Happy October - it's GLSC's birthday month, with 2017 marking 16 years that Paul & I have been in the business of encouraging good folk like yourselves to get out and garden! For those of you who have been with us the whole journey - thank you! And for those who have more recently discovered us - welcome & we hope we've got you hooked on living the green life too!
Spring has arrived @ Green Life - although the weather has been a bit all over the place with some cold & rainy days - as usual, right at Royal Show time! Hopefully the cold conditions haven't set your seedlings back too much; the longer daylight hours and sunshine (when it shows itself!) has meant things in our garden have been booming.
Slowly but surely we are starting to get through a wider range of seedlings - so thank you for your patience if you've been waiting for these. They have been slow over the colder weather to reach a saleable size; but the tomatoes, chillis and capsicum seedlings are in stock and we've a good range to choose from.
Last week, Paul attended a 4 day intensive 'Nutrition Farming' workshop with Graeme Sait. Graeme's focus is on how soil health affects human health and planetary health; and his concepts of supporting our diet through nutrient dense foods (grown in nutrient dense soils) is something we align very much with here @ GLSC. It's part of the ongoing research and development that Paul puts into our mixes, making sure they provide the best possible growing conditions for plants.
In other news we've just heard we've been selected as finalists (2nd year in a row) for the Belmont & WA Small Business Awards - in the categories of 'Environment' and 'Marketing'. We're up against some excellent competition so while I'm not sure what the outcome will be (the winners are announced at the end of the month) it is gratifying to be selected as a finalist in such good company.
In our last newsletter, you may have read that this year GLSC is supporting 'Do it in a Dress' again - the campaign run by Melbourne charity 'One Girl' who provide schooling opportunities for girls in Africa. In many poor countries, any available opportunity for education is provided to male children; meaning that many girls are expected to marry young, and there is a continued cycle of poverty that tends to go with this. Studies have shown that when girls are given an education, they tend to marry later, have fewer children, earn more to help support their families, and will go on to teach their own children to read. Societies where this change has occurred tend to have better hygiene and health outcomes - so it's a win for everyone to help alleviate poverty and the reliance on aid in some of the poorest countries in the world. 'Do it in a Dress' recently received some notoriety thanks to Cory Bernadi linking it to the same sex marriage debate - which of course it has absolutely nothing to do with - but the primary school embroiled in the "controversy" has raised over $300,000 (at time of writing) for the charity! Better than a cake stall any day!!! The Green Life Soil Co team will be donning school uniforms over the weekend of 14 & 15th October - so if you're planning on visiting us that weekend, please bring along your loose change (or cheque book!) to donate to the cause - or you can support us with an online donation here: http://www.doitinadress.com/green-life-soil-co (One Girl is a registered charity and as such online donations over $2 are tax deductible)
Remember to check out our updated workshop schedule - the much anticipated 'Tucker Bush' workshop booking information is now LIVE - you can find the details of that session (and all the others) by clicking on this link: https://greenlifesoil.worldsecuresystems.com/events
We're lucky to have two presenters sharing their bushfood knowledge. Mark Tucek sources and grows the 'Tucker Bush' varieties currently available on the market, while Marissa Verna (from Bindi Bindi dreaming) will share information on the cultural significance and history of the bushfoods; as well as providing us with the opportunity to taste-test some of them!
Please remember to provide us with a contact telephone number so that we can contact you if we need to prior to the event. (Regardless if you book online or over the phone with one of our team.)
We hope we'll see you soon @ GLSC - either to support us in our 'Do it in a Dress' shenanigans or as a participant in one of our fabulous workshops. But if you want to pop in and buy some top-notch garden products; well we're here for that too!
Until next time - happy gardening!
Linda & the Team @ Green Life
In this newsletter:
Jobs to do in the October Garden
What to Plant Now
Eat a Rainbow - Grow a Rainbow
VIP special offer - Your opportunity to try Charlie Charcoal
Jobs to do in the October Garden
- Plant your Spring seeds! There's still time to get seeds started to bear a summer crop, so get cracking! We've got a good range of heritage/non-hybrid seeds in stock; plus our certified organic seed raising mix to get you started. See 'what to plant now' for ideas. It's also a good time to start off native plants that grow from seed. Check out Nindethana's website for a great variety of native seeds: https://www.nindethana.net.au/
- Tidy up your water plants. Aquatic plants will be putting on new growth with the warmer weather. Clean up your ponds, divide and re-pot your pond plants and enjoy their new flush of growth (and your nice, clean pond!) as the weather warms up. Remember we've got native fish in stock to help if you have problems with mozzies breeding in your pond (but still want to encourage frog populations).
- Divide & repot orchids. (Well that's what the book says. I can't offer any further specific advice in this area! That's a hobby for another day.)
- Prune your passionfruit. By pruning off between 30cms and up to 1/3 of growth, you'll encourage a flush of new growth and flowers this spring. And of course more flowers should equal more fruit! Passionfruit are hungry plants - so now's the perfect time to feed them up with some good organic fertliser/soil improver. Remember to mulch once the weather starts to warm up, as they'll do better if you can keep the moisture in the soil.
- Snails seem to be everywhere with this extra rain we're having. Remember to look under pots & garden edging (or other likely hiding spots). Go out at night with a torch and drop any snails into a bucket of warm salty water. You can quickly get populations under control by doing this a couple of times within the same week. Failing that, we carry Multiguard and Protect-us snail pellets in stock. Both are iron based formulations, with Protect-us (photo right) being Certified Organic.
- Fertilise! Fruit trees, flowering plants, roses, vegetables... We touched on this in last month's newsletter; but as plants are starting to put on new growth and/or emerge from winter dormancy, it's the perfect time to give them a feed and/or top up garden beds with a soil improver to provide nutrition and improve soil structure.
- Lawns. A great time to top dress or to put in a new lawn and get it established before the height of summer (and hopefully with a little help from some more rain).
- Watch for insect pests like caterpillar and white fly. If your kale or broccoli is being hammered, and you've been harvesting it all winter, perhaps now is the time to pull it out and start afresh with a different crop. It's tempting to keep kale in your garden (as it does continue to grow for years if left) however if it's past its prime and is just feeding your bugs; it might be best to move on.
What to Plant Now
Artichokes (Globe - pictured right & Jerusalem), Asian Greens, Asparagus, Basil, Beans, Beetroot, Capsicum, Chilli, Carrots, Celery, Cleriac, Coriander*, Cucumber, Eggplant, Kale*, Kohl rabi, Leek, Lettuce, Melons, Okra, Onion, Parsnips, Peas*, Potato, Pumpkin, Rocket, Silverbeet, Spring onion, Squash, Strawberries, Sweet corn, Sweet potato, Tomato, Turnip, Zucchini.
* Coriander doesn't like the heat and will bolt to seed; but there's time for a last crop providing you grow it somewhere sheltered & shady and keep up the water to it. Kale will grow year-round in Perth, but now's the time when the pests will start to appear in large numbers, which is frustrating. If you're prepared to net your vegies and keep a watchful eye for any caterpillars, you can still continue to grow and harvest kale. The deciding factor will be how much you're wanting to devote to careful management, or whether you're better off growing it during the traditional brassica growing season of autumn/winter.
Many herbs will thrive now; including basil, thyme, oregano, dill, fennel, rocket, chives - etc. It's a great time to get a herb garden established. Click here to download our free guides - including 'When to Sow in Perth', 'Top 12 edible plants for Spring/Summer', and our 'Herb Propagation Chart' and more!
While you're dabbling in your garden don't forget some colour. Planting flowers will help attract pollinators, beneficial insects, confuse pests and provide you with some cheery colour at the same time. Things like petunias, portulaca, vincas are very tough and will cope with the summer conditions; but there's lots of others and some have edible flowers, too! (If you'd like to know more about edible flowers - click here for our fact sheet.)
Eat the Rainbow!
It must be something about seeing so many colourful rainbows around right now that has led me to the topic of 'eating the rainbow'. While at GLSC we're all about trying to balance the nutrition in our soils for optimal plant growth; in reality this should translate to the essential nutrients being available in your vegetables and fruit so that YOU can reap optimum benefits from nutrient dense food.
We always advise people to use a range of fertilisers and soil improvers (over time) in their gardens to make sure their soil receives a 'varied diet'. And it's no different for us. An analogy I often use is that while carrots are healthy for us; a diet of JUST carrots isn't so healthy - so make sure you're eating your broccoli and beetroot too! And this analogy brings me back to the rainbow concept (thank you for hanging in there!) - because different coloured foods contain so many different essential nutrients, phytochemicals, anti-oxidants/flavonoids, etc. that it makes perfect sense to say 'yes' to biodiversity in our diet.
Brighter coloured foods tend to be fresher foods (unless of course they're loaded with artificial colours). Most highly processed food is 'beige'... and we're better off consuming the fresh food available to us each season. We'd also advocate buying organic or spray-free fruit and vegies if you can. Not only will you be avoiding the 'icides' they have been grown with, but they'll more accurately reflect 'in season' produce.
The Rainbow on your plate
Red foods contain a number of antioxidants, including lycopene (tomatoes), anthocyanins (red berries) and ellagic acid (strawberries, raspberries and pomegranate). Lycopene is an antioxidant that can help reduce the risk of cancer and protect against heart disease.
Red fruits/vegies include*: apple, beetroot, blood oranges, cherries, cranberries, pink/red grapefruit, guava, papaya, plum, pomegranite, radish, raspberry, red onion, rhubarb, strawberry, watermelon, red cabbage, red capsicum, red chilli, red kidney bean, radish, tomato.
Cooking tip: We can access lycopene more easily in cooked tomatoes than raw; so there's no problem with tomato concentrates or tinned tomatoes in our diet.
Orange & Yellow
Orange foods are high in carotenoids, including alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, which are responsible for the vibrant orange colour of foods such as pumpkin, sweet potato and carrots. The human body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A, which is important for healthy skin, a strong immune system, and good eye health and vision. Yellow foods also contain beta-cryptoxanthin – a powerful carotenoid with strong antioxidant properties. As well as links to cancer prevention, studies have shown that a small increase in your beta-cryptoxanthin intake can reduce your risk of developing inflammatory disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Orange/Yellow fruit & vegies include: apricot, carrots, grapefruit, kumara (sweet potato), lemon, mandarin, mango, orange, orange & yellow capsicum, peach, persimmon, pineapple, pumpkin, star fruit, tangelo, yellow nectarines, yellow peach, sweet corn, yellow tomatoes, yellow zucchini.
Cooking tip: Like all carotenoids, beta-cryptoxanthin is best absorbed by the body with some fats, so make sure to cook or dress yellow vegies with a little oil.
Green vegetables are excellent sources of vitamin K, folic acid, potassium, as well as carotenoids and omega-3 fatty acids. Vegetables like spinach, broccoli, peas and kale contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which may help protect against age-related eye disease. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale and pak choi are also sources of sulforaphane and glucosinolate, which may help protect against certain cancers and blood vessel damage (which can lead to heart attacks and stroke).
Green fruit & vegies include: avocado, grape, melon, kiwi, lime, pear, asparagus, green beans, fresh broad beans, bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, chinese cabbage, green capsicum, celery, cucumber, globe artichokes, green herbs, green kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, okra, green olives, peas (green peas, snow peas, sugar, snap peas), silverbeet, spinach, spring onion, green zucchini.
Cooking tip: Most of the year it's easy to grow green vegies of some kind, but if you're struggling over summer and need to supplement your home grown produce, studies have shown that frozen green vegies contain almost the same nutrients as fresh. Or consider microgreens - they are easy to grow anytime of the year and pack a powerful punch of concentrated nutrition. Add them to smoothies, sandwiches, salads or use as a garnish and enjoy the health benefits.
So there's a bit of a crossover here between *red/pink fruit & vegies and blue/purple ones as they can both contain Anthocyanins - powerful antioxidants that give blue and reddish/purple foods their colour. Anthocyanins may help protect cells from damage and can reduce the risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease, reduce blood pressure and enhance physical performance.
Blue/Purple fruit & vegies include: Black currants, Black olives, Black salsify, Black radish, Blackberries, Blueberries, Dried plums, Eggplant (especially the skin), Elderberries, Grapes, Passionfruit, Plums, Pomegranates, Prunes, Purple basil, Purple endive, Purple Broccoli, Purple Cauliflower, Purple Potatoes, Purple asparagus, Purple cabbage, Purple carrots, Purple figs, Purple grapes, Purple kale, Purple onions, Purple peppers, and Raisins.
Cooking tip: As a general rule, the darker the blue hue, the higher the phytochemical concentration (and thus more antioxidants).
White fruits and vegetables can get their colour from anthoxanthins, which may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and arthritis. Banana and parsnip and are great sources of potassium, which is important for normal heart and muscle function, while cauliflower, turnip and cabbage contain sulforaphane, which is associated with fighting cancer, strengthening bone tissue, and maintaining healthy blood vessels.
The fibre in the skins of brown fruit and vegetables (such as potatoes, pears and mushrooms) helps maintain a healthy digestive tract and can reduce the risk of some types of cancer. Selenium – found in mushrooms – plays a key role in metabolism, supports the immune system and is an antioxidant. Pulses such as lentils and chickpeas have phytoestrogens that may help prevent hormone-related cancers.
Types of White Fruits and Vegetables Include: Bananas, Brown pears, Cauliflower, Celeriac, Daikon radish, Dates, Fennel, Garlic, Ginger, Jerusalem artickoke, Jicama, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Mushrooms, Onions, Parsnips, Potatoes, Shallots, Turnips, White beans, White Corn, White nectarines, and White peaches, Yacon.
Cooking tip: The skin of many vegetables contains much of the goodness of the fruit/vegetable. Wash or soak thoroughly and scrub if necessary - but avoid peeling unless you have to! The benefit of choosing organically grown produce means you don't need to worry about sprays, etc. remaining on your food.
The latest data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that while nearly one third of Australians eat the recommended number of serves of fruit each day, less than one person out of 25 eat the recommended number of serves of vegetables. So challenge yourself to eat a rainbow everyday, and hopefully you'll feel the benefit of adding a little extra nutrition and fibre.
When you're shopping for your fruit and vegies - give your trolley or shopping basket the once-over before you go to the checkout. If you've got lots of reds or greens, what fruit or vegies can you swap out for a different coloured option? Are there some white, yellow or orange fruits or vegies you can include? Involve your kids in playing a colour game when shopping, preparing meals or fruit platters for a snack. As well as bringing out their creativity, you're teaching them a valuable lesson in making nutritious choices.
The Rainbow in your garden
Each season when planning your garden, why not think about the colour palette available to you in the range of vegies you're looking to grow. Try a different coloured form as well as your old favourites. Many of the heritage varieties of vegetables come in unusual colours. Carrots (for example) come in orange, yellow, white and purple forms. Beans, Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Peas come in purple varieties too. Onions, Spring onions, Potatoes, Kale, Beetroot, Cabbage, Capsicum, Chilli, Corn, Eggplant, Cucumbers, Kohl rabi, Lettuce, Mustard greens, Okra, Radish, Chard, Tomatoes, Strawberries, Melons and Zucchini all come in more than one coloured option. (But remember if you're wanting to save your seed, it might pay to look into cross pollination issues - if any.)
So this Spring - why not celebrate some of nature's biodiversity in your garden and bring some colour to your diet!
Better Health website - Department of Health & Human Services, State Government of Victoria, Australia
Color Me Healthy - Eating for a Rainbow of Benefits By Juliann Schaeffer (Today’s Dietitian Vol. 10 No. 11 P. 34)
VIP Special Offer - October
Earlier this year at the Perth Garden Festival, GLSC launched a new product - Charlie Charcoal. Since then, we've had a number of people try it and the feedback now that they've had a season of growing has been fantastic.
We really believe this is a game changer in Perth's sandy soils - for a number of reasons.
- Charcoal is naturally highly absorbent; so it will naturally help with water absorption and water holding in sandy soil
- Charcoal has a very high cation exchange - which means it holds onto nutrients rather than allowing them to leach through the soil
- Charlie has a very low pH (unusually for biochar/charcoal) and trials so far have shown that incorporating Charlie will bring down the pH where it is used
- Charcoal is long lasting and a very stable way of incorporating organic matter in your soil; providing a home for beneficial microbes
We have received some great testimonials for Charlie Charcoal so far:
"During March and April 2017 I conducted an independent statistical trial project for the Green Life Soil Company / the Soil Amendment Products Company.
Sugar Lump Tomatoes and Thai Pink Egg Tomatoes were used as the test vegetables.
Bassendean Grey Sand was used in the control pots and for the amended pots Charlie Charcoal and Bassendean Grey Sand was blended together.
The Charlie Charcoal blend out preformed the control pots across every statistical test that was conducted and the Vegetables tasted…….AMAZING!
To my delight the Tomatoes in the Charlie Charcoal Blend are still thriving and tasting delicious! I will never plant a vegetable garden again without incorporation Charlie Charcoal!" ~ Brendon Simpson, Horticulturalist
"As a user of rain water, moisture conservation is critical when growing my veggies. After applying Charlie Charcoal to one veggie bed and checking it against another without. The difference in moisture levels was truly remarkable. I’m now applying Charlie Charcoal to ALL my veggie beds." ~ Rod Jurich, Chittering"
“Charlie Charcoal works well in my coastal sandy soil. I planted broad beans and cabbages in soil with and without Charlie Charcoal and the difference between the two was amazing. Broad bean germination rates were much higher and cabbages planted using Charlie Charcoal were around 10% larger and had less pest pressure. I’m now going to put this charcoal into all my garden beds. Good on ya Charlie!” ~ Moira Mulligan, Convener, Northern Organic Growers Association
"The Charlie Charcoal is fantastic! Thanks for the sample. Now I've had the chance to see it strut its stuff, I'll be recommending it on my plans. I have written about it in my newsletter - Hope you get some enquiries from that. A couple of months on, my spuds and lettuces are cranking and I'm throwing about handfuls of the stuff in pretty much every thing I plant in the ground or pots. I'm a convert!" ~ Cherise Haslam, Garden Deva (Fremantle) WALDA http://gardendeva.com.au/
"After trialling sunflowers in two batches (one in soil; the other in a soil blend with Charlie Charcoal) I found those planted with Charlie Charcoal stayed healthy and remained alive for at least two weeks longer in winter conditions than those planted in straight soil. I have observed the benefits of including Charlie Charcoal including:
Enhanced cold temperature endurance [stronger and healthier plants]
Enhanced nutrient uptake during and before cold weather
Enhanced soil aeration [and improved drainage] causing longer life of annual plants and faster growth rates" ~ Chris Oliver – Principal Horticulturist B.Ed, Dip.Hort TTTC. FAIH.
These testimonials reflect people's experiences while growing over winter - so we would expect to see even better results over the summer months.
We'd love to give all of you lovely VIP's the opportunity to trial Charlie Charcoal for yourselves, so for the month of October, we are discounting Charlie Charcoal from the usual $18 per bag to $12 per bag (with every purchase made over $50). Offer valid in store or online (you must be logged into the VIP section to access the discounted members-only price on Charlie Charcoal - and other products). Maximum of 5 bags per customer at discounted price. (Note - Charlie Charcoal is available economically in bulk if you're wanting larger amounts for your landscaping projects.) Valid until 31st October 2017.
Charlie Charcoal is Certified Organic. We have found the best way to use Charlie Charcoal is to 'pre-charge' it with soaking it in a liquid fertiliser mix (or by applying at the same time) so that nutrients are already loaded into the Charcoal before applying it to your soil.
For those of you who wish to support your local retailers, Charlie Charcoal is available (at normal retail prices) from Nibali Stockfeeds (Hamilton Hill), Beaufort Garden World (Inglewood), Garden Elegance (Subiaco) and Green Essence (Mandurah) - so tell your friends!
Until next time - happy gardening!