Gaias Organic Gardens is a small and dedicated business focused on helping others grown their own food. They strongly believe if everyone just took a tiny step to recover the immediate environment in their backyards, the world would be a much more beautiful, healthy and sustainable place.
The Green Dream Team will be down at Evirofest 2018!!
Come on down to our interactive stall for Kids activities and gardening fun! We will have heaps of specials and discounts as well as giveaways. We will also have some gardening supplies for you to get those gardens growing.
We will be holding FREE events and demonstrations in the main stage area; (times to be confirmed)
How to set up an Organic Vegetable Garden Workshop:
Have you ever thought about starting your own vegetable garden? Or perhaps your first attempt was not so successful? If you answered yes to either of these questions then come on down to our workshop. We will walk you through soil, seed and sun basics to help you get it right!
Gardening Q & A:
The Dream Green Team from Gaias Organic garden will be there to assist you and to answer any gardening questions you may have.
Feel free to bring some samples or pictures down and we can offer you organic solutions to your pest and disease issues.
Ah, the feeling of planting out a new crop. Maybe it’s some new season veg or still some from last season that just isn’t performing as good as it should be. Maybe there are patches of your lawn that are browning off? You do what you know and check that there is watering still happening, you feed the plants/lawn and yet there is still something not quite right. You get down on all fours and proceed to check over your plants like a physician. Everything seems right that is visble, but what about the unseen? The abstruse…The undetected….The cryptic?
Introducing, the in the red corner…..THE NEMATODE!
Before we start looking at the bad guys, lets remember that there are also good Nematodes which can assist in controlling Fungus Gnats Cut Worms, Fly Larvae, and around 200 other soil dwelling instects and pests. With over 500,000 identified, not all Nematodes are bad.
In fact, only about 5% are bad guys!
Most folk know and understand the usual pest and diseases that lurk within our gardens, but few are wise on the shadowy underground. Plant Parasites!! We all have them in our bodies and it’s no different for your beautiful plants! Just like the worms and paracites in our own bodies, the Root Nematode – feeds off the nutrients pumped out throught plants root systems. They clucter up and form noduals called Galls, this is also where they reproduce.
While it isn’t that easy to see a Nematode attack, some of the early symptoms include:
Yellowing of the plants and grass and a slow steady decline of overall plant health
Slowed or demisinshed yeilds
Tips of leaves and growth nodes fall off very easily
If you suspect that something nefarious sub-surface is going on and are confused on the plants appearance above ground, its time to have a look below ground!
First lets start by selecting the weakest plants and up-rooting them, care should be taken when doing this as not to further spread the Nematode. One of the first things that you should see within the root ball is a cluster of unusual growths. No this is not Nitrogen Fixing Noduals, but in fact the dreaded Nematode.
There are a few options that you can take but there is no QUICK FIX solution.
Especially in the midst of an attack.
The only real viable option is to destroy the host plant, being careful again with the root system as to not spread the Nematodes further. DO NOT SPRAY CHEMICALS!
Prevention is better than cure!!!
But how do we prevent such an invisible, stealthy attack?
Crop Rotation: Do not plant the same crops in the same place. Plant crops not related to one another. This will help prevent Nematoed by disrupting the breeeding cycle and food source, it will also help with control of other plants pest and diseases.
Fallow Crops: If we plant Nematode resistant crops such as Broccoli (Brassica oleracea) Carrots Daucus carota), Onions (Allium cepa) along side others like FRENCH (Tagetes patula) and AFRICAN MARIGOLDS (Tagetes erecta). The natural Namaticides found in the Marigolds kills off the bad guys, leaving only friendlies.
Plant seeds in masses everywhere in the gardens, and turn the mature plants into the soil, again for that Namaticide release.
Green Manure crops are also though to produce compounds that are toxic to Nematodes.
Healthy Soil: By adding Organic Matter such as Compost and Manures, we are exciting the Microbial Bacteria and making a well protected area for all the good guys to roam. Thus making a sort of security guard type scenario. This will also help bring in the Good Nematodes and they will also help for a protective barrier whilst keeping the Earthworms and Beneficial Organisms safe!
Something else to think about is Mollasses!! That’s right old fashioned ***Mollasses drenching.
***Dissolve one litre of molasses in four litres of warm water. Allow it to cool and drench the soil.
Also try purchasing Nematode-Resistant crop varieties.
Practicing and using the above information should see a better season of wonderful fruit and vegetables!!
A wicking bed is a water efficient garden made from easy to come by materials.
Wicking beds are becoming increasingly popular and unique in that they water plants from below rather than above. Wicking beds have a waterproof lining that holds a reservoir of water at the bottom from which water is drawn upwards acting like a giant self-watering pot. Wicking beds are so water efficient that they only need to be watered 1 or 2 times a week over summer in most cases even less.
Advantages of A Wicking Bed System
Easy Grow Low Care System
Wicking beds are low maintenance. Little watering is needed making it possible to go away for two or three weeks at a time without your wicking bed drying out.
Wicking beds use a quarter of the water needed for a conventional garden bed. Watering from the bottom up prevents evaporation of surface.
Reduce Carbon Emissions
They also reduce the amount of nutrients lost or leached from the soil by re-distributing them again and again for the plants to use. What’s more, Wicking beds enable the plants to absorb carbon from the air and in doing so, create less carbon emissions.
Easy Pest Control
Wicking beds make it much harder for weeds to establish as the soil on the surface is drier. They’re also ideal for gardens that have trees with invasive roots or are infested with Couch grass as its very hard for tree roots and Couch runners to penetrate into a wicking bed.
What you will need to create a wicking bed:
A wooden box, fridge (degassed) , Old Bath, Container of some sort, no more than 50 cm Deep.
Porus Stone, Such as pea gravel
Geo Fabric, Old Sheets, or fabric
Soil Mix with good drainage
Ag Pipe or PVC pipe with holes in the bottom section of an “L” shape
Overflow valve drain
Mulch and Plants as per usual garden bed scenario
Builders Plastic or Pond Liner if the container is not water tight
Steps for Making Your Wicking Bed:
-Line the box with the pond liner and secure into place. Allow for plenty of ‘give’
-Create over flow valve at 15-20 cm up from the bottom of the box
-Place in ag pipe/ pvc pipe for feeding the reservoir
-Gently place in porus rock matter to the depth of 15-20 cm
-Place Geo fabric or fabric over the rocks, tuck into sides so that it creates a neat and secure layer, keeping the soil separate from the reservoir
-Wet Geo fabric and fill reservoir
-Fill garden bed with soil
-Plant and mulch as normal
*It will take around a week for the “wicking” to take effect in this time and at times when new seedlings are planted overhead watering as well as filling of the reservoir is essential.
If you’re not familiar with pennyroyal, Pennyroyal scientifically known as Mentha pulegium is a common plant in the mint family. While it does have amazing health benefits when used by adults in moderate doses, it can also be toxic in higher doses. An essential oil made with pennyroyal should not be taken internally because it is very potent, however milder variants such as pennyroyal tea are considered to be safe.
What is it used for?
Despite its toxicity, pennyroyal in tea form and essential oil as topical application is considered a much safer option for consumption. These are some of the reasons that pennyroyal can be used:
Pennyroyal has been widely used to improve digestion and to treat common digestive complaints. You can drink small doses of the tea to help treat gas, bloating or stomach pain.
Because of its menthol content, pennyroyal has been widely used over the years for its expectorant qualities to relieve the symptoms of flu or colds. It helps aid breathing and act as a decongestant.
Pennyroyal was used in the past to calm the nerves and help people with sleeping problems because of its mild sedative properties.
Muscle and Joint Pain
Pennyroyal oil has a numbing and warming quality and is used to help treat sore muscles and joints. The depurative qualities of Pennyroyal makes for a good treatment of arthritis and rheumatism because it helps get rid of the uric acid in our system.
Pennyroyal has been used throughout the years to help stimulate menstruation in women who do not menstruate or those with irregular cycles.
Smelling, and consuming pennyroyal with up liven the spirit. Walk or sit on a patch of pennyroyal and relax as it takes away your blues.
How to Use Pennyroyal
Tea: Add one and two teaspoons of dried pennyroyal leaves to a cup. Add boiling water to the leaves and let the tea infuse for at least 10 minutes. You can drink up to three cups each day.
Pennyroyal essential oil: You should only use it topically
Insect Repellant: Mix Pennyroyal Essential Oil with Citronella when making natural insect repellant.
Ground Cover: Our absolute favorite ground cover of all time, its very hardy once it gets going, you can even mow it!
Calendula (Calendula officinalis) is an herbaceous plant of the small genus Calendula, in the Asteraceae family. This flowering, annual plant grows naturally around western Europe, southeastern Asia and the Mediterranean. This herb been used medicinally since at least the 12th century.
The flowers are considered sacred in India, where they’re used to adorn statues of deities, as well as used in religious ceremonies in ancient Aztec and Mayan civilizations.
This plant is in the same species as marigolds and often called by the alternative name pot marigold.
This plant thrives in almost soil type, but prefers light to sandy and moderately rich, well-drained, soils. Calendula prefers full sun exposure but tolerates light shade. It will flower for pretty much the year round here in Perth.
Calendula, the flower of the gods, Can help to soothe skin conditions. Boil or soak the leaves and flowers to create a beautiful tincture.
Toner for Skin- Simmer the leaves in water, allow to cool and apply to skin as a refreshing toner.
Dried Flowers can be used as a dye for craft
Dried Flowers can be used in potpourri
Dried Flowers can be used as a replacement for saffron in cooking
Add Dried Flowers to your bath for soothing skin and relaxation
The petals of the flower are edible
It is a top companion plant for attracting pollinators and predatory pests
Prayer, Offerings and Sacred Gifts in ceremonies and meditations
Consume as a tea for reduced inflammation and clearer skin
Calendula Oil is incredible for the skin, bruising, varicose veins and minor blemishes or burns. It is a great treatment for Eczema
Cut flowers in morning when they first open and dry immediately for maximum benefit
Infuse in oil for beauty and medical treatments
Allergy to ragweed and related plants: Calendula may cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to the Asteraceae/Compositaceae family. Members of this family include ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies, and many others. If you have allergies, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking calendula.
Calendula is known to affect the menstrual cycle and should not be used during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Dosage and Administration:
An infusion can be made using 1 tsp (5-10g) of dried florets in 8oz (250 ml) of boiling water. It should be steeped 10-15 minutes. Drink 2-3 cups of the infusion per day.
Calendula can also be prepared in an ointment containing 2-5% calendula (e.g. 2-5 grams calendula/100g ointment). It can be applied 2-4 times daily as needed.
Calendula products should always be stored in dark places free of moisture, and should not be used after three years of storage.
Our Perth summer soils have a wonderful problem of being Hydrophobic. No I’m not suggesting your soil is scared of spiders, or of leaving the house, nor am I suggesting your soil is against same sex marriage. Your soil is scared of water.
A common issue with easy solutions
This hydrophobic soil is so common in Perth. And it only takes good soil to dry out a few times before it happens, guess how easy that is in roaring winds when its 35 degrees. Once the soil dries out the microbes die, and it begins to repel water. Like we need any other obstacles in a successful garden!!
Here’s what to do….
Have you ever watered and noticed the water sitting on the top of the soil in pools rather than soaking in? Yep you got it- hydrophobic soil!
So, what can we do about it??
Don’t let your soil dry out
Build it up with HEAPS of organic matter, compost, manures etc
Add Zeolite to the soil, this will increase water and nutrient retention
Use coconut coir, this material has little to no nutritional benefit but can add water retention to the soil
Use detergent rather than expensive soil wetter products (this works but you need to apply bottles full, several times over a few weeks/months, not just a few squirts!!)
Mulch Mulch Mulch- I’m saying this three times so you understand how important it is. Lupin or Straw mulch for veggie gardens or wood chips for the rest of the garden.
Add trace elements, in dust form. We recommend No Frills Rock Dust Plus (you can order from us) or Soil Solver products.
Don’t leave space in the garden bare, this may seem strange but there is no blank open soil in nature, to preserve the soil structure and reduce problematic “weeds” (we use the term weed very loosely) Try planting some green manures or chuck some seeds from the pantry in and do the old chop and drop technique to add goodness back into soil.
Rock Mulch, A great technique to accompany newly planted trees. Add a large rock on top of the drip line system around .5m away from the trees, this will create a moist area under the rock and feed water into the soil
Grey Water. Now you can’t water the vegetable or edible gardens with your unfiltered grey water but if you can get this stuff out onto your lawn you will have the greenest lawn on the block
Do Not- waste your hard-earned money purchasing soil crystals, they are rubbish.
Need more help?
If you need some help in the garden, or to resurrect a forgotten vegetable garden that is a distant memory in your family’s history, Call us today! We can help you get your area functional and productive, or to ensure you are getting the most out of your hard work.
Do your vegetables have little critters on them that look like this?
Beautiful white butterflies….. Not!
So dainty are there moth predecessors, so nasty are there crawling green caterpillars. Its only a few weeks into spring and we can easily spot the damage these bugs cause to the dinner you are lovingly nurturing and growing in your vegetable garden….. they love to attack brassicas (broccoli, cabbage, kale and cauliflower) so if you have some of your winter crops still in, get them out now. They are just going to get decimated and they are unlikely to grow any bigger as the weather warms up, plus they are just taking up precious real estate in your suburban jungle/ edible paradise.
It seems that the most popular Kale variety, Black Tuscan is also their favourite.
What are Caterpillars?
The total life span of the cabbage moth is between 3-6 weeks from egg to to mature adult.
What Damage do they do?
They will eat all the leaves of your precious dinner, until bit by bit the whole plant will be gone leaving only the skeletal remains of what resembles a Halloween ornament. Jack Skeleton might enjoy a garden like this but the average Perth green thumbed gardener doesn’t.
When will I see them?
They are feeling happy as the weather warms up and you can see these guys in either spring or early autumn. I find them to be a bigger problem this time of year as a lot of people still have their winter crops in (if this is you, time to spring into action and get your summer crops in!)
Please take the following steps:
Remove any you see by hand, feed to chooks or place under a big native tree for birds.
Companion plant with white edible or medicinal flowers such as violas or chamomile.
Other Companion plants include Nasturtiums, Dill, Alliums (onion, Garlic Chives) Beetroot, Sage
Plant Land Cress as a trap crop
Keep the area looking full of imitation butterflies by paying our half egg shells around your plants.
Tie a piece of rope above your trouble crops with bread tags, white plastic or something like the look of the white cabbage butterfly. This will deter them.
Regular application of food grade Diatomaceous Earth will help, just dust the plants every week or so. Perfectly safe and edible the DE will feed the soil and improve water retention at the same time.
Netting can be used to keep them out, and as there is not pollination required for the seedling to provide fruit they are a lot easier to net that say tomatoes.
Be vigilante, it only takes a few days for these guys to take over and wipe our entire crops.
It’s that time of year again, Stone Fruit Season! And as we know there is nothing worse than patiently waiting, loving nurturing and excitedly picking when the time is right, only to find out that some annoying little fruit flies have beaten you to it. Stone fruit is the most attractive to fruit flies but they don’t mind a nibble on them all.
The mother fruit fly can lay 200-300 eggs at a time
She will most likely lay them in rotting fruit
Her babies will start reproducing around 24 hours later……..
Things to remember:
Hygiene is key: Clean up the dead fruit off the ground immediately before it rots and add to the compost or dig deep into the soil under the tree (to add nutrients back in)
Keep your traps on the outskirts of the tree or on the perimeter of the area, not in the middle of the tree or they will just go for the fruit ( fruit flies are lazy!)
Netting is the only sure-fire way to eradicate the issue, but please mind your wildlife as birds can get caught in the nets too. I prefer to leave some tall branches for the birds to be able to access, but I love it when they come to visit!
Letting chooks forage underneath can help reduce numbers
Exclusion Netting or Bagging is a great option as well, but keep your bag/net off the fruit or the female will just pierce it anyway.
Fruit Fly Trap Recipe:
There are so many out there but this is the one I have found to be successful in reducing numbers. You will need:
1 Empty Plastic Drink Bottle 375ml
1 Tablespoon Vegemite
1 Tablespoon Honey
1 Tablespoon Yeast
1 Litre water
About a cup of men’s pee (yes you read correctly)
Add into a bottle with a hole in the lid, add 2 holes to the side about halfway up. Fill with liquid mixture about 1 inch deep per bottle and place around the outskirts of your trees with string. You will need about 4 traps for a fully mature tree.