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The humble garden path is one of the most paradoxical parts of a garden, being both enchanting and practical at the same time.
Links to sites that may interest you, including botanical gardens, private gardens, and gardening societies in your state. Comprehensive information on what to grow and how to grow it, plus great gardens, design ideas and stories from the show. I’ll begin by describing the process of planting in pots, then talk about buying and planting seedlings. At a later date, I will write a bit more about raising seeds, but for this 101 course I will stick to seedlings as they make life easier.
The frugal option is to grow from seed, but only if your seeds germinate and grow into strong plants. Although we have a plot at the community garden, we also have a kitchen garden at home which we grow in pots. Thanks to our pots, we have an ever-ready supply of bay leaves, kaffir lime, curry leaves, parsley, chili, rosemary, lemon grass… and once you have cooked with fresh picked herbs, there is no going back to the tasteless, expensive bundles at the supermarket. Most herbs have volatile oils that break down quickly, impacting the flavour from the moment they are picked. The first thing you will need to do is find some pots or pot-like containers to grow herbs in. An important note here about potting mix: please DO NOT try to save money by buying the cheapest one you can find! Not only that, but if you want to revamp and reuse your potting mix, you will need the best quality you can afford.
Quite a few of these kinds of herbs are perennial, meaning that once you have them, you can keep them growing indefinitely instead of replacing them every year.
I guess if you know what you’re doing, the next cheapest option is growing from seed. We’ve left herbs to self-seed in the garden and while they have grown, they have not been as prolific as the ones we bought at the nursery. You can also buy some herbs at the supermarket with roots still attached – chuck these in some dirt and they will not die. If you have a smartphone, download an app like Gardenate that you can whip out when you’re at the nursery. Instead, it contains compounds that strengthen plants and make them more resilient during transplanting and helps them grow strong roots and foliage.
You want to transplant seedlings away from direct sunlight; either on a cloudy day or in the late afternoon.
This is important because if you get it wrong, you’ll either overcrowd your garden (lowering yields) or you will spread your seedlings too far apart and waste space in the garden. You want to loosen the soil from the pot while keeping it from falling off the plant’s roots. Lightly squeeze the pot so the potting mix comes away from it, and tip the seedling into your hand as carefully as you can, so as to disturb the roots as little as possible. At this point, you want to also protect your seedlings from the elements a bit and help the soil retain water. Next, give everything a water with the hose, putting it on a gentle spray setting and a low pressure so the seedlings don’t get pounded. Early morning watering is considered optimal anyway, because the sunlight of the day prevents mildew and mould from forming. This is exciting… I tell you, I never have lost the childlike wonder at watching things flower and swell.
Seeing tomatoes ripen and pea pods form is magical, as is watching cabbages turn into cabbages. I think this is where your intuition helps: water your plants when they look like they need it. I recommend keeping a program of fertiliser happening to keep the garden bountiful and healthy. Every few weeks, I might swap the wee for Triple Boost (a slightly more broad spectrum liquid fertiliser) and Seasol (a soil conditioner that also builds plants’ resistance to pests). For beginner gardeners, I would recommend alternating a week of Triple Boost and a week of Seasol. MEET MONTY DON Josh Byrne chats to UK gardener Monty Don, of Around the World In 80 Gardens fame, about his lifelong passion for gardening, as well as his views on agricultural issues and how climate change is affecting the way Australians garden.
Create the look you want, and give your plants the nutrients they need, by selecting the most suitable mulch.
Thrive Liquid Fertilisers come in easy-to-handle liquid formulations that make measuring and mixing a simple matter.
Grow cabbages in a sunny spot with well drained soil that’s been enriched by digging in some Dynamic Lifter PLUS Veggie Food. SERIES 24 Episode 20Sophie shows how to create a welcoming property entrance"First impressions are really important and it's just the same when it comes to the entrance to your property. Copyright Restrictions: This fact sheet is for private and domestic information purposes only. SERIES 22 Episode 29Spring is on the way and there'll soon be lots of planting to do and I want to make sure that I've got enough fresh compost to help support all those new crops, so today I'm going to make a new hot compost heap and it's something you can easily do at home too. Whether straight, curved, paved or gravel, there's one to suit every space, says Louise McDaid. It provides a safe walking surface to get from point A to B, and leads the curious to idly wander along, as it beckons to what lies beyond. They are just the type of perishable items that need to be chucked out after a couple of days in the fridge. Herbs don’t require enormous amounts of space to grow, but I generally find that a generous-sized pot will give bigger and hardier plants. Just put them on a plate or something to catch any dirt that might come out of the bottom (keep the holes small to minimise this, obviously).
It is frugal to make your own, but for the beginner gardener it might be quite tricky, as you need to have a few things set up (your own compost, for example). Some brands of potting are absolute rubbish: they contain fillers, poor-quality ingredients and some of them might even carry diseases. There’s nothing frugal about getting terrible, spindly plants that barely withstand a harvest. Buying and recycling potting mix will mean the extra cost will more than pay for itself eventually.
If she or he is a keen gardener, you will also probably get a free lesson on how to transplant them and nurse them to health. We took a twig of rosemary and put it in a glass of water until it grew roots, then planted that. Honestly, though, this is a tricky business for some herbs, although some, (notably parsley) will grow easily. Avoid anything that looks a bit yellowed or shriveled and go for the ones that have healthy green leaves. You don’t have to be a botanist or even a rocket scientist to tell if a plant is in good shape or not. You can use things like autumn leaves and seed-free grass clippings as mulch – it is easy to make mulch frugally, but for now, it will probably be an idea to buy some. I generally halve the quantity recommended on the package at every second application to eke it out even more. At this point, it is probably a good idea to add a handful of organic slow-release fertiliser pellets. You don’t want it too deep as you want all the leaves on your seedling to be exposed. If the roots look all tight and pressed into the edges of the soil, you can very lightly tease them out with your fingers. Having said that, we water in the evenings and it has never been a problem for us, even in the height of our humid, subtropical summers. This will probably not be every day once they are established, and it’s not an exact science.



The wondrous thing about gardening is that you will never stop learning as long as you live and garden.
Keeping a regular routine in the garden will prevent things getting out of control and if you do a little bit every few days, your garden will thrive with minimal work.
Between seasons when your plants are reaching the end of their productive lives, pull them out and dig some goodness into your soil: compost, fertilisers and soil conditioners. Evergreen magnolias can be trimmed but, if possible, pruning should be avoided with most of the deciduous varieties. Then, with the secateurs, take out anything that’s dead, very thin or criss-crossing through the centre of the bush. There’s no waiting for powders to dissolve or granules to break down and the liquid fertiliser is rapidly absorbed by both roots and leaves.
Yates Cabbage Rubies is a packet of seed that will add a colourful gourmet touch to dishes. Use Yates Complete Lawn Insect Control – it will take care of all the common lawn pests. It may not be copied, reproduced, sold or used for any other purpose without the express permission of the ABC. Hot and Cold CompostAs most of you would know, there are 2 types of compost - hot and cold.
There’s nothing frugal about buying a packet of seeds and having them all shrivel and die within a few days or not germinate at all. It is also a great gift for foodies as it keeps giving every time they cook with the herbs. Some herbs, like oregano, mint and thyme spread out and create lots of little plants that you can dig out and replant.
For beginner gardeners, I would say do your research before attempting to grow herbs from seed. If they look healthy, they are probably fine, but compare prices to the ones at your nursery.
This next section is for planting seedlings in pots and in the garden, as the information is basically the same.
Lucerne is a great, nutritious mulch if you can get it because it’s also used as a green manure.
I use one called Organic Extra – it contains a mix of ingredients that support a wide range of plants.
This can really make a difference for plants like strawberries, which don’t like to be too submerged in soil.
If you want to give them a bit of a helping hand, water them with a seaweed solution or weak worm wee and water mixed at half strength. Lay the mulch reasonably thickly around the seedlings, leaving a little collar around the seedling itself. Watching, waiting, watering… if the weather is hot, water your seedlings every day, early in the morning or in the early evening.
For example, mildew might wipe out your cucumbers but that will not bother you if you have amazing leafy greens, which typically love the rain.
For optimal growth, plants need a steady supply of nutrients.  Throwing on some slow release fertiliser pellets can be good too. Test the PH once in a while and plant a crop of green manure (legumes) to build nitrogen stores for your leafy greens.
There are some wonderful YouTube channels which teach pruning techniques that can dramatically increase yields. Gardening is a process of lifetime learning, and you want to have experienced gardeners to talk to. Coloured leaf kales are used in place of winter flowers, but the edible varieties can also be grown for their good looks. After soil has lost its summer heat, sow Chinese cabbage seeds direct into a well prepared bed. Eureka’s a relatively slow grower that takes four months or more to develop in the colder weather. A bit of benign neglect does herbs wonders, and that’s a good thing for beginner gardeners.
If it is cooler and you are in a cold climate, you might want to water early in the morning, lest you have a cold night and the water turns to frost. They might not reach the size that you see in the supermarket but good things come in small packages! Pruning helps roses grow stronger and produce more flowers, so this is essential reading for anyone who has roses in their garden. Kale is a curly-leafed vegetable that can be popped into all sorts of odd spots in the garden. Or, in warmer areas, sow seeds into trays filled with Yates Seed Raising Mix and keep them in a cool spot. Now I'm planning a new driveway which will come in from a different direction and it's going to let you appreciate the beauty of the house as you arrive.""But change doesn't happen overnight.
It's made up of kitchen scraps and garden waste and because we're constantly adding to it, it's in different stages of decomposition. Plants give a lot of energy to fruit, so by harvesting regularly, you are actually prolonging the life of your plant and possibly your harvest, too. Sophie Thomson takes the mystery out of pruning roses as she walks you through simple step-by-step instructions.GROWING MEYER LEMONS Maggie Beer enthuses about one of her favourite fruit trees, the Meyer lemon.
Attractive, full wrap, waterproof labels are eye directions that make it easy for to make the right fertiliser choice. Make successive sowings for a continuous supply and use the red-stemmed shoots to decorate your food and add flavour. A year and a half ago, I began the task of transforming a featureless dry wasteland into the site for a new driveway.
It's a really good mix to throw around your garden but it's not terribly rich.Hot composting on the other hand is when you get all your materials together and heat them up, letting them decompose completely into a rich, black intense soil-like substance that's high in nutrients and organic materials. Learn about the ideal growing conditions, the best way to plant and maintain it and how to protect it from pests and diseases. The idea was to get the plants in that would line the driveway and when the time came to start construction, there would be a ready-made garden.""Even though construction hasn't started on the roadway, I'm so excited about the way the plants have grown. This is used when you really want to give your plants a boost.Constructing a Hot Composting HeapAll you need to construct your heap is 2 star pickets (800 mL apart) and your composting material. Auxiliary paths, such as service paths or those linking areas, can be a little narrower, and are best without sharp angles, so turning a wheelbarrow, for example, isn't difficult. Because the heap has no borders there's no need to fence it in and the star pickets will stabilise it by giving you something to stack your materials around.The reason the pickets are 800 mill apart is because you actually want the pile to be a little bit bigger than that - about a metre square and the materials will spread beyond the pickets as you lay them down.
Here are some path ideas for home gardens.GravelGravel is an easy-to-install, inexpensive path material with a natural look. There are also plenty of ideas on other ways to use this delicious and tangy fruit.CAMELLIA HERITAGE This month, camellias are in full bloom around the nation.
The plants have done remarkably well despite a long, hot, harsh summer - including the winter-flowering Kniphofia (Red-hot Pokers), Arctotis (Veldt Daisy) and the Cotyledon (Cotyledon orbiculata var. The pile really needs to be as close to this size as possible because the extra weight of a bigger pile will cause too much compaction and a smaller pile won't generate enough heat. When you walk on it there's a lovely crunchy sound - great for security as you can hear footsteps. To celebrate, Angus Stewart steps back in time to explore the rich history of this winter-flowering plant. The Composting MixFor this composting process to work, you need the right mix of brown and green. But the biggest benefits of gravel are that it allows water to percolate through into the soil, which is especially useful in areas with downpours, and it doesn't get slippery.
Discover who first introduced camellias to Australia in colonial times, who the big names of the camellia world were in the 20th century, plus what the future holds for these beautiful shrubs. So now I'm going to move things along with some screening plants, textural plants and plants that will create some year-round interest.""I want to create a screen to hide the working area from people that drive up the driveway, so what I'm going to use is one of my favourite hedging plants.


This style is very adaptable as gravel is available in a wide range of particle sizes and colours (both single and mixed). DWARF APPLES If you'd like to have an apple tree but don't have much space, a dwarf apple could be the answer.
Green - it's garden waste or kitchen waste, lawn clippings and weeds, in this case, nasturtiums. Tino Carnevale gives advice on choosing the best tree for your garden, plus where to plant it and how to care for it. Now one of the things I love about it is it flowers for about three to four months in winter-spring with large heads of white flowers. You need to get the ratio of carbon to nitrogen right - that's 25 parts carbon - your brown stuff and one part nitrogen - that's your green stuff. This kind of path needs a rigid edge to contain the gravel and stop it spilling onto the surrounding lawn - brick, stone or timber edging does this well. This simply means that you need a lot of brown and not as much green.Build the pile until it's about a metre high. Use a layer of geotextile fabric beneath the gravel to thwart weed growth; this also stops the gravel sinking into the ground while allowing water to seep through. It'll grow to about two metres high, by about the same wide if I let it, in just two years as long as I water it - which I plan to. It's essential for hot compost that the pile be moist so if the materials are dry, dampen each layer as you go.
Add a layer of compacted sand and then the gravel on top in a thick layer, usually about 10cm deep.One disadvantage of gravel is it can get caught in your shoes and will scratch indoor floors.
Eventually it would get to three metres high, but I'll probably prune it before it gets that big.""I'm going to have to water these plants once a week for around two to three years. Finish it off with a final layer of straw to help trap in the heat when fermentation begins.The pile is now ready.
The other thing this screen will do is provide protection from our hot, desiccating north winds, creating the perfect conditions for what I'm planting next.""Because the screening plants at the back are actually evergreen and they flower in winter-spring, I've chosen deciduous plants to go straight in front of them. In a couple of hours time, it will start to generate heat and in a couple of days time it can reach temperatures of up to 60 degrees.
If you like walking barefoot, test out some different gravels without shoes on to find one that's not too sharp.PavingPaving gives a sturdy, durable and level path capable of carrying heavy loads.
They include Cotinus coggygria or Smoke Bush, but the cultivar I've chosen is 'Young Lady.' It's a compact form, has lovely green leaves throughout the warmer weather and then in autumn it gives stunning foliage colour. The thing I love about hot composting is you're harnessing the natural heat generated when plants break down and one of the great spin-offs of this is you can compost almost anything because the heat will cook any weeds and any infected plant material that you'd normally have to throw in the bin. Choose from clay, concrete or stone, from creamy golden sandstone, limestone and granite, to slate and ironstone.
The reason it's called Smoke Bush is because it produces the most amazing smoke-like plumes of flowers in spring and summer and this particular cultivar is known for being incredibly floriferous. It's a wonderful plant.""As a contrast, next to the Smoke Bush I'm planting a Philadelphus or Mock Orange (Double Mock Orange - Philadelphus x virginalis). Pavers are ideal for main and service paths as you can choose different styles to suit your garden and taste. This cultivar is called 'Virginale' and produces double creamy-white flowers which are incredibly perfumed - really sweet and divine - in about late spring, so that will be a delight. I have actually grown one of these before, but it didn't survive because it was too exposed, so hopefully it'll love it here.""For the front of the border, I've got two more wonderful plants.
Prepping used pavers and removing old grout is time consuming, and not all will be useable.Pavers can be laid either on an impermeable concrete slab, or a flexible base of crushed rock and sand that allows some water movement through it. A slab is a solid, rigid base and creates a path with little movement, which is very functional.
It's quite an upright plant that gets to about a metre high by only a half metre wide and flowers in winter and spring - right up to December, so that's going to be wonderful for some summer colour. Pavers are mortared or glued onto the top of the concrete slab, then the gaps between the pavers are filled with grout.
Tiles, which are thinner than pavers, need to be laid on a slab rather than a flexible base.
Creating a paved path requires a higher skill level than a gravel one, but a flexible base style is easy to try yourself.
Whichever method you use, it's best to have a concrete or mortared haunch at the sides to hold the base and pavers in place.SteppersSteppers create charmingly simple paths, whether meandering through a garden bed or linking one area to another. There are a multitude of stepper materials to choose from.This style of walkway lends itself to an auxiliary path, rather than a main path, as the finished surface will often be uneven. A stepper path can be unobtrusive, or used as a feature, depending on the shape of the stepper. Pieces will be uniquely shaped, as are any type of stone or rock suitable to use, such as sandstone.
Standard-shaped concrete squares and circles are easily obtained, or you can add a personal touch with mosaics or paint. Or, get creative and make your own in concrete, imprinted with leaf shapes or little handprints.Secure steppers on a mortar bed to hold them in place, or, more simply, 'mud' them into place.
Work out the spacing for a comfortable step, place the steppers, mark their positions, then remove. Finish off with creeping herbs, or textural groundcovers such as gravel or mulch.BrickBricks give a garden a rustic appearance and can look either relaxed or formal depending on the path lines, pattern of brick laying and planting style. The base comprises a 10-15cm compacted layer of crushed rock, topped with a 5cm-layer of compacted sand. Mark out your path and dig out the area to the total depth of all the layers (this will depend on the thickness of the bricks that go on top of the base). Take time to get the bottom of the dug-out part level - this will make adding the layers and creating a slight slope on the finished level for drainage much easier. As a guide, a fall of 1cm in 1m will allow water to naturally drain away, preferably onto a garden bed. Fill the gaps between the bricks with a mortar slurry or a 1:4 ratio mixture of cement and sand, which allows more water infiltration. Popular brick patterns are 'herringbone' (generally used for heritage homes), 'basketweave' and 'stretcher bond' - these can be combined. Bricks can also create decorative path edging.Josh's Permeable Paths"Permeable paths allow water to pass through into the soil below. They range from simple gravel or mulch paths to ones using more permanent products, such as solid porous paving, which is made from screened gravel and set in a binding agent. Porous paving like this is available as segmented pavers, or it can be poured as a slurry to set, similar to poured concrete. This is an important aspect of a water-sensitive design, as it helps reduce the amount of water and nutrients that run off into drains and waterways. First we levelled and compacted the site soil, then we installed flexible edging to contain the gravel and keep it separated from the garden beds. We laid a geotextile fabric over the sand (to prevent it mixing with the gravel), positioned the steppers and then added the gravel.
We also used gravel for the driveway, with a structural cell made from recycled plastic to make it suitable for vehicles. Overall, I'm thrilled with the results."BoardwalkThis is a beautiful way to use timber in the garden with minimal impact on the ground. A decking boardwalk path requires little earthwork as the ground beneath doesn't need to be level. Tracking down used timber from salvage and recycle yards is a great alternative to using imported unsustainable timber.
But, whether you use new or re-used timber, check out the Forest Stewardship Council Australia's list of certified local timbers and other useful information, so you can make an educated choice.Decomposed Granite This path style has an earthy softness, yet is a solid, durable surface.
Commonly available types are granitic sand, crushed lime, and sandstone, as well as toppings.



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