Recycling – what you can and cannot recycle in your bin!

Recycling plays a crucial role in reducing environmental impact, and understanding what papers and products can be recycled is essential. Generally, paper products like newspapers, magazines, cardboard, and office paper are recyclable. Cardboard boxes, cereal boxes, and paper packaging are also commonly accepted in recycling programs and are also great for your composting bin, make sure to layer these “brown” products with “green” such as lawn clippings, prunings, leaves and kitchen waste.

However, it’s important to note that not all paper products can be recycled. Items contaminated with food or grease, such as pizza boxes, may not be suitable for recycling. Additionally, tissues, paper towels, and napkins, often used for personal hygiene or cleaning, are typically not recyclable due to contamination.

Certain types of paper, like glossy or wax-coated paper, may present challenges for recycling facilities and might not be accepted. Similarly, shredded paper, while technically recyclable, may not be suitable for all recycling programs due to the difficulty in sorting and processing – offer this on your local “buy nothing” Facebook page or contact your local pet shop as they will often love to take that off your hands.

When it comes to products, recyclability varies. Many plastics, metals, and glass containers are recyclable, but it’s important to check local recycling guidelines as acceptance may depend on the specific material and its composition. Styrofoam and certain types of plastic packaging may not be easily recyclable in all areas.

In summary, common paper products like newspapers, magazines, and cardboard are usually recyclable, while items contaminated with food, certain types of paper, and personal hygiene products may not be suitable for recycling. Checking local recycling guidelines and being mindful of contamination can contribute to more effective recycling practices.

Check with your council, you will only need to do it once, and just shoving everything into your recycling bin may negate the good you are doing, as they will need to do more work to clean up your disposable items!

Mildew? The importance of watering plants at the roots.

Watering plants at the roots rather than on the leaves is crucial for several reasons. When water is directed to the roots, it ensures that the plant’s underground system receives the necessary moisture to sustain growth and development. The roots act as a conduit for water absorption, allowing it to reach the entire plant, from stem to leaves.

Watering at the roots is particularly efficient because it targets the plant’s main source of nutrient uptake. This method helps prevent water wastage and encourages a more direct and effective delivery of essential nutrients to the plant’s vascular system. By supplying water directly to the roots, the plant can efficiently distribute the moisture to various parts, facilitating crucial processes like photosynthesis and nutrient transport.

Additionally, watering at the roots minimizes the risk of certain plant diseases. Wetting the leaves excessively, especially during the evening or nighttime, can create a favorable environment for fungal growth and other pathogens. Foliage that remains damp for extended periods becomes susceptible to diseases that thrive in moist conditions. Watering at the roots helps maintain a drier environment around the leaves, reducing the risk of fungal infections and promoting overall plant health.

Moreover, directing water to the roots is a strategic approach for water conservation. When water is applied directly to the soil around the root zone, there is less likelihood of evaporation or runoff. This targeted watering method optimizes water usage, ensuring that the plant receives the maximum benefit from each irrigation session.

In summary, watering plants at the roots is a fundamental practice that supports efficient nutrient absorption, reduces the risk of diseases, and conserves water. It recognizes the plant’s physiological needs and helps maintain a healthy and thriving garden or landscape.

GROW YOURSELF AN EGG HEAD AND HARVEST THEIR “HAIR”!

You will need:

  • Eggshells: With the top third of each shell removed.
  • Cotton wool or paper towel: To hold moisture and support seed growth.
  • Seeds: Cress, microgreens, or sprouts are all great choices.
  • Decorations: Anything you like such as textas, paints, googly eyes, sequins, pom-poms – whatever you have on hand for personalising your eggheads.

Instructions

Prepare your eggshells

Save your opened eggs or crack and remove the top third of new ones.  Empty the contents into a container and pop into the fridge to be used later (delicious cupcakes anyone?).

Thoroughly wash and dry the remaining two thirds of the shells to get them ready for decorating and planting.

Get creative!

Unleash your creativity here! They can simply draw a face on the eggshell or decorate it with whatever you have on hand for decorating. You could base your egg head around your favourite book or TV character – or even a family member – or conjure something up from your imagination. There’s no right or wrong way to do this – anything goes!

Once the eggshells have been decorated, pop them into an empty egg carton while they dry.

Next – it’s planting time!

  1. Moisten some cotton wool or a piece of paper towel and gently place it inside each eggshell. It should be damp but not wet.
  2. Sprinkle a teaspoon of your chosen seeds on top of the cotton wool/paper towel.

Growing your egg heads

  1. Place the eggshells in a warm and well-lit spot, such as a sunny windowsill (but not in direct sunlight or they may dry out too quickly).
  2. Keep the cotton wool damp by checking it daily and adding a few drops of water when needed.

Harvest time

Once the seeds sprout (from 1 to a few days) and the ‘hair’ reaches a few centimetres tall, it’s time to harvest. Cut the greens and enjoy them in a sandwich or salad.

Once harvested, you can start the process over again with new cotton wool/kitchen paper and seeds!

 

PLANTING IN WINTER FOR MEDITERRANEAN , TROPICS AND SUB TROPICAL AREAS

What you can plant now 🙂 from www.wendysgarden.com.au

Most Australian regions:

Broad Bean
Beetroot
Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Cabbage
Carrot
Cauliflower
Celery
Celeriac
Collards
Kale
Kohl Rabi
Leek
Lettuce
Mustard Greens
Onions
Parsnip
Peas
Radish
Salad Greens
Mesclun Mix
Corn Salad
Endive
Mizuna
Rocket
Tatsoi
Spinach
Salsify
Shallots
Silverbeet
Spinach
Swede
Turnip
Asian Vegetables
Herbs

Tropics and frost free sub-tropics:

Broad Bean
Bush Bean
Climbing Beans
Beetroot
Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Cabbage
Capsicum
Carrot
Cauliflower
Celery
Collards
Maize/Sweet Corn
Cucumber
Eggplant
Gourd
Kale
Kohl Rabi
Leek
Lettuce
Okra
Mustard Greens
Pumpkin
Radish
Rockmelon
Salad Greens
Mesclun Mix
Corn Salad
Endive
Mizuna
Rocket
Tatsoi
Kang Kong
Shallots
Silverbeet
Spinach
Squash
Sunflower
Tomato
Watermelon
Zucchini
Asian Vegetables
Herbs

Help your children grow with gardening!

Encouraging children to engage in gardening offers a rich tapestry of educational, physical, and emotional benefits. As they actively participate in planting, nurturing, and harvesting, they gain hands-on insights into plant life cycles, ecosystems, and soil health. This experiential learning fosters a profound understanding of the natural world.

Beyond academics, gardening instills responsibility and patience. Children learn to care for plants, ensuring they receive the right amount of water, sunlight, and nutrients. This nurturing process not only teaches them about plant growth but also imparts essential life skills.

Gardening also serves as a gateway to developing healthy eating habits. Children who actively contribute to growing their own fruits and vegetables develop a deep appreciation for fresh, nutritious foods. This connection to the source of their sustenance often translates into positive dietary choices.

Engaging in gardening activities provides a tangible connection to nature. Through digging, planting, and observing the gradual transformations in their garden, children develop a heightened environmental awareness. This connection to the outdoors contributes to stress reduction and positively influences their mental well-being.

Physical activity is inherent in gardening—digging, planting, weeding, and harvesting contribute to a child’s overall physical fitness. In addition to the health benefits, the active nature of gardening supports the development of an active lifestyle.

Problem-solving skills naturally emerge as children encounter challenges such as pests, diseases, or unfavorable weather conditions affecting their plants. These challenges become opportunities for creative problem-solving, fostering resilience and adaptability.

The sense of accomplishment derived from successfully growing and caring for plants is invaluable. Harvesting their own produce or witnessing flowers bloom boosts self-esteem, instilling a sense of pride and confidence in their abilities.

Gardening introduces children to the cyclical nature of seasons and their impact on plant growth. This fundamental understanding becomes an integral part of their environmental education.

Collaboration and teamwork often come into play in gardening projects, whether within the family, with friends, or in a school or community garden. This collaborative aspect promotes the development of social skills and the ability to work harmoniously with others.

Moreover, gardening provides an outlet for creativity and personal expression. From choosing plants to designing layouts, children are empowered to make decisions, fostering a sense of ownership and autonomy.

Beyond immediate benefits, introducing children to gardening lays the foundation for a lifelong hobby. As they grow older, the love for gardening cultivated in childhood may persist, offering a fulfilling and rewarding pursuit throughout their lives.

In essence, gardening becomes a holistic vehicle for the holistic development of children, encompassing education, physical activity, emotional well-being, and a lasting connection to the natural world.

WHAT TO PLANT IN AUTUMN / WINTER

AUTUMN – MEDITERRANEAN ONLY.

Beetroot (also Beets) Start in seed trays or plant out (transplant) seedlings or sow seed

Broad Beans (also Fava bean) Start in seed trays or plant out (transplant) seedlings or sow seed

Broccoli Plant out (transplant) seedlings

Cabbage Plant out (transplant) seedlings

Carrot Sow seed

Cauliflower Plant out (transplant) seedlings

Chives (also Garden chives) Start in seed trays or plant out (transplant) seedlings or sow seed

Collards (also Collard greens, Borekale) Plant out (transplant) seedlings

Coriander (also Cilantro, Chinese parsley) Start in seed trays or plant out (transplant) seedlings or sow seed

Corn Salad (also Lamb’s lettuce or Mache) Sow seed

Daikon (also Japanese radish, Lo Bok) Sow seed

Dill Plant out (transplant) seedlings or sow seed

Endive Start in seed trays or plant out (transplant) seedlings or sow seed

Fennel (also Bronze fennel) Start in seed trays or plant out (transplant) seedlings or sow seed

Florence Fennel (also Finocchio) Plant out (transplant) seedlings or sow seed

Garlic Plant cloves

Kale (also Borecole) Plant out (transplant) seedlings

Kohlrabi Plant out (transplant) seedlings

Lettuce Start in seed trays or plant out (transplant) seedlings or sow seed

Mizuna (also Japanese Greens, Mitzuna, Mibuna) Start in seed trays or plant out (transplant) seedlings or sow seed

Mustard greens (also gai choy) Start in seed trays or plant out (transplant) seedlings or sow seed

Pak Choy (also Pak choi) Start in seed trays or plant out (transplant) seedlings or sow seed

Parsley (also curly leaf parsley or flat leaf (Italian) parsley) Start in seed trays or plant out (transplant) seedlings or sow seed

Peas Start in seed trays or plant out (transplant) seedlings or sow seed

Radish Sow seed

Rocket (also Arugula/Rucola) Sow seed

Rutabaga (also Swedes) Start in seed trays or plant out (transplant) seedlings or sow seed

Salsify (also Vegetable oyster) Sow seed

Shallots (also Eschalots) Sow seed

Silverbeet (also Swiss Chard or Mangold) Plant out (transplant) seedlings

Snow Peas (also Sugar Peas, Mangetout, Chinese Peas) Start in seed trays or plant out (transplant) seedlings or sow seed

Spinach (also English spinach) Start in seed trays or plant out (transplant) seedlings or sow seed

Spring onions (also Scallions, Bunching onions, Welsh onion) Start in seed trays or plant out (transplant) seedlings

Turnip Sow seed

Planning for May – MEDITERRANEAN CLIMATE ONLY.

Broad Beans (also Fava bean) Start in seed trays or plant out (transplant) seedlings or sow seed. Will need supports if windy weather.

Chives (also Garden chives) Plant out (transplant) seedlings

Coriander (also Cilantro, Chinese parsley) Start in seed trays or plant out (transplant) seedlings or sow seed

Corn Salad (also Lamb’s lettuce or Mache) Sow seed

Daikon (also Japanese radish, Lo Bok) Sow seed

Endive Plant out (transplant) seedlings

Garlic Plant cloves

Lettuce Start in seed trays or plant out (transplant) seedlings or sow seed

Mizuna (also Japanese Greens, Mitzuna, Mibuna) Start in seed trays or plant out (transplant) seedlings or sow seed

Mustard greens (also gai choy) Start in seed trays or plant out (transplant) seedlings or sow seed

Pak Choy (also Pak choi) Start in seed trays or plant out (transplant) seedlings or sow seed

Parsley (also curly leaf parsley or flat leaf (Italian) parsley) Start in seed trays or plant out (transplant) seedlings or sow seed

Peas Start in seed trays or plant out (transplant) seedlings or sow seed

Radish Sow seed

Rocket (also Arugula/Rucola) Sow seed

Rutabaga (also Swedes) Plant out (transplant) seedlings

Shallots (also Eschalots) Sow seed

Snow Peas (also Sugar Peas, Mangetout, Chinese Peas) Start in seed trays or plant out (transplant) seedlings or sow seed

Spinach (also English spinach) Start in seed trays or plant out (transplant) seedlings or sow seed

Spring onions (also Scallions, Bunching onions, Welsh onion) Start in seed trays or plant out (transplant) seedlings

Turnip Sow seed

Flowers & Ornamentals

Mediterranean (includes: Adelaide & Perth)

FLOWERS – plant ageratum, alyssum, cineraria, cyclamen, forget-me-not, French marigold, Iceland poppy, lobelia, lupin, pansy, phlox, primula, stock and wallflower.

Wet & Dry Tropical (includes: North Queensland, NT & Some parts of WA)

FLOWERS – sow ageratum, aster, balsam, carnation, celosia, chrysanthemum,  cockscomb, coleus, cosmos, dahlia, dianthus, everlasting daisy, gaillardia, gazania, geranium, gerbera, impatiens, kangaroo paw, African marigold, French marigold, nasturtium, petunia, portulaca, rudbeckia, salvia, snapdragon,sunflower, torenia, verbena, wallflower and zinnia.

Subtropical (includes: South-east Qld & Northern NSW)

FLOWERS – sow ageratum, alyssum, candytuft, carnation, cineraria, coreopsis, cornflower, cyclamen, delphinium, dianthus, everlasting daisy, Iceland poppy, impatiens, marigolds, sweet pea and viola.

Dry Inland (includes: Arid or Outback areas)

FLOWERS – sow chrysanthemum, cockscomb, cosmos, dahlia, everlasting daisy, gazania, geranium, gerbera, impatiens, kangaroo paw, marigold, nasturtium, petunia, portulaca, rudbeckia, salvia, snapdragon, sunflower, torenia, verbena, wallflower and zinnia.

Temperate (includes: Sydney, coastal NSW & Victoria)

FLOWERS – plant alyssum, calendula, candytuft, carnation, cineraria, cornflower, cosmos, daisy, foxglove, lobelia, nasturtium, nemesia, pansy, poppy, primula, schizanthus, snapdragon, sweet pea and viola.

Cool & Southern Tablelands (includes: Melbourne, Tasmania & cool highlands)

FLOWERS – plant alyssum, aurora daisy, cineraria, cornflower, cyclamen, English daisy, French marigold, Iceland poppy, lobelia, lupin, pansy, polyanthus, primula, snapdragon, stock, strawflower, sweet pea and viola.

 

How to start and maintain a compost heap.

Starting a Compost Heap:

  1. Selecting a Location: Choose a well-drained area that receives partial sunlight. Avoid placing the compost heap too close to structures or trees, as the roots may interfere with the composting process.
  2. Best Place for a Compost Heap:
    • Sunlight: Choose a spot that receives partial sunlight. While composting microbes thrive in warmth, too much direct sunlight may dry out the compost.
    • Drainage: Ensure good drainage to prevent water logging. Elevate the compost heap slightly or place it on a surface that allows excess water to drain away.
    • Accessibility: Place the compost heap in a convenient location for easy access. This encourages regular turning and monitoring.
  3. Using a Container or Open Pile: Decide whether you want to use a compost bin or create an open pile. Bins are neater and can help control the composting process, while open piles offer more space for larger quantities.
  4. Layering Materials: Begin by creating a base layer of coarse materials like small branches or straw to allow for airflow. Alternate layers of green (nitrogen-rich) and brown (carbon-rich) materials to achieve a balanced compost mix.
  5. Green Materials: Add nitrogen-rich green materials such as kitchen scraps (fruit and vegetable peelings, coffee grounds), fresh yard waste, and green plant clippings. These materials provide essential nutrients and help activate the composting process.
  6. Brown Materials: Intermix carbon-rich brown materials such as dried leaves, straw, shredded newspaper, or cardboard. Browns provide structure, absorb excess moisture, and balance the carbon-to-nitrogen ratio.
  7. Moisture Control: Keep the compost heap moist but not waterlogged. Watering occasionally helps facilitate decomposition. The compost should have the consistency of a wrung-out sponge.
  8. Turning the Compost: Turn the compost regularly to aerate it and accelerate decomposition. This can be done with a pitchfork or by rotating a compost tumbler. Turning promotes even breakdown and prevents unpleasant odors.
  9. Covering the Compost: Covering the compost heap with a tarp or a lid helps retain moisture and heat. It also prevents excess rainwater from saturating the compost.

What to Include:

  1. Green Materials:
    • Kitchen scraps (fruit and vegetable peelings, coffee grounds)
    • Fresh yard waste (grass clippings, weeds)
    • Green plant materials (prunings, spent flowers)
  2. Brown Materials:
    • Dried leaves
    • Straw or hay
    • Shredded newspaper or cardboard (avoid glossy or colored paper)
  3. Additional Ingredients:
    • Eggshells
    • Small amounts of wood ash
    • Manure from herbivores (cow, horse, rabbit)

What to Avoid:

  1. Meat and Dairy Products:
    • These can attract pests and may not decompose properly.
  2. Oily or Greasy Materials:
    • Fats and oils can slow down the composting process.
  3. Diseased Plants:
    • Avoid adding plants infected with diseases to prevent the spread of pathogens.
  4. Pet Waste:
    • Pet waste can contain harmful pathogens; it’s best to avoid adding it to compost used for edible plants.
  5. Weeds with Seeds:
    • Weeds that have gone to seed may not be fully destroyed during composting and can sprout in your garden later. If this is going to be an issue, just don’t add those to your mix. If you also have something you are disposing of that should not enter waterways or our environment, put it in black plastic bags and leave them in the sun for a few days before disposing of them in the garbage.

By following these guidelines, you can create a successful compost heap that transforms kitchen and yard waste into nutrient-rich compost for your garden. Adjust the balance of green and brown materials, turn the compost regularly, and be patient as the natural decomposition process takes its course!

What can I do to improve my soil for vegetable growing?

Enhancing the quality of your soil is crucial for successful vegetable gardening. A well-nourished and well-structured soil provides the essential nutrients and a suitable environment for plants to thrive.

Here are some key practices to improve your soil for vegetable growing:

Soil Testing: Conduct a soil test to understand the current nutrient levels, pH, and composition of your soil. This information will guide you in making informed decisions about amendments and adjustments needed for optimal plant growth. Take a few measurements, not just one, this will ensure you get a full “map” of your gardens needs.

Organic Matter: Incorporate organic matter into the soil to improve its structure, water retention, and nutrient content. Compost, well-rotted manure, or cover crops are excellent sources of organic matter. These materials enhance soil fertility and encourage beneficial microbial activity. Start a compost heap, gather seaweed – wash it -dig it in, ask neighbours for any fallen leaves and lawn clippings. Break up paper and other paper based items like cardboard and add it to your compost heap in small, layered amounts.

Mulching: Apply organic mulch, such as straw, leaves, or wood chips, around your vegetable plants. Mulch helps regulate soil temperature, suppress weeds, and retain moisture, creating a more stable and favorable environment for plant roots.

Cover Cropping: Plant cover green manure crops during the off-season to prevent soil erosion and add organic matter. Legumes like clover also fix nitrogen in the soil, enriching it for future vegetable crops.

Crop Rotation: Rotate your vegetable crops each season to minimize the risk of soil-borne diseases and pests. Different plants have different nutrient requirements, and rotating crops helps maintain soil fertility and structure.

Aeration: Regularly aerate the soil to improve its structure and drainage. Compacted soil can impede root growth and water movement. Use a garden fork or aerator to loosen the soil without disrupting plant roots.

pH Adjustment: Adjust the soil pH if necessary. Most vegetables prefer slightly acidic to neutral soil. Lime can be added to raise pH, while elemental sulfur or acidic amendments can lower it. Maintaining the right pH ensures optimal nutrient availability to plants.

Companion Planting: Practice companion planting, which involves growing compatible plant species together to maximize growth and deter pests. Some plants release chemicals or compounds that benefit neighboring plants, contributing to a healthier soil ecosystem.

Incorporate Fertilizers: Use organic or balanced fertilizers to provide essential nutrients for plant growth. Pay attention to the specific nutrient requirements of different vegetables and adjust your fertilizer application accordingly.

Watering Practices: Implement proper watering practices to maintain soil moisture without causing water logging. Consistent and deep watering encourages healthy root development and nutrient absorption. Water at the roots, not the leaves to prevent mildew and to make sure none is wasted.

Minimize Tillage: Minimize unnecessary tillage, as excessive disturbance can disrupt soil structure and harm beneficial soil organisms. No-till or reduced-till methods help preserve soil health and structure. Look up Esther Dean – No dig gardening.

Compost Tea: Apply compost tea, a liquid solution made from steeping compost in water. Compost tea provides a concentrated dose of beneficial microorganisms and nutrients, promoting soil health and plant growth.

By incorporating these practices, you can create a nutrient-rich, well-balanced soil environment that supports healthy vegetable growth and maximizes your garden’s productivity!

Next month we will talk about compost heaps and what should go into them!

Prevent disease by eating these!!

There are so many studies, so much proof, and yet hardly any of us eat the right amount of fruits and vegetables to keep us in optimum health!

Consuming a diet rich in vegetables is associated with numerous health benefits and a reduced risk of various diseases. Here are several ways in which including vegetables in your diet can contribute to disease prevention:

Nutrient Density: Vegetables are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and dietary fibers. These nutrients play crucial roles in maintaining the proper functioning of the body and supporting overall health.

Heart Health: A diet high in vegetables has been linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases. The fibre content in vegetables helps lower blood cholesterol levels, while antioxidants contribute to reducing inflammation and oxidative stress, both of which are associated with heart issues.

Weight Management: Vegetables are typically low in calories and high in fibre, making them excellent choices for those looking to manage or lose weight. A diet rich in vegetables can help control appetite, promote satiety, and contribute to weight maintenance, reducing the risk of obesity-related diseases.

Cancer Prevention: Some vegetables, especially cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and kale, contain compounds that have been associated with a lower risk of certain cancers. These compounds may have protective effects against the development of cancer cells.

Digestive Health: The fibre content in vegetables supports healthy digestion and regular bowel movements. Adequate fiber intake can reduce the risk of constipation, diverticulitis, and other digestive issues, and it may also contribute to a lower risk of colorectal cancer.

Blood Sugar Control: High-fibre vegetables can help regulate blood sugar levels by slowing down the absorption of glucose. This is particularly beneficial for individuals with diabetes or those at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Vision Protection: Vegetables rich in antioxidants, such as carrots, spinach, and capsicums contain nutrients like beta-carotene and lutein, which are essential for eye health. Regular consumption of these vegetables may help reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and other vision-related issues.

Immune System Support: The vitamins and minerals found in vegetables, such as vitamin C, vitamin A, and folate, play vital roles in supporting the immune system. A robust immune system is crucial for defending the body against infections and diseases.

Reduced Inflammation: Chronic inflammation is a common factor in various diseases. The anti-inflammatory properties of many vegetables, attributed to antioxidants and phytochemicals, can help mitigate inflammation and reduce the risk of chronic diseases associated with inflammation.

Improved Overall Well-Being: A diet rich in vegetables is linked to better overall health and well-being. The diverse array of nutrients in vegetables supports the body’s various functions and helps maintain optimal health, reducing the risk of developing chronic diseases.

Incorporating a variety of colourful vegetables into your daily diet is a powerful step toward disease prevention and overall health promotion. And growing your own can only add to the health benefits eating vegetables and fruits bring! Get growing and have a long and healthy life!

www.wendysgarden.com.au

NOTICE: NO SEEDS TO TASMANIA UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.

We just got an email from Tasmanian Biosecurity regarding sending seeds to Tasmania. We have been looking into applying for a license to import small lots of seed but as they need a laboratory and extensive testing of the contents of every seed packet we have been unable to fulfil their extensive requirements as we are such a small business and hardly making much more than our workers wages and as such we have been forced to stop sending seeds to Tasmania until further notice. Any orders addressed to Tasmania will be refunded. We can still send merchandise items and anything other than seeds/corms/bulbs. I’m sorry about this but there is not much we can do ? Cheers, Wendy xxx