Tag Archives: Good gardening

Good Gardening Expo to delight green thumbs

Gardeners across the Redlands are gearing up for a day of inspiration at this year’s Redlands Good Gardening Expo on Saturday 16 April, from 9am to 3pm at Redland City Council’s IndigiScapes Centre.

Redland City Mayor Karen Williams said the popular annual event drew green thumbs from far and wide, eager to learn more about all facets of gardening.

“From growing tasty organic food, native gardening and recycling green waste, this year’s expo boasts 18 sessions across three stages and workshops throughout the day, hosted by gardening gurus and wildlife experts,” Cr Williams said.

“Learn about the benefits of growing organically, what to plant where and when, and how to create your own compost from members of the Redlands Organic Growers.

“Hear Gennaro De Rosa’s secrets for growing from seed and Ingrid Dimock’s tips for keeping chickens and stingless bees in suburban backyards.

“Have your gardening questions answered by a panel of experts or learn more about the importance of butterflies in our gardens and how to add nutrients to your vegetables through worm farming.”

Division 7 Councillor-elect Murray Elliott said with advice about permaculture, managing mineral and microbe, suburban weed management and weed weaving, the expo offered plenty of inspiration for gardeners of all levels of experience.

“From easy composting solutions to ideas about how to use your produce, come and learn about healthy soil, high yield tropical vegies and incorporating bushtucker plants into your everyday cooking,” Cr Elliott said.

“Excite the senses with a sensory garden, find out how to create a no-dig garden in less than a day and how to grow free plants from cuttings.

“Learn how to easily create a wildlife-friendly backyard using natives, with plants and seeds available for sale, along with market and food stalls, kids’ activities and free live music throughout the day.”

Redlands Good Gardening Expo is proudly presented by Redland Organic Growers and IndigiScapes. Visit www.indigiscapes.com.au for a copy of the program or call 3824 8611 to learn more.

Redlands Good Gardening Expo

When: Saturday 16 April 2016, 9am – 3pm
Where: Redlands Indigiscapes Centre, 17 Runnymede Rd, Capalaba
Free entry

Good gardening: Organic Insect and pest control tips

Experienced horticulturalist Linda Brennan from EcoBotanica has listed her top 5 tips for organic insect and pest control.

Our gardens and environment are teeming with life. Much of it whizzes by our heads without us even noticing. The tiny lives in our garden are mostly of benefit to our plants and ultimately to us, as they carry out pollination, pest and disease control.


My take home message from this workshop was to take care with what and who you set out to kill.

Here are my top tips for organic pest and disease control:

  1. Observe what’s going on in your garden. You’ll get to see cycles of pests and disease that are controlled without you even having to lift a finger. When pest numbers are spiraling upwards, the predator numbers are often not far behind, coming in for a free feed.
  2. Keep your soil healthy and your plants growing strongly. Healthy plants are like healthy people. Good immune systems ward off potential pests and disease. We also know through current research that plants do communicate with each other and insects through scent markers. A sick plant sends off scents that attract insects. An attacked plant also sends of \f scents that can attract predators to help it fight attack.
  3. Hand collecting and squashing of pests is easy and free. Take a copy of ‘What Pest or Disease is That’, book with you into the garden. It’s by Judy McMaugh and has great pictures. Make sure you are squishing pests not predators.
  4. Cover up susceptible fruit and plants with barrier methods such as bags and nets. A good selection are available from www.greenharvest.com.au 
  5. As a last resort, spray with an organic spray. Start with the mildest forms of sprays as required. Eco oil and similar horticultural oils of natural origin will repel and smother most sucking insects and is ok for food plants too. For more information check out the ecobotanica website www.ecobotanica.com.au or call Linda 32063676

Linda Brennan from EcoBotanica is an experienced horticulturalist located in the Redlands who recently ran a series of organic and native gardening workshops in partnership with the Redlands IndigiScapes Centre.

Picture credit: Jewel bug #2 by John Slaney


Good gardening: Soils good enough to eat

Experienced horticulturalist Linda Brennan from EcoBotanica has listed her top 5 tips for soils good enough to eat.

In the Redlands gardeners have a range of soils to contend with. If you are on acreage, the soil in your front garden may be different to that in the back. It pays to have a dig and a close look at what you’ve got before planting.


Through our food plants, we are actually eating the produce that reflects soil health. If our soils are deficient in minerals our food may well be low in those minerals too, and so it flows on to our bodies and deficiencies there. So, my suggestion is to create mineral rich, fertile organic soil especially if you are growing veggies. And remember soil improvement doesn’t just happen overnight like on the TV garden shows. It’s a long term fix that can take many years of regular attention.

My 5 Top tips for creating soils good enough to eat:

  1. Aim to grow mineral and micro-organism rich soils. Soils are living entities. Each teaspoon of soil teems with billions of beneficial bacteria, fungi and actinomycetes. These are the unseen workers that convert compost to fertiliser, minerals to plant available forms and that help to create gorgeous soils.
  2. To grow lots of those willing workers you need to give them air. Aerate your soil with a fork or by digging if your soil is hard and compact. Try working your soil now for ease of digging before it sets like rock. Gypsum is known as a soil conditioner for clay soils. Apply after forking over then water in.
  3. Give your soil a mulch layer. It’s like a protective blanket that regulates soil temperature and moisture and in time becomes soil humus and micro-organism food. Worms love a moist mulched soil too.
  4. When adding mulch, if you add forest mulch or chips, always sprinkle some manure or fertiliser on the soil before mulching to reduce nitrogen draw down. This condition is where the bacteria breaking down a mulch rob the soil of its nitrogen for their energy source. This means plants will yellow too as they need protein from nitrogen as well. Adding some fertiliser provides nitrogen for plants and bacteria.
  5. Create your own compost for use in the soil. Compost acts like a sponge in the soil, opening the tiny particles, allowing air in, holding water and nutrients and providing food and rich humus.

Linda Brennan from EcoBotanica is an experienced horticulturalist located in the Redlands who recently ran a series of organic and native gardening workshops in partnership with the Redlands IndigiScapes Centre. Thanks to Linda for writing this article and for the use of the featured photo.

Good gardening: Top 5 tips when designing a small space

Do you have a small garden, balcony or courtyard? Linda Brennan lists her top 5 tips for designing a small space. 

1) Design your space to be a habitat for people and nature. Cooling spots, sunny areas and a range of nooks for you and the local feathered, furry and scaly population all add interest to your garden (and your life).

2) Create diversity. Butterflies, birds and wildlife will visit a garden with a diversity of plants and microclimates. Your little visitors help to control pests while providing you with enjoyment from having nature on your doorstep. 


3) Create a focal point. A focal  point attracts the eye to a special place or plant of interest in your garden. It will also draw people out into a garden.

4) When designing edible gardens, remember sun is all important for flower and fruit. Tall trees and shrubs should be planted to the south of your vegie patch.

5) Keen on edibles? Why not plant native bush tucker edibles in your garden? Indigiscapes has a range of edible native plants you can incorporate into your garden.

Linda Brennan from EcoBotanica is an experienced horticulturalist located in the Redlands who is providing a series of organic and native gardening workshops in partnership with the Redlands IndigiScapes Centre.

Next week: Soils good enough to eat.