Real World Gardener is funded by the Community Broadcasting Foundation
http://www.cpod.org.au/The new theme is sung by Harry Hughes from his album Songs of the Garden. You can hear samples of the album from the website www.songsofthegarden.com
Wildlife in Focuswith consultant ecologist Kurtis Lindsay
Have you ever wondered what the process is when a developer comes along to build their mega shopping centre, or some-one wants to start up a mine somewhere?
What happens to all the birds and animals, shrubs and trees?
Believe it or not, there are people hired who get up to all sorts of methods to account for wildlife that might be on a threatened patch.
Let’s find out what exactly
Both the Conservation Act and The Threatened Species Act are used by ecologists when assessing land that might be developed to find targeted species.
Consulting ecologists may mark out a 50 x 50 metre plot and map every bit of vegetation and fauna in that area. They also set up night time cameras, Song-meters and Ana Bat to pick up micro-bats, songbirds, frogs and other animals.
Plenty of details from Kurtis as usual in that segment about his actual job. Kurtis is based in Mudgee, and as I mentioned, used to do the wildlife in focus segment as he’s an expert ornithologist as well.
Glad to see that Kurtis is taking care of some of our living things out their in the bush.
Vegetable HeroesBEETROOT is Beta vulgaris
Did you know that the soup that the Russians cooked for the Americans in the soyuz19 in 1975....was borscht, or beetroot soup? Of course!
Beta vulgaris or Beetroot, started life growing as wild seabeet, along coastlines from India to Britain and is the ancestor of all cultivated forms of beet. At first, only the leaves were eaten.
Did you also know that Beetroot was offered to Apollo in his temple at Delphi, where it was reckoned to be worth its own weight in silver?
Beetroot is in the top 10 most popular vegetables for growing in our gardens.
Who would’ve thought?
Beta vulgaris, commonly known as beet or beetroot, is a flowering plant species in the family Chenopodiaceae.
Growing Beetroot is fairly easy and Beetroot can be eaten fresh, stored and pickled so that can be enjoyed all year round.
When to Plant:
In cool temperate zones you can plant beets from September through to the end of April, in Arid areas, from February until December, or possibly the end of January and why not?
In temperate districts plant your seeds from July until April.
Tropical areas have to wait until March then you’ve got until June, and sub-tropical areas win the jackpot because they can sow beets all year round!
The seeds of beetroot are best planted at soil temperatures between 7°C and 25°C.
Did you know that that lumpy thing you get in your seed packet is not just one seed?
Beetroot seeds are always made up of a seedball of several seeds.
For the best germination rate, soak that cluster of seeds, in water in a shallow saucer for around 24 hours before planting..
When the seedlings come up, if you don't thin them, you will get a number of rather pathetic little plants which don't grow to an edible size.
So how much space then?
If you can put a tennis ball between plants, then you’re set.
Don’t worry if your veggie garden is a bit shade because this is one of those veggies that isn’t too fussy about sun or shade.
Beetroots can cope with anything from full sun to part shade and even do fairly well in dappled light under a deep rooted tree.
Don’t over manure or fertilise your soil, because too much nitrogen enhances leaf growth and not root growth – and whaddya want?
You want root growth.
Another thing, beets don’t care much for thick/clay like soil. And don’t expect much if you just plonk them in any old soil that’s not seen fertiliser for a number of years.
Add lots of liquid fertilisers such as Fish emulsion but remember Seaweed stuff is not a fertiliser.
Grow them in an raised bed, tub, ezi-planter or yes you can grow beetroot in pots, but they need to be BIG pots, like at least 30cm diameter or those poly styrene jobbies from the green grocer.
Keep your beets well-watered because if they dry out, they’ll become woody and inedible inside.
Q. Karen writes in “Why are my beetroots splitting?”ANSWER: Karen, you're letting your beetroot get too thirsty watering twice a day will help also don’t use too much fertilizer, forcing them to grow is not a good idea.
For really tasty and tender beetroot, start pulling them out at golfball-size. That’s when they are around 3cm in diameter.
It makes sense to pick or dig up every alternate beet so that more space is left between the ones that are left in the ground. This will help them grow.
If you’ve tried growing beetroot and not had success - I think it could be too much nitrogen and not enough potassium. Try fertilizing with a fruit/flower type fertilizer or Potash, to get more potassium. Or maybe more patience - my beetroot take a long time for the root to grow.
When the size of beet reaches about 7.5 cm in diameter they should be definitely dug up after that they won’t be great to eat. Gently dig under the root with a trowel and lift the bulb out of the soil taking care not to damage the outer skin. The less the bulb is damaged the longer the beetroot can be stored for.
Why not try Burpees Golden-it’s supposed to be really sweet and doesn’t bleed like the red types because it’s gold inside.www.diggers.com.au
How about Beetroot Cylindra –not round but long, great for pickling because you can squish more into a jar, and hey, you can plant them closer together because they expand downwards and not outwards.
Finally, when you pick them, twist off the leaves.
Did you know that the leaves of Beetroots are edible? Steam them like spinach, or you could throw into compost.
Don’t leave the leaves on when storing.
Store them in the fridge or on a cool, dark shelf. They’ll normally keep for a few weeks when young and fresh.
What’s good about Beetroot?
A cup of beetroot has about 31 calories; 8.5g of carbohydrate, 1.5g of dietary fibre.
Cooked beetroot is a great source of folate that can protect you against high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s and dementia. Why are they putting folate in bread? Eat a proper diet I say.
Are you looking for a hangover cure?
Beta cyanin, the pigment that gives beetroot its colour, is an antioxidant and could key to beating your hangover!
How so? Beta cyanin speeds up detoxification in your liver, so your body can turn the alcohol into a less harmful substance that your body can get rid of faster.
Beetroot is has a very low Glycemic Index which means it’s converted into sugars very slowly which helps to keep blood sugar levels stable.
Culinary hints - cooking and eating Beetroot
Apart from boiling whole for salads, beetroot roast well, cut in wedges.
They also make a tasty salad grated raw with carrot and a little fresh orange juice.
If you have any questions about growing beets or beetroot or any other vegetable, JUST EMAIL ME
AND THAT WAS OUR VEGETABLE HERO SEGMENT FOR TODAY!
Design Elementswith landscape designer Louise McDaid
Part 4 cool garden design-a woodland garden.
What do you picture when you think of a woodland garden?
Do you think of an English woodland with bluebells, English oaks, maples and other northern hemisphere trees? Or do you think of Australian woodland with Eucalypts, grass trees, or casuarinas, underplanted with hardenbergias and boronias and all manner of ferns like birds nest ferns?
Let’s find out what makes a cooling woodland garden in the last of the series on creating cool gardens….
Not only trees, shrubs and low ground covers, but seats ponds and even outdoor dining tables can be placed in your very own woodland garden.
Even create a teddy bear’s picnic or fairy garden at the bottom for any littlies that might visit your garden. It’ s only limited by your imagination.
Plant of the WeekFerns
Did you realise that ferns belong to a group of plants called featherplants or pteridophytes, along with club mosses and horsetails.
Featherplants are among the world’s most ancient plants, found as fossils in rocks 400 million years old.
Would you believe that there are now 10,000 species of fern living in damp, shady places around the world.
Ranging from tiny ferns with mossy leaves just 1 cm long to rare tropical tree ferns growing up to 25m tall.
Here’s a bit of trivia, Coal is made largely of fossilized featherplants of the Carboniferous Period 360 – 286 million years ago.
Coal is made from dead plants such as ferns. Over 200 million years ago, the ferns would have become buried underground and very gradually turned to cool under the immense pressure of the Earth.
Ferns produce an underground rhizome that produces fern fronds.
Fern leaves are called fronds. When new they are curled up like a shepherd’s crook, but they gradually uncurl over time.
Some ferns are edible.
WHAT DO FERNS LIKE?
Growing ferns indoors