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Good Organic Gardening Issue#8.2 - 2017

Gardening with goodness at its heart — fresh, organic and fun. This magazine is 100% real. We are unashamedly earthy, reflecting the spirit and culture of people who just love to get their hands dirty. Our emphasis is on productive gardening. We just love the satisfaction of growing your own and finding new ways to bring produce to the table. The magazine includes features such as Amazing Gardens, Celebrity Chefs, Celebrity Gardeners, Clever Crops, Flavours of the month, Garden solutions, Kids Corner, Living Organics, Weekend Gardening, What’s New and a guide to What’s on Where. Purchase includes the Digital Edition and News Service. Please stay in touch via our Facebook Page.

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6 Issues

in this issue

2 min
this issue

Our visit to the marvellous Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show back in late March, when we were beginning work on this issue, got us wildly excited about ornamentals all over again. The floral and foliage displays, which were gorgeous as usual, reminded us that food gardeners love their flowers and hedges and decorative foliage, too. Gardening is gardening, after all. So next issue we will be introducing a regular feature on ornamental plants. They can bring to our gardens pretty shows of flowers, striking foliage colours and textures, plus structure, both formal and informal. They complement the trees and lawns to form a coherent landscape, with many points of interest for both humans and wildlife, including those allimportant pollinators. Winter is a great time to get outside and build elements for…

5 min
the grapevine

3-D FARMING IN THE OCEAN Oceans play a crucial role in mitigating climate change as they absorb the bulk of human-generated carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Increasing carbon dioxide levels and nitrogen run-off from farms are depleting ocean oxygen levels, creating dead zones and disrupting the entire ocean food chain. Enter Bren Smith, long-term fisherman turned sustainable climate farmer from Thimble Island Ocean Farm in Connecticut, USA. After realising his days as a fisherman were numbered because there simply weren’t enough fish left to catch, and rejecting fish farming because of its unsustainability, Smith came up with a 3-D ocean farming model as a way of producing food while having a positive impact on the ocean. It’s a zero-input system that requires no land, no fertiliser, no antibiotics or fresh water. Smith’s model…

4 min
what’s hot right now

HYDRANGEA ‘BLOOMSTRUCK’ The plant: If you’re a fan of hydrangeas, you’ll be awestruck by ‘BloomStruck’. It’s the latest addition to the Endless Summer collection of hydrangeas, which repeat-flower all summer long, sometimes until autumn. ‘BloomStruck’ is bountiful and beautiful, with glossy dark-green foliage and big, beautiful blooms. It also features unique red stems and purplish young leaves, which add to the plant’s appeal. Best of all, it’s proving to be very heat resistant, so it’s less likely to look sad through our Australian summers. Growing: Mophead hydrangeas are prone to wilting in the heat, but ‘BloomStruck’ is remarkably heat tolerant. For best results, grow it in a partly shaded position with good drainage and fertilise with a complete food through the growing season. The flowers will turn shades of vivid rose-pink or…

2 min
respect your elder

Elderberry is native to Europe but has naturalised in many parts of Australia, where it is considered a useful weed. It’s valued for its dainty, fragrant white spring flowers and its clusters of small black berries that ripen in late summer. Both flowers and berries are used to make delicious cordials and sparkling wine, along with jams or jellies. The flowers can also be used to make fritters. It’s vital to cook the berries as the raw fruit contains cyanide, which is neutralised by heating. There are also many medicinal uses for elderberry, including in the treatment of colds and flu and respiratory ailments. Rich in vitamin C, elder has been called “the medicine chest of the people”. Medieval herbalist John Evelyn described it as “a kind of Catholicon against all Infirmities…

2 min
colour coded

If you’ve travelled or gardened in different climates, you may have noticed an intriguing thing about the flowers of the ubiquitous weed, scarlet pimpernel. Its flowers can be red (scarlet) or blue. Recent studies have revealed that the variation in flower colour is related to temperature. Here in my cold Tasmanian garden, the scarlet pimpernel lives up to its name, but in the hotter, sunnier climate of Sydney where I used to garden and where there was plenty of scarlet pimpernel, its flowers were blue. A nice blue to be sure, but not scarlet. The change in colour within a species (known as colour morphism) is to do with a chemical called anthocyanin, a pigment found in the tissue of leaves, stems, flowers and fruits. If it’s expressed it causes a purple,…

5 min
a tree for all seasons

Even though pears are one of the longest-enjoyed fruits, they can tend to divide people. Some people object to their grainy texture, though they often enjoy it more when the fruit is cooked, while others love them raw or cooked. Apparently, Shakespeare was not fond of them, describing them as “absurd” and “unpleasant”, while Louis XIV, the French “Sun King”, delighted in them. The long-lived trees themselves, whether ornamental or fruiting, are beautiful, too, with their seasonal changes: gorgeous white blossom in spring, flashy autumn foliage and of course the softfleshed fruit of the European varieties. (Asiatic pears have crisper flesh.) In the kitchen, pears are incredibly versatile: stew them, poach them in red wine and spices, use them instead of apple for a tarte tatin or crumble, put them in cakes…