companion planting

How Does Companion Planting Work?How Does Companion Planting Work?

Companion planting has many advantages. Companion plants provide various benefits for your garden, including weed control, water retention, shade creation, and structural support. Some species also act as living mulch, covering bare soil and reducing the impact of pests like redroot pigweed. You can read about these benefits in this ATTRA publication. In addition, companion planting can help prevent soil erosion, increase soil fertility, and reduce insect damage.

Some examples of plants that go well together include corn and climbing beans. Corn gives climbing beans a support structure to climb. Lettuce likes a cool environment but needs extra shade to grow properly. If your tomato plants get too much shade, lettuce may bolt. In this case, it’s a good idea to plant lettuce behind larger plants like tomatoes. The two will naturally complement each other. These companion plants are also very attractive to look at and will give your garden a beautiful continuous bloom.

Planting Combinations

Herbs that repel bugs and enhance the fragrance of other plants are also effective companions. Parsley, for example, repels aphids, which are responsible for damaging many other plants in your garden. And if you’re planning to plant squash, remember to plant the companion herbs, such as basil and oregano. Basil also attracts bees, which is essential for healthy tomato growth. The aromatic qualities of rosemary and dill also prevent armyworms from laying their eggs in your plants. Meanwhile, peppers and squash attract pollinators and are good companions for each other.

One of the most common planting combinations in America is the Three Sisters combination. These plants complement each other and were named for their three sisters. Native Americans consider these plants to be gifts from a great spirit, each of which contributes to the overall plant’s growth. By providing an added barrier to pests, they are highly beneficial for each other. However, they do not have the same health benefits. However, if you do plant companion plants, make sure to use them carefully.

Another common way to use companion planting is to grow several different types of plants in the same area. You can choose a mix of vegetables that benefit from each other’s nitrogen content. A combination of corn and squash will provide shade and support for each other’s growth. Similarly, bush beans will thrive in the shade of squash, while pole beans and tomatoes grow vertically. These three plants are good companions, as they complement each other in their growth habits.

Pros and Cons

While companion planting can have many benefits, there are some instances when it’s not beneficial. Some plants confuse their enemy, masking the desired plant. Onions and other related plants repel aphids. Broccoli and onions benefit from different kinds, which means you can use different varieties of them to avoid pest problems. In general, more diversity is better for both plants. So, it’s worth considering whether or not your garden plants like certain companion plants.

companion planting

One of the most effective ways to increase the yield of your garden is to combine two or more plants. Native Americans used the method known as the Three Sisters. The three plants work together to boost yields and improve crop resilience. Companion planting is an ancient way of farming and has played an important role in the survival of most people in North America. The benefits of companion planting are not only environmental but also largely economic. You can get a higher yield from fewer plants with minimal effort.

Companion planting helps to mimic the natural environment of your garden, improving the health of your plants. You can also increase yield and quality by pairing two mutually beneficial plants. Companion plants also help repel pests and improve the taste of your harvest. Companion planting has a long history of success and can be beneficial for any garden. When used correctly, it can lead to more delicious and colourful produce and an overall healthier garden.

While the combination of these plants might not be ideal for your garden, they can help keep pests in check. Some herbs, such as tansy, repel insects, like aphids and lacewings. Other common companions include alliums, garlic, and dill. Some studies suggest that rosemary, thyme, and dill can repel insects, including aphids. While you’re planting companions, consider their benefits.

vertical planting system

Vertical Planting DesignsVertical Planting Designs

The vertical planting system is an assembly of several identical individual growing containers stacked vertically on a support pole. The containers are constructed from moulded STYROFOAM and feature a bottom wall that is outwardly tapered, with sidewalls that are open at the top and have discrete upwardly-facing planting areas. The containers are supported by an elongated upright support pole that is driven into the ground, with an aperture in the bottom wall.


The benefits of a vertical planting system include an easy-to-maintain system that is easy to use and requires little maintenance. Water trickles down the top of the system, ensuring that plants receive water and nutrients from below. Plants in direct sunlight do well with this system. However, some other types of plants may not tolerate such light. In addition to succulents, plants that can tolerate direct sunlight may not be as appealing as those that do.

Some workplaces use plants to improve the health of employees, while others are concerned with reducing air conditioning costs. Some studies have shown that the presence of greenery in an office environment may reduce stress and boost creativity. One company in Shenzhen has installed a vertical planting system in its office building. The system allows workers to move the plants to different locations. They can move the plants in and out of the system as necessary, and this can reduce the demand for air conditioning.

Planting Systems

The first vertical planting system was developed in 1986 by Patrick Blanc, who installed it in the Cite des Sciences et Industrie building in Paris. In the vertical system, PVC pipes and felt pockets resemble the mosses that grow on cliffs. Plants could thrive in these closed-circuit water supplies. Blanc is the first to have successfully applied this concept in a commercial setting. And it is now widely used in public spaces all over the world.

vertical planting system

A modular vertical planting system is another type of gardening system. The system includes multiple modular planting units that can be stacked at varying angular orientations. Each modular planting unit includes a centre column with a mounting flange that extends upward from the lowermost portion of the centre column of another planting unit. As each planting unit is installed, it couples each other vertically. Then, the support columns can be removed to reveal the vertical planting system.

AgroSci GardenWall Kit is a user-friendly, affordable, and easy-to-install kit. Commercial designers use Green wall growing systems for their projects. The system is simple to install and maintain and can be placed on fences, posts, railings, and exterior walls. In addition to providing beauty and functionality, a vertical garden is also beneficial to the environment and human health. While it costs more than a traditional landscape, the benefits of using one are well worth the investment.

A vertical cultivation system can be used for many different purposes, including growing food and flowers. Some vertical cultivation systems use soil and use coconut fibre or coco peat. Others use gravel or Rockwool as the growing medium. The growing medium supplies nutrients directly to the roots of the plants. Since the roots are enclosed in the substrate, water is directly provided to them. The root system, or “nutrient water”, is constantly monitored to ensure it has the right nutrient composition and is not too salty. A vertical cultivation system can be used for any size of the plant.

A vertical planting system is an environmentally-friendly way to add colour to an office or residential space. The system is a great way to provide privacy to an office while avoiding the glare of the windows. Office workers can “unplug” plants from their vertical garden for use at their desks. Unlike traditional plant-care methods, water can be easily diluted and saved up to 95% by using liquid fertilizer. If you have an existing water-filtering system, you should be able to use it.

gardening services

What Gardening Services IncludeWhat Gardening Services Include

If you are planning to have your garden but don’t have time to do it yourself, you can hire gardening services. These services offer a range of benefits, such as helping you to maintain the garden throughout the year. Having a beautiful garden is a significant advantage of owning a house, not to mention a wonderful source of relaxation and enjoyment. To ensure that your garden remains as beautiful as it was before, you should contact a specialist landscape designer.

Professional Landscaping

Professional landscaping companies specialize in a wide range of services, including designing landscape features and installing holiday decorations. These services also include basic gardening tasks such as lawn mowing, weeding, and trimming of hedges and trees. They can also perform routine garden maintenance, such as fertilization and removing debris. In addition to this, some companies offer specialized services, such as pond upkeep and tree surgery. Whatever your gardening needs may be, these companies can help you keep your property looking beautiful and increase its value.

Plantations can suffer from climatic conditions that can cause damage to them. Proper maintenance will help them survive and can keep grass thick and trees sturdy during the seasons. You can also benefit from gardening services in the spring and fall to open up the ground so that your lawn will grow more quickly and flourish during sunny days while closing the land will protect the young trees. It is worth keeping in mind that you might not be able to do it all yourself, so why not let professionals do it for you?

How To Hire Gardeners

A gardener may charge a different rate for each job, depending on how extensive it is. Similarly, a tree trimming service may cost less than a topiary service, which requires specialist knowledge. A gardener may charge a different fee for a steeply sloped garden, which is more difficult to maintain. Overgrown areas, however, tend to require more maintenance. Gardening services may also charge more if they are not able to access certain areas easily.

Choosing a gardening service can be difficult, but it’s worth considering all of your options. Not all gardeners offer every gardening task, so make sure to ask the provider how many hours a particular job will take. Several services will also have a set schedule for completing routine garden maintenance, so you can plan. The amount of time it takes to complete one of these services will depend on the size and variety of plants in your yard.

gardening services

Prices will vary based on the types of plants, tools and labour needed. There’s no one-size-fits-all price range for gardening, so be sure to ask for references from previous clients. If you’re unsure whether or not you’d like to hire a particular gardener, try hiring them for a small job first to see what they do. A gardener should also bring their tools to a job, or else they may become your employer. This could leave you liable for any injuries that occur during the process.

Gardening services can also be beneficial for people with disabilities or older adults. They can benefit greatly from these services, and the income from them can be quite lucrative. Many gardening services charge $18 to $20 per hour, which is a good wage for a part-time job. In addition to that, these services allow you to build a monthly schedule and get a steady stream of work. For more information about the field, visit the National Gardening Association or the American Horticultural Society.

When hiring a gardening service, look for companies with a reputation for high-quality work. Whether a gardening service is local or national, the price will vary based on what type of job you need done. Some people want a gardener to do everyday chores like weeding and watering plants. Others need someone who can do major projects, such as building a compost pile or digging a new bed. The choice depends on your needs, and you can talk to the gardening service provider about your specific requirements.

When hiring a professional gardener, make sure they are licensed in your state, have a business license, and are insured. The American Horticultural Society is a good resource for information about licensing and certification requirements. Before you begin advertising your gardening services, you should build a client base in your area. If you can volunteer, this will help you gain experience. Alternatively, you can find gardeners on HomeAdvisor. If you don’t know any local gardening services, check out the reviews of the company that offers these services.

container gardening

Container Gardening Ideas For BeginnersContainer Gardening Ideas For Beginners

When planting vegetables in containers, you need to understand the needs of the plants you’re growing. Most plants require a specific amount of soil, space and nutrients to grow and thrive. Also, different types of vegetables have different needs, so be sure to read up on each plant before you plant it. A trellis can help contain the growing plants and promote overall plant health. Here are some simple guidelines for beginners. Observe the location several times a day and take timestamped photographs.

Start With the Basics

Container gardening is an excellent option for beginners. These small containers require very little weeding, and you don’t have to buy heavy gardening tools. The plants in containers also need less water and fertilizer than their larger counterparts. And, because they’re grown in containers, they’re protected from pests. Aside from the aesthetic benefits of container gardens, they also improve the air quality inside your home. Unlike plants grown in the ground, container gardens require regular watering.

When you’re starting a new garden, it’s important to remember that container gardening is an exciting and rewarding experience. Just like any other garden, you’ll need to invest some time and research into learning how to make the most of your space. Also, make sure you choose a book that’s relevant to your location. Ideally, you’ll choose a book that deals specifically with gardening in containers. You’ll need a book on container gardening for beginners that focuses on your type of garden and outdoor space.

Potting soil is the foundation of container gardening, and you should never skimp on the quality of the soil. Avoid using low-quality potting soil, which is akin to giving your plants junk food. Make sure to buy reputable, high-quality potting soil from a local greenhouse. It’ll help you avoid the hassle of soil-borne diseases and weeds. You can also opt for high-quality potting soil that contains beneficial microorganisms.

container gardening

Tips & Tricks

Another useful tip for container gardening is the type of plants you want to grow in them. Choose containers that are large enough to contain your plants. You can use old or new containers for your plants and vegetables. Don’t forget to plant annuals, dwarf evergreens and perennials. If you have a patio or outdoor area, try clustering containers for the ultimate garden look. The size of the container also affects the plants you can grow. If you want a small, easy-care garden, plant a plant that can be maintained in a container.

Another helpful tip is to get a book about gardening. This book is an excellent choice for beginners. This book features 200 unique gardening tips and techniques for container gardening. The authors also provide practical information on how to plant the right plants. The book will also teach you how to create beautiful arrangements with your containers. You’ll be surprised at how easily you can get started by reading this book. You’ll soon realize the benefits of container gardening.

It is crucial to consider the level of knowledge you possess. A book about vegetable gardening is likely to be easier for beginners than a book about plants. The information in such a book will be valuable to you while you learn to grow a variety of vegetables. However, don’t forget that there are some limitations to this technique, so make sure to plan your garden accordingly. Once you have decided what kind of plants you want to grow, you’ll then need to make a wish list. Choose only those plants that you can grow in smaller containers with less soil.

The easiest vegetables to grow in containers are those that require less maintenance than those that are grown in traditional soil. Container gardening also makes them relatively portable, which is important if you’re renting. This makes them perfect for beginners. Unlike full-fledged gardens, container vegetables are relatively easy to move from one place to another. This portability is another great benefit. This method is also easy for those who are not very mobile. The best thing about container gardening for beginners is that it doesn’t require much money or time.

does gardening make you happy

Does Gardening Make You Happy?Does Gardening Make You Happy?

Did you know that spending time in the garden can boost your happiness? Spending time in nature has been linked to increased levels of serotonin, the happy hormone. Most people spend their days indoors, under the air conditioning. This stale air is not good for your health. Fresh air has been shown to boost the function of your digestive system, blood pressure, and sugar levels. Gardening can even fight obesity!

Benefits of Gardening

Several scientific studies have proven that gardening can boost your mood and increase your concentration. Among the benefits of gardening include a decreased risk of depression, improved concentration, increased energy, and a reduction in anger and anxiety. Researchers at Texas A&M University found that workers who were surrounded by plants were more optimistic and experienced less stress. Researchers believe that even half an hour of gardening will help combat writer’s block. While this may sound too good to be true, gardening is an excellent distraction and exercise.

The joy of gardening is often unrivalled. There is nothing quite like the rush of pride that comes from seeing your plants grow. It’s truly a miracle of nature, and it’s a joy to watch them grow. If you have the time and space, gardening is the perfect hobby for you! If you enjoy a relaxing hobby, gardening is a great way to start. The only thing you need to do is find a location that suits you best and then work your way up.

As far as exercise goes, there’s a lot of scientific evidence that gardening is beneficial to the human body. Research shows that gardening can boost moods just as much as other forms of exercise. Whether it’s a suburban yard or a city balcony, gardening is a great way to improve your physical and mental health. It also gives you a sense of community. Not to mention it’s good for your heart and lungs!

does gardening make you happy

A new study suggests that gardening can help you recover from stressful situations. Gardening improves mood in test groups and blood tests showed that gardening reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Studies also show that soil microbes are linked to human health and mood. Cancer patients exposed to soil bacteria reported less stress and a higher quality of life. You’re sure to find that gardening makes you happy. And what’s more, you can even increase your energy by doing it together with a significant other.

Gardening and Happiness

Research has shown that people who garden regularly report being happier than those who don’t. The reason why gardening can make you happy? Aside from the obvious benefits of fresh vegetables and flowers, it releases endorphins into the brain, which are the chemicals responsible for the feeling of happiness. In addition, physical activity can also burn calories and raise body temperature. So it’s no wonder gardening is such a good choice for mental and physical health!

People who suffer from depression may want to grow vegetables and herbs to eat. This hobby can help you get outside and catch some vitamin D. It’s also an excellent way to get a daily dose of sunshine. As long as you take precautions to protect your skin from sunburn, gardening should be an enjoyable activity for you. You can even start a small project like a weeding. You’ll soon see how gardening can make you happy!

Besides providing a source of natural happiness, gardening can also provide a source of community connection and learning. Community gardening allows you to meet new people and trade produce. You’ll be surprised to learn how gardening is a great way to make friends with people from all walks of life. Plus, flowers are a great way to help smooth away apprehensions and agitation. So, does gardening make you happy?

Besides physical benefits, gardening can help promote a healthy body. Since gardening involves physical activities, it burns calories and tones your muscles. Just half an hour of digging or weeding can burn as many as 250 calories. Moreover, the increased heart rate is a great defence against heart disease. For this reason, gardening should be considered a healthy and rewarding activity. So, if you’ve ever wondered why gardening can make you happier, take a moment to find out how it can benefit you. It’s worth it!

pruning plants

Pruning Tips – How Does Pruning Plants Help Them Grow?Pruning Tips – How Does Pruning Plants Help Them Grow?

Whether you have flower beds or just plants around the house, you may need to prune them occasionally. Before pruning, research proper pruning techniques. Visit a plant nursery to learn the proper way to prune your plants. If you can’t find the exact type of plant you have, bring a branch or leaf to a garden centre to learn how to identify it. A knowledgeable gardener will be able to give you useful advice and show you how to safely prune plants.

Branches influence each other’s growth. The lower shoots and leaves of a plant struggle to grow. Removing them allows the plant to focus its energy on other parts of the plant. When pruning, cut the lower growth from its base with sharp shears. You can’t cut too close to the base of the plant. This is because the lower growth is inhibited and will compete with other branches for water and nutrients.

Simple Tips

When pruning flowering plants, only prune the branch just before the buds appear on the new leaf. Plants that bloom on old wood will produce new buds in the spring following the pruning. In contrast, those that bloom on current-year growth should be pruned in the fall and winter. Pruning flowering plants is best done after the blooming phase. It may cause the plant to miss its next blooming period. And remember that improper pruning does not kill the plant; the only difference is that it may look odd for a year.

Thinning is another form of pruning. This process involves cutting back a full limb or shooting. It maintains apical dominance. The unscathed shoot tips promote new growth and suppress lateral bud regrowth. Thinning is an important part of plant maintenance. In addition to maintaining healthy growth, thinning reduces the size of a plant, helps light penetration, and helps shape the limb or shoot.

Proper pruning techniques depend on the species of plant. For example, pruning a hedge requires a wider base than the top of the tree so that the sunlight can reach all the branches and reduce the shading. A final cut should be made just beyond the branch collar. A final cut should be one to two inches from the top of the branch. For a hedge, avoid straight pruning because this will expose ugly lower stems. It is better to prune it after it flowers instead of before it blooms.

pruning plants

The time of year to prune shrubs depends on their flowering habits. If you prune them in early spring, you’ll lose the flowers for one year. Conversely, pruning a shrub in the fall will damage the plant because the new growth will not be hardened off before the winter. If you live in an area with mild winters, autumn pruning is a great time to prune shrubs. However, cold climate gardeners should limit pruning in autumn to avoid winterkill.


Although pruning can be a daunting task, it need not be stressful. As long as you cut into good material, you will minimize the chances of leaving behind a dead or diseased stub. This can cause problems in the future. You can also head back and thin out overgrown branches to control growth. A good way to do this is to cut back stubs near the soil level. In this way, you can control the growth of plants in your garden and improve their beauty.

Most shrubs are naturally graceful. While the slender-leaf varieties like the glossy abelia and cleyera respond well to pruning, many others don’t. Pruning them too heavily can result in bare branches at the base. This is why it’s important to choose the right plants for your landscaping. It can make a huge difference in the appearance of your landscape and will give you a garden that everyone will love!

Spring is the best time for pruning – it’s a seasonally appropriate time to cut back new growth and remove damaged wood. You can also pinch back new growth, shear conifer hedges, and remove suckers and thin water sprouts. In late summer, you can prune deciduous plants. For evergreens, you should basal-prune them. Throughout the year, pruning fruit trees will thin out the canopy and increase the chances of them bearing larger healthier fruit.

The depth of the cuts determines the vigour of the new growth. The deeper you cut a shoot, the stronger the new growth will be. Remember that the plant is trying to balance its root system by regrowing its top. But this process has its drawbacks. In addition to causing damage, it can extend the vegetative stage. It may not produce fruit as well as it could have. The results are not as attractive as you’d hoped.

composting for beginners

Composting Basics For BeginnersComposting Basics For Beginners

If you’re a beginner at composting, this article has some useful tips for getting started. Using the correct materials is essential to the composting process. Your compost pile should be layered, with green materials on the top and straw on the bottom. Turn it regularly to make sure the pile breaks down properly. When it’s ready, it should smell like dirt and break down quickly. Keep in mind that compost piles need a few weeks to a year to break down.

Compost is a wonderful way to add nutrients to the soil. Not only will it make your garden or lawn healthier, but it will attract beneficial nitrogen-producing bacteria to your compost pile. It will also act as a mulch, blocking out weeds, and will save you money by reducing your garbage bill. By the end of the year, you’ll have saved yourself 52 garbage bags! And it’s fun! Even your kids can help. Compost piles can be made from kitchen scraps, like eggshells or even chickpeas.

Making Compost

If you want to make compost at home but hate the smell, you can use a bin. Place your bin on a wide plastic tray to catch the liquid that comes out of the lower air holes. Outdoor composting is also an option if you have a lot of lands. For those who don’t mind the smell, composting is a great way to recycle household waste. Not only is compost a great organic fertilizer for your garden, but it also improves the soil’s composition and water retention.

If you’re a beginner, you’ll find the process of composting to be overwhelming at first. Not everyone has the time to sort through piles of decomposing material. But the benefits of composting are worth the effort, and this hobby will also improve your wallet. There are several simple tips to get started and keep your composting project going smoothly. Just make sure you follow these five tips for beginners. You’ll be well on your way to having a beautiful composting project!

composting for beginners

Composted material breaks down overtime to make it more accessible to plants. Using compost is a great way to reduce your landfill waste. It also improves soil tilth, which makes it more fertile for plants. Whether you use it for gardening or your yard, composting is an easy process that even a beginner can begin with. Soak your food waste in compost for a few days to make it more useful to plants and wildlife.

Tips & Tricks

For beginners, the best option is to stick with the basics. Start with a kitchen compost bin and a backyard compost pile. Both are low-maintenance options. Make sure you’re not overfilling your compost bin. To avoid creating an environment where bugs thrive, remove bits of organic matter from your compost pile. Then, take out a compost bag at least once a day. After a week, it’s time to take it out again and start the process all over again.

Before you start your compost pile, make sure that you have enough carbon-rich materials. Carbon and nitrogen are essential to all life. Most living things need twenty to thirty times more carbon than nitrogen. Platt recommends adding two buckets of carbon-rich materials for every bucket of food scraps. However, this ratio should be adjusted to the type of food scraps you have. If your compost pile is too large, you may want to divide it into smaller batches, one bucket of carbon-rich materials and another bucket of food scraps.

After you’ve prepared the compost pile, you need to place it somewhere where it won’t be disturbed. You can use a compost bin or a compost tumbler. One option is enclosed, while the other two are not. The tumbler method works best for small properties and yards waste only. However, this method might slow down the decomposition process if there is too much organic waste. Adding manure or healthy soil can help speed up the process.

When composting, you should avoid adding any meats, dairy products, oils, charcoal ash, or other toxins. These materials can be hard to decompose. Even if they decompose properly, they will generate an odour that will attract pests and predators. In addition, these materials can harm bacteria and worms. A compost bin should be kept moist at all times. However, if it is not open, make sure to add some water regularly to avoid overcooking.

garden pests in Australia

Common Garden Pests and Diseases in AustraliaCommon Garden Pests and Diseases in Australia

Many gardeners will be surprised to know that they’ve got some common garden pests in Australia. These insects are harmless to humans but can wreak havoc on your plants. Thankfully, you can get rid of some of these pests by following a few simple tips. Here are some of the more common ones. These insects can cause havoc in your gardens, so make sure you take care of them quickly and effectively.

  • Aphids – These pear-shaped insects have long antennae and a pair of abdominal tubes called cornicles. They feed on the roots of live plants and are most destructive around Christmas time. Aphids can be controlled with systemic insecticides and garlic spray. Slugs – Another common garden pest in Australia – live on plants and reproduce quickly. You can use protective row covers and even attract birds to your garden.
  • Aphids – While Aphids are not dangerous, if left untreated, they can breed in your garden and become a serious problem. They will eat your crops and may even damage your house. These pests are similar to Termites but are much smaller than their names. These insects swarm in the spring and will stop swarming after they eat all of the crops. However, if you see the pests before they get a chance to grow, you can control them by getting rid of them before they get out of control.
  • The most common garden pests in Australia are thrips. These tiny insects are microscopic and live in plant roots. They stunt plant growth and kill plants. They can wreak havoc on many important crops in Australia. If you suspect you have a problem with thrips, you can buy blue and yellow sticky traps and sprinkle your garden with dormant oil to keep them away.
garden pests in Australia
  • Codling moths – A common garden pest in Australia, codling moths are white with a black head and a size of about a centimetre. The first generation emerges in early spring, after which the females lay eggs near the fruit, where the caterpillars feed. After hatching, the larvae form a cocoon in a hidden place, and the whole cycle begins all over again. Usually, there are two to three generations of these pests.
  • Slaters – Another common garden pest in Australia is the Christmas Beetle. The larvae live in the soil and feed on garden grassroots, while the adults eat the leaves and other parts of the plant. These insects generally feed on eucalypt specimens. Their shiny body colour can be reddish-brown or yellow. If you’re worried about swarming, use a short-lived organic pesticide.
  • Slugs – These slugs and snails are another common garden pest. A slug infestation can be devastating, especially if you don’t treat them quickly. They prefer moist and shady environments and can wreak havoc on your plants. If you don’t want to spend too much time squishing your garden, make a slug trap! This trap can be placed near plants that grow in moist and cool conditions. Alternatively, you can try spraying your plants with coffee.
  • Aphids – These creepy, pear-shaped insects live on plants. They feed on sap and excrete a sticky honeydew substance that attracts ants and promotes the growth of fungal diseases. You’ll also want to treat the aphids themselves, as they may carry disease to your plants. You can find them by observing their symptoms, including yellowed, wilted leaves, and black sooty fungus residue on plants.
  • Codling moth – A native Australian garden pest, this species feeds on the sap of citrus trees. As it grows, the larva feeds on the roots and leaves of plants, which weakens the trees and reduces their yield. Infestations can lead to branch dieback in a tree. As a result, it’s important to act quickly to protect your fruit and vegetables from this insect. If you can’t manage the pests in your garden, consider using a bio-insecticide such as Bacillus thuringiensis.

The State Of Wine Grape Production In AustraliaThe State Of Wine Grape Production In Australia

Australia is currently the fifth largest exporter of wine in the world, with a total wine export value of around $2.6 billion. Around 811 million liters of wine are exported each year, with red wine capturing the majority share with 493 million liters. And all this is possible, largely in thanks to the climate of the continent that is conducive to growing a large variety of grapes. Wine Grape Production In AustraliaAustralia has more than 135,000 hectares under grape production.

Total wine-grape crush is estimated at 1.98 million tonnes. South Australia alone contributes 51% of wine-grape crush at 984,000 tonnes while Murray Darling-Swan Hill comes second at 410,000 tonnes. New South Wales trails at a close third with an output of 398,000 tonnes. Out of a total wine production of 1.37 billion liters, red wine accounts for 58% while white wine makes up the rest 42%. Australia is the sixth largest wine producer in the world, and wine business contributes almost $40 billion every year to the country’s economy. The huge wine industry also means that the country meets most of its wine consumption from locally produced wines, which comes to 84%. Imported wines only make up 10% of the domestic wine market.

Varieties – Wine Grape TypesWinemakers in Australia use about 130 different varieties of grapes. And among all the wine grape types grown in the country, Shiraz commands the first position, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. According to estimates, close to 40,000 hectares or nearly one-third of all vineyard area in the country grow a single variety of grape – Shiraz. Introduced to Australia in 1832 by a Scottish immigrant by the name of James Busby, Shiraz quickly grew in popularity in the country. Incidentally, he is also considered as the father of the Australian wine industry.

The country is the second largest producer of Shiraz grapes in the world, just behind France. Some of the popular Shiraz wines made in Australia include Penfolds Grange and Henschke. Cabernet Sauvignon is a hugely popular wine grape variety across the world. And it is estimated that about 25,000 hectares of land in Australia are dedicated to growing this grape. It is also blended with Shiraz to create unique wines.

There are big regional differences when it comes to the production of Cabernet Sauvignon in the country. While the grapes from the Yarra Valley are known to produce grapes that maintain a balance between acidity and fruitiness, the Clare Valley region is known to produce grapes that have a heightened fruity flavour. Chardonnay claims the third spot as the third most widely planted wine grape variety with about 21,500 hectares of land growing the grape.

Unlike the dark-skinned Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon which are used to produce red wine, Chardonnay is a grape with green skin and is used in the production of white wine. Other popular varieties of wine grapes grown in the country include Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc, both of which accounted for about 11% of the total vineyard area in Australia. Vineyard ManagementIt is estimated that there are around 2468 wineries and 6251 wine grape growers in Australia.

In total, they employ more than 172,000 people. The industry has been seeking to improve its vineyard management practices by adopting latest and most modern techniques of grape production and more efficient use of its resources. One of the biggest focus areas has been on the development of environmentally sustainable production techniques that would cut down labor while maintaining the quality of the grape.

However, the main challenge to developing a uniform best practice’ for grape growing across Australia has been the fact that vineyards are located in different regions with varied climatic conditions. The seasonal changes bring in a big factor of unpredictability as to the quality and yield of the grape. For example, if the temperature at the grape bud initiation is warm, then it would mean a bigger yield the next year. However, if the weather was cold at the time of flowering, then it will lead to a lower yield. As a consequence, the wine industry in Australia is investing heavily in coming up with new methods and techniques that will help it to estimate the yields with greater accuracy while also allowing it to assess the quality of grapes more comprehensively.


A beautiful garden doesn’t have to cost the earthA beautiful garden doesn’t have to cost the earth

Grounds With Appeal

Frances Saunders

A beautiful garden doesn’t have to cost the earth, writes Frances Saunders.

AN EMPHASIS on low-maintenance outdoor areas with expensive hard landscape such as paving and decking has dramatically changed garden design Melbourne in recent years.

Brought up on a diet of glamorous, instant-makeover television shows and landscape magazines – which often have huge budgets to showcase the most aspirational ideas – many people now consider good garden design a luxury. They expect to pay from $8000 to $35,000 for a decent transformation.

Throw in the outdoor entertainment area, a spa or a pool, and the costs become astronomical.

But that’s not a realistic benchmark for the typical Australian family, says Michael Gainger, chief executive officer of the Nursery and Garden Industry Association of Victoria. Concerned that there are not enough budget-conscious and easily achievable outdoor design ideas for the average homeowner, Mr Gainger campaigned for an avenue of achievable gardens at this year’s flower and garden show, which is being held this week. The association approached TAFE colleges for students to submit innovative designs for gardens, each on a $2000 capped budget, 14 of which will be displayed at the avenue.

“We want to make it easy for people to implement low-cost garden ideas,” he says, “so each landscape has its own recipe card for people to follow.”

The students kept to key strategies to hold costs down, says Mike Callaway, a teacher at Swinburne TAFE. These are ground rules for any low-budget garden.

The single most expensive component in a design is the cost of hard landscape, so “limiting hard landscape work and materials is the first (rule)”, Mr Callaway says. Paving, concreting and decks are expensive when compared to mulch or gravel.

Expensive hard materials can still be used, but more judiciously. Paving blocks used as stepping stones can be decorative and functional when used as a walkway on gravel paths or lawn. But because they are a feature, and only a few may be required, the cost is relatively low when compared with the benefit.

“Good use of plant material is another strategy,” Mr Callaway says. “Appropriate plant selection is essential to ensure that the plants survive and thrive in that situation.”

But it’s more than just finding the right plants for the right spot. A planting plan – even if it’s a sketch – will give an idea of what the garden will look like when it’s fairly established.

The plan or sketch can also control the temptation to overplant, as most gardens tend to look bare in the initial planting. Mr Callaway suggests drawing the plants on the plan with the spread they will have when they have grown to maturity. Then use it as a guide and stick to the number of plants sketched.

The initial size of the plants will also affect a garden’s cost. At the top end, advanced plants can be many hundreds of dollars; however, a plant in a tube costs about $2.

Research repeatedly shows that a plant in a tube establishes and grows quicker than a larger plant. This is because the larger plant takes more time to recover and establish in its environment.

Labour costs are a large component of a garden budget, so keep the design simple so you can do it yourself.

Frances Saunders is a horticulturist and landscape designer.

The Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show is on at the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens from Wednesday until Sunday.

$2000 makeover

ON A budget of $2000, you can transform your garden in a few weekends. Our design plan is based on a rear courtyard garden seven metres square.

Path of Tuscan toppings: about 500mm wide, and slightly meandering through the space with a widened area for water feature or sculpture. One cubic metre is usually about $74, hire of compactor $50, total $124.

Mulch is light and easy to barrow and shovel around, it improves the soil, protects the soil surface, and provides nutrients to plants. A good-quality mulch (such as chipped organic and timber waste) is $39.50 per cubic metre. Apply at a depth of about 75mm. To work out how much you need, measure the length and width of the space to be covered in metres and multiply by .075. This will give you the cubic metres you need to order. Example: Mulch required for an area seven metres square is 3.67 cubic metres. Therefore order four cubic metres at $158, plus $20 delivery, total $178.

Contrasting charcoal paving stones set into the Tuscan toppings walkway. Large and dramatic 500 x 500mm pavers by Cast in Stone cost $14.85 each.Ten pavers at $14.85, total $148.50.

Two advanced specimens for about $200: a standard weeping grevillea, a small tree, or maybe a standard cumquat (above), total $420 (including delivery).

A piece of sculpture or a water feature up to $600 – put this in an eye-catching position, with garden seating, up to $200. OR a simple birdbath for $100 and an outdoor setting for $700.

That leaves about $330 to spend on plants. Plants in tubes from your local indigenous nursery cost about $2 for such gems as ornamental native grasses, dainty tetrathecas and small shrubs. That means there will be plenty of money for a couple of grafted eromophilas at $25 each and a few other favourite plants in larger sizes.

NOTE: To save on labour costs, the TAFEs offer short courses in paving and bricklaying for about $200, if you are keen to give it a go. Without labour costs, a small area of paving becomes more achievable: second-hand bricks cost about 67 cents each and seconds pavers about 55 cents each.


Prices courtesy of Bulleen Art & Garden Nursery