Max Lindegger of Ecological Solutions has kindly agreed for Permaculture Noosa to post his newsletters on our site:

How good is this rain! The seedlings we expect to have at lot 59 Crystal Waters this Thursday 19th October between 2 and 4 PM and at the Witta Market on Saturday 21st are :-

  • Mixed Lettuce
  • Beetroot
  • Onion- Spring, Red
  • Beans- Climbing, Bush
  • Cucumber- Lebanese, Suyo Long
  • Pak Choy
  • Capsicum (Red Bell)
  • Eggplant
  • Kale- Black Russian, Green Curly
  • Tomato- Roma, Money Maker, Gross Lisse
  • Endive
  • Mizuna
  • Tatsoi
  • Rocket
  • Basil- Sweet, Thai, Greek
  • Parsley- Curly, Italian
  • Coriander
  • Rockmelon
  • Watermelon
  • Chilli- Cayene, Jalapeño, Bell, Thai
  • Chicory
  • Rosella
  • Kang Kong
  • Pumpkin- Butternut, JAP, Qld Blue
  • Sweet Corn
  • Zucchini

Plus a variety of potted herbs, flowers and trees.

Look forward to seeing you soon.

Cheers Pat

A busy time in the garden

Hot, hot and dry, dry and then  wet, wet,  wet!

September was a hot and dry month in our area.

The maximum was well .above average and the minimum was also .above average.

And then the rain came. Here at Crystal Waters we had now about 158 mm of rain and as I write this it is still raining. The ground is well and truly soaked but the dams here are not full just yet.

This is not easy gardening weather. Temperatures reached past the mid – 30’s C on a couple of days in our garden, in the shade. Few vegetables like this type of weather and it is really important to keep up the water and then the heavier rain is not what some vegetables like either. Zucchinis don’t like the humidity and Parsley can die in days.

Lack of water does stress plants and you have to expect more insect pests. The rain now , on the other hand, will bring out the snails.  You could get an attack by monolepta beetles too.

These can do a lot of damage in a very short time. Badly affected plants are best feed to the chooks.

The white cabbage moth too is out and about. If the damage is bad enough I use 1ml of Pyrethrum in 1 l of water. It kills them quickly. For a light infestation squashing the larvae is the easiest way to get on top of them.

October is probably the peak planting month for summer vegetables. Around here the frosts and cold winds are well behind us.

We have been picking loads of vegetables all winter and the Asparagus popped out of the ground with the first sign of Spring. And we are still harvesting more.

October is the month for storms along the coast and ranges – it is a good idea to have some protection ready for the vegetables. We use 50% white shade cloth. It will help to lessen the impact of really heavy rain or hail. On hot summer days it will also keep some of the heat off.

I just hope that we have storms with little wind and plenty of rain.

Some of the Summer vegetables are in the ground for a long time and I hope that it is timely to remind our gardeners of a few well tried ideas.

Climbing Beans: Climbing beans will take a while longer before they produce ( compared with Bush Beans) but they will give you a much extended harvest. It is thus worthwhile to give them a decent trellis and dig the ground deep ( the depth of a garden fork) and boost it up a bit with lots of compost. Beans are Legumes ( and can “fix” Nitrogen). I is still worthwhile to give them enough Nitrogen ( say in the form of Blood and Bone) as this definitely will increase yields. I like Blue Lake. It has been a reliable variety for us. Others will do well too but I tend to go more with the tried varieties. There are plenty others to try.  Roc D’or   – a fine French bean which is yellow. It comes highly recommended.  ” Provider”  as it is a good one for us.

Spring Onion and  other vegetables will be available. This summer Pat will be  again growing Kang Kong – an Asian Leave Vegetable which can tolerate heat and wet feet really well. It is often referred to as ” Water Spinach”.

Remember that large seeds ( Beans, Sweet Corn) should be planted into moist ground and generally need no further watering until germination. If you are to kind and give them too much water they may rot.

Yes, ants and other insects can damage them and by buying seedlings you avoid this critical stage.

This is an excellent time to plant Sweet Corn. Plant it in a block – a dozen is probably the minimum and plant some more every 3 or 4 weeks to keep a steady supply. Sweet Corn need a good feed. I keep saying this year after year. The reason you need to plant Sweet Corn as a block, rather then a line, is simply pollination. Sweet Corn is mostly wind pollinated. If the plants are lined up in a row few pollen grains will hit the target ( the tassels) and you will have many of the kernels missing. So – please plant in a block and about a dozen is probably a reasonable minimum number.

Sweet Corn  is known as a soil robber – give it plenty of Blood and Bone or any fertilizer pretty high in N ( Nitrogen). Make sure that your Sweet Corn never dries out. Water deep every few days rather than shallow every day. The roots will venture deeper.

Eggplants and Capsicum: Both will take months before you can harvest. Plant into good soil in a warm spot. Both can get Fruit Fly. I find that the long Eggplants are much less susceptible then the ” normal” types. We pick Capsicums while they are still green as they seem to attract more fruitflys as they colour up. Look at the “Green Harvest” website for many hints how to minimise fruit fly attack. Mulch Eggplants and Capsicum well to make sure the moisture stays even in wet and dry conditions. Irregular watering will mean deformed fruit.

Cucumbers are quite easy to grow but they need even moisture or the fruit will be deformed. A trellis will keep the fruit off the ground and free of slugs.

It is important to get the Nitrogen application just right. Too much Nitrogen and there will be too much leaf growth and fruiting will be delayed – not enough and there will be not enough leaves to protect the fruit from sunburn. I would prefer to see some extra leaves to protect the fruit.

Lettuce and Asian Vegetables tend to ” bolt” rather quickly this time of the year. Make sure they are kept moist and well mulched and you will slow the process. Rather than planting large numbers at one time, plant a few of each variety regularly. Lettuce will be less ” bitter” if grown shaded from the afternoon sun. Many gardeners don’t seem to know that Asian Vegetables have edible flowers. Indeed some like Kailan are eaten when they are flowering. Planting these vegetables in semi-shade is a good idea.

It is best to fertilize regularly as they will produce prolifically under good conditions. Nitrogen is a very mobile element and needs to be replaced after heavy rain. Use Blood and Bone as a pretty quick acting fertiliser or aged Poultry manure.

Mulching will help keep the moisture in the soil. I have been using Rice Husks of late and find them really easy to use and cost effective.

About seedlings: As the weather is getting warmer transplant stress is also increased. Plant on a cloudy day or later in the afternoon to give the seedlings some settling in time. If you grow your own seedlings make sure that you harden them off before planting them out. The nursery environment is gentle on plants. An open garden bed in full sun is a tough place to survive. You may measure just 20 C in the shade but the temperature in the garden in the full sun can reach 45 C!! A shade temperature of 30C can mean 60 C in the sun. Go and put a min/max thermometer out and see for yourself!

A general hint about fertilising – don’t fertilise during very hot spells. Plants are under stress and fertilising will only make things worse. Wait for a cooler spell, a cloudy day or just before rain – your plants will reward you with a quick response. Of course a weak liquid fertiliser will never do any harm.

To increase the survival chance of a seedling it is essential to keep the seedlings for a week or longer in the near full sun.  ( Pat’s seedlings have been sun hardened) Don’t buy punnets from Super Markets and Garden Centres where seedlings are often kept under heavy shade cloth ( or worse, in  an Air-conditioned space)

If the conditions are very sunny in your garden you may like to give the seedlings some shade ( a few small branches) to reduce the shock. Keep them moist to minimise stress. Mulching will keep the roots cooler.

Some vegetables you can grow all year round with good success: Radishes, Lettuce, Rocket, Asian Greens, Parsley, Spring Onions, Chicory…come to mind. They will have times when they are set-back because it is simply too hot or wet but it is worthwhile to persevere and keep planting.

What to plant in October:

Radish, all kinds of beans, Lettuce, Cucumbers, Squash, Zucchini, Pumpkin, Rocket, Onions – red, Water Melons, Rock Melons, Pak Choy, Tatsoi, Kailan, Parsley, Basil and other herbs, Rosella, Coriander, Carrots, Sweet Corn, Silver Beet, Spring Onions, Beetroot, Capsicum, Egg Plant, Tomato, Chicory – and some flowers!

Good gardening

max and Trudi.

Pat and John

EcoLogical Solutions – Consultancy & Education Services
59 Crystal Waters, 65 Kilcoy Lane, Conondale Qld 4552, Australia
Tel: +61 (0)7 5494 4741, Fax: +61 (0)7 5494 4578
Email: [email protected]

Max Lindegger

59/65 Kilcoy Lane

Conondale QLD 4552

Tel: 07 54944741

email: [email protected]

I get often asked what the ideal pH was for various vegetables. I have included a list below. In my experience I have found that if you have a soil high in organic matter the pH is less of an issue. Still, for best results it is worthwhile to aim for a level close to the remanded.

Green Harvest sell pH kits and tools suitable for the home gardener. See here

Vegetable Optimal pH
Artichoke(globe) 5.6-6.6
Asparagus 6.0-7.0
Avocado 6.0-7.0
Beans 6.0-7.0
Beetroot 5.6-6.6
Broccoli 6.0-7.0
Brussels sprouts 6.0-7.0
Cabbage 5.6-6.6
Cantaloupe – Rock melon 6.0-7.0
Carrot 5.0-6.0
Catnip 5.0-6.0
Cauliflower 6.0-7.0
Celery 6.0-7.0
Chard 6.0-7.0
Chilli pepper 5.0-6.0
Chives 5.0-6.0
Cucumber 5.0-6.0
Dill 5.0-6.0
Eggplant 5.0-6.0
Garlic 5.0-6.0
Gourds 5.0-6.0
Kiwi 5.0-7.0
Leek 5.0-6.0
Lettuce 6.0-7.0
Mint 6.0-7.0
Mushroom 7.0-8.0
Vegetable Optimal pH
Okra 6.0-8.0
Onions 6.2-6.8
Parsley 6.0-8.0
Parsnip 5.0-7.0
Peas 5.6-6.6
Peanuts 5.0-6.0
Peppers – Capsicum 6.0-8.0
Potato 5.8-6.5
Pumpkins 5.0-7.0
Radish 6.0-7.0
Raspberry 6.0-6.5
Rhubarb 5.0-7.0
Rutabaga 5.0-7.0
Shallots 5.0-7.0
Spinach 5.0-7.0
Squash 6.0-7.0
Strawberries 6.0-7.0
Sunflowers 6.0-7.0
Sweet corn 6.0-7.0
Sweet potatoes 5.0-7.0
Swiss chard – Silver beet 6.0-7.0
Tobacco 5.0-7.0
Tomato 5.0-7.0
Turnip 5.0-7.0
Yam 6.0-8.0
Zucchini 6.0-7.0

[          ]

Witta market on the 16. September Lots of seedlings available and there will be an early rush!

Next Beekeeping Workshop: 23. September.

Good gardening!

max and Trudi

Pat and John

From: Max Lindegger [mailto:[email protected]]

Max Lindegger

59/65 Kilcoy Lane

Conondale QLD 4552

Tel: 07 54944741

email: [email protected]