Sunday, July 22, 2012

Environmentality July 18 2012

Dear Environmentality Listeners,

Environmentality has a new regular horticultural and gardening feature, with Jodi Jackson.  Jodi spoke with Jaime and Smokey about the citrus season, and what people should focus on in their vegetable gardens at this time.

If you recall from several weeks ago, Jodi Jackson also informed Environmentality listeners about the Lemon Tree Project in Melbourne.  The blog site is:  The Lemon Tree Project is about utilising spaces like nature strips, parks and other areas to plant lemon trees. The community take joint ownership of caring for the trees, and also enjoying the produce!  Jodi is an expert in looking after lemon and citrus trees and shared her knowledge with listeners. 

Image by Yolande Larratt

Melbourne is currently enjoying a good citrus season.  However due to heavy rainfall in recent times, Jodi has explained that there have been signs of water logging.  Citrus plants may be showing signs of stress, especially in heavy clay type soils.  Leaves may be dropping off or changing color.  Springtime weather will help these plants, as the extra sun evaporates excess water.  However in the meantime Jodi has offered some tips to help maintain healthy citrus trees:
  •  On your lemon and citrus trees, you may notice strange dots and bumps.  These are most likely the ‘Gall Wasp’.  The wasps leave bumps on the leaves due to their breeding patterns.  People should cut off the affected leaves.  The leaves need to be incinerated with fire, not just put in the compost or bin.  Leaves that are discolored, turning yellow around the central veins for example, indicates a nitrogen deficiency.  People should add manure to the soil eg. chook poo. 
  • Curly leaves are a sign of potassium deficiency. Add lime to the soil.
  • To promote the overall health of your plant which will be noticeable in a few weeks 1) Sprinkle around citrus tree roots a handful of blood and bone and rock dust (crushed volcanic stone in powder form).  2) Mix 1 tsp iron chelates and 1 tsp epsom salts with seaweed fertilizer in a watering can.  Water this tonic over the foliage and any remaining liquid into the soil.

     Jodi also shared some of her ideas to help us with our veggie patches:
  • It is not too late to plant broad beans.  To kick start the process, it is a good idea to soak the broad bean seed overnight before planting.
  • Continue to plant vegetables from the brassica family, for example broccoli, cabbages, cauliflower, kale, and silverbeet.
  •  It is a good time to propagate strawberry plants.  If you have runners (stolons) there will be off shoots / roots that you can separate into distinct plants.
  •  If you are plagued by snails and slugs, Jodi has a great idea.  Collect them and feed them to the ducks at your local pond! 

As part of the Hume Environmental Champions Program, the finalists for the Microgrants scheme will be announced on the 30th of July.   The Lemon Tree Project is amongst the contenders. See and the websites for more details.
      Finally, Jodi is holding a 'Preparing your soil for Spring' workshop 10am-12pm on the 26th of July at the Meadow Heights Community Centre 15-29 Buchan St, Meadow Heights.  This workshop is part of the Hume City Council Environmental Workshops.  Feel free to leave any feedback or questions about the show on this blog.

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