Happy Australia Day!

January 23, 2015

Happy Australia Day everyone! I hope you enjoy gardening, barbequing, playing cricket or tennis or whatever else you have planned. Movement is as important to us as is air food and water. That’s why I love gardening because you get wonderful exercise while you create something beautiful.

Last night I was out looking at a garden in the bush. Young Kookaburras were practicing their laugh in the surrounding trees.

Make time this Australia Day to plant some trees that will attract birds to your garden. Ask advice from a horticulturist and talk to your neighbours which trees will work in your backyard. There are native trees and exotic trees just perfect for your place. They will provide shade for you and habit for birds and animals and they will make our little piece of the planet a more lovely spot to call home. If you live in one of our many new suburbs trees will bring much needed shade and help to soften the newly emerging suburbs of Ballarat.

Yes I did say plant a tree. Now is a great time to plant. We have planted lots of things in recent times. Over the last month we have planted roses, smoke bush, citrus, Cercis plus lots of salvias and smaller and they are all doing fine. The rain has helped of course and the warm soil temperatures aids plant growth.

I was even successful with establishing a new warm season lawn. Now its up and growing well it will have low water needs.

One of the important task that we always need to keep going is compost making. Now people are coming back from holidays and back to their gardens compost is a great thing to crack on with.

This time of year your garden is growing well especially after the good soakings its received since Christmas. Hedge clippings, the leaf litter from paths and gardens, the green waste from the kitchen should all be going into a compost bin in your garden.

The reason is quite simple. Compost makes for healthy plants. Scientific research continues to accumulate and I have mentioned it before but its worth repeating. Compost works so well.

Well-made compost has the ability to suppress and control a range of bacteria, fungi and other pests, which damage plants. Fungi such as Rhizoctonia and Pythium, which are responsible for plant diseases, like root rot. The beneficial microorganisms control the nasties three ways.

There is specific suppression where specific microbes produce antibiotics, which kill the nasties. One such group of good guys are the Penicillium group of beneficial fungi. They wage war in your soil the same way they do in your body.

General suppression of “nasties” occurs when the “good guys” out number and out compete the “bad guys”.

The third and most interesting mode of action is where the beneficial microbes in well-made compost stimulate the natural defence mechanisms in plants. Just as animals have an immune system, plants have natural defence mechanisms, which help to strengthen them against attack from nasty microbes.

Healthy plants resist disease, drought, frost much better.

An extensive range of beneficial microbes has been identified and many have been developed for use in agriculture and horticulture for biological control of fungal root diseases.

Trials with vege growers showed that a 2 to 4 cm layer of well-made compost dug into the soil before planting gave better results than 10 of the 12 commercial fungicidal treatments. It also holds water like a sponge and helps droughtproof your garden.

The good news is you don’t have to buy any of these expensive biological controls because you can get them free from your own compost pile or bin.

At Top Hedge, our Horticulturists and Green Gardeners know all this and mulch more ways to make you garden thrive in our conditions, so if you love your garden but never have enough time give us a call on 5330 1071 or email us.