About the Garden Spring 2023 Magazine

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2023 | ISSUE 106 Your local gardening advice for Australian gardens www.aboutthegarden.com.au FOLLOW US ON

At your local - In season plants - Flowers 4 - Foliage 6 - Natives 8 Bangkok rose 9 Spring harvest - Tomatoes 10 - Dwarf beans 11 - Pumpkins 12 - Carrots 13 - Pomegranates 13 - Dwarf mulberry 14 - Table grapes 14 - Ginger/turmeric 15 On the table - recipes Spring harvest omelette 16 Passata di pomodoro 16 Spiced roasted carrots 17 Overseeding lawns 18 Spring lawn tips 19 About winter - Edibles 20 - Indoors 21 - Flowers 22 - Dirt doctor - Sulphate of Potash 24 - Climatic zones 24

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next. Amen. Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths. Proverbs 3, 5-6

Con Searle

Let nothing disturb thee. Let nothing affright thee

Who has God.

Wants for nothing.

God alone suffices.

Front cover image: Rudbeckia

Sunbeckia ‘Ophelia’

Patron & Founder: Conway Searle

Contributors: Ashley Searle, Jillian Coomb, Diggers.

Magazine Manager: Alana Searle

Design & Layout: Alana Searle

ATG Group Co-ordinator

& Advertising: Jason Searle

About the Garden is published seasonally by About the Garden Pty. Ltd. ABN 21 076 919 992 • 4914 D’Aguilar Highway, Kilcoy or P.O. Box 183, Kilcoy Qld. 4515 Ph: (07) 5422 3090 atg@aboutthegarden.com.au

expressed in the magazine, or by contributors, do not necessarily represent the views of the publisher.

2023 About the Garden Pty. Ltd.

About the Garden Magazine is proudly produced from sustainable resources. The material appearing in About the Garden is subject to copyright. Other than as
by the Copyright Act, no part of this magazine may be reproduced without the permission of the publishers. No responsibility is accepted by About the Garden Pty. Ltd. for the accuracy of information contained in the text, illustrations or advertisements. Although believed to be accurately and correctly sourced, thereof disclaims any liability against
editor/s or employees arising
any person acting
the material
The opinions
All things pass God never changes.
gains all.
(St Teresa of Jesus) Issue 106 TM
Spring 2023
For stunning plants for 12 months Everything they need like us! searlesgardening.com.au

see what’s new at your local gardening outlet

Rudbeckia Sunbeckia

The Rudbeckia Sunbeckia has a large, vigorous and floriferous habit, giving you long lasting blooms for pot and garden settings. They love a sunny warm location and will continue to flourish all season long. Long lived perennial. Available in wide range of colour forms.

The Impatiens ‘Double Glimmer’ range is ideal for containers and hanging baskets. Their rose-like blooms spread in a mounded habit and are self cleaning, no need to remove old blooms. This Impatien series is highly resistant to Plasmopara destructor, the cause of Impatiens downy mildew!

Ask for these beauties at your local gardening outlet. Seven colours are available in the series; Appleblossom, Bright Red, Burgundy, Dark Red, Hot Pink, Salmon & White.

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NEW to the Supertunia® series is Royal Velvet with rich deep purple flower colour and contrasting bright green foliage.

Petunia Supertunia® series have mounding and a good vigorous trailing habit that grow quickly, but do not spread as wide as Supertunia® Vista petunias. They have medium to large sized flowers (similar size to the Vista Series). Great as both fillers and spillers in containers, hanging baskets & combination planters and excellent as landscape plants.

petunia Supertunia® Vista Series

This range is the tallest and largest spreading in the Supertunia® range, typically growing 30cm in height and up to 60cm width. Its vigorous habit and spreading performance is ideal for combination planters, hanging baskets and garden beds in a sunny position. This perennial range displays medium to large sized flowers and is the longest bloomer in the range.

New to the Vista series is the magenta purple ‘Jazzberry’ and pure crisp white ‘Snowdrift’ (larger flower than current variety ‘Silverberry’).

These new additions compliment the existing varieties; bright bubble gum pink, ‘Bubblegum’, ‘Fuchsia’, watermelon pink with salmon pink undertones ‘Paradise’ and white, pink veining ‘Silverberry’.

Supertunia® Care

Supertunia Mini Vista series have the smallest flower size of the Supertunia Range, but produce plenty of blooms with a vigorous and slightly mounding growth habit.

New to the series is the hot pink blooms ‘Hot Pink’.

Keep moist, especially in containers and baskets. Grow in full sun to part shade in airy positions. Prune back when needed but keep some of the foliage to encourage new growth. Use a balanced controlled release fertiliser, Searles Recharge Pots & Gardens.

SIZE 30cmH 50cmW
SIZE 30cmH 60cmW SIZE 30cmH 60cmW

For colourful foliage during spring, you can’t miss the large range of leaf pattern and colour combinations the coleus species brings. Coleus has a compact leaf habit that is almost non-flowering. They are generally grown for their vibrant foliage.

They grow well if planted in a well-drained soil or a premium potting mix, Searles Platinum Potting Mix. Grow in part shade to shady areas. Water consistently for good growth pattern during the warmer months.

This stunning plant features green and white leaves with a pinkish purple underside making a striking statement in well lit indoor areas or under planted in a warm, sheltered garden bed for a feel of the tropics.

Use a premium potting mix, Searles Platinum Potting Mix for planting in pots. Frost sensitive.

Now these plants are very hardy and are available in a large range of shapes, colours and patterns. Easy to propagate. Great for terrariums, feature potted displays and mixed plantings. Let the soil dry-out before re-watering. Look out for the popular watermelon peperomia (pictured left) featuring variegated tear drop compact leaves.

Use a premium potting mix, Searles Indoor Potting Mix for continuous feeding for up to 8 months.

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SIZE Approx. 60cm

Foliage with a colour difference. Cordatum gold philodendron is a low maintenance, easy-care plant that will add light green and golden hues in bright light conditions and darker neon in darker conditions. Position in bright to medium indirect lighting conditions and don’t water too often, allowing the soil to dryout between watering. Not enough sunlight and its leaves will drop.

Try growing this silver-green and dark vein herringbone patterned foliage plant indoors. ‘Ctenanthe Burle Marxii Amagris’ likes its soil to be kept moist.

Perfect potting mix & controlled release fertiliser partners for indoor plants

Jelly babies, they are just so more-ish and this is one in particular you’ll want to scatter throughout your garden. Luscious deep pink flowers in winter to spring all but cover the grey foliage in a colour combination that always works.

Easily grown in sunny spots with well drained soils, it is frost hardy, suited to coastal gardens and does well in cool temperate to sub tropical and semi arid climates.

Its dense mounding habit requires only minimal trimming to keep it tidy so it’s ideal for path edging, wide garden beds, large containers in courtyards, and for a dramatic landscape focus, try mass planting.

Grevillea ‘Scarlet Sprite’ Grevillea rosmarinifolia Evergreen shrub with bright scarlet flowers that appear in winter and spring. Ideal for use as informal hedging, windbreak and screening.

Flowers will attract the nectar feeding birds and the prickly foliage provides a safe refugee for them too. Flourishes in a sunny position and moist well drained soils. Tolerant of poor soils, dry periods and light frosts. Will respond well to light pruning.

Grevillea ‘Panrock Princess’ is a truly princess of a plant with her hot pink/red flowers on upright branches held above the foliage for most of the year. They will attract numerous honey-eating birds to the garden and make a lovely cut flower when picked in bud stage.

Narrow, vivid green foliage is compact and upright in habit so it can be used to provide effective screening or hedging. Planted amongst others as a vibrant floral feature, or mass planted in larger landscapes.

Grows best in full sun to dappled shade and is frost hardy to at least -3 degrees C.

Extremely drought tolerant. Be sure to water regularly to establish over first summer. Hardy in sand, loam and gravelly soils – must be well drained. Plants respond to a light autumn pruning and removal of old flowers stems if needed.

<< SIZE 1mH 1mW
native plant food
Grevillea petrophiloides x Grevillea oligomera Grevillea lanigera x Grevillea lavandulacea

Mussaenda, or more commonly known as the Bangkok Rose creates an explosion of colour when in flower marking spring has arrived.

Ideal potting mix & plant food

About the garden magazine | page 09
White Mussaenda

Tomatoes need a sunny site and good drainage. They will grow in just about any soil which has been well dug and enriched with 5 IN 1 Organic Fertiliser a couple of weeks before planting. For potted tomatoes, plant in Searles Herb & Vegetable Specialty Mix

Ensure seedlings are well anchored by planting them slightly deeper than the surrounding soil - tomato plants can become top-heavy and blow over.

When looking at tomatoes varieties to include in your garden, it’s easy to get caught up in the huge range of colours and shapes available, especially when growing heirlooms; but remember that when you’re growing your own food, it’s all about flavour and purpose.

Cherry tomatoes are generally super sweet and highly productive. The easiest tomatoes to grow, and with the smallest fruit, they provide ample treats for salads, snacks and lunch boxes. Look for ‘Black Cherry’, ‘Cherry Roma’ and ‘Lemon Drop’

Salad tomatoes are mid-size fruits that boast the same sweetness as cherry tomatoes but are a little larger making them easy to slice and ideal for salads.

‘Tommy Toe’ is the most popular salad tomato in Australia and is a staple in most gardens, but also look to include ‘Red and Black’, ‘Tigerella’ and ‘Wapsipinicon Peach’ to bring diversity to your culinary creations.

Beefsteak tomatoes are the ones gardeners always brag about. Huge meaty tomatoes that can be sliced for sandwiches or used for sauces, these large tomatoes usually ripen later in the season and require staking. ‘Mortgage Lifter’, ‘Tasmanian Chocolate’ and

‘Granny’s Throwing’ all bring colour and flavour to the garden, with a hefty size that will impress your friends and family.

Staking tomato plants will inhibit pests and diseases by keeping heavy trusses of fruit off the ground. Larger bushes may need several stakes - train the branches onto the stakes as they grow.

Tomatoes are not heavy feeders. In fact, high nitrogen fertilisers can cause excessive leaf growth at the expense of fruit yield and flavour. For tasty, long-lasting fruit and resistance to pests and disease, apply SeaMax Organic Fertiliser (for a liquid organic option) or Searles Flourish Vege & Tomato Fertiliser fortnightly.

Tomatoes grown in greenhouses or sheltered positions where there is little wind may benefit from being given a gentle shake to help spread their pollen.

A thick layer of mulch can discourage mould on low-growing fruit by preventing it coming in contact with the soil. Mulching around the roots will keep the roots cool and moist, reducing the plants’ water needs as well as inhibiting weeds. Mulching can also help prevent diseases caused by soil dryout and inconsistent moisture levels.

Tomatoes will be sweetest if they ripen in cooler weather. During hot weather, it is best to harvest tomatoes when they start to blush and allow them to ripen on a window sill away from direct sunlight.

tomato companions

basil, oregano, parsley, lavender, zinnias, borage, garlic & thyme

Signs of this pest are discoloured spots and rots developing around the skin area of tomato, capsicum and citrus trees. Eggs hatch into maggots that destroy the soft interior of the fruit.

There are no preventative or systemic sprays for tomatoes, so careful monitoring is required with Searles Fruit Fly Traps from around spring (when the weather warms) to autumn and even winter if temperatures stay high. Searles Fruit Fly Trap will attract, trap and kill male fruit flies only, so use these together with fruit fly exclusion bags/netting for best results.

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Many tomato diseases are spread by sap-sucking insects, so controlling them will reduce the likelihood of a disease outbreak. Crop rotation is also essential to break soil-borne disease cycles, so don’t grow tomatoes in the same patch for at least two years. Keep overhead watering to a minimum, and sanitise tools, secateurs, implements and yourself after handling suspected infected material. Try to keep your soil pH near 6.5 -7.0.

A sudden bout of wet weather after a dry period can cause ripening tomatoes to split. This can also be caused by irregular watering. Keep moisture levels consistent by watering tomatoes regularly and keeping them well mulched. Water tomato plants on the roots — not the foliage. This will reduce the risk of fungal infections and will also limit water loss through evaporation.

Tomatoes can be plagued with many insects and diseases. For a full list of possible ailments and their remedies, see the Searles article, scan QR code

How to plant

Beans are an easy-to-grow, productive and nutritious warm-season crop. Beans prefer a slightly acidic soil between pH 6.5–5.5. They need full sun and a well-drained, friable soil. At least two weeks before planting, loosen the soil to 15–20cm deep, breaking up any large clods. Add Searles Premium Organic Compost to a depth of about 10cm. Beans are not heavy feeders; in fact, they will fix their own fertiliser (nitrogen) in the soil. If the soil is too fertile they will likely produce too many leaves at the expense of beans. If beans are growing too slowly, a fortnightly dose of SeaMax Organic Fertiliser should tune up the soil around the plants.

Beans are available either as ‘climbers’ or ‘bush beans’. Climbing beans grow vertically and can produce large volumes of beans in relatively little garden space. They can be ideal for sunny courtyards and smaller gardens.

Beans can be easily grown from either seed or seedlings and handle transplanting well. In cool or mountain areas, make sure the last frost has passed before planting. Space plants

as recommended on the seed packet or punnet. Avoid planting them too closely as overcrowding can encourage fungal diseases.

Do not repeatedly plant beans in the same garden bed - practice crop rotation as this will maintain soil fertility and avoid soil-borne diseases. Beans should be planted after ‘flowering’ crops like broccoli and cauliflower and should be followed by ‘leafy’ vegetables like lettuce, cabbage and silverbeet.

Keep beans moist, but not wet while they are growing and water the roots of the plant, not the foliage or flowers. A dripper system and a layer of mulch can be ideal. Alternatively, dig a trench between rows and water it deeply once a week.


Beans are heavy croppers and harvest can begin when they are very small. The more beans you pick, the more they will produce and well-maintained plants can keep cropping for months.

beans companions

Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumber, lettuce, potatoes & sweet corn.

About the garden magazine | page 11

Did you know that you should plant your pumpkins by Halloween?

Hmm, I hear you say .. aren’t they harvested then? Yes, in America, Halloween occurs during their autumn, when pumpkins are harvested, but fortunately for gardeners in Australia, this very same day marks the perfect time to get your pumpkins planted.

Easy to grow and highly productive, if you’ve never grown pumpkins before make this the year you start.

Heirloom pumpkins offer gardeners a huge range of sizes, colours and flavours, with small pumpkins like Pumpkin ‘Jack Be Little’, a single serve soup size pumpkin which can be eaten straight from the shell and grown in pots, to the Australian grey skinned heirloom Pumpkin ‘Jarrahdale’ with excellent storage properties and enough flesh to feed a family of twelve!

We all know that the butternut is undeniably one of the most popular pumpkins available at the green-grocers, here’s one that you won’t find on the shelf - Pumpkin ‘Wrinkled Butternut’. An Italian heirloom with an appearance that only it’s mother will love, this pumpkin delivers on flavour with fine flesh and very few seeds. Hop across the border to France and you can’t go past Pumpkin ‘Musquee de Provence’, a French heirloom pumpkin that’s so beautiful it is often the pumpkin depicted in children’s book and beloved by chef’s and garden gourmets because of its delicious, sweet flesh.

Perfect for planting in pots, draping over the side of garden beds or for covering your verge or nature strip, pumpkins are an excellent crop for kids and families because they are incredibly easy to grow and offer a bumper reward when harvested in autumn.

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Ideal planting mix for growing delicious pumpkins.

There are varieties of carrots available that mature at different times and by staggering your planting times, you can have carrots on hand almost year-round. The best time to plant carrots in Australia is spring, autumn and winter. Try and avoid cold and hot extremes unless you are willing to give your carrots that little extra TLC.

Carrots store well in the ground and it’s better to have too many than not enough so plant several packets of seeds if you have room for them. Carrots dislike high nitrogen fertilisers and often grow best in soil that has been ‘used’ by other vegetables the previous season without further feeding. Good drainage is important in preventing rot-related diseases, so build up garden beds and mix in plenty of river sand if you need to improve drainage. Planting from seed is preferable as carrots don’t usually transplant well. Follow the directions on the seed packet carefully and be sure not to plant too deep. When seedlings are at the two leaf stage,

thin them out to give more room for the developing carrots. ‘Baby’ carrot varieties grow well in pots of Searles Herb & Vegetable Specialty Mix, as can several blunt-rooted varieties. Crop rotation can be very helpful in preventing soil-borne diseases. Keep moist, but don’t overwater as this can lead to root rot. To harvest, ease them out of the ground with a trowel to avoid snapping the root and twist off foliage before storing.

Thin young seedlings and weed between carrots frequently. For extra sweet and healthy carrots, try an application of SeaMax Seaweed every fortnight.

If aphids are a problem, spray with Searles Bug Beater Natural Pyrethrum Spray or hose off. Rotting may be a result of bacteria and can be overcome by crop rotation. Soil borne pests such a weevils can be discouraged with companion planting.

carrot companions

Beans, cucumber, leeks, lettuce, onions, peas, radish & tomato.

These tried and tested pomegranate varieties are perfect to use as a feature tree in the garden, or in large pots or planted 2m apart for a hedge. These pomegrantes are self-pollinating and Australian growers have had great results with these varieties. Both pomegranate varieties are a large shrub, growing up to 3m, with lush, green foliage and very attractive vibrant orange flowers appearing in spring with fruit developing by autumn.

‘Midnight Velvet’ Pomegranate trees produce medium sized fruit which has dark red to black skin with a rich red juice coming from the pulp.

‘Red Velvet’ Pomegranate trees produce medium sized fruit which has dark pink to red skin with a rich red juice coming from the pulp.

Pomegranates are deciduous to semi-deciduous in Australia, depending on the local climate. They are suitable to grow in most climatic zones in Australia except for areas which receive late frosts.

When planting in the ground, mix 5 IN 1 Organic Fertiliser into the existing soil for good root establishment and growth well into the next few months.

About the garden magazine | page 13

Pruning after fruiting allows it to be kept under 3m, and also encourages multiply cropping throughout the summer.

Table grapes to grow for the home gardener.

Grape ‘Menindee Seedless’ and ‘Red Globe’ varieties are an easy choice for the home gardener to enjoy successful growing. These deciduous vines will grow well in a sunny position supported by a trellis or over a pergola for notable shade.

Grape Menindee Seedless displays light green to yellow oval shaped grapes with deliciously sweet, firm flesh and no seeds. Red Globe, as aptly named, has pinkish red fruit that is very large, round and seeded. The grapes have a thick skin, fleshy pulp and a very sweet taste.

Plant in Searles Planting Mix for healthy leaf and fruit growth. Water regularly, more so in hot weather. Prune vines in winter.

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Soil Preparation

Turmeric and edible ginger prefer rich organic soil. If you are planting the rhizomes in the garden, prepare the bed with organic compost or mix into existing soil 5 IN 1 Organic Fertiliser - Dig In. If you are growing them in pots, choose a potting mix with long-lasting fertiliser and good moisture retention, such as Searles Platinum Potting Mix or for organic growing, use Searles Premium Organic Potting Mix.

Light and Moisture

Turmeric and edible ginger prefer a sheltered, part-shade position in hotter regions and slightly more sunnier position in temperate and cooler regions. They like to be kept moist but well-drained. Water them regularly, especially during dry periods, and avoid waterlogging the soil.


Plant turmeric and edible ginger rhizomes in spring, but do not bury them more than 70mm deep. If planting in the garden, mark the location with a stake to easily locate the shoots when they emerge, similar to how you mark bulb plantings.


Many prefer to use organic fertilisers on their turmeric and ginger crops. Apply a suitable organic fertiliser, such as 5 IN 1 Pellets, to pots every 6-8 weeks from spring to autumn, and in the garden every 4-6 weeks. Alternatively, you can add compost over the area in a slight mound, similar to how you fertilise potato crops. Follow the instructions on the fertiliser bag for the recommended frequency of application.


Turmeric and edible ginger are usually harvested in winter when the leaves start to yellow and the plant dies down. However, you can harvest small pieces or use the leaves earlier if desired. Dig down to remove all the rhizomes and wash them thoroughly.


To store turmeric and edible ginger, clean them thoroughly and prepare them for storage. They can be stored in the refrigerator or on the counter for a few weeks, or in the freezer for up to 6 months. If you have a dehydrator, you can also dehydrate them and then grind them into powder using a spice/ coffee grinder. Stored in an airtight container, the powder can last up to a year until your next crop is ready for harvest.

Enjoy the benefits of growing turmeric and edible ginger for the delicious harvest to the gorgeous flowers.

About the garden magazine | page 15
Growing turmeric and edible ginger can be a rewarding experience for beginner gardeners, as these plants are easy to grow and have both culinary and aesthetic benefits. Here are some basic guidelines for growing and harvesting turmeric and edible ginger.
Ideal ginger & turmeric fertiliser


simple recipes made from garden kitchen produce

For passata, look for saucing tomatoes like ‘Amish Paste’, and ‘Periforme Abruzzese’ (pictured). But to make your own sundried tomatoes, you can’t go past ‘Principe Borghese’ as the fruit ripens all at once (which is easy for batch processing).

Perfect for garden beds and pots, savour the flavour of real heirloom tomatoes to bring something extra special to the table this summer.

Make use of a glut of ripe tomatoes from your veggie patch

2kg washed very ripe tomatoes, halved, seeds removed

2kg of tomatoes will make from 500ml to 700ml of passata.


In a large pot, cook tomatoes over low heat, stirring often, until softened and mushy.

Strain tomato mixture through a strainer into a clean bowl, disregarding the hard skins and seeds.

Submerge glass jars and lids in cold water, in a large pot, bring to boil and boil for 10 minutes to sterile jars. Let cool.

With a funnel, fill sterilised jars, but not to the brim.

Secure lids on the jars. Placed filled jars in a pot of cold water. Boil for 40 minutes, let jars cool in the water before removing.

Ensure the metal lid button is depressed once the jars have cooled. This will mean it is vacuum sealed and will last in the cool, dry pantry for up to 12 months.

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2 small tomatoes, diced

Spring onions


Spinach, handful, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon curry powder

1/2 cumin powder

7-8 eggs, whisked

100g sour cream

Fresh Italian parsley leaves, to serve Salt & pepper to taste


Heat oil in a large, oven-proof frying pan over high heat. Cook spring onions, beans and tomatoes until softened. Toss in spinach and briefly cook.

Whisk eggs, sour cream, curry powder, cumin, salt and pepper until combined and add to the pan. Without stirring, cook egg mixture with a lid on until firm. For a crispy top, transfer pan into the oven and cook on grill function until top goes brown & crispy.


Serve hot, topped with parsley.


6-8 medium carrots, slim or quartered

2 tbsps of honey

2 tsp olive oil

1 thyme sprig

1 rosemary sprig

1 tbsp cumin powder


In a mixing bowl, combine honey, olive oil, thyme, rosemary and cumin powder.

With your hands, coat thoroughly carrots. Place carrots on lined baking tray and cook for 30 minutes on 180˚C in a fan-forced oven.

for more recipes, visit


About the garden magazine | page 17

Overseeding a lawn is the practice of spreading seed on an existing lawn to repair grass patches or thinning without removing the entire lawn and laying new turf.

This practice is often done in spring or autumn to thicken the lawn to drown out weeds in bare patches and improve the lush look of a green lawn. The same grass type as the existing lawn can be sown, but that is not always possible, therefore a blend is used to get the lush look as quickly as possible. Grass type ratio analysis of the seeds used are present on the seed packaging purchased. Seed products usually contain a fast-growing short lived grass to give a quick green lawn and a slower variety to develop permanent seed type as the enduring lawn.

To start the reseeding process, make sure all frosts have finished and remove debris from the lawn. Lower the height of the mower blades one notch lower than normal and mow the lawn to expose any bald patches, but do not scalp the lawn as this will do more damage than good. Always mow a small trial patch first. For areas that have bare patches of earth, lightly run a rake over it to loosen the soil, as it is often compacted by foot traffic and mowers. Use a very fine soil, such as Searles Lawn Top Dressing, to fill and level your soil. Lightly water, then apply the seeds evenly over the lawn area. Since

the ground is already moist only a gentle wetting is needed now, too heavy and the tiny seeds will wash away causing them to clump in low areas.

Keep the watering regular and gentle, a weekly dose of Seamax Organic Fertiliser in between regular watering will encourage a stronger lawn, as well as enhance seed germination performance. The seedlings of the lawn are tender and will perish easily if allowed to dry out or if a strong fertiliser is used too soon. Once the thickening is evident, a granular lawn fertiliser can be used. Remember to always read the back of the bag for how often to repeat the fertiliser and how much to use. Not all fertilisers are the same and again too heavy handed will cause issues with the seedling. Once the lawn is established go back to your regular watering routine.

Overseeding a lawn can be done in autumn, before frost and not when the temperatures are too hot. Spring or late winter is often favoured, though this can vary state to state and if the weather is unseasonable. Bragging rights for a lush green thick lawn can be yours.

Ideal overseeding soil & fertiliser

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Spring is the perfect time for top dressing and fertilising lawns to take advantage of the warm weather growth ahead.

For a wonderful green lawn right through to next year, start fertilising in early spring with Searles Lawn Food to thicken grass appearance and produce a deeper green colour. A thicker lawn will smother out weeds, reducing weed spraying.

If your lawn soil is hard and repels water, aerate with a garden fork or aerator, fill holes with Searles Lawn Top Dressing (see top dressing lawn tips section, below). Sprinkle Searles Penetraide Re-Wetting Granules onto the soil to promote better water penetration. It also contains a fertiliser so it will feed your lawn at the same time.

Spring is the time for painful bindii invasion in lawns. Bindii grows in the winter and sets seed from late winter to early spring. Spray now with a registered herbicide for bindii. Repeat spraying is important to control weeds that have germinated after the prior spraying.

It’s very important whenever using a weed spray, to use it in conjunction with a wetting agent such as Searles Spredmax. This increases the weedkiller’s effectiveness by helping it stick to the leaves of the weed.

Top dressing lawn tips

Whether you are filling in holes, evening out lawns or adding nutrients to the soil for better growth, applying a 1-2cm layer of Searles Lawn Top Dressing will set your lawn up for strong spring growth.

Top dressing with Searles Lawn Top Dressing will add rich composted nutrients and minerals to encourage the production of new grass shoots and strengthen roots resulting in a thicker greener lawn. A thicker and regularly mown lawn will smother out weeds, reducing the use of chemical spraying. A top dress of organic matter will also encourage microbial activity to break down grass clippings and provide extra nutrients into the soil. Extra organic matter also improves water retention and drainage in the soil. Especially helpful during drier times of the year, but also equally when the ‘big wet’ comes.

Before applying, mow lawn the day prior. Water well after raking to bed down the soil.

Boosted with fertiliser

About the garden magazine | page 19
Restore patchy, tired and uneven, lawns with Restore tired, hard, water repellent soil with
Fine screen blend
Improves water penetration
Suits all lawn types


spring planting and care guide

> If you grow apples, pears, citrus, figs, stone fruit, tomatoes, capsicum and even chillies, then you will be cursing fruit fly very soon. If no control is attempted, devastation will surely follow! Try Searles Fruit Fly Trap, available from your local garden centre. Otherwise try exclusion bags if you are happy to fiddle a bit tying them around individual fruit, clusters or trusses.

> Continue planting succession crops of leafy greens. Monitor watering regime as with the warmer weather, you may need to increase watering slightly for faster and tastier growth.

In spring, this tiny villain lays its eggs inside the soft new shoots of citrus trees, causing swellings or ‘galls’, which become visible during the summer. To stop the gall wasp infestation from getting this far, at first sight, cut off the affected stems and bin or burn them to ensure the larvae are killed. You should do this before spring to prevent them from hatching and infesting more branches.

> Deciduous fruit trees like apples, pears and stone fruit do more than bear delicious crops. Each spring, they put on a magnificent

Even if you have limited garden space, a passionfruit vine can provide not only two delicious fruit crops a year but also beautiful, shiny green foliage and breathtakingly ornamental, purple and white flowers.

Passionfruit require ample room and a strong structure for support to climb and bear fruit. Fences, pergolas, trellises and chook runs all make great support structures. The best time of year to plant out your vines is between October and April. When planting, ensure soil is enrich with organic fertiliser, 5 IN 1 Organic Fertiliser, This will provide nutrients for future growth and excellent drainage as they are susceptible to phytophthora root rot. Make sure your chosen position is in full sun and is protected from strong winds and frost. Once planted, mulch to protect roots and water regularly to ensure healthy growth and fruiting.

Ask your local gardening outlet for the most suitable varieties for your garden and tastes.

Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, mulberries (warmer climates) will crop throughout spring and summer with many varieties continuing through autumn. Give berries a sunny position with good drainage and plenty of rich well composted soil. Strawberries can be planted in hanging baskets so their fruit over hang and are easy to pick. For berries in pots and gardens, plant in Fruit, Citrus & Rose Specialty Mix

Gall Wasp
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display of blossoms. There’s no need for warm-climate gardeners to miss out, either, with low-chill and ‘tropical’ apple and peach trees now available.

> Plant watermelon and melon varieties now in warmer climates for a summer harvest. For cooler climates, wait until summer to plant. To avoid a watery tasting crop, minimise watering as fruit approaches maturity.

> Bronze orange bugs can be a major pest of citrus trees. They will cause fruit drop and defoliation as they suck sap from the plant. Control small numbers by knocking them into a bucket of hot, soapy water. For non-bearing citrus and ornamental shrubs, but not edible citrus trees, treat bronze orange bug with Searles Conguard. Watch out! They squirt caustic fluid so protect your skin and eyes. Oh, and they stink.

> Zucchini enjoy the warmer weather to fruit. Only one type of zucchini should be grown at any one time as crosspollination between different varieties can affect fruit quality. To keep a continual supply, plant an extra 3 plants every month over the warm season. In spring and autumn, give zucchini full sun; in summer, semi-shade. Zucchini likes a wellcomposted, deep soil that has been heavily manured the season before. Ensure good drainage. Compact varieties can be grown in containers. Dig the soil over to a depth of 15cm, adding plenty of 5 IN 1 Organic Fertiliser

> Plant sweet corn in rows in warmer climates in spring. Wait until summer for cooler areas. Maintain a regular watering regime for good growth and watch out for corn earworm.

> Before planting spring veggies, mix into existing soil a good dose of 5 IN 1 Organic Fertiliser. Plant warm season vegetables such as, tomato, capsicum, beetroot, beans & carrot. In warmer areas, sweet corn, zucchini, pumpkin, cucumber and beans can also be planted from early spring. For cooler areas, hold off planting these until mid to late spring.

> Spray mangoes with Searles Mancozeb fungicide after flowering to protect them from anthracnose - a common cause of fruit drop. Spray passionfruit with Searles Bug Beater, a natural pyrethrum spray to control sucking and chewing pests.

If you’re a lover of indoor plants, then the main pests you will find on plants include scale, mealybug, mites, fungus gnats and sometimes caterpillars.

Treat aphids, thrips, caterpillars, whitefly & leafhoppers with Searles Bug Beater. For control of scale, spray with Searles Pest Gun

Fungus gnats lay their eggs in moist soil. To reduce numbers, don’t overwater pot plants and add a layer of fine gravel or pebbles to create a barrier.

Rejuvenate the appearance of the plant by trimming back old and tired stems, helping the plant focus on new growth and spring flowering.

As the warmer days arrive, prepare indoor plants with fortnightly liquid feed with Searles Flourish Soluble Plant Food to encourage strong spring growth, lush foliage and strong plant stems for upright growth.

Mealybug on maidenhair fern Fungus Gnat
Scan our QR code for citrus pests & diseases.

spring planting and care guide

> Iris are flowering now, and there are many varieties to choose from. They are best planted in groups. For most gardeners in cooler temperate regions, the tall or dwarf bearded iris are often the plants of choice for garden additions. One iris species that easily spans all climates is the dependable Louisiana iris group. As the name implies, this species originates in North America and can handle both cooler climates and hot, humid conditions. Louisiana irises are essentially a bog iris and will revel in wet or heavy soil and equally at the edge of ponds.

> Few plants are more beautiful or rewarding to grow than daylilies (Hemerocallis). Their graceful form, long flowering habit and their tolerance of neglect are just a few more of their good points. Today’s varieties flower for long periods; mostly from October through January (depending on variety) and some again in April and May. They can handle frost as well as extremes of dry heat and cold. They are not true lilies at all, nor bulbs, but herbaceous perennials which form clumps that can be divided every three years in autumn. Daylilies do best in wellprepared soil in full sun. They look stunning planted en masse.

> Plant kangaroo paw (anigozanthos) in a full sun position with excellent drainage for spring displays and excellent cut flowers. Feed fortnightly with SeaMax Organic Fertiliser through the growing season. For best results, mulch well and keep them moist but not overwatered. Use Searles Native Plant Specialty Mix when growing in pots.

> There are over 500 species of salvias from edible sages (S. officinalis) and small to large shrubs up to 3m high, many of which flower in spring to autumn. There is a salvia to suit all climates, seasons and garden styles. Plant salivas en masse for a stunning display of colour in garden beds or use the smaller more compact varieties for pot displays around patios and entertainment areas. Most love a full sun position and well drained soil.

> Rhondeletia amoena is a romantic scented shrub with its billowing salmon-pink flowers appearing from late winter to late spring, which are offset to perfection by deep green leaves. Rhondeletia is both reliable and easy to grow.

> Butterflies are a joy to watch about the garden. Entice them to play in your garden by growing buddlejas. The large spikes of sugar-sweet flowers range in colour from indigo to butter-yellow, orange, pink, lilac and white. Hybrids with silvery grey foliage are particularly attractive.

> If a corner of your garden needs cheering up, plant a Streptosolen jamesonii, also known as browallia. This fast-growing shrub comes with

Warmer Climates

• Canna

• Hibiscus

• Heliconia

• Poinciana

• Ginger

• Azalea

• Metrosideros

• Leptospermum

• NSW Christmas Bush

Cooler Climates

• Azalea

• Rhododendron

• Camellia

• Waratah

• Ornamental Peach

• Lavender

• Pittosporum

• Photinia

• Hydrangea

• Bauhinia

• Buddleja

• Prostanthera

• Tabebuia

• Illawarra Frame

• Lavender

• Salvia

• Malus

• Prunus

• Daphne

• Michelia

• Flowering quince

• Smoke bush

• Mock orange (Philadelphus coronarius)

page 22 | About the garden magazine
Bearded Iris

There are many types of azaleas suited to a range of lighting conditions from full sun positions to shaded areas. This gives an excellent range of azaleas to choose from to suit almost any area of your garden. Rhododendrons have similar growing requirements and are more commonly grown successfully in cooler regions. Enquire at your local garden centre for the best varieties suited to your garden location. When planting azaleas & rhododendrons, remember that they love an acidic soil, rich in organic matter. Improve the soil by planting into Searles Azalea & Camellia Specialty Mix This will give them the right mix of nutrients and pH for a great start and strong, healthy growth.

These plants have shallow surface roots and will flourish with regular watering every 2–3 days. They do not cope very well with extended dry periods, so regular watering will bring on their best growth and magnificent blooms.

Be careful to avoid wetting the flowers when watering the plant as this can encourage petal blight, a fungus, which causes flower loss. Control early with Searles Mancozeb Plus

Common problems affecting azaleas are from sap-sucking insects such as mites and azalea lacewing. Control azalea lacewing with Searles Conguard and mites with Searles Ecofend Vegetable & Garden spray.

either orange or yellow flowers in an intense burst during early spring. Cut it back after flowering and forget about it for the rest of the year – it’s that easy.

> Beautiful small tubular, violet blue flowers appear from thick stems throughout spring on this Mist Flower (Eupatorium megalophyllum) shrub. This evergreen shrub grows to about 2m high with large velvety leaves adorning the plant during the year. This shrub grows best planted in light shade, protected from summer heat and it does do well in frost areas.

> For prolonged and more prolific flowering, fertilise your flowering plants with Robust Flower Booster Controlled Release Fertiliser. This fertiliser contains an instant fertiliser plus a controlled release fertiliser for months for spring feeding.

> For spring garden colour, plant lavender, gauras, heliotrope, leptospermum, osteospermums, ptilotus, gazanias, New South Wales Christmas bush, scaevola, pandorea and pentas.

> In cooler areas of Australia, wisteria will be in full bloom draped over archways and pergolas. In climates too warm to grow wisteria, grow purple wreath (Petrea volubilis) instead.

> There are few flowers as flamboyant as the hibiscus. Great for hedging, as potted specimens or in poolside plantings. Give them full sun and a neutral to slightly alkaline, well-drained soil of Searles Planting Mix for gardens. Hibiscus hate drying out so maintain a thick layer of mulch. Flowers appear from winter into summer. Apply Searles Flourish Flower & Foliage to boost flowering. Hibiscus will grow just about anywhere in Australia but in cooler areas it’s advisable to select from cold-tolerant or deciduous varieties.

There is a plethora of natives blooming in spring. Now is the time to visit a local garden centre to see what is flowering. Wattles, waratahs, banksias, grevilleas, callistemons and leptospermums will keep up their spring bloom with a granular feed of Searles Native Food.

About the garden magazine | page 23
Leptospermum Callistemons NSW Christmas bush

plant & grow

> Great time to plant spring salad vegetables, such as lettuce, cucumber, beetroot, okra, zucchini, rocket, beans, capsicum, spring onion, silver beet and tomatoes for a quick harvest. Plant in rich well composted and nutrient packed soil for fast growing. Searles Herb & Vegetable Specialty is designed for hungry feeding vegetables.

Pumpkin, melon varieties, sweet potato, potato and sweet corn can be planted now. Enrich the garden soil with 5 IN 1 Organic Fertiliser to keep their growth strong.

There is an old gardener’s tale that the ash from the fireplace is the same as sulphate of potash.

Searles Sulphate of Potash, used to promote flower and fruit growth, is sourced as a natural material from the ground and granulated. It is a natural element, and when you pick up a bag of the product it feels like a bag of small granules. Liquid Potash is a synthetic version of potash and is best reapplied fortnightly, where the sulphate of potash is absorbed by plant leaves and roots.

Ash from the fire, can contain some potassium but often not in the quantities needed for flowering. Also, potassium quantities in fire ash are variable depending on what has been burnt. With the liquid potash or the granule Sulphate of Potash you know exactly the potassium content and application rates on the packaging are formulated to promote strong flowering and fruiting.

Mulberry trees are developing their distinctive red fruits in early spring. Look out for dwarf varieties for potted displays. Harvest mulberries when they are fully ripened on the tree. Eat promptly as they spoil within a day or two. Look out for blueberry bushes on sale at gardening outlets. Plant in Searles Azalea & Camellia Specialty Mix for the right nutrients to grow plenty of berries.

Azaleas are in full bloom now, look out for Azalea lace bug and control with Searles Conguard. Wet, damp conditions can encourage the fungal disease, petal blight. Spray promptly with Mancozeb Plus

Dietes, cliveas, daylilies, agapanthus and hippeastrums are in flower now. Boost flower production by watering with Searles Liquid Potash every two weeks.

Most flowering annuals can be planted now. Make them flourish and produce more blooms with Searles Flourish Flowers & Foliage Soluble Plant Food fortnightly. Plant aster, amaranthus, celosia, cleome, gomphrena, phlox, portulaca, salvia, sunflower, torenia & zinnia.

Give lawns a boost with Searles Lawn Food to aid their spring flush of growth. Regular mowing will reduce the chance of weeds going to seed and re-germinating.

For more information for what to grow in your climatic zone visit www.aboutthegarden.com.au

Rockhampton Hervey Bay Brisbane Toowoomba Warwick Grafton Port Macquarie
page 24 | About the garden magazine
myth busted

> Plant alyssum, amaranthus, begonia, celosia, cosmos, dianthus, marigold, petunia, gomphrena, phlox, portulaca, salvia, sunflower, torenia & zinnia for spring colour.

> Plant cannas in full sun for brilliant colour. Plant cordylines, coleus and crotons for tropical colour. Position in semi-shaded areas.

> Flowers of Giant Granadilla with vibrant colours and pops of long lasting red flowers from the Ruellia Colourata will show their spring displays.

> Native Frangipani and other frangipani varieties are in full bloom and spreading their heavenly scent about early spring.

> Watch out for fruit fly on developing vegetables, tomatoes, citrus, mango and passionfruit. Hang Searles Fruit Fly traps around the perimeter of your garden and orchard to monitor and control male fruit fly activity.

> Spring can be a very dry season, keep the water up to plants and veggies, especially lettuce, tomatoes and ferns.

> Plenty of edibles can be planted now. Plant carrot, choko, cucumber, eggplant, French beans, lettuce, radish, spring onion, squash, tomato, capsicum, kohl rabi, okra, pumpkin, rosella, sweet potato, tomato, rockmelon, watermelon & zucchini. Dig into existing soil plenty of organic fertiliser before planting to feed their hungry growth. Look out for powdery mildew and rust on cucurbit vines and act early.

> Harvest ginger, turmeric and galangal if you haven’t already. Replant what you don’t want to bring to the kitchen. Spring and warmer weather brings lush, new foliage growth we all enjoy.

> Bromeliads are a feature of spring gardens.

> Pick from a good selection of salvias flowering in a range of rich, vibrant colours and are highly attractive to pollinators.

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Spring 2023
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> Plant carrot, choko, cucumber, eggplant, French beans, lettuce, radish, spring onion, squash, beetroot, broccoli, cabbage and silver beet. Plant capsicum, chilli, zucchini, pumpkins, eggplant, tomatoes and sweet corn once the soil has received its spring warmth.

> Plant berry bushes, including strawberries. Blueberries are starting to appear on bushes. Plant berry shrubs in Azalea, Camellia & Gardenia Specialty Mix for optimal growing.

> Spring heralds perfect conditions to establish many natives including grevilleas and flowering gums. Plant in a low phosphorus mix, Searles Native Plants Specialty Mix for best results.

> Fruit fly is common in the warmer times of year. Use Searles Fruit Fly Trap to monitor fruit fly activity around vegetables, particularly tomatoes and citrus trees. It contains a wick that attracts male fruit flies, traps and kills them, stopping the breeding cycle.

> The growing vines of jasmine, hardenbergia, passionfruit, Golden trumpet vine (Allamanda cathartica) and wisteria are a blaze of floral displays. Don’t be afraid to prune during the season if the vines become unruly.

> Hibiscus, azaleas, Indian hawthorn, Pride of Madeira, wax flower, may bush, viburnums and many callistemons are creating a floral display during spring.

> Azaleas are in full bloom making a statement in many home gardens during spring. Azalea petal blight is a common fungal problem effecting azalea flowers. Remove petals promptly and destroy. If severe, treat plant with and avoid watering over plant foliage and flowers. To encourage more blooms liquid fertilise with Searles

Flourish Azalea & Camellia Soluble Plant Food fortnightly.

> Passionfruit and blueberries are appearing on bushes now. Liquid feed with Searles Flourish Azalea & Camellia Soluble Plant Food for more yummy fruit. Harvest asparagus and rhubarb. Plant Globe artichokes. Oranges and lemons are still fruiting.

> Now is the time to nurture deciduous trees into their foliage and flowering period, such as fruiting trees, Liquid Amber, maples, crepe myrtles by liquid feeding with an organic fertiliser, SeaMax Organic Fertiliser Liquid, fortnightly.

> Plant potted grapes and table grape varieties in spring.

> As the warmer weather arrives and the soil warms, sprinkle 5 IN 1 Organic Fertiliser Pellets to enrich the soil for spring bursts of growth and flowering.

> Revel in the stunning ‘blossom season’ that is spring. See flushes of heavenly blooms from prunus, viburnum, may, plum, apricot, almonds, wintersweet, daphne, rhododendrons, crabapple, waratahs and apple trees.

> Warmer weather vegetable plants such as tomato, basil, corn, zucchini, capsicum, pumpkin and watermelon can be planted late spring when the weather warms up. Dig into the existing soil 5 IN 1 Fertiliser to enrich the soil with heaps of well composted manures for excellent growth. Carrots, spinach, lettuce, beetroot, peas and silverbeet can be planted at the start for spring.

Late spring is the perfect time to re-pot and divide plants. The impending warmer weather will kick start new growth in their new home.

Stop snail and slugs in their tracks by sprinkling Searles Snail & Slug Pellets. They love young newly planted seedlings. Watch out.

Azalea & rhododendrons are flowering now. Fertiliser with Searles Flourish Azalea & Camellia Soluble Plant Food to boost flowering and duration.

For more information for what to grow in your climatic zone visit

Hobart Rockhampton Hervey Bay Brisbane Warwick Grafton Port Macquarie Sydney Canberra Melbourne Wodonga Adelaide Geraldton Perth Albany Port Augusta Esperance Moree Armidale Orange
Emerald Rockhampton Gladstone Hervey Bay Brisbane Toowoomba Warwick Port Macquarie Sydney Melbourne Wodonga Adelaide Albany Esperance Armidale Tamworth TM page 26 | About the garden magazine

> Bottlebrushes are alive with blooms early spring. Invest in some more hardy Australian natives. Many are on show now such as grevilleas, flowering gums, hakeas and correas. Plant now to establish their roots before the hotter weather arrives. Plant them in a native low phosphorus mix such as Searles Native Plants Specialty Mix

> After the last of the frosts, plant warm season vegetables, such as beans, capsicum, cucumber, eggplant, Asian greens, tomato, leafy greens, potatoes, radish, salad onions, pumpkins and zucchini. Tomato plants grow well in the heat and can produce large quantities of tomatoes that can be enjoyed in salads, sauces, pizzas, and more. For strong growth to support veggie production, enrich the soil with 5 IN 1 Organic Fertiliser. After planting seedlings mulch to insulate soil from warming temperatures.

> Melons can planted now for a summer crop. Strawberries, passionfruit and citrus trees can be planted during spring.

> Be on the look out for blackspot and aphids on roses now and aphids on ornamentals and flowering plants. Ensure bushes have good air movement around the branches to keep fungal problems to a minimum. Aphids, leaf miners and leaf chewers enjoy vegetables at this time. Control if severe with Searles Ecofend Fruit & Garden spray.

> It is wildflower season. Western Australia’s roadsides and national parks are ablaze with some of the best Australian spectacular wildflowers. Grab your keys and hit the road.

> Mulch gardens to protect from summer heat.

> Watch out for fruit fly on developing vegetables, tomatoes, citrus, mango and passionfruit. Hang Searles Fruit Fly traps around the perimeter of your garden and orchard to monitor and control male fruit fly activity.

> Plant petunia, vinca, cosmos, marigold, salvia, portulaca, nasturtium and zinnia early spring for a longer flowering time.

> Repot indoor plants that have become root-bound with Searles Premium Potting Mix to give them a fresh start and a nutrient boost.

> Perfect weather is still here to stay for a little while longer. Establish some Australian natives, in particular, our best flowering species the grevillea and flowering gums. Depending on your garden type and use, there is one to suit your needs. Visit your local gardening outlets for the latest in breeding cultivars and the best natives to suit your area.

> Many garden insect pests come into their active period in spring. Be vigilant for aphids, leaf miners, and leaf chewing bugs. Watch out for aphids munching on new branches of roses and citrus. Spray with Searles Bug Beater Monitor and protect vegetable patches, tomatoes, citrus and passionfruit vines from fruit fly sting by hanging fruit fly traps.

> Splash some colour around the garden and verandah, plant petunia, vinca, cosmos, marigold, salvia, portulaca, nasturtium and zinnia early spring for longer flowering time and liquid feed them with SeaMax Organic Fertiliser every fortnight to keep their growth strong during the warmer months.

> Inland areas have a good climate for growing all types of annual herbs such as basil, rosemary, coriander, dill, sage and oregano.

> Get a crop in the veggie garden before summer is too hot. Plant artichokes, Asian greens, asparagus spears, beans, beetroot, capsicum, chilli, carrots, celery, cucumber, egg plant, kale, leek, lettuce, onion, pea, pumpkin, radish, spinach, spring onions, sweet corn, sweet potato, tomato, turnip and zucchini.

> Be on the look out for two-spotted mites around peas and beans. Spray roses for aphids and blackspot with Searles Trifend

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Better home grown fruit, vegetables & herbs for over 45 years ACO CERT. NO. 431 POTENT BLEND OF OVER 10 ORGANIC INGREDIENTS STUNNING RESULTS LONG LASTING PLANT NUTRITION Ask for Searles quality garden products at your nearest gardening outlet. www.searlesgardening.com.au
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