquid every 10-14 days really does make a difference.
If are using a Richgro Winter Vegetable Grow Bag, you need to be feeding with Richgro Liquid Tomato and Vegetable Food too, as the nutrient in the bag will all be used up within 8 weeks. I like to plant these seedlings out in the veggie patch, incorporating the soil mix from the bag for additional soil health. I then start a new grow bag with the same seedlings so when it comes to harvest, it’s not all done at once and the crop lasts for longer.
4. Last time to feed your citrus
Now is the last time you’ll be able to feed your Citrus before Winter too. Citrus are heavy feeders and they like a lot of Nitrogen and Iron, so Richgro Black Marvel Fruit and Citrus is perfect.
Apply the Hose on or Concentrate liquid form for the best and quickest results.
5. Keep an eye out for pests
Make sure you keep an eye on your seedlings especially the plants in the Brassica family such as Brussel sprouts, Cabbage, Broccoli and Cauliflower. These plants can quickly get destroyed by White Cabbage Moth so check under the leaves for dark green speckles as these are the eggs that will bring on the devastating Caterpillars. You can remove these by hand or if they have hatched, spray with Richgro Beat a Bug Natural Insect spray.
6. Don’t forget your lawn
Your lawn should also be fed now with a Nitrogen rich fertiliser such as Richgro Lawn Fertiliser or Richgro Urea as this will aid in repair after the heat of summer but also boost the green colour in the lawn which will carry though to winter.
Having a healthy lawn in Winter gives you a head start in Spring too.
7. Ensure your plants get water
At this time of year, I also apply a soil wetter such as Ezi Wet and an application of mulch too. This is a preventative measure to ensure plants get water over winter. Often, we tend to forget to water during Winter as its cooler and plants can be caused unnecessary stress. The application of soil wetter and mulch just ensures any water they do get is absorbed into the soil and held onto as effectively as possible.
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Come and visit Richgro at this year’s Perth Garden & Outdoor Living Festival plenty of deals and fun!
Langley Park: April 29th – May 2nd 2021
Visit us at the Richgro Main Stage!
Come and meet the Richgro team and our Brand Ambassador, Charlie Albone, at the Richgro Main Stage at the Perth Garden & Outdoor Living Festival this year! Daily seminars and plenty of activities for all ages! FIND OUT MORE.
Richgro Garden Products Brand Ambassador, Landscape Designer, and Better Homes and Gardens host Charlie Albone will be presenting on the Richgro Main Stage along with some of WA’s top gardening and horticulture celebrities and experts. With over 30 presentations daily, you will get expert tips and advice on having the garden of your dreams.
Come along and learn how to GROW YOUR OWN produce and bring your kids for a complimentary KIDS PLANTING ACTIVITY!
FREE KIDS POTTING ACTIVITY
MEET CHARLIE ALBONE – RICHGRO BRAND AMBASSADOR
AT THE SHOW ONLY – WIN WITH RICHGRO
LEARN FROM THE EXPERTS AND BUY YOUR RICHGRO FAVOURITES!
RICHGRO – THE HOME OF GROW YOUR OWN
Come along and learn how to GROW YOUR OWN produce!
Western Australia, with its hot, dry climate, is a particularly challenging place to grow what are called vertical gardens. Also known as living walls or green walls, this upward growing trend is very much in fashion and used often to save space but mostly to create decorative effects. They can absorb heated gas in the air, lower both indoor and outdoor temperature, providing a healthier indoor air quality as well as a more beautiful space.
To grow plants in such exposed positions makes it critical to have the right soil conditions especially if you want your display to look its best and last for a long time. Garden soil cannot be used as it is too dense and on its own doesn’t offer enough air, water, or nutrients.
The growing medium must be capable of holding nutrients and moisture but must not be too heavy. 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. Adding 1% of clay to vertical soil mixes mix has numerous benefits:
- Added clay greatly 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 to make a huge difference to the soil profile.
Deep Green Landscaping who have their own “in house” mixes use Bentonite in their rooftop and garden mixes to give the soil the best chance of holding onto water and nutrients, especially new plantings.
Richgro also adds 1% Bentonite to its Vertical Garden Mix as well as different raw materials used to blend up a mix. These may include pinebark, sand, spongelite, bio char, perlite, coco peat, wetting agent and controlled release fertiliser. This came after many years of trials to get the exact ratio of ingredients to get the plants to grow and the soil media not to ‘shrink’ when settled. This mix has been used successfully by landscapers such as Creative Landscapes, Earth and Water and Phase 3 Landscapes.
Landscape Gardener Tim Davies, explains how you can turn sandy soil into water-retaining, rich garden soil through Bentonite Clay.
Another challenge with walled or rooftop gardens is watering. A product that is really popular in this case are water crystals. Those are water-retaining granules that swell up to many times their size when wet and act as a helping hand with watering. Keeping lots of containers, walled garden and hanging baskets wetted can be very time-consuming but by adding granules to the compost at the time of potting it may reduce the amount of times you would need to water.
From their natural dry state, Water Crystals swell when placed in water up to 400 times their dry size. They dehydrate over time and will re-swell. They’ll do this thousands of times over the life of the product.
It is a product used in the horticulture industry throughout the world where there is a shortage of water and can apply to food crops as well as our native plants and ideal for rooftops and walled gardens.
Autumn is here and it is the perfect time to be planting. The soil is warm, but the temperatures have dropped sufficiently so plants do not get too stressed through the planting process. As the days get shorter there is less light for plants and this makes them grow slower – hence why Winter vegetables take so long to mature and get to harvest.
You can get a jump on your Winter vegetables by getting them in the ground now. Improve the soil with lots of Richgro compost, Richgro Blood and Bone, and get planting! Ensure you dig the compost and blood and bone through the soil to mix it through evenly and to de-compact after the Summer growing season. Alternatively, you could consider the new Richgro Winter Vegetable Grow Bag.
Get creative with the NEW Richgro GROW BAG
This grow bag is perfect for your… you guessed it; Winter Vegetables! The bag contains enough nutrients to sustain and promote growth for up to 8 weeks without any supplementary feeding. Like enriching and de-compacting garden bed soil, it is a good idea to shake up the bag to free up the mix and aid in easy root penetration before planting.
The Grow Bag is a perfect spot to start vegetable seedlings, so if you have some left-over Summer vegetables in the patch, start the new ones in the Grow Bag and then plant out once the current harvest has been cleared. This product has been produced so that incorporating the whole bag’s contents into the soil is a real benefit to the veggie patch, but it can also go into normal garden beds or even the compost heap.
Your Winter Vegetables will also be fine left in the Grow Bag – it is a great place for them to grow. They are perfect for small spaces, balconies, and paved courtyards with no garden beds.
If using the GROW BAG, then to get the best out of your plants you should feed them a liquid feed of Richgro BLACK MARVEL Tomato and Vegetable Food after 8 weeks and you can apply this every 10-14 day. You need to make sure you puncture holes in the allocated spots in the bottom of the GROW BAG to let the water out or it will stagnate and drown your vegetables.
Do Some Companion Planting
There is a huge range of plants that will grow well in your Winter Grow bag. Cauliflower, Broccoli, Kale and Silver beet are some of my favourite and will all grow well together. There is the possibility of having three separate plants growing in the one bag so you can companion plant, Brassicas such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussel sprouts all grow well with a range of plants and herbs including dill, celery, mint, thyme and marigolds. You need to steer clear of strawberries, tomatoes, and garlic, but that’s easy as they thrive in the warmer seasons.
Winter vegetables, in particular those in the brassica family suffer from white cabbage moth and white cabbage butterfly and these pests are attracted by the smell of the plants. Companion planting with a fragrant plant such as lavender will help to deter them and add a splash of foliage colour too. These flying pests are also fiercely territorial so mock butterflies on sticks placed next to the plants help to keep them away as well.
Easily move the Grow Bag around to the sunniest spot of your garden
I also really like the Winter Vegetable Grow Bag as it can be moved to the sunniest spot in the garden with ease as the sun gets lower in the sky. It can plunge otherwise bright spots in the garden into darkness. A quick move of the bag and your plants are back to full sun and maximum growth.
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February in Australia can be one of the harshest times in the garden with some of the highest temperatures of the year. So, how do you keep gardening and what can you do to help your plants through this testing month?
- Boost your soil to retain moisture
You can start by helping your plants out by improving the soil so that it can hold onto moisture and nutrients for longer by adding some Richgro compost, mushroom compost, or cow manure. Dig this through where possible but in established beds, you can use it as a mulch and let the worms do the hard work for you whilst protecting the roots of the plant stock.
- Apply a soil wetter
Adding a granulated soil wetter such as Richgro EZI-WET to your compost or manure and to all garden beds will ensure that rain or irrigation gets into the soil effectively to maximise uptake by the plants. Your soil may not be hydrophobic, but the addition of a soil wetter prevents any build-up of bad bacteria and is a good gardening practice.
Water in your soil wetter wisely. Obviously, you do not want to be out in the heat of the day as you will lose excess moisture through evaporation. Early morning or evening is best and lock it all into the soil with some Richgro mulch.
- Create cool shade
Creating shade in the garden can lower the temperature drastically. I know it is considerably cooler under my wisteria covered pergola in the middle of the day! I like deciduous plants to cover structures as they let in the winter light as well as protect through summer. If you are adding a solid roof for all weather protection, it is a good idea to insulate the roof for maximum effect.
Protecting sensitive plants with shade cloth in February helps them through too! For individual plants, you can use stakes or star pickets to create a frame that can be removed once the heat has passed. For your veggies, flexible plastic stakes can be used to create a tunnel with plastic in the cooler months for heat. They can also be used with a shade cloth for cooling in months like February. If you have a greenhouse, it can be transformed into a shade house by removing the roof and replacing it with shade cloth.
- Use the heat to your garden’s advantage
You can use this heat to get a jump start on your autumn seedlings for the veggie patch such as Romanesco broccoli and Cauliflowers. Winter vegetables are much slower growing than the veggies you have in now. When the temperature cools down, the growth slows right down with it. So, why not get a jump start? Using the heat in one of your mini shade tunnels will also help germinate seeds that normally take time to show life such as carrots, leeks, and beetroots. I would do this at the end of the month and sow them at one-week intervals so when they are ready for harvest. You will have a longer cropping period rather than all at once.
We all know the shade of a large tree helps to cool its surroundings, but you can apply this knowledge to the veggie patch as well. Creating a planting spot under taller plants such as tomatoes will protect more sensitive leaves. Fast growing lettuce are perfect for this!
- Create Microclimates to manage heat
Creating microclimates in your garden is a great way to manage heat as well.
By grouping all your pots together in one area and placing them on trays to hold some moisture, you will create a cooling effect surrounding the plants.
- Choose plants that can cope with heat
Picking plants that can cope with the heat such as those with sturdy, silvery, hairy leaves or even succulents. This means you do not need to worry about them when the temperature rises. With all new plants, I suggest waiting until the heat dissipates unless you can protect them with some shade. Irrespective of the species, you will need to settle them in with regular watering.
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January and February can be so incredibly harsh on the garden. The heat and lack of rainfall often force Australia into water restrictions, and this has a knock-on effect on our gardens. There are various ways to lessen the blow of the heat and reduced water usage and all of them are easy and achievable.
- Improve your soil
The first step is to improve your soil by adding in some Richgro compost as this helps the soil to hold on to water and nutrients. Compost is excellent for binding sandy soils together and it helps break up clay soils by bringing in worms. Adding manures such as Richgro Cow Manure or even Mushroom Compost are a great way to boost sandy soils as it only increases the water and nutrient holding capacity.
- Use a soil wetter
Ensuring your soil gets a dose of Richgro EZI-WET guarantees absorption of water even if your soil does not exhibit signs of hydrophobia. An application is a good way to make sure water moves effectively through the soil, wetting a larger area and therefore drying out slower.
Richgro Pine Bark Mulch is the king of the drought tolerant garden as it slows water into the ground, insulates the soil, helps lock moisture into the soil profile, and it makes the garden look tidier too. I apply Richgro Pine Bark Mulch to a depth of 75mm as this organic mulch slowly breaks down which helps to improve the soil as well. The depth is important as any thicker, the water struggles to get into the soil and any less, evaporation is increased dramatically.
- Water correctly at the right time
When it comes to watering, I find that in late afternoon or evening watering sessions are best as it means that less water is lost to evaporation during the day. The downside of this style of watering is that it can lead to fungal problems. Therefore, I recommend to aim the flow of water at the ground and try not to wet the leaves of the plants. I also work on drought proofing my garden throughout the year by watering less often, but with larger quantities of water. This forces the plant’s roots to grow deep into the soil where it is cooler and more insulated. When water restrictions come in, your plants are used to the routine of staggered watering and stress out much less.
- Feed your plants
I also feed my plants with Richgro Black Marvel Liquid throughout the year so that they have all the nutrients they need to be vigorous and strong, as a healthy plant is much more drought tolerant than one that is searching for food. It is not ideal to feed your plants if they are heat stressed as the nutrients signal growth to occur rather than focus on water uptake. Therefore, only feed when your plants are not dropping or withered.
- Don’t forget your potted plants
For my potted plants, I bring them all together in a shaded spot, grouping them so that it creates a mini micro-climate that holds humidity and I place them on drip trays to hold a bit of extra water. When I water, I fill up the drip trays as well, ensuring that I empty the tray once a week to prevent any mosquitoes from hatching.
Innovative hints and tips to use less water
- Wicking garden beds
Last year, I changed the way I grew my vegetables into wicking garden beds. Those have a reservoir beneath, that the plants can access. It draws water up through the soil in a wicking manner. I improved the soil with Richgro compost to aid water retention and mulched again with Richgro Pine Bark Mulch.
- Watering app
I sometimes fear technology in the garden as I feel it takes away the romanticism of getting to know your garden however, there is an App that works with your watering system that reviews various other weather apps and decides how much water your garden requires – perfect in times of drought or concerns of using too much water.
- Slow-release watering bottles
If technology is too much for you it’s easy to make up some slow-release watering bottles. Simply recycle old plastic bottles or empty wine bottles from the festive period by filling them with water and making a small hole in the cap or cork. Turn them upside down and thrust them into the soil to slowly drip the contents out – perfect for between longer soaks if your plants get desperate.
Christmas is coming fast; you may be having guests over for Christmas or simply spending more time yourself at home but before you know it the big day will be upon you. The trick to getting Christmas ready is to start as soon as possible.
1. Get started and clean up!
As a starting point the garden would appreciate a good tidy up, prune all the hedges, weed all the garden beds and apply Richgro Ezi-Wet Soil Soaker. Feed your plants with a light fertiliser like Richgro Blood and Bone Fertiliser to maximise healthy looking growth as soon as possible.
Getting stuck in now will mean you’ll only have to do a smaller tidy up just before guests arrive and they will wonder how you had the time to make your garden look spectacular!
Try to get rid of any clutter in the garden, tidy up old pots, put away the bundles of bamboo canes laying by the veggie patch and install a retractable hose so everything looks as smart and orderly as possible. It’s worth giving your outdoor furniture a clean and a scrub too as this makes a huge lift to the overall appearance of your outdoor area.
2. Give your lawn a bit of attention
Your lawn could do with a bit of attention now as well, give it a mow, trim the edges and lightly fork through it before applying Ezi-Wet Soil Soaker and a lawn fertiliser. Ezi Wet allows the fertiliser to be taken up quickly and more effectively. Regular mowing leads to a healthier lawn as there is less chance of scalping it in the sun and applying a soil wetter ensures the water gets to the roots where it’s needed. The fertiliser will add plenty of rich green to the lawn and make guests envious when they walk bare foot across your turf.
3. Create a blooming garden
Early December is a great time to go through the garden and dead head as many of the flowers as possible – this promotes new blooms to come on and with a bit of a feeding regimen you should time your blooming garden to perfection. Fertilising your garden now will mean it will be looking top notch at Christmas. Applications of specific fertilisers such as Richgro Black Marvel Fruit & Citrus Food or Black Marvel Tomato and Vegetable Food or Black Marvel Rose and Flower Food will give your showstoppers the boost they need to look incredible for Christmas. Use the granules now and then two weeks before Christmas apply the liquid for a quick instant boost.
4. Don’t forget your pots
Giving your potted plants a bit of a spruce up is also a good idea, start by applying a soil wetter then, top up the current potting mix with Richgro “super duper” Premium Potting Mix with Seaweed. Finish off by applying a layer of Richgro Pinebark Mulch to help lessen the evaporation of the hot summer sun. Whilst you’re at it mulching the whole garden with Pinebark is not only beneficial for the plants it makes the garden as a whole look much tidier and neater. Before applying mulch to the garden beds I would fill in any gaps with some festive colourful plants, digging in plenty of Richgro compost prior to planting to aid in moisture and nutrient retention.
5. Grow some herbs
With all the extra cooking at home I find I get through my herbs very quickly, so I start planning now by planting seedlings every week up unto Christmas, and I feed them up with Richgro Black Marvel Tomato & Vegetable Liquid Food to ensure I get maximum growth. This means I have plenty to harvest for big family dinners.
I also like to set some sunflower seeds now – a packet only costs a few dollars and you normally get 50 seeds. These germinate quickly in single jiffy pots. Get the kids involved with this and also they can make great presents for grandparents and those who just drop in.
“Readily Available Water” through infiltration and treatment of contaminated water run off.
Purpose designed for specific landscape and rain garden applications, Organic Biofiltration Media allows for the efficient infiltration and treatment of contaminated water run-off from roads, car parks or other impermeable surfaces. The purified water can then be stored and re-used to irrigate landscaped areas. A wide range of plant species can be grown in such media that can also take up stored water by natural capillary action.
Over 100 international and local independent scientific studies have shown conclusively that this Organic Biofiltration media containing recycled materials can treat stormwater, industrial run-off and some industrial waste waters. Formulations are custom designed using a blend of tested and accredited components, in customised proportions, that are engineered for specific performance requirements such as pollutant removal, lifespan, hydraulic conductivity, compaction and plant growth. To support sustainability outcomes, those formulations include a minimum of 25% and up to 100% community recycled materials.
Organic biofiltration media reduces costs, time, and increases sustainable outcomes while improving the performance of vegetated biofiltration system such as rain gardens, detention basins and bio swales.
This media also supports robust plant establishment and sustainable growth. High inherent water holding capacity and natural microbial activity creates a favourable growing environment and provides resilience in times of climatic stress.
It doesn’t require any additional fertiliser application to achieve plant establishment and growth due to the plant available nutrients inherent in the media in extractable form that nourish plants through mechanisms such as cation exchange. This results in significantly higher nutrient uptake into the vegetation (e.g. phytoremediation) thus avoiding leaching into the environment.
Organic Biofiltration Media Ecomedia is a product made by Richgro under licence for Star Water Solutions.
For more information please contact us.
Nothing beats growing your own veggies but at the same time it can be extremely disheartening when you don’t get the Instagram worthy success you were after. Pests can be a culprit by putting holes in your veggies and disfiguring them or even worse, eating so much they just become pulp!
1. Keep healthy well-fed plants
There are various ways to keep your veggies looking and tasting tip top and free from pests. Keeping healthy well-fed plants is a great start. A healthy plant will have strong cell walls, vigorous growth and will be able to put up with a few pesky critters having a nibble of the leaves or a suck of its sap. This starts when planting! Incorporate Richgro Compost to the soil and top dress with Richgro Organics Vegetable & Tomato Plant Food for a slow release of necessary nutrients. I would then feed with a liquid fertiliser, such as Richgro Black Marvel Tomato and Vegetable concentrate every 7-10 days.
2. Make daily inspections
Daily inspections are vital as you’ll notice the arrival of any nuisances and can get on top of them before they gorge themselves, breed and become an infestation. Just a quick once-over when you are watering does the trick. Hand removal of the few you might find is an effective and safe way to control most things. With last Winter’s cabbage and broccoli crops, I found the green caterpillars that turn into white moths a great way to reward my chickens – they loved them! Currently aphids are on my tomatoes and they are too small to pick off so a blast with the hose removes the small colonies.
3. Companion planting
Companion planting is also another way to limit the damage on your harvest. This is the principal where you plant certain flowering plants that attract pests to keep them off your prized vegetables. Marigolds, nasturtiums and geraniums are all strongly scented and their flowers attract insects such as lady birds that feed on damaging pests. Planting certain crops together can also be beneficial as onions will ward off carrot fly and rosemary keeps cabbage fly at bay too. Zinnia is also a great attractor of pollinators which will only increase harvests.
4. Break the life cycle with a spray
Sometimes manual removal or companion planting is simply not enough and you get a larger outbreak of a pest. Breaking the life cycle of these pests with a spray ensures they do not breed and only make the problem worse down the line. As the old adage states, you are what you eat so it’s important to use a naturally based pesticide such as Richgro Beat-A-Bug Naturally Based Insect Spray. It has some great ingredients (chilli, garlic and pyrethrum) that ward off things like aphids, thrips, earwigs, caterpillars and even ants. Spray two weeks after initial application to ensure the population doesn’t come back.
If you do go down the spraying route, it’s important not to apply when you see beneficial insects including bees as this spray is non selective; I find early morning the best time as it also ensures you have time later in the day to check you got them all as it’s fast acting and works within 5 hours. It is also a good idea to give your crop a 24-hour period before picking and eating.
If your fruit trees suffer from fruit fly, Richgro Natural Fruit Fly spray is a great control and deterrent. It is made of garlic and pyrethrum and can be used up to a day before harvesting.
Raingardens are popular across Australia as a cost effective and beautiful way to reduce run-off in individual properties as well as in streets, parks and schools.
A raingarden is a system that collects water from paving, hard surfaces, roofs, and puts it through a filtering mechanism that removes nutrients and pollutants.The water can then be used to irrigate the garden or, can pass through the filtering system and be released into the drainage system.
Raingardens are easy to maintain, especially those with native Australian plants; they do not need to be watered, mowed or fertilised as much.
Prolonged droughts in Western Australia has meant there is less water available for home gardeners, both in terms of natural rainfall and because of water restrictions. Gardeners are looking at different ways to overcome this dire situation and to prevent their gardens from becoming a wasteland. One method is to build a rain garden.
To make a rain garden:
- A timber container, or planter box, is lined with a sheet of plastic – to prevent water spreading laterally through the joints in the timber.
- At the bottom you can lay approx 20mm of gravel below the pipe but it will eventually be filled up above the pipe.
- The pipe should be laid so that it flows, down to the lowest point in the container.
- Then place gravel around the pipe to prevent sand entering it.
- The next layer is sand. Fill the planter box up – it should be about 100mm from the top, but leave enough room for a good layer of large pebbles as mulch.
- An extra overflow pipe means that in a really heavy downpour, the excess water will go down into the garden and won’t flood the whole garden.
- When choosing plants for the raingarden, select those that will tolerate occasional water logging when it floods, but extended periods of dryness when there’s no rainfall.
- Remove as much soil as possible from the roots before planting because the potting mix will reduce the porosity of the sandy soil.
- Choose fibrous rooted plants which make use of the sandy medium they’re growing in, but allow water to percolate through. There are many native and indigenous plants that fit that bill.
- Recommended plants are Lomandra, Carex, Kangaroo paws – these are known to love sandy, open soils and full sun so it should do well as well as variegated Dianella.
- Once the garden is planted just top it off with about 50mm of pebbles.
- The stones act as good mulch and they’re heavy enough not to float away if they get flooded. The air gaps between them allow ponding so only in a really big downpour will the overflow be needed.
Once the plants are in and the mulch is on, just water the plants in.
The great thing about a rain garden is that it maximises the amount of water that would otherwise just run off. It removes nutrients and pollutants so it makes our streams and creeks much cleaner, and what’s more, it brings a wonderful splash of colour to an area of the garden that was otherwise really pretty dull.
An Organic Biofiltration Media such as Eco Media in such a situation will greatly support the process and promote further efficient water usage.
There seems to be a myriad of different fertilisers on the market all in different forms, slow release, granular, organic, liquid, concentrate, those for greening and those for flowering … it can all get very confusing! I thought with the release of Black Marvel Tomato & Vegetable Food it would be the perfect timing to explain how each different fertiliser works and how to best use it.
The one most people know is the slow release balls you see in potting mixes and on top of the soil in plants when you get them back from the nursery. These slow release ‘prills’ (as they are known as) hold nutrients inside them and as the heat from the sun and water get to them they expand and release a small amount of the nutrients from the inside. This, then get taken up by the plants. They last for a long time, are cheap to make and apply so they are perfect for the nursery industry. The home gardener however can do better.
Liquid fertilisers are the best way to see quick results with your plants. This is because plants need to take up nutrients in water and liquid fertiliser provides that. Black Marvel liquid comes in a convenient hose-on that can be sprayed on the plants. It always interests me that plants can absorb nutrients through their leaves as well as the roots so this application method allows for nutrients to enter the foliage and the excess gets taken up by the roots.
As liquid fertilisers are water based, gravity will pull them through the soil quickly so their use, although fast acting, is short lived. As such, I feed my tomatoes (and all my veggie patch) with Black Marvel Tomato and Vegetable liquid fertiliser once every 7 to 10 days as a supplement to granular fertiliser.
Concentrated liquid fertiliser is exactly the same as a spray-on liquid fertiliser. As it is ‘concentrated’, it will need diluting before application. Concentrated forms save you money and trips to the nursery and as a tip, only apply as per the instructions on dilution. Adding more concentrate to the watering can won’t make your plants grow faster! The boffins at Richgro have done all the testing towards the health of plants and adding more will only upset the balance of nutrient intake and can be harmful to your plants.
Granular fertiliser such as Black Marvel Granular is the perfect mix of fast and long acting fertiliser. The black coating on the fertiliser is actually highly soluble Iron, that when watered in, has an instant effect on helping your plants green up and look healthy. The remainder of the granule then slowly breaks down to feed your plants over 8 weeks when it comes into contact with water. I apply this as prescribed, every 8 weeks and supplement with the liquid Black Marvel every two weeks.
General all purpose fertilisers contain the majority of nutrients, both Macro and trace that the majority of plants need; However it’s a blanket application for most plants. Specific fertilisers such as lawn fertiliser, Black Marvel Rose and Flower Food , Black Marvel Fruit & Citrus Food and Black Marvel Tomato and Vegetable contain specific ratios of different Macro and Trace elements for the plants they specialise in. Why? Well all purpose is fine and it won’t harm your plants but by giving specific fertiliser you maximise the plants’ ability to perform to its best – and who doesn’t like showing off with the best rose, lemon, tomato, lawn etc etc etc.
The City of Cockburn are running the first free commercial food waste trial in Western Australia. The Council has launched the three-month commercial food waste trial to determine sustainability and environmental benefits for possible future adoption as a permanent service.
The trial is a partnership with Richgro, with the food waste being delivered for processing in its anaerobic digestion plant in Jandakot to help produce high-quality biofertiliser. Excess electricity via methane capture from the plant, is then fed back into the grid.
“The plant’s capacity to process 137 tonnes of commercial and industrial organic waste per day, or 50,000 tonnes per year, had enabled more than 300,000 tonnes of waste to be diverted from landfill to date. Now that we have two 1.2MW generators, we can generate a maximum of 57,600KW per day, helping us to power the equivalent of 3,200 homes”. Richgro’s Director Tim Richards.
Richgro is proud to announce its renewed membership with the Landscape Industries Assoc (WA). LIAWA is a peak industry body in WA since its establishment 40 years ago. It elevates professionalism and promotes members as a preferred business to the general public. All members are bound by a strict Code of Ethics and Values and are required to demonstrate and maintain an excellent standard of workmanship, creativity and constant high level of customer service.
As a LIAWA member, Richgro will remain committed to improving standards through regular professional development and looks forward to networking and building relationships with other LIAWA members to help benefit the industry as a whole.
“Richgro and LIAWA are a perfect fit, our business missions are very similar with an ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability and strong ethical values. With their help we get a chance to know their members and benefit from their events, professional development workshops and networking events. We are very excited about our renewed involvement with such an outstanding industry body” David Miles, Sales Manager – Landscape and Commercial.
By David Miles
Sales Manager – Landscape and Commercial
There is no denying the benefits of indoor plants! Plants cleaning the air and atmosphere within the work and entertaining area provide a healthier and more beautiful office and home environment. A recent study by Richgro revealed that 58% of indoor plant owners admit to talking to them, while 29% give them names.
In Richgro’s national survey, which was undertaken by more than 500 people, almost all participants (98%) agreed that spending time close to plants and nature improved their mood.
Studies have shown indoor plants:
- Boost mood, productivity, concentration and creativity
- Reduce stress, fatigue, sore throats and colds
- Clean indoor air by absorbing toxins, increasing humidity and producing oxygen
- Add life to a sterile office, give privacy and reduce noise levels
- Are therapeutic and cheaper than a therapist
Most indoor plants are extraordinarily easy to look after. The most critical element is to use a good quality potting mix either as a base or as a top up – this is your plant’s whole world, make it count!
I can only recommend a quality potting mix that has been trialed and tested to have all the suitable raw materials and correct nutrients for the plant to live a happy life. Richgro’s Seaweed Premium potting Mix is our premium mix that has all such necessities to pot straight into and nothing else is required to add. The fertiliser will last up to 6 months, added wetting agent to hold onto moisture longer and extra trace elements to help the roots develop in the mix to full capacity.
Why can’t you simply use garden soil in a pot? Charlie Albone, TV Gardening Expert and Richgro Brand Ambassador puts it simply – Soil unlike potting mix has a mixture of sand, loam and clay and they are often not in equal measurements, in a potting mix you get the optimum combination of drainage and water / nutrient holding capacity so your plants get water without drowning. Along with this you get added fertilisers, nutrients and additional tonics like seaweed so your plants can perform in the restricted growing area of a pot.
Like most things there are levels of quality when it comes to potting mix, with the best ones having the red tick symbol on them, which is a way of letting you know they have passed a series of tests. The red tick should not be mistaken with the black tick, although these potting mixes still comply with Australian Standards, they do not meet the levels the red tick commands and will not last as long as the red tick.
What’s in a red tick mix? – well all brands have a different combination of ingredients but those red tick mixes get tested on wettability, air filled porosity, pH and they have to have a minimum of 12 weeks worth of slow release fertiliser in them to aid in feeding your plants.
Plants that have a short life span such as annuals are fine to use in black tick potting mixes, they will exhaust the nutrients in the mix before their life cycle is complete and this can be added back in after the plants are removed. However for longer growing plants, you want the benefits of the red tick for on-going plant health. The use of such a premium potting mix will actually save you money, time and effort in the long run so well worth the investment up front.
Richgro supply to many professional growers in the state and all have particular ingredients and different nutrient requirements. These growers can range from small succulent plants, to natives, veggies, indoor, trees and all types of flowering plants. All this knowledge of different types of conditions has allowed Richgro to manufacture a mix that can suit all needs. Hence, Richgro’s Seaweed Potting Mix mentioned above.
Five basic maintenance rules for indoor plants:
- Water and feed them correctly. Most indoor plant deaths are caused by overwatering.
- Most plants need a winter rest with less water, less feeding and less heat.
- Treat any trouble immediately. Bad doses of pest and diseases are hard to cure.
- Choose the right plant for the right place. Put it where it grows best not just where it looks best.
- Avoid extremes or sudden changes in temperature and light.
Some different categories of indoor plants:
Bright – Goldfish plant and Madagascar Periwinkle – both lovely flowers and shiny green leaves
Dark – Peace Lily and Parlour Palm – can be grown in fairly dimly lit rooms
Warm – False Aralia, Temple bells and Velvet plants can all be grown in areas where the temperatures are quite high
Cool – Abutilon, Begonia and Prayer plant can be grown in cooler, tougher areas
Climbers and trailers – Grape Ivy, Chestnut vine and Sweetheart Plant are great to see grow along any support
Big and office – Dracaena, Canary Date Palm and Umbrella plant are great ‘showy’ plants that need some space
Unkillable – Umbrella Plant, Ficus Benjamina and Yucca – can all survive on neglect and inconsistent watering
Scented – Jasmine, Gardenia and Stephanotis all have lovely fragrance when flowering
Damp – Arum lily, Club moss and Kris plant – don’t mind having wet feet if overwatered
I was ecstatic when I found out Richgro were bringing out a grow bag – It’s a product I’ve used in the UK and I always wondered why nobody used them in Australia. Well what is a grow bag? Simply it’s a bag filled with the perfect potting mix and additives for you to grow herb and veggies in – the bonus is you use the bag as a pot so it can be used in the smallest of spaces, including balcony gardens.
SET UP YOUR GROW BAG
Setting up a grow bag is simple, you first need the right spot. A sunny spot is best for plants like tomatoes, cucumbers or Zucchini although if you only have a semi shaded area lettuce or green beans work really well too. Loosen up the potting mix on the inside by giving the bag a shake – when they are stored at the hardware store they can compact down with the weight of the other bags on top of them so this will just allow all the fresh new roots to establish much quicker as the mix is now freer to grow into.
Lay the bag down and find the easily labelled bottom side – search for the marks to puncture some holes for drainage and using a screwdriver or similar implement push some holes in. As your grow bag will drain you may want to put down some newspaper or plastic if you are on a balcony or growing on some paving, this will prevent dirty water from staining your flooring.
Turn the bag the right way up and following the dotted lines cut holes out for planting pockets. You’ll notice the bag is much wider than it is high – this is perfect for roots when you compare to growing vegetables in pots as the roots can spread out in a natural horizontal manner and there is much less risk of the roots circling and the pants becoming pot bound.
Planting into your grow bag couldn’t be easier, you can use it to direct sow seeds or use seedlings, just as if you were planting directly into the ground or a pot. I’ve had great success with tomatoes, cucumber, and baby eggplants but I’ve also planted more sprawling plants like Zucchini. When selecting larger plants or climbers like peas and beans ensure you have a sturdy frame for them to climb on or get connected to, some wires on a wall are perfect as you’ll be able to benefit from the stored heat in the wall to increase growth too.
Planting your grow bag out with herbs makes an excellent addition to a garden of any size as they can be positioned on a balcony close to the kitchen making them easy to access and therefore easy to use. The plant choices are limitless really but stick to short lived plants to maximise the nutrient life in the bag.
Any veggie patch needs daily attention but it’s really important to water your grow bag daily as they drain so quickly. The trick to healthy plants in a grow bag is little and often watering over long less frequent soaks. The bag has enough nutrients in the potting mix for 8 weeks of growth, perfect for getting your seedlings established, after this period I suggest fertilising with Richgro Black Marvel Tomato and Vegetable food in liquid form. The liquid is fast acting and nicely balanced to support all the growth needed for the perfect harvest.
At the end of the season or once your crop has been harvested the contents of the bag can be added into your compost heap or simply dug through another garden bed in the garden adding organic matter and helping to improve the structure of the soil.