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Ballerina Apples – Miniature Trees at a Miniature Price

ballerina_intro_page SoilWorx Favourite Fruit Tree! Available Deer Park & Pakenham
Full size fruit on upright, columnar trees – Flemings Ballerina Apples are simply perfect.  With 6 super varieities to choose from, these small trees are perfect for narrow spaces, along fence lines, hedging or even in large pots!  Minimal pruning, minimal maintainence, and maximum enjoyment, these little treasures will grow to around 3m high x 700mm wide.  And, at Melbournes lowest bare root price of only $29.95ea….why wouldn’t you buy all six!  Get your urban orchard growing – check out our full range here

Whitefly – WTF?

Anyone who has spent any time in their garden over the last couple of months will have come across whitefly – those tiny, white, annoying “flies” that travel in massive gangsImage, ready to fly into your face while you’re watering your tamarillo, or as you brush past your hedge!  Honestly, they are the bane of many Melbourne gardeners at the moment, and we here at SoilWorx want to help you rid your garden of these irritating, sap sucking garden goblins!

Firstly, to get rid of whitefly, we need to understand how they tick, and why there are SO many of them around at the moment.  It’s fairly simple – whitefly, like a lot of pests in our patch, do nothing other than eat and breed.  Melbourne’s wetter than usual winter, late onset of spring, and some crazy humidity have created the “perfect storm” for whitefly – a cornucopia of eating and breeding.  A whitefly can go from baby to breeder in 20 – 30 days, hence their MASSIVE numbers at the moment.

ImageWhiteflies are a bit like aphids – they suck sap, and can do dreadful things to the foliage of plants, which results in a poor plant appearance, and a reduction in vigour.  Whiteflies are often encouraged into our patches by an overuse of pesticides (this wipes out their natural predators), as well as over-fertilisation of plants using high nitrogen fertilisers.  If you’ve got whiteflies, have a look at which products you are feeding your plants with, what you’re spraying around, and how often you are using this stuff.  It is possible to kill your plants with love so if you’re not sure, ask one of our SoilWorx experts for a helping hand.

So, let’s get to the nitty gritty – how to get rid of whitefly!  First up, engage in a bit of garden hygeine, and remove any weeds and grasses that may be a bit out of control in and around your garden beds.  I know at my place, whitefly LOVE hanging out in my kikuyu, especially in areas where it has gotten a bit ….. well…..out of hand!  Secondly, it’s important to attack whiteflies when they are at their most vulnerable – first thing in the morning! Before the weather warms up, whitefly are a bit slow, a bit sluggish, and are therefore easier to target.  There are a couple of methods and products you can use to get rid of these guys:

  • Botanical insecticidal soap sprays (think Natrasoap) work really well, but the secret is to spray every couple of days for 3 weeks. Make sure you spray under the foliage for the best result.
  • Spray Eco-Oil, Pest Oil, White Oil or your own home oil-based recipe onto your plants every 10 days for about a month.  Again, make sure you spray unImageder the foliage for the best result.
  • General “pest sprays” like pyrethrum, garlic and chili sprays may be useful as well, but remember these types of sprays will kill both the bad bugs AND the beneficial critters (like bees, butterflies and a host of pollinators).  Use this stuff carefully, first thing in the morning, and watch where you spray.
  • A bunch of gardeners swear by the high pressure hose method – a blast of the affected plants, first thing in the morning, for three mornings in a row is said to get rid of whitefly.  Does it work? I’ll let you be the judge but hey, it doesn’t hurt to try.

We know how much you guys LOVE your gardens, and we hope this helps in dealing with this annoying pest.  As always, SoilWorx expert staff are always on hand to help you with any aspect of your garden – be it pests, pollinators, plant choices and pebbles (as well as everything in between).  Got a question for us? Why not post it on our Facebook page, leave us a comment on our blog, or, better still, head on in to your nearest SoilWorx garden centre and ask us in person! We’d love to see you!


KIDS CLUB UPCOMING WORKSHOPS – OCTOBER THURS 3rd & SAT 13th 10am

Come down and join in the fun this school holidays at our Deer Park store OR our newest store in PAKENHAM!

We will be running 2 classes this school holidays, Thursday 4th and Saturday 13th of October. Both classes will start at 10am and run for approx an hour.

Our kids club is a great way to entertain young budding gardeners, kids that love crafty fun or for those little ones who love socializing.The best bit is…its free! Lots of fun will be had while making rock creations and grassy caterpillar heads, as well as an exciting treasure hunt all while checking out our new kids corner at the Pakenham store!

Our Kids Club events are not age specific, although it is a requirement that kids are accompanied by a parent/guardian.

Please call to book your spot!

9361-1300 for Deer Park
5940-4918 for Pakenham
OR email …….dglenn@soilworx.com.au

We look forward to sharing the fun!


September in the Garden – Welcome To Spring!!!

September is a fantastic time to be alive for us gardeners! The chill is almost gone from the mornings, and the afternoons are getting longer. Blossoms are bursting and you can smell spring in the air wherever you go. If you have been hibernating through winter now is the time to get out and into the garden, and get your outdoor space looking gorgeous.

Green Zebra – An Awesome Heirloom Tom, available at SoilWorx Now!

In The Vegie Patch
Early Spring is a great time to think about re-invigorating that veggie patch, or indeed setting up a brand new herb and veggie garden.  Prepare your patch for spring planting by lightly digging over the area and adding a bit of gypsum for to those clayey Melbourne soils.  Follow this up by popping in plenty of organic matter including top-notch compost and well rotted manure. Don’t forget to mulch the beds with a straw mulch. Leave this for a week or two, and then you can start planting all those stunning spring veggies and herbs.  If your bed is ready to go, it’s a great time of year to plant basil, lettuce, parsley, capsicum, cucumber, zucchini, tarragon, carrots, eggplants and tomatoes.  If you’re after something a little bit different, why not plant some heritage and heirloom varieties of tomatoes like Green Zebra, Black Russian, Tigerella and Yellow Pear.

These tomatoes are tough, look fantastic, taste great and will bring some real interest to the next salad you make! Keep an eye out for these at your local SoilWorx – we proudly stock a great range of Rennaisance Romantic Vegies and Herbs, as well as some beautiful Scotsburn edibles!

Love Your Lawn

Coming out of a long, cold, wet winter, many of our lawns will be looking a bit average at this time of year, particularly Buffalo, Couch and Kikuyu. Don’t fret – they’re not dead, just hibernating! To give our lawns a lift, grab a garden fork and some good quality lawn fertiliser. Aerate the lawn and relieve some compaction by using the fork to “punch” a number of holes in the soil across the entire lawn surface.  Follow this up by a good application of lawn food – throw this across the lawn like you’re feeding chooks and water in well. This should give your lawn the kick-start it needs, and in a couple of week’s time, your lawn will be luscious. Stop bindiis and broad-leafed weeds in their tracks by spraying the lawn with a selective herbicide, such as Yates BuffaloPRO Weed Killer Concentrate.

Hedge Your Bets

Westringia Wynabbie Gem – A great Aussie hedge!

Spring is a fabulous season to get new hedges planted and established before summer hits.  Hedging plants that work really well in the western suburbs include EuonymusTom Thumb”, Syzgium “Bush Christmas” and “Hinterland Gold” ,
Westringia fruticosa “Native Rosemary”, Buxus “English Box” and Choisya ternata “Mexican Orange Blossom”. The secret to getting a healthy, consistent screen or hedge is good drainage, and a bit of gypsum, volcanic rock and compost can help improve this at the time of planting. Don’t overcrowd your plants – give them room to grow into each other, and you’ll be blessed with a beautiful, dense screen in a couple of years.  Our Deer Park and Pakenham stores both stock a great range of hedging, screening and topiary plants – head in and speak to one of our qualified horticulturists to see which hedge works for you!

Pests to Look Out For

After all the rain we have had, there are a few pests and problems to keep an eye out for in the garden.

  • Snails and slugs are about, so protect young seedlings by placing a ring of used coffee grounds around them. This won’t harm your plants, but it will get rid of the snails quick smart!
  • Citrus Trees, Gardenias and Murrayas have a bit of sooty mould on their leaves at the moment, as well as the first signs of aphid. Spray these with a Pest Oil or White Oil once every fortnight for six weeks, and this should clear up both these pests!
  • Avoid Black Spot on the leaves of your roses by watering only the roots of the plants, first thing in the morning. At the first sign of Black Spot, spray the leaves with a Rose Fungicide, and clear up any fallen foliage to prevent re-infestation.

And remeber, our qualified horticulturists are always on hand to help you with any of your gardening questions and conumdrums – head into your local SoilWorx and have a chat!

Enjoy the warmer weather and the sunshine that September brings, and happy gardening!


All About Roses – Sat 28th July – 10am – 12pm

We here at SoilWorx just love our roses! In fact, we love them so much, we’ve given them their own month! To celebrate this perfect plant, we are running a fantastic FREE rose workshop with our resident rose guru Deanne. From pruning to placement, staking to selction, pests to companion plants, all your thorny questions about this beautiful bit of boanty will be answered. This is a hands-on workshop for gardeners of all levels who want to learn the ins and outs of roses. This is always a popular workshop, and will book out, so make sure you reserve your space by sending us an email to dgelnn@soilworx.com.au If you just can’t wait for the workshop, and want some info to whet your appetite, check out our factsheet on basic rose care here, or head on in to SoilWorx and have a look at our gorgeous range of bare-root roses. We’ve got 3ft standards, 4ft standards and bush roses available to you at a bargain bare-root price (yup, even cheaper than the big sheds)!


Roses – A How To Guide

Here at SoilWorx we have a great range of bare-rooted roses. For those not familiar with this term, it means plants which are available in-store, yet not in pots or with potting mix.

This is a great way to buy for a couple of reasons;

Sleepy-time; roses,amongst other plants have gone to sleep, so to speak, for the winter period, meaning they have pretty much shut down. This state of dormancy allows us to sell them bare rooted as they are not really concerned momentary for their well-being.

Cost; its cheaper for us, we don’t have to pay for pots or potting mix, therefore its cheaper for you! 

I would say roses are one of the easiest plants maintain, as long as you know the basic care necessities. So we will go through them now.

Roses like to live in a well conditioned soil environment, you can either add this at planting time on and around planted rose, or if you are preparing the panting area prior to purchasing roses, you can dig manure in with your shovel. Cow manure or Organic Rose Fertiliser is a great addition to your garden bed aiding great blooming roses!  Both of which we stock in store.

Planting is easy bush roses need no support they will happily grow in the ground just like any other plant. Standards on the other hand, will need to be staked and tied to the stake for ongoing support. Inadequate support of the stem will result in your rose heads snapping off in strong winds, this will undoubtedly happen if left unsupported because as the rose produces leaves and buds it will begin to get quite top-heavy. Hit the stake in prior to planting, you will ensure no root damage occurs. Placement of the stake should be at the back of the standard and as the stem thickens you will barely see it from the front view. Once planted, secure the rose to the stake.

Keep pests at bay. Foliage does not need to be watered especially not at night, as this will create a micro-climate for pests and diseases, particularly when the nights are warm.

Aphids; are one of the most common little pests you will find on roses, they’re quite easy to eliminate, what I do is go through and squeeze the little things to death, then spray foliage (undersides as well) and rose buds with Pyrethrum in a little squirty bottle.  If your quantity or roses is too great for the initial squeezing technique you can apply the Pyrethrum in a 4Litre spray bottle. All of which we stock in store.

Black spot is another undesirable fungal issue which can commonly occur on roses, especially where conditons are warm & humid. To abet this disease do not water foliage at night, keep the centre of plant free of crossing branches to allow air circulation and pick off any leaves you see that are harbouring this little nasty. A VERY important thing to do is NOT put these leaves in your compost bin. Burn the affected leaves once you’ve picked them.  A homemade tonic of 1 part Full Cream Milk and 10 parts water can be sprayed over your roses with black spot safely, to help suppress it and prevent spreading.

Dead-heading and pruning roses is not a hard task. Once you know the fundamentals you will fly through it. Watch this space! Later on in the year we will conduct a fun and friendly rose pruning work shop.

So come on into SoilWorx and choose the rose color of your choice. We have yellows, pinks, oranges, reds, purple, the old fav iceberg and loads more! ! Look forward to seeing you, and, while you’re here, why not have a chat to our rose expert Deanne – she’ll take the torniness out of ALL your rose questions!


July in the Garden

  • Now is the time for beaut bare rooted fruit! Now that winter is here, head into SoilWorx and grab yourself some bare-rooted, deciduous fruit trees. Pick trees with a nice shape, and don’t forget to prune them back before you plant them out  (or ask us nicely to do it for you).  Miniatures, dwarf trees, columnars, double grafts – you name it, we’ve got it. Find out more here
  • It’s still not too late to plant heaps of herbs and veggies. We have some amazing, fresh, new seasons seedlings ready to grow, including Bok Choi, Tatsoi, Sage, Calendula, Borage, Feverfew, Rocket, Tarragon, Basil (perennial), Mint, Carrots (purple and orange), Spinach, Celeriac and Lavender.  Head on in to grab your today.
  • Set aside a bit of space and pop in some asparagus! These are a gorgeous additions to the patch, look amazing, and taste pretty good too! We have some beautiful asparagus ready to go, or why not try Deannes’ favourite, the purple asparagus.  For more info on how to get your asparagus flourishing, click here.
  • Add some colour and movement to the patch, and pop in some of these little pretties- dianthus, cornflower, pansy, viola, verbena and stock. We have a full range of beautiful potted colour available at the moment, at our always unbeatable price of 6 for $10!
  • Top up mulch on your vegie patches, herb gardens and ornamental beds, especially important for weed suppression at this time of year. Use pea straw or sugar cane mulches for edible gardens, or choose from our huge range of wood based and inorganic pebble mulches.  These types of mulches are perfect for ornamental gardens, and, right now, you may be eligible for a government rebate when you spend $50 or more on mulch. Why not head on in and ask our awesome SoilWorx staff.
  • We have a HUGE range of bare-rooted ornamental trees – ornamental pears, crabapples, ashes, oaks, weeping cherries, birches, gleditsias and heaps more.  Now is the perfect time to plant deciduous trees, and these always move fast.  Head on in and check out our MASSIVE range today.
  • With all this rain about, snails and slugs will be out in full force.  SoilWorx can help you deal with all your creepy crawlies, and new in this month is our Slugga snail and slug traps.  Unlike pellets, these traps are pet, child and wildlife friendly, and allow you to deal with these slimy critters organically. Whack in a bit of beer at night time, and these traps will keep your patch safe!
  • Re-potting is a great job to do over winter, and, with our winter specials on pots and potting mix, why wouldn’t you? All of our fab concrete pots and planters (as well as concrete statues and urns) are 25% marked price, and our Mother Earth All Purpose Potting Mix is a bargain at $6 per bag. Concrete not your thing? We’ve got an awesome selection of terracotta and glazed pots as well…..you’ll be impressed!
  • Feeling a bit soggy and boggy? Keep an eye out for drainage problems in the garden. This is evident if water pools on the surface after rain or the ground stays soggy and muddy well after surrounding areas have dried off. Use Gypsum or clay breaking liquid to break up clay soils. Adding compost and organic matter will also improve drainage.  Check out our great article on dealing with clay soil here!
  • We’ve had a fair few frosty evenings over the last month and more on the way, so you need to protect those tender plants from the elements.   There are several ways to protect plants from frost including covering plants at night, using frost protectants and watering the foliage. Some vegetables may also suffer from frost damage if they are flowering at the time, such as potatoes and peas.

Clay soil in Garden Beds – SoilWorx How To

Clay dominates some parts of our State of Victoria, especially out here in the Western Suburbs!  Not a lot of people like the sound of clay soil, but having this in your garden space can actually be beneficial for us in the long run.  As well as being high in nutrients, clay soil has the ability to hold moisture and this is where the deception starts- too much clay soil in your garden beds or aspiring lawn areas and you could easily house piglets, yet really struggle to grow plants or grass!

Without getting too technical Gypsum is derived from lake and salt water deposits. Mother nature has a variety of naturally occurring gypsums. The various forms can be used in shampoos, making mead, tennis clay courts and even traditional Chinese medicine. In our country it occurs naturally inland and is used for the treatment soil.  Predominately, our gypsum contains calcium and sulphur, therefore it is used as a soil conditioner as well as an essential penetrative of clumping clay. Those clumps are what will prevent you having a great garden because in wetter months it will be saturated and in hotter months it will be dry and crusty – yuk!

“Ok, get to the point” you’re probably saying!

The first step to improving your soil structure is applying generous amounts of GYPSUM! The ratio is 1kg per square metre, although on first application I would not be afraid to double this. After you have dispensed the Gypsum, you will need to work it in, if you can, either with rotary hoe or forking the area. This will also help relieve compaction in lawn and garden bed areas.

At this point you have 2 choices – you can leave it for a few months to work its magic and reapply in 3 months, then move onto step two. Or you can choose not to wait and move onto the second step straight away.

The second step is incorporating organic matter, our favourite here at SoilWorx being compost or soil improver. I am again recommending a generous amount. Work out how many cubic metres you need. A lot of people get confused when trying to work this out, so I will give you the formula (we also have a volume calculator attached to this web site)

Length X Width X Height = Cubic metres

For example 5metres X 11Metres X .100 (10cm)= ???

Work it out, if your answer is 5.5cubic metres….you’re awesome!

Once you’ve worked out how much you need, get amongst it and do the yakka, the deeper you can dig this down into your existing clay base the better results you will have. Depending on the size of your area this is where a rotary hoe will come in handy.

Gypsum is a bit of a miracle worker on clay soils, having said this, repeat applications are essential. A good way to remember when to apply it is by going with the change of the seasons. Your area will probably need to be treated for the next 2-3 years. Unlike your first application its not essential to dig it through upon subsequent applications.

Clay soil in Lawn Areas

Follow step one as above.
Alternate to organic matter, you will want to spread out your lawn mix. Recommended depth for this is 50-75cm. For more information on natural turf laying we have handouts here in-store you can take home.

Please don’t be deceived even when your turf is laid down and happily growing you still want to continue with the gypsum applications at regular intervals. This will break up the subsurface clay and release minerals into the earth for the plant nutrition and our future.

Remember, if you get stuck, or just need a little bit more advice, our SoilWorx Garden Centre staff are always here to help you out. Give us a ring, or head on in and pay us a visit.

HAPPY GARDENING


FREE KIDS CLUB WORKSHOPS

UPCOMING WORKSHOPS –  WED 4TH JULY AND SAT14TH JULY 10am

Head on in to SoilWorx this school holidays, and get the kids involved in one of our free Kids Club Gardening Workshops. Kids are never too young to get growing and gardening, and in our upcoming workshops kids will learn  how to grow thier own vegies! Each child will make thier own biodegradable pot, and of course we can help if your little one is too young. Kids can choose from herbs, funky vegies or flowers to pot up. The groovy pot and seedling can then go straight in the ground when you get home! Easy peesy!

Your kids will love learning about gardening, the joys of growing something they can eat, as well as making their own pots. They can also have a plant and a play in our new kids garden, feed our worms and hang out with the goldfish. There will also be a treasure hunt, prizes and giveaways. Free cuppa for the Mums and Dads, maybe a bikki or 2. This event is going ahead rain, hail or shine. With our huge showroom space and brilliant coonara fire, little peeps will be warm,  dry AND occupied!

If you and you’re kids are keen, let us know by calling (03) 9361 1300 or emailing us on htuton@soilworx.com.au so we get an idea of numbers. All kids welcome – no-one is too young, or too old!


Birds of Paradise

 Strelitzia reginae, also known as the Bird of Paradise and the crane flower, is a very unique plant with a  flower resembling birds in flight.  The Birds of Paradise plant makes a very popular landscaping plant for this reason, as well as it’s hardiness, form and highly structural foliage.  The leaf blades are 6 inches wide and 18 inches long,  bannana-like, large and evergreen.  A clump forming plant which produces large and dramatic evergreen, banana like leaves and long, straight flower stems culminating with a boat like bract at the top. 

 The plant grows to a height of 1.8 metres and over 1 metre in width. Each birds of paradise flower is made up of three upright orange sepals and three vivid blue petals, making a striking show during the Spring – Summer flowering period.  Because of the banana shaped leaves and other plant characteristics, birds of paradise were classified in the banana family.  The blooms are fantastic for use in floral arrangements because of their unique and magnificent flower display.

Growing birds of paradise The soil around the birds of paradise plant needs to be kept moist all spring and summer but should be aloud to dry out slightly between  watering in autumn and winter. When birds of paradise plants are young and actively growing, repot them every spring so that they have plenty of room to grow, and try to avoid temperatures below 10’C. Bird of Paradise can be grown in large pots or in the garden. For best results plant in compost rich, well drained soil and apply a side dressing of well rotted manure or complete plant food in spring. Shade from direct sun in summer and keep moist in warm weather but dry in winter.
 

A beautiful, hardy landscape plant that will add a fantastioc sculptural element to your garden.  Head in to SoilWorx and have a look at our range of Strelitzia – from 140mm pots right up to advanced plants, you will find the perfect bird for your garden.


June in your Garden

  • Now is the time for beaut bare rooted fruit! Now that winter is here, head into SoilWorx and grab yourself some bare-rooted, deciduous fruit trees. Pick trees with a nice shape, and don’t forget to prune them back before you plant them out  (or ask us nicely to do it for you).  Miniatures, dwarf trees, columnars, double grafts – you name it, we’ve got it. Find out more here
  • It’s still not too late to plant heaps of herbs and veggies. We have some amazing, fresh, new seasons seedlings ready to grow, including Bok Choi, Tatsoi, Sage, Calendula, Borage, Feverfew, Rocket, Tarragon, Basil (perennial), Mint, Carrots (purple and orange), Spinach, Celeriac and Lavender.  Head on in to grab your today.
  • Set aside a bit of space and pop in some asparagus! These are a gorgeous additions to the patch, look amazing, and taste pretty good too! We have some beautiful asparagus ready to go, or why not try Deannes’ favourite, the purple asparagus.  For more info on how to get your asparagus flourishing, click here.
  • Add some colour and movement to the patch, and pop in some of these little pretties- dianthus, cornflower, pansy, viola, verbena and stock. We have a full range of beautiful potted colour available at the moment, at our always unbeatable price of 6 for $10!
  • Top up mulch on your vegie patches, herb gardens and ornamental beds, especially important for weed suppression at this time of year. Use pea straw or sugar cane mulches for edible gardens, or choose from our huge range of wood based and inorganic pebble mulches.  These types of mulches are perfect for ornamental gardens, and, right now, you may be eligible for a government rebate when you spend $50 or more on mulch. Why not head on in and ask our awesome SoilWorx staff.
  • We have a HUGE range of bare-rooted ornamental trees – ornamental pears, crabapples, ashes, oaks, weeping cherries, birches, gleditsias and heaps more.  Now is the perfect time to plant deciduous trees, and these always move fast.  Head on in and check out our MASSIVE range today.
  • With all this rain about, snails and slugs will be out in full force.  SoilWorx can help you deal with all your creepy crawlies, and new in this month is our Slugga snail and slug traps.  Unlike pellets, these traps are pet, child and wildlife friendly, and allow you to deal with these slimy critters organically. Whack in a bit of beer at night time, and these traps will keep your patch safe!
  • Re-potting is a great job to do over winter, and, with our winter specials on pots and potting mix, why wouldn’t you? All of our fab concrete pots and planters (as well as concrete statues and urns) are 25% marked price, and our Mother Earth All Purpose Potting Mix is a bargain at $6 per bag. Concrete not your thing? We’ve got an awesome selection of terracotta and glazed pots as well…..you’ll be impressed!

Welcome to our Kids Club

Being a Mum of 1 child myself, I know life for kids is usually all about them. And for many of us parents, keeping them occupied is our main focus a lot of the time! That’s why, we here at Soilworx have come up with an awesome concept, we love it and expect you will too!

We have further developed our already dedicated playground area, giving more space for your little angels to explore and enjoy. Sandpit, Apple tree (Ballerina Style), Strawberries in hanging baskets, colored carrots already growing…make gardening fun and they will come! Today I’ve put in some asparagus, Wombok and Japanese Spinach.

Our kid’s corner has really taken shape, physically. We have two new raised red gum sleeper beds-designed at a perfectly child-friendly level! With cute little work benches on each, it will enable our little treasured to explore planting and at a later date, experience the fruits of there labor. Planting is great for fine motor skills especially when they are little seedlings (the plants as opposed to the kids!)

We also have 2 new ground level garden beds, some plantings have gone in and once up a bit the kids will be able to comfortably enjoy different smells, sizes of leaves and some new and amazing flower colorings; Bumblebee petunias, guess those color? Yellow and Black, for our Richmond supporters it’s almost a must in your garden!

So stay tuned for dates of up and coming events in our Kids Corner….parents you can enjoy the ambience of our intoxicating nursery surroundings, while we keep them occupied for a half hour or so!!!!

Look forward to seeing you soon,

Deanne (Captain of the Kids Club)


Citrus – Which Variety Should I Chose?

Who doesn’t love a good citrus tree or two in their backyard?  Thing is, some citrus can be a little bit temperamental in our colder, western Melbourne winter.  Luckily, SoilWorx have a great range of new season citrus, the perfect evergreen tree for your garden, and even some for pots.  To help you choose, we have put together a list of our recommendations for super citrus in our suburbs.

 Lemons – Varieties

Lisbon

The best lemon for colder spots (like our western suburbs) is the Lisbon…cold tolerant, thick skinned, great tart lemon flavour, full of juice and, best of all, it does darned well in clay soils. On the downside, Lisbon is COVERED in thorns, especially when young, making it a little unsuitable where pricks may be a problem. Lisbon grows to a medium height (3-5m x 3-5m) and is vigorous as well as being long bearing.

Lisbon can be more cold tolerant than Eureka. Fruit is produced mainly in winter, with a smaller summer crop. The lemons are smooth skinned, large and juicy with a few seeds. The rind is thinner than Eureka.

Eureka

Possibly Australia’s most popular lemon, the Eureka will do alright in the West, but can struggle in cooler spots and will really struggle in cold snaps. A nice sized, vigourous tree (3m x 3m) with great lemons, the Eureka can bear fruit almost all year round (with the heaviest crop being winter), and is pretty well thornless. The thing to remember with the Eureka is that they HATE clay soil and wet feet, so prepare your spot well!

Meyer

Let’s not forget the good old Meyer lemon, a fantastic choice for those really cold areas. Meyer is a very sweet lemon (a hybrid between a lemon and an orange) with a thin skin and a low acid content (meaning it’s no good in your cheesecake). Growing only to 2.5m, Meyer is a bushy, vigorous lemon with a few thorns. In cold spots, this is the lemon recommended by the SoilWorx team!

Lemonade

The Lemonade looks like a lemon but can be eaten straight from the tree, just like a mandarin or orange. The fruit is a lot sweeter than a lemon, with a refreshing tang. The tree is an upright grower that produces an abundance of fruit which ripens in mid-winter. It makes a refreshing drink when juiced.

 

Limes – Varieties

Australian

This lime grows on a thornless, evergreen tree which reaches a height of 4.5m x 3m wide. It produces a heavy and continuous crop, with the main crop in spring. A rounded fruit that, if left on the tree, will change from a traditional lime taste to a sweeter flavour. The flesh has a slight orange tinge and is easy to peel.

Kaffir

A good variety for growing in many parts of Australia, Kaffir limes are easily distinguished from all other citrus due to their distinctive double leaf.  Grown predominately for it’s foliage (which is used in a range of Thai dishes and is a great steak marinade), Kaffir limes are great in pots or planted in the garden,  but look out for those spikes. They prefer a free-draining soil, so grab some gypsum and mushroom compost from SoilWorx and prepare the hole before planting.  Protect from extended periods of frosts. The skin of the kaffir lime is also a great zest.

Tahitian

The best lime for cooler climes is the Tahitian. A solid, golfball sized fruit that has a fabulous tart lime flavour is perfect in beers, cocktails and marinades, borne on a small tree of 4.5m x 3m. In Melbourne, this luscious lime bears fruit from Autumn to Spring on a tree with no thorns! And, just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, the Tahitian Lime can also be grown quite happily in a large pot.

 

Oranges – Varieties

Washington

We here at SoilWorx Deer Park reckon the best Orange for our climes is the Washington Navel. Setting fruit in early winter, the Washington Navel is the best orange for eating straight off the tree, has a gorgeous flavour, and will tolerate cooler areas. On the less positive side, the juice can sour fairly quickly in the fridge, and they can be a little prone to pest and disease problems. A gorgeous shaped tree to 4m tall, this guy will do pretty well in a large sized pot. Oh, and being a navel, the fruit is seedless. A great fruit for kids!

Lane’s Late Naval

From Portugal and Brazi, the tasty fruit begins to ripen in early spring and lasts until December. It has large fruit with a deep orange colour. It is easy to peel with very few seeds, much like other navels. One of the best oranges for fresh eating, and just great for cooler climates.

Valencia

Valencia has a high heat requirement, but works well in Melbourne if you leave the fruit on the tree for a long time. This makes it the last of all oranges to ripen. Leaving fruit on the tree helps to develop full flavour and sweetness. The fruit generally starts to ripen in October and can be left on the tree until the following April. Valencias require that perfect ‘hot spot’ in the garden. The fruit is large, juicy and relatively seedless, and sometimes a challenge to peel. Keeps well and produces excellent juice, second only to Navals when eaten fresh. Ripe fruit holds on the tree for months. Use tasting as your harvest guide.

Seedless Valencia

This beaut little tree (to 4m) has delightfully sweet fruit that can be held on the tree for months, and can be sweeter than many other varieties in cooler areas. The juice is beautiful, which is no surprise considering that Valencia oranges are responsible for most of the world’s OJ. The fruit on this tree ripens a bit later in the season (early September in some cases), and the tree itself seems to be less prone to attack from nasties than the Washington Navel. Not a lover of frost and intense cold snaps.

Seville

If you have a nice warm spot at your place, and you LOVE marmalade, a Seville orange may be the perfect thing.  A gorgeous shade tree to 3-4m, Seville produces an incredibly tart, bitter fruit with an absolutely divine perfume.

 

Mandarins – Varieties

Emperor

Emperor is a vigorous and cold resistant variety of mandarin that reaches approx. 5m tall by 4m wide. The fruit ripens during May and August and must be harvested quickly. Emperor can tend to overcrop, so it’s best to thin out fruit to increase the size of what you keep. Fruit has a large, puffy skin that forms completely separate from the flesh, making this mandarin the easiest of all to peel. Flavour is good with only a few seeds. Fruit ripens mid winter, after the Imperial. NOTE: To harvest mandarins over a longer period, plant both an Imperial and Emperor.

Imperial

Australia’s most popular mandarin, with juicy, sweet fruit and a fair cold tolerance. A great backyard variety, Imperial is a reliable fruit setter at home, with a thin, easy to peel skin that is a gorgeous bright orange colour. Imperial has very few seeds, and the fruit will ripen late Autumn to Winter. If you only have room for one mandarin, this is the one to plant.

Honey Murcott

Although named a mandarin, this variety of unknown parentage is more like a mandarin crossed with an orange. The large fruit is flat in shape, with a tight skin and a tendency to be seedy. It has a distinct flavour unlike that of other mandarins, sweet but unique. The fruit ripens late, August into September, making it an ideal addition to the home orchard to increase the harvesting time of mandarins. Strong growing, upright tree.

Japanese Seedless

The tree will grow up to 5m x 4m. The fruit matures from March to April and is large, sweet and juicy. The thin skin is also easily peeled.

 

Tangelos – Varieties

A Tangelo is a hybrid cross between a Mandarin and a Grapefruit. Quick growing trees that can reach 4-8 metres tall by 4 metres wide.  Gprgepous shapped evergreen trees, tangelos make a great hedge or espalier. These trees love the cold, and will be happy in a full sun spot.

Minneola

A mid-season variety with large bright red to orange fruit and a glossy, thin skin. This one has a really tasty grapefruit flavour, which makes up for the fact that it is sometimes hard to peel. The tree only tends to bear fruit every second year (biennial bearing).

Seminole

This tangelo was bred in the USA and has similar fruit to a Minneola except that the skin is bright orange and the tree itself tends to over bear, making fruit smaller. It is wise for the home gardener growing this one to practise thinning the fruit. Fruit is late, ripening around July or August.

 

Other Vareities

Buddha’s Hand

Originating in India, this has to be the most unusual citron. It has a fruit which resembles a hand with finger like segments. The fruit contains no flesh and is entirely made up of white pith. Although not commonly used in a culinary sense, it is traditionally used for perfuming clothes and rooms in China and Japan. The tree is vigorous, but still small. Perfect for those wanting something a little different.

We currently have ALL of these varities available at our Deer Park SoilWorx garden centre.  And while you’re here, don’t forget to grab some chook poo, Dynamic Lifter, PestOil and mulch – all essential items to keeping your citrus thriving.


Introducing our new Vegie Soil Mix!

Want the perfect soil for getting your vegie and herb patch set up?  Why not grab some of our brand new Vegie Mix!  Specially formulated for hungry, productive gardens, SoilWorx Vegie Mix is a blend of top quality garden soil, with a generous helping of mushroom compost.  With a mix of 2/3 soil to 1/3 compost, this is the ideal product for vegie gardens.  Becuase we want our SoilWorx customers to experience this fantastic product for themselves, we are offering this soil at the great introductory price of $50 per cubic metre.  Grab a trailer-full, or get it delivered, we know this is exactally what you need to get your patches powering along!


May in your Garden

Welcome to winter Melbourne gardeners! I’ve gotta say, after spending the last four weeks in Europe enjoying ONLY 3 fine days (not much to be said for a European Spring) I was looking forward to heading back to some milder weather in Melbourne! How wrong I was! It seems winter is upon us in a big way, but that doesn’t mean gardening has to stop.  In fact, May is an awesome time to get into your garden, do some maintenance and get your patch ready for planting.  Here are some ideas to get you started, but, as always, why not head in and see the team at SoilWorx Deer Park – we have expert horticulturists on hand who are always eager to help!

The Edible Garden

Think it’s too cold for vegies and herbs? Think again! There are still many cool season crops you can plant now, but get them in before the end of May for best success. Think about beetroot, carrots, celery, rocket, leek, onions, lettuce, silverbeet, some Asian greens (including Bok Choy, Pak Choy, Mizuna, Mitsuba, Tatsoi, Giant Red Mustard and Mustard Greens) and spinach.  If you’re feeling a bit adventurous, why not consider some of our more “exotic” vegies form our new “Renaissance” range – we have coloured beetroots, purple carrots, an awesome range of “Wok Style” Asian vegies, shallots, onions and, my personal favourite, Japanese Spinach.  Head on in and grab some winter veg today!

Not too late for cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and broccoli this month, but you may not get a harvest until spring now. Watch out for the caterpillar of the cabbage white butterfly which will still be active in your garden until it gets REALLY chilly.  Best thing to do is squash them when you see them, and plant some dill, sage and white pansies to repel them.  If the persist, grab some Dipel or Success in store, and give your plants a spray. While the weather is still mild, the green caterpillars of the white cabbage moth are still out and about. They adore these ‘Brassica’ (or Cabbage Family) vegetables and can devour seedlings of these vegies overnight.

We’ve got some great garlic in at the moment, so whack them in now for best results.  These will be ready to harvest in summer, so give them a nice spot in the garden, and, come spring, fat bulbs will begin to form. 

Herbs that are ready to go now and looking great in the nursery are coriander, parsley, chives, mint, lemon balm and rosemary. Or, for something a bit different, consider these unusual varieties – French Tarragon, Borage, Lovage and Calendula.  These guys love cooler weather, and are fantastic companion plants. 

Give your vegie patch a feed right now, using organic based liquid fertilisers (every 2 weeks for seaweed, worm or compost tea) or side dress with manure or organic pellets like Dynamic Lifter (every 6 weeks during the growing season).

Our Bare Root fruit trees are on the way (early June), so prepare your patch now.  Dig in some of our mushroom compost and our new chock manure to where you want to plant some fruit trees this winter. Want to place a pre-order for your fruit trees?  Click here, and your wish is our command!

Citrus

Our huge range of new season citrus is starting to arrive. Lemons, limes, oranges, mandarins, grapefruits, tangelos, cumquats and even some Buddha’s Hands are here, and looking fabulous.  We also have a great range of dwarf trees, as well as double grafted (two varieties on one plant – perfect for small gardens).

Planting

We have a gorgeous range of bulbs ready to pop into your patch in the middle of the month.  Tulips, hyacinths and a host of other spring planting bulbs are available, why not head in and have a look.  If you are planting them in pots use specially formulated Bulb Potting Mix. For direct planting in the soil, enrich it first with some compost. May is also your last opportunity to plant other spring flowering bulbs. Remember, if you don’t get these in the ground this month, you may as well throw them out.

If you are besotted by autumn colour, look for trees that are now showing off their deciduous tones. You’re best to wait until June to buy them, as this is when our large range of bare-rooted trees come in.

Cyclamen Season

Yes, they are here in so many colours. An ideal Mother’s Day gift and one of the showiest autumn / winter flowers. Pluck off spent flowers with a sharp tug and twist. Liquid feed regularly and only water when the surface of the potting mix starts to dry out. Have them inside for some floral cheer but put them out at night as the cold air keeps them flowering and happy for longer – it is extraordinary how long they will flower for under this regime.

Fertilising

Autumn flowering bulbs will benefit from a dressing of blood & bone (or complete fertiliser) as the leaves start to yellow off.

If your spring flowering bulbs are starting to poke through, feeding with a bulb food (available in store) will help produce strong flower stems and good-sized flowers.

Roses

Our bare root potted roses are due soon, in the first half Jun in fact.  Why not prepare your spot now, somewhere in full sun with well-drained soil, using loads of our mushroom compost.  Fork it all through, and leave this sit until you are ready to plant.  We will be holding rose pruning sessions during June/July, once our rose expert Deanne returns from her tropical island holiday.  Sign up to our monthly newsletter for more details.


Join the SoilWorx Garden Club
We are a local business who works closely with and values our local community. One way we stay in touch with you is through our FREE monthly e-newsletter. By signing up you will receive 5% off plants (excluding those already on special), monthly gardening hints, access to our classes and workshops, and specials exclusive to club members. Go on, join in the fun and sign up today!

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What to do this month – March

March is a cracking month to get into the garden – a great time to plant, prepare, and maintain your patch.  Not sure what to do this month?  Here is a couple of ideas from the super SoilWorx staff to get you started:

Water

On our heavy, clay-filled soils to the west of Melbourne, water-logging can be a bit of an issue.  We have had a far bit of rain in the last few weeks, and it’s possible that igf your plants are looking a bit stressed, they may be water-logged.  Have a look at the soil – bulk back any mulch or pebbles you may have and have a poke about.  If the soil feels saturated and smells a bit sour, it’s a sure sign that it’s overwet.  The best thing to do is ease-up on the watering, and for plants that really dislike “wet-feet”, you may look at trying to improve drainage in these areas of the garden.  Use a garden fork to relieve compaction in the root area, and then apply a light sprinkling of gypsum to the surface of the soil.  This will help break up the clay, and improve drainage in this area.  Oh, and if you’re planting into these types of spoils, consider whcking in some soil improver and gypsum, as well as mounding the plants up slightly when you plant them.

The Vegie Patch

The edge is off the summer sun and humidity  and things are a lot more pleasant in the garden. Clean up the remains of your summer vegies if they are coming to the end of their useful life. These can be composted if you chop up the stalky parts first (a sharp spade is good) and avoid adding plant matter that might have been diseased, such as with powdery mildew. If you want to pull up your tomatoes but have still got lots waiting to mature, you can do both. Pull the plants out roots and all and hang them upside down in a shady spot outdoors. Gradually the tomatoes will mature AND you’ll have the garden space back again.

Add mushroom compost and manures to the soil which will be depleted after a fertile summer season.

Prepare the soil for some broadbeans. These will grow with very little care over winter. By the middle of spring, you’ll be eating the delicious crop and the leguminous nature of the plant means that they will enrich the soil too. Put some lime in before planting as they prefer an alkaline soil.

If you want to get in early, plant your hearty winter vegetables such as brussels  sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, silverbeet, broccoli and beetroot. Try some asian greens for a tasty change, the nursery now has a great range of Pak Choi, Bok Choi, Chinese Cabbage, Wom Bok and heaps more!  Tuscan Kale is in as well, and look out for leeks and silverbeet seedlings too.  While you’re planting your cabbages and winter veg, grab some white pansies AND sage.  These two are EXCELLENT companion plants in the winter vegie patch, and will help repel the Cabbage White Butterfly.  If you need something a bit stronger, try  Dipel or some Success to eliminate the caterpillars (both available in-store now).

Think ahead to brighten up the grey winter days and plant some colour for winter. Some winter / spring flowering annuals such as alyssum, pansies, polyanthus and cinerarias take about 8-12 weeks to flower so get them in for some lovely splashes of warmth before the cold sets in. If you’re keen on Iceland Poppies (those lovely paper-delicate flowers in gorgeous pastel colours) get those in soon too for a display in September. St Patrick’s Day (March 17th) is the traditional time to plant sweet pea seeds.

Pruning

Take plenty of cuttings from your geraniums, azaleas, hibiscus, fuchsia, grevillea, camellias, lavender and rhododendrons. Take semi-hardwood cuttings (10cm pieces of new growth which has hardened off). This is a low cost way to fill up patches in your garden and the excess can be given away to friends and family. Cut back summer flowering plants that have finished blooming. This is especially important with the plants which have weed potential, such as agapanthus. Left to seed, these plants will quickly invade surrounding areas. Even seed washed away has the potential to take root many kilometres away from your garden. Trim roses to encourage an autumn flush of flowers. Water in some plant food and more roses should appear before too long.

Slugs and Snails

These bad boys are EVERYWHERE after our recent rain, and they can munch a garden to the ground almost overnight.  Snail pellets sprinkled around young and susceptible plants work a treat, but beware aroung pets and kids (in this instance, save your coffee grounds and use them instead). Or, if you really want to knock them on the head, slide on into SoilWorx and grab one of our great Slugga Snail and Slug traps – awesome, and only $5.95ea!

Aphids

Look out for aphids clustering on tender young growth, flower buds or underneath leaves. Aphids breed very quickly when conditions are favourable and can develop into a heavy infestation in just a few days if immediate action is not taken. Remove and squash them by hand or knock them down with regular sprays of pyrethrum or garlic and chilli spray.


Soilworx

Web:     http://www.soilworx.com.au
Email:    info@soilworx.com.au For Your Nearest Store
Call:      1300 SOILWORX

Opening Hours
Monday to Saturday: 6.30am to 5.30pm
Sunday & Public Holidays: 8am to 5.30pm
Closed: Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Years Day, Good Friday & Easter Sunday

Store Locations

Deer Park
987-995 Ballarat Road
Deer Park Vic 3023
Tel: 9361 1300
Fax: 9361 1400 

Click here for map

Pakenham

Koo Wee Rup Rd

Pakenham

Tel: 9361 1300
Fax: 9361 1400

Click here for map

Werribee
309-311 Princes Highway
Werribee Vic 3030
Tel: 9741 0722
Fax: 9741 0733 

Click here for map


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