Monday, 28 November 2016

Vegetable Gardener's Diary from Simon - Corn

Simon's corn crop..... pretty awesome eh?

My Tips for a Successful Corn Harvest - Simon Young.

Sweet corn grows particularly well in our Coffs Harbour climate, and there’s nothing nicer than a freshly picked cob of corn for lunch, or some corn and zucchini fritters for breakfast.

Corn likes a well-drained soil, rich in organic compost. I generally prepare my corn bed immediately following the last of the winter harvest with the view to sowing in early September. However, you can sow right thru spring to early summer if you wish. 

I dig the bed over well, and add a generous amount of Yates Dynamic Lifter and a bag or two of Searles Organic Cow Manure. I generally add these after Jeannine has gone to work, as I have found it is easier to ask forgiveness than to seek permission!

Both the Dynamic Lifter and the cow manure are available at Total Gardens, and the cow manure is usually on special in early spring.

I prefer to grow corn from seedlings rather than seeds. I generally pack them in quite close as this helps the pollination process following flowering. It’s important to keep the water up right thru the growing period, particularly after the cobs start to form. Plenty of water will ensure that the kernels fill out to their maximum potential.

As the cobs take shape, you will notice the green hair protruding from the top. Did you know that each of these hairs is attached to a single corn kernel?

You will know when your corn is ready when all of the green hair turns brown all the way down to the roots. It’s important to check this carefully. If you harvest too early, the corn won’t be fully formed. And if you harvest too late, the corn will be starchy. And of course, if there are elephants in your garden checking the height of their eyes, that’s probably another good indicator that your corn is nearly ready.

Happy Gardening!

Administrator comments: If there is anything you would like to know about vegetable and herb growing here on the Coffs Coast, Simon is only too willing to assist you. Leave your question in the 'post a comment' box below and the reply will be posted below.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Sausage Sizzle Fundraising Success

The sausages sizzling and the aroma of browning onions worked a treat to entice shoppers at Bunnings to pick up the odd sausage sanga today.

Thankfully there was a beautiful sea breeze to assist the tireless workers 'keep their cool' on a fairly warm early summer's day. The assembly line ran seamlessly under the efficient direction from 'BBQ King' Simon who organised this important fundraising activity - he's not sure just how he will get rid of the onion odour from his refrigerator though! Your suggestions would be greatly appreciated by Jeannine  ;-)

Thanks to the many willing members who assisted during the day, it was an awesome effort folks AND a lot of fun. 

Money raised at this BBQ is used to kick start our premier event of the year - the Spring Garden Competition. Whilst we get significant support for the Competition from our very generous sponsors and supporters, this community BBQ really helps in providing the Club with the essential cash that is needed to conduct the Spring Garden Competition as professionally as possible. 

President's Message - November 2016

President Sue Young

Last Saturday Jane Durler and I tentatively put up our hands for the honor of being more involved in the Coffs Garden Club. It is just the beginning of our journey as P and VP and, with your help, we're looking forward to some laughter and good times ahead.

Well, here we are, and where to from now is still a bit of a mystery but with the steady influence of Michael, our secretary and Anne-Marie, our treasurer (ably assisted, of course, by Tom) and with all the help and suggestions that we know will be forthcoming from all club members, I'm sure we will find our way.

Vice President Jane Durler

The first thought that comes to mind in this new journey is to aknowledge the tremendous effort that Geoff and Maria Bell have put into the club over the last few years. As president, Geoff has been dynamic and passionate in his support of and work for the Club. These will indeed be large shoes to fill. We all know that Maria has been the power behind the throne. She has worked tirelessly in a number of roles including, newsletter editor, website organizer, publicity and media contact person and our general go-to-gal. Together, the Bells have made a significant contribution to the club and the wider Coffs community. So, thank you from all of us.

Jane and I look forward to 2017 - things to learn, people to meet, places to visit. Until then, have a safe and happy holiday season.

Sue and Jane

Pentas - Egypian Star Cluster

Flower of the Month - December 2016

To view some cultural notes and some cracking photos please click here as it has been featured before on this blog. Also in this link there is an article from Catherine Stewart from GardenDrum. She is a proponent of this commonly grown, popular, easy to grow flower.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

AGM Results

Congratulations to everyone who is taking on a role for the successful running of CHGC for the coming year.

Executive positions elected:

President: Sue Young

Vice President:  Jane Durler

Secretary:  Michael Read

Treasurer/Public Officer:  Anne-Maree Ely

Patrons:  Julie & Paul Worland

Other Positions:

Program Committee:  Margaret Franks, Pat Roser

Garden Competition Committee:   Lorraine Ross, Margaret Crawley, Maria Bell, Peter Kimber

Website & Facebook:  Maria Bell

Newsletter Editor:  Sue Young

Media Liaison/Publicity Officer:  Gill Goatcher

Catering Committee: Janny Hoy, Jeannine Young, Anne-Maree Ely, Mary Duroux, Margaret Franks

Raffles & Attendance Book:  Peter Kimber

Guest & New Member Welcome: Jill deClerq, Maureen Stokes

Competition Table Judges:  Margaret Franks, Gavin Reid

Competition Table Setup: Margaret Franks

Airport Garden Co-ordinator:  Peter Kimber

Meeting Room Setting Up/Packing Up:  CHGC Members under direction of Peter Kimber

Show Delegates:  Peter Kimber & Margaret Crawley

Show Flower & Garden Section Chief Steward:  Margaret Franks

Gardening Info - Flowers & foliage Plants:  Jane Durler

Gardening Info - Fruit & Vegetables: Simon Young

Gardening Info - Tropical/Sub-Tropical Plant of the Month:  Gavin Reid

Monday, 14 November 2016

CHGC AGM 19 November 2016

What are our expectations from being a member of the Coffs Garden Club?

  • are we looking to gain knowledge of best garden practice?
  • or looking for specific information about our local area and what grows best?
  • or looking to engage in fellowship and fun?
  • or support local volunteer activities in some small way?
  • or foster new interests and knowledge through gardens?
  • or have the opportunity to visit lovely gardens and other district attractions?
  • or the sheer joy of sharing your attributes, knowledge or life skills with others? 
  • or just for a social outing with a group of like-minded people and a good afternoon tea!
  • or all of the above.
It really doesn't matter what our expectations are, it just matters that we are all proactive as club members in the development, growth and participation in club activities. We are a diverse group of people who are drawn together for one main purpose and that is as our motto says, 'Friendship through gardens'.

So at our AGM consider taking on one of the many functions, activities or services of the CHGC, ensuring that there is vibrancy, enthusiasm and a shared load of responsibility throughout our membership. 

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Rutherglen Bug & Cluster Bug

Rutherglen bug (Nysius vinitor) and Grey Cluster bug (Nysius clevelandensis) are both native species that can migrate into crops and gardens in very large numbers in favourable conditions. The adult bugs swarm sporadically when native grasses and weeds dry off and descend on crops, orchards and gardens. They attack flower heads, and feed on seeds and new-growth sap of asparagus (so keep an eye out for these bugs now), beans, potato, stone fruits, strawberry, sunflower and tomato. Swarming adults only feed on nectar and do little damage to most other plants.

It is the Grey Cluster bug which is seen more often on the Coffs Coast. But both species breed on a wide range of native and weed hosts, building up to large numbers when the season is favourable with abundant fresh green growth in the spring.

Adults are 3-4 mm long, mottled grey-brown black and have clear wings folded flat over the back. Nymphs are wingless, with a reddish-brown, pear-shaped body N. clevelandesis is hairy and N. vinitor looks smooth.

Prevention is mainly to control weeds as they are the main food source. Treatment - try disrupting them with a blast from a hose. Apply pyrethrins being mindful to follow the instructions.

Natural enemies are Damsel bugs, ladybirds, parasitic wasps and flies.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Lilium longiflorum - November Lily

Flower of the Month - November 2016

November lilies are known by different common names throughout the world. It is native to Southern Japan and Taiwan, where they grow in meadows and woodlands. They are fleshy bulbs and if you are looking for longevity in a cut flower, look no further than these beauties!

November Lily (or Christmas Lily down south) can grow from 50cm to 1m and have long, unbranched and erect stems above the ground from which the leaves originate. The leaves are a glossy dark green and are lance shaped. The flowers of this Lilium variety are pure white and trumpet shaped. There are six petals and flowers arise in clusters of 2-6 and are highly fragrant.

Lilium longiflorum prefer moist, humus rich soil which is well drained. They grow well in full sun or partial shade areas. During the growing season, the plant requires watering regularly and needs reduced watering during the dormant stage.

Propagation can be done either by bulblets or by seed. If using the bulblets bury them 10-15cm in the soil and they should be planted soon after dividing to prevent them from drying out. When propagating by seed, they should NOT be buried in soil, just scattered over the planting medium.

These lilies are generally resistant to pests - although the most common pests may be aphids which can be controlled with your preferred method.

Be mindful that November lilies are highly toxic to pets.