Posts Tagged ‘ citrus ’

Celebrating Citrus Landscaping and decorating with citrus

Posted on: July 18th, 2022 by Loyiso Mamahlodi No Comments
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Topic: Celebrating Citrus
Theme:
Landscaping and decorating with citrus
Industry Expert:
Dane Montana
Garden Centre:
Montana Nurseries - https://www.montananurseries.co.za/

 

If you are looking to begin a citrus growing journey, come and learn some trade secrets, exclusively shared by our industry expert, Dane from Montana Nurseries. Incorporating these vibrant and versatile fruit trees as part of your landscaping design is easier than you may think. Check out Dane’s recommendations for which trees to grow in your province and get the best head start on your juicy journey.

1. What made you first fall in love with citrus growing? Why are citrus trees so special?

My dad, Alan Ross, started Montana Nurseries and began growing and farming citrus trees in our nursery. I have grown up with citrus and have always loved the variety of lemons, oranges, naartjies, and limes. Citrus trees are very rewarding and there’s always something happening, whether it be a new flush of sweet flowers or delicious fruit.

 

2. What are some of the reasons why gardeners should be growing citrus at home? Are there any benefits/advantages?

The main benefit is their juicy produce that’s loaded with vitamins. Citrus can be eaten as is or used in cooking or oils. The leaves of some varieties, such as the Thai lime, are used to create many fragrant and zesty dishes. The flowers are wonderfully scented too.

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3. Besides utilising citrus trees for their produce, how could gardeners incorporate trees as part of their backyard landscaping design?

Citrus trees make great feature plants, either in the ground or in containers. There is a wide variety of cultivars with different coloured leaves, flowers and fruit. The ornamental types such as calamondins and chinotto are more of a shrub, whereas the commercial types such as lemon eureka and navels grow more like trees. Citrus also make great container plants. Pots should be about twice the size of the container it was bought in.

 

4. What are some of the most common pests and how can gardeners protect and treat their trees?

The three most common citrus pests are thrips, mealybug, and citrus psylla. Regular monitoring of new flush for any type of insect damage will be the best for early detection and treatment. Treat with the correct registered pesticide, available at your local garden centre.

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5. Are there any general citrus hacks that you could share with a beginner citrus grower?

Do not overwater your plants. Overwatering is the biggest killer of citrus. At the end of winter, hold back water as much as possible. This will cause plants to stress and produce more flowers, resulting in more fruit.

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6. Are there any citrus trees that grow particularly well in certain regions compared to others?

Northern Cape: Grapefruits

Eastern Cape: Lemons, oranges, and naartjies

Western Cape: Naartjies

Mpumalanga: Oranges, lemons, and naartjies

North West: Lemons and naartjies

Gauteng: Lemons and oranges

Limpopo: Lemons, oranges, and naartjies

KwaZulu Natal: Limes, lemons, and oranges

 

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7. Do you have any advice on what to do with excess produce?

Excess produce can be used in preserves or for oils. In the garden, fruit can be added to the compost heap but it is recommended to cut up the fruit before doing so, to prevent secondary infestations of insects such as fruit flies, fungus, and citrus black spot. Citrus does not harm worms in a worm farm but does not get eaten very quickly. Spoiled or excess fruit should not be used as a mulch and should be chopped up or shredded when added to a compost heap.

 

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There you have it, citrus gardeners! Enjoy an outing with the family to one of our quality approved GCA Garden Centres where you can find trees, compost, fertilisers, and pest control solutions that have been specially formulated for your new fruitful babies. Remember to grab some compost starter and accelerator to ensure the necessary biology is all set and ready to receive your citrus leftovers.

 

Lemonade super-boost juice July DIY

Posted on: June 26th, 2022 by Loyiso Mamahlodi No Comments
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With so much citrus in season now, you may be looking for some inspiration on what to do with your harvest. Life is a Garden invites you to get seriously super with your lemons this July and juice up a nutritious storm in your kitchen. Re-invent the lemonade with this zesty booster juice DIY. 

Lemonade super-boost juice recipe

Aren’t we lucky to have Mother Nature on our side as we enter the last stretch of winter! Your lemon harvest, herbs, and spices are talking – do you know what they say?

Ingredients

- 2x peeled lemons for a flush of Vitamin C and multiple essential minerals and plant proteins

- Half a finger of fresh, peeled ginger for respiratory system clearing and protection

- 1x celery stalk for detoxification and opening of the toxin release pathways of the body

- Half a teaspoon of raw, organic turmeric to reduce inflammation 

- A quarter cucumber for rehydration and cholesterol-lowering properties

- A handful of parsley as a systemic anti-fungal and gland health ally

- 2x tablespoons of raw honey for holistic antibacterial support (place your honey in lukewarm water before juicing to ensure it will dissolve well inside your juice)

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Method

There is a difference between a smoothie and a juice: a smoothie contains all the pulp and fibres of the chosen ingredients whereas a juice contains only the liquid gold. You can use the recipe above as a smoothie if you’re looking for something more meal-like, or you can extract the liquid from the ingredients as a potent super shot or juice for the family. Juices are generally gentler on the digestive system as the absence of plant fibres allows for easier absorption of all the goodness. 

Option 1: Nut milk bag

A bit of effort will go a long way when using a hand-operated nut milk bag, which you can purchase at almost any health store. Simply place each solid ingredient inside the bag and squeeze the juice out into a large bowl. The result will be a velvet, smooth elixir that may well blow your mind. Stir in your honey and turmeric after all the solids have been pressed. 

 

Top tip: Use the leftover fibres and pulp for the ingredients as an elixir for your compost heap – it’s a boost juice win for the garden too! 

 

- Option 2: Juicer appliance 

The advantage of using a juicer is that you don’t have to get your hands as involved as with a nut bag, however, you may also lose a bit of the goodness along the way. As such, we recommend using a bit more of each ingredient to compensate. There are a variety of juicers on the market, just be sure to choose one that separates the liquidfrom the pulp. 

 

Follow the instructions on how to feed your ingredients into your chosen juicer and then stir in your turmeric and warmed up honey afterwards. Enjoy the lip-smacking sensation and a surge of revitalised energy that will soar through your body. 

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Try this: Freeze your harvest

Squeeze your citrus into a bowl, ensuring you have a nice clear liquid-sunshine consistency. Then, pour your happiness into ice trays and pop them into the freezer for later. Enjoy your frozen fruit cubes in a drink or pop them into the blender for a refreshing crusher. Top it all off with some fresh herbs from the garden and perhaps a little sweetener for the kids or a dash of gin for the grown-ups. 

 

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Top tip: Visit your GCA Garden Centre to see which other fresh herbs are in stock now. Purchase a seedling tray to harvest from and then transplant them into cute containers to use as a kitchen windowsill garden. 

 

When this one body is all we’ve got, let’s make lemonade to boost it good! Enjoy this flavour adventure and send your taste buds into salivation haven. Life is a Garden, and we need our health to tend to it. 

 

The Secret To Citrus Success Botanical Boss

Posted on: June 26th, 2022 by Loyiso Mamahlodi No Comments
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If you are reading this, somewhere inside you there is a special place that longs to uncover the secrets of the mighty citrus. Life is a Garden invites you on a juicy journey to the epicentre of this stunning fruit. Learn about ornamental varieties, decorating, utilising leftovers, citrus for your province, and gossip-worthy growing hacks. Let’s go! 

 

What’s so great about growing your own? 

  • Health wealth: The high quantity of Vitamin C boosts the immune system and keeps skin smooth and elastic. Citrus are also loaded with B vitamins, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, and copper. Tending to your trees is a super stress reliver and a chance to get active in the sunshine. 
  • Year-round food: Growing a variety of cultivars that fruit at different times of the year allow you to spread out and extend your harvest window. With the right cultivars and planning, you can grow citrus almost all year round! 
  • Organic & eco-friendly: Growing your own has the added benefit of product control. If organic produce and eco-friendly growing is top on your list, a citrus plantation is definitely for you. 
  • More money, more C power: Most citrus trees begin producing fruit even as adolescent plants. Once established, their large yields will save your family and the community a significant amount of money, while also providing possible forms of income, depending on what you choose to do with your harvest (resell or jam making, for example).  

 

Garden jargon check: The word ‘cultivar’ refers to a plant within that specie that has been specifically developed through controlled plant breeding. A citrus cultivar is therefor a specifically bred variation of this plant ‘created’ to deliver a special purpose, such as to produce more fruit or grow smaller. 

 

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Ornamentals on the patio

These sweet trees are the ideal patio décor asset! As long as they receive good direct sunlight throughout the day with correct feeding, watering, and soil – you can’t go wrong (maintenance hacks shared below). Add a pop of colour to your patio or show off your topiary skills with some funky pruning designs (read more about pruning styles in our Tiptop Topiary article here: https://www.lifeisagarden.co.za/topiary/). Citrus can also be espaliered along a wall or fence to hide or screen and area.

Top tip: Avoid using fertiliser for trees in containers as this may well burn or kill your plants.

Claim to fame: Masses of white, pungently citrus-fragranced flowers that develop into cute little orange fruit throughout most of the year. These three lovelies have a compact, bush-like growth habit, making them simply perfect additions for container planting and small space gardening. 

A handy hack: When transplanting your tree into it’s forever home, pick a container that is twice the size of the one you purchased it in, 

 

Garden jargon check: Ornamental plants are those which are specifically grown for their beauty factor, and not for their by-products, for example. Ornamental citrus trees are bread and grown for their unique decorative qualities, such as scented flowers or extra bright fruit. 

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Suited citrus for your province 

Northern Cape: Grapefruits

Eastern Cape: Lemons, oranges, and naartjies

Western Cape: Naartjies

Mpumalanga: Oranges, lemons, and naartjies

North West: Lemons and naartjies

Gauteng: Lemons and oranges

Limpopo: Lemons, oranges, and naartjies

KwaZulu Natal: Limes, lemons, and oranges

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Love your leftovers 

To successfully utilise your leftover citrus, check out these zesty tips:  

  • Never add whole fruit to your compost. Cut up any fruit before adding it to the heap to prevent a secondary infestation of pesky pests such as fruit flies, fungus, and citrus black spot.
  • Avoid using spoiled fruit as mulch – this will also attract unwanted insects. 
  • Citrus will not harm your worms in the worm farm, they just take a long time to be eaten. 
  • Experiment with making oils and preserves to share with your family and the community. Why not donate some of your harvest to those in need who can either fill their own tummies or their corner spaza shop, which in turn will fill even more tummies! 

 

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Gossip-worthy growing hacks

We’ve consulted our industry experts and they’ve shared these awesome trade secrets with us:

  • Overwatering is the biggest citrus killer. At the end of winter, restrict watering as much as possible, which will cause plants to stress and produce more flowers, resulting in more fruit for the next season. 
  • Pick the flowers off your tree for the first year or two. This will allow the plant to put its energy into becoming a bigger and stronger tree with larger crops in the years that follow.
  • Always remember to plant your citrus tree at the same level as it was planted in the nursery container. 
  • Drainage is also very important. Make sure that all trees (in the ground or containers) have well-draining soil. If planting in the open ground, avoid soils that have a high clay content in them. Citrus trees can suffer from root diseases, and this is normally brought on by a combination of overwatering and poor drainage. Before potting your citrus, add a layer of coarse gravel or rock to the bottom of the container to prevent the holes from clogging up.
  • On older trees, thin out the old branches in the centre of the tree. This will help bring in light and air movement to the inner part of the tree.
  • Feed your citrus with a balanced fertiliser every month from August to November (available at your GCA Garden Centre).

 

Grab a ready-to-go tree: Lemon eureka and lemon navels are just two top citrus trees that you can find at Montana Nurseries. The friendly staff will help you choose the right container, soil, and fertiliser for your new citrus – it’s go on and grow from there! 

 

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Pest alert

Your GCA Garden Centre has both chemical and eco-friendly pest control products to choose from. If you are unsure about which insect is causing the infection, take a close up photo of your plant and show it to your knowledgeable nursery staff member. The chances are that of these are the culprit: 

  • Red spider mite
  • Leaf miner
  • Scale 
  • Psylla 
  • Mealybug

 

With so much information at your green fingertips, we hope that your citrus adventure brings you so much joy and lots of juice! Join our seasonal gardening group on Facebook and share your progress and challenges with other citrus enthusiast: https://www.facebook.com/groups/lifeisagarden.co.za 

 

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Landscaping and decorating with citrus INDUSTRY EXPERT Q&A

Posted on: June 1st, 2022 by Shahnee Stockigt No Comments
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Topic: Citrus
Theme: Mini citrus trees for the patio
Industry Expert: David Seewald
Garden Centre/Grower: Heuers - www.heuers.co.za 

Are you ready to be inspired and educated? Our Life is a Garden readers are in for a zesty treat this month! David from Heuers Nursery has juiced out the full scoop on everything you need to know about growing a citrus tree on your patio. Check out his dwarf recommendations, maintenance hacks, grow guide, and personal journey with these special fruits.

1. What made you first fall in love with citrus growing? Why are citrus trees so special?

I always had an interest in citrus from since I joined the family business. In early 2017 I had a chance to visit some citrus growers in the Cape region and that’s when I decided to actively pursue my dream of growing citrus. In 2019 I had the good fortune to visit the top grower of dwarf citrus in the world. This opened my eyes to what could be done with citrus trees grown on a dwarfing rootstock.

What makes citrus trees so special is the wide range of citrus fruits. They each have their own flavour characteristics and uses, be it in the garden or the commercial sector. Citrus trees are also special because they have a global appeal and are grown almost everywhere.

2. What are some of the reasons why gardeners should be growing citrus at home? Are there any benefits/advantages?
Besides the satisfaction of growing and harvesting citrus from your own trees, there are other benefits related to growing your own citrus namely:

- Citrus fruit has many health benefits and is filled with vitamins, minerals, and essential fibre.

- You have control over which method of pest control to use on your trees. Many people have concerns around chemicals being used on the fruit they buy.

- There are several good quality eco-friendly pesticides on the market and they are readily available at your local garden centre.

- Growing your own fruit is super cost-effective. Even from a young age, your tree can produce some fruit. Once it is established you will be rewarded with a bountiful crop for you and your family to enjoy.

- You can also grow different cultivars that fruit at different times of the year to extend and spread out your harvest window.

- Gardening overall is good for your physical and mental well being and is a great stress reliever.

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3. Besides utilising citrus trees for their produce, how could gardeners incorporate trees as part of their patio décor?

Citrus make beautiful ornamental trees in the garden and on the patio. They can be espaliered along a wall or fence to hide or screen and area. They can also be pruned into a lollipop shape in a pot or the open ground. The two best known ornamental citrus varieties are the Calamondin and the Kumquat. What makes these varieties attractive are the masses of white citrus-scented flowers, which develop into small orange round fruit that can be found almost throughout the year on the tree. Their small and compact growth habit makes them ideal for the patio or small garden.

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4. Is there a difference between a mini (or dwarf) citrus tree and a citrus bonsai?

Yes, there is. Bonsai is the art of growing a miniature tree by restricting the growth of a normal-sized tree through pruning and training techniques. In dwarf citrus, a rootstock is selected which has dwarfing characteristics. These characteristics get passed onto the cultivar, which you graft onto it. The benefit of growing dwarf citrus is that you have a smaller tree that bears the same size fruit as a standard citrus tree. This allows people with limited space to grow citrus.

5. How would gardeners go about growing a mini citrus tree? Could you please guide us through the process and advise on which citrus are best suited?

Growing a mini or dwarf citrus tree requires the scion (bud) of the tree you want to produce to be grafted onto a dwarfing rootstock. Once the graft union has taken, the dwarf citrus tree can be treated like any normal citrus. The only difference will be the growth habit of the tree. Dwarf citrus trees will grow to roughly half the size of a standard citrus tree, depending on the cultivar. The same rules apply for growing dwarf citrus as for normal citrus.
These being:

- Do not overwater your trees. Monitor your watering with the weather. Water less when it is cool or wet and water more when it is dry and hot.

- Do regular checks on your citrus trees for pests.

- Cut away any growth below the graft union (joint).

- Prune your tree to keep it in the desired shape. On older trees, you can thin out the old branches in the centre of the tree. This will help bring in light and air movement to the inner part of the tree.

- Feed with a balanced fertiliser every month from August to November.

- If growing in a container, be sure to check that the container has adequate drainage holes at its base. Also, use a good quality, well-drained potting soil. Before potting your citrus, add a layer of coarse gravel or rock to the bottom of the container to prevent the holes from clogging up.

Most citrus varieties are compatible with the dwarfing rootstock. However, the Eureka lemon is not compatible, but fortunately you can choose from the other varieties of lemons such as:

- Lisbon
- Rough skin
- Meyer

For the moment, there are no dwarf citrus trees being produced on any large scale for the retail market in South Africa.However, we at Heuers Nursery will be releasing our range of dwarf citrus to the market in the next year.

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6. What are some of the most common pests and how can gardeners protect and treat their trees?
The most common pests we see on citrus are the following:

- Red spider mite
- Leaf miner
- Scale
- Psylla
- Mealybug

Fortunately, there are several chemical and biological products on the market that can protect and treat your trees. Visit your local garden centre for guidance on which products to use.

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7. Are there any general citrus hacks that you could share with a beginner citrus grower?

If you have the patience, pick the flowers off the tree for the first year or two. This will allow the plant to put its energy into becoming a bigger and stronger tree with bigger crops in the years that follow. Always remember to plant your citrus tree at the same level as it was planted in the nursery container. Drainage is also very important. Make sure that all trees (in the ground or containers) have well-draining soil. If planting in the open ground, avoid soils that have a high clay content in them. Citrus trees can suffer from root diseases, and this is normally brought on by a combination of overwatering and poor drainage.

Enjoy your fruitful journey and patio decorating with these bold edibles. Remember that citrus trees prefer subtropical climates and grow well in areas where there is no heavy frost or extreme cold. Dash down to your local garden centre for advice on which trees will flourish in your area.

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Trees in pots for the small garden

Posted on: August 23rd, 2021 by Cassidy No Comments

Life is a Garden! But we know that not all backyards can accommodate large trees. Lucky for all the small space and patio gardeners, this month we’re going back to basics with trees in pots! You can still enjoy a number of tree varieties, even some of the edible ones such as juicy citrus and fig trees. Some classics like the olive and holly tree are also perfect potted treasures that you can grow, regardless of how limited your space may be. Here’s some guidance to get you going. 

 

The perfect pot for the job 

Choosing your container is an important part of your tree-growing journey. Ultimately, you want a pot that’s large enough to fit the root ball of your tree. The size of your container will determine how big your tree will grow and gives you the advantage of being able to manipulate its size. Drainage is super important to factor in as well, so ensure your pot has many holes for excess water to flow out. Trees don’t tolerate water build-up and this will negatively affect their growth, harvest, and flowers. 

Top pot tip: Before planting your tree, secure the container above ground if possible, then and add a layer of stones or terracotta shards inside the pot for maximum drainage efficiency. Your GCA Garden Centre has an assortment of large containers to choose from as well as handy advice on how to choose the best pot for the job.  

 

Pots
Plant in pot
Good soil saves lives 

Now that you’ve been upgraded to potted tree-guardian, it’s your duty to maintain the nutrient integrity inside the container. Soil-based potting mix with an annual slow-release organic fertiliser will work wonders. Refresh the soil each spring by removing the top layer and replacing it with a new layer of enriched compost. Remember to mulch the top of your pot to retain moisture as containers dry out much quicker and need to be watered regularly and monitored closely for underwatering

Top soil tip: Beware of scorching summer days as hot pavements can cause the soil in containers to bake, burning the roots of your tree. Cooldown surfaces and containers during this time with collected rainwater. Also, be aware of extreme winds that can quickly dry out the soil. 

 

Starting off with citrus 

Citrus trees are fairly simple to grow when you know what they need. This family of fruit perform their best in warm temperatures with full sun throughout the day. Once you’ve got your pot and soil sorted as above, find the best place for your new tree that will leave some room for it to grow. There are many dwarfed citrus varieties that are well-suited to small spaces, so visit your GCA Garden Centre and see which one spikes your tastebuds. There are over 100 different kinds of citrus including lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits, kumquats, satsumas, and tangerines. 

Feeding your new fruit tree is easy. Your nursery is stocked with special citrus fertiliser and professional advice on when and how much to feed it. Generally, you can apply small amounts of citrus fertiliser each month from August to May. These glossy-leaved, bright fruit-baring stunners take most of the year to form a harvest, which will be ready for picking by early winter. Citrus bring abundance to the garden with bottomless lemonade, fresh juices, ingredients for smoothies, that extra zing needed in dressings and sauces, and a bold splash of colour to the garden and patio. 

Top citrus tip: Keep an eye out for citrus psylla infestations! These sap-suckers cause swelling and little bumps/boils on leaves. These pests carry a major citrus disease called African Greening. Make sure to get a bottle of organic insecticide from your GCA Garden Centre as well as encouraging their natural predators such as ladybugs, bees, wasps and spiders.

Citrus in pots
Citrus psylla
More trees for small spaces 

Decorative dazzles: Tree of the year - spekboom, Johannesburg gold, dombeya, diascias cotinifolia, indigofera, leopard tree, holly, weeping fig, Cape Jasmin, bay leaf tree, wild olive, and frangipani. 

Edible blazers: Olive tree, conifer, and edible fig.

Johannesburg gold
Weeping fig
Bay leaf
Frangipani

Fruit trees are wonderfully rewarding, for your own family and also for Mother Nature’s children. Many birds, bees and butterflies will benefit from having more trees around and there’s always more than enough harvest to share. Enjoy your small tree journey and all the juicy citrus at your fingertips. Pop down to your nursery and spoil yourself or a loved one with a terrific tree in a pot!

Kitchen Gardening

Posted on: July 13th, 2021 by Cassidy No Comments

Bring your gardening passion to the kitchen with hydroponic growing, indoor composting, fruit trees, and air-purifying plants. Harvest yummy rewards and add a refreshing splash of greenery to space you spend so much time in.   

*Lighten up your kitchen by installing LED grow lights to revive dark areas and get all your greens flourishing beautifully. 

 

Hydroponic planting 

Experiment going soil-free and dare to be different with an intriguing water-based, edible garden. Hydroponic planting gives you complete control of the environment, minimises pests, boosts plant growth, and enables multiple veg varieties in one space. 

Try planting lettuce, spinach, strawberries, blueberries, bell peppers, tomatoes, and cucumber (remember to grow according to season). 

*Consult your garden centre advisor for different installation options, DIY hydroponic beginner kits, and nutrient formulas.  

There are also self-watering vertical gardens for elegant and eye-catching living décor.

 

Kitchen composting 

You don’t need a backyard to be a compost-pro. Turn your kitchen waste into eco-gold by setting up a bucket or bin system with tight-fitting lids. Compost buckets fit neatly in a cupboard and provide easy, quick solutions to organic waste disposal. Worm farming kits are also handy kitchen helpers and can be purchased from your local garden centre. 

Growing from scraps and soil-free try these:  

  • Leafy veggies such as celery and lettuce.
  • Bulbs such as onions and leeks.
  • Root veggies such as beets and ginger. 
  • Fruits such as Key limes and avocados.

 

Lovely lemons 

A lemon tree in the kitchen is a happy reminder to always make lemonade from life. These trees like high-light spaces (also substitutable with LED grow lights) and perform best in porous clay pots, which allow natural water evaporation and prevent water-logging issues (unlike plastic pots). The Eureka Lemon (Citrus Lemon ‘Eureka’) and the Lemon Meyer (Citrus x Meyeri) are perfect for the kitchen or patio and will bear fruit all year round, hooray! 

Tree tip: Feed citrus trees with a general fertiliser and a handful of Epsom salt per tree. 

*Maintain your indoor pot plants by replacing one-third of the topsoil with new, nutritious potting soil.

 

Snakes and spiders 

There’s even space in the kitchen garden for gogga-inspired greenery. Try planting these now:

  • Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum): An easy indoor customer that enjoys occasional watering on the windowsill. These plants are natural air purifiers that will help remove odours, fumes, and pollutants from the environment – very handy to have in the kitchen. Spider Plants are also non-toxic and are in fact edible, making them safe for pets and kids.
  • Snake Plant/Mother in Law’s Tongue (Sansevieria): A good low-light contender that likes to be left alone. These plants are a fab choice for the kitchen as they perform a unique type of sun-less photosynthesis, allowing them to release crisp oxygen all night long. They are highly adaptive to their environment and add an architectonic intrigue to the space. 

Pesky Psylla Gogga of the Month

Posted on: December 2nd, 2019 by Shahnee Stockigt No Comments

Citrus trees provide a bounty of health benefits as well as beautiful sweet-smelling flowers, that compliment your garden space be it small or big. However, these tree’s may sometimes look unsightly as a result of the psylla pest, whose infestation results in the swelling (forming of bumps) on the upper leaf caused by the presence of the psylla underneath the leaf.

Description

The adult psylla is light yellow and is similar in size to an aphid with transparent wings. Their bodies are pointed with an oval-shaped abdomen. Psylla may be found on the edge of young leaves and shoots where they lay their yellow eggs which cause cavities in the leaf tissue, appearing as bumps on the upper surfaces.

Identification

Yellow eggs on the edges of young leaves accompanied by swelling bumps on the upper side of the leaf are a sign of psylla infestation. In the case of severe infestations, young growth can be severely malformed as a result of psylla activity.

What does this mean for me and my plants?

Citrus pyslla cause yellowing of the leaves, as well as malformed fruit. Half the side of the fruit may not develop normally and remain small, resulting to deformed fruit. If the plant is not seriously infected the leaves may turn yellow and the growth maybe stunted. Serious infestation can have dire consequences and may even lead to the tree dying. 

Suggested Action

The tree should be treated with a registered systemic insecticide. The instructions on the pack must be followed.

Visit your local GCA Garden Centre for the best expert advice on the best method of use to get rid of this pest. Click here for more gardening tips and trends or join the conversation on our Facebook page.

 

December in the Garden Let the festivities begin

Posted on: November 16th, 2019 by Shahnee Stockigt No Comments

After a year of “busyness” and hard work, there is nothing better than relaxing with friends and family over the holidays. Let your guests appreciate your garden with you as you soak up the sun and enjoy a braai or two.  Many of your seeds that you sowed in August will be ready to harvest, including watermelon which is fantastic to incorporate in your festive entertainment menu.  Get creative with the flowers that are blooming in your garden by making your own table arrangements – make an extra one to give your guest as a gift to take home.  Visit your nearest GCA Garden Centre for some great ideas and supplies.

What to Sow:

Carrots are a great option to sow during December.  They are fairly easy to grow and do best in deep sandy loam or loamy soils with a loose structure.

  • Sow the seeds directly in the beds
  • Make small furrows one fingernail (1cm) deep and about two or three hand widths (20cm to 30cm) apart
  • Sow the seeds about 2cm apart in the furrows
  • Water the beds well after sowing
  • In hot, dry weather, cover the rows with a thin layer of grass clippings until the seeds emerge after seven to 14 days
  • Remove the grass and spread thinly between the rows

What to Plant

Barberton Daisies (Gerbera jamesonii) originate in South Africa and are found in many different bright colours from hot pink to orange to white.

  • They are best grown outside, favouring direct sunlight and sandy soil.
  • They grow well in both pots and garden beds and should be fertilised monthly from September until March.
  • They make excellent patio plants and also work well as an indoor plant to brighten up your living space.

Eggplant (Solanum melongena), also known as aubergine or brinjal, come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colours.

  • The most common of these edible fruit used in our homes is the Black Beauty.  Some other varieties are the White Star Eggplant – which produces shiny, white fruit that are ideal for use in Italian meals, and Mini Thai Moon Eggplant – which produces fruit similar in size to a tomato and are white in colour with a few green strips.
  • They are the ideal accompaniment to Thai and Asian recipes. Eggplants are best grown in full sun, in fertile and well-drained soil.

What to Feed:

Lawn fertilisation is essential in December due to it being a very hot month. Use a nitrogen-rich fertiliser which will encourage leaf development. Remember to water your lawn fairly after fertilising.

What to Spray:

  • Protect strawberries from snails and slugs. Harvest the fruit regularly.
  • Spray a non-selective weed killer on all weeds in your paving. Non-selective weed killers have no residual action in the ground and work through the chlorophyll of the leaves

What to Pick:

You can now enjoy the watermelons and sweet melons that you sowed in August. A large watermelon is ripe if it feels a little bumpy when you stroke it. When sweet melons are ripe, a small crack appears at the point where the fruit attaches to the vine.

Bedding Besties

Gazanias (Gazania species) are fantastic for low maintenance gardens. They produce cheerful blooms with bursts of colour which are complimented by their dark green glossy foliage. There are also gazanias with silvery foliage, which is always a nice contrast to have in the garden.

  • They grow easily and neatly and do their best in hot, dry weather.
  • They are low growers (they reach a height of between 20 cm to 25 cm and work well as edgings for beds, in rockeries, in containers and in hanging baskets that are in hot, sunny positions.
  • They need full sun and can tolerate most types of garden soil if there is good drainage.

Marigolds (Tagetes) are a favourite, no-fuss annual that can bring the colour of sunshine to your garden, as well as butterflies, bees, ladybugs, and other beneficial insects.

  • They love full sun and well-draining soil and will produce abundant blooms.
  • Marigold seeds germinate quickly, within just a few days, and bloom in about 8 weeks. This quick sense of satisfaction makes them a great first-time gardening project for kids and garden newbies.
  • Marigolds are a great companion in your vegetable garden and can help protect your veggies from predators and pests. If you don’t want to plant seeds and would rather have instant colour

Pop into your nearest Garden Centre GCA and pick up some marigold seedlings.

Rose Care

Watering: Continue to water 3 times a week, or more depending on rain fall.  During dry, hot spells daily watering may be required.

Fertilising: If you are going away – only fertilise on your return.

Pest and disease control:   Continue with fortnightly spraying for black spot, mildew, aphids, beetles and bollworm. Keep a look out for brown, night-active chafer beetles which chew away on leaves. Ask your local Garden Centre GCA for the correct insecticide to use.

Other tasks:  Remove spent flowers and disbud hybrid teas by removing the side buds so the main bloom develops into a good quality flower. When picking roses for your home, only remove 50 percent of the blooms; this ensures a good balance of leaves on the bush and does not put too much pressure on the roots.

Inland Gardening

(Gauteng, Free State, North West, Mpumalanga and Limpopo)

  • Check and treat your pool for algae growth and clean up the paved surrounds. Check for any loose paving and repair.
  • To avoid blight on tomatoes and mildew on cucumbers, squash and pumpkins, water them early in the morning to allow the leaves time to dry off before nightfall.
  • Give citrus trees their mid-season feed of granular fertiliser.
  • Planting seed potatoes in December and January will produce a harvest in April and May for storing and eating during winter.

Coastal Gardening

(Western Cape, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, and KwaZulu-Natal)

  • Weed the garden – after weeding, place a layer of organic mulch over every last inch of soil. Mulching not only saves water and time when you’re busy entertaining family over the festive season, but will also provide a professional and well-cared-for look and will display existing plants to their best advantage.
  • Refresh your garden furniture by giving them a fresh coat of paint. While your paint brush is out, give your garden shed, picket fences and pots a fresh coat too. Make new slipcovers for scatter cushions or treat yourself to some new soft furnishings for your garden.
  • Summer pests are prevalent now, so keep a watch out and treat quickly with the correct formula suggested by your local Garden Centre GCA

Life is a Garden wish you a very happy holiday. Enjoy your garden and share it with family and friends this holiday season.

For more gardening tips and information, visit Gardening trends or join the conversation on our Facebook page.