Potting mix

Potting mix is as the name suggests, potting mix is only for putting into pots as a planting media, it’s not for putting in the ground. If you are planting into the ground, improve the soil with compost. Potting mix is commonly a mixture of perlite, bark, sand and compost. There are premium potting mixes that contain wetting agent and fertiliser but this will only last around 28 days then you will need to add fertilisers. Potting mix does not last. You will get around three years out of a premium potting mix and two out of a cheap brand, plants will struggle if their potting mix isn’t replaced. In potting mix there is the potential presence of pathogens such as legionella that can affect humans. Always wear gloves and a mask and wash your hands after handling it.


Companion planting in the vegetable garden

Companion planting can be used in the vegetable garden to, reduce pest and disease, promote plant growth and for many other beneficial reasons. The native American Indians are known for the three sisters, Squash, beans and sweet corn all planted together. The beans grow up the corn and the squash protects the soil from weeds and water evaporation. Basil repel flies, Chamomile promotes vigor in its surrounding plants, Chives repel aphids and black spot on roses, Marigold roots kill nematodes and repel white fly, Mint and sage repels cabbage white moth, Pyrethrum repels bugs and nasturtium is loved by bugs so they will eat that and leave your favorite plants alone. Companion planting is a great way to protect your garden without using chemicals. Bad companions have root systems that release chemicals which can inhibit the growth of some of the other vegetable plants around them.

Plant Good companion Bad companion
Asparagus Basil, Chives, Tomatoes, parsley Garlic, onion
Basil Tomatoes,
Beans Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Carrot, lettuce, cabbage, corn, parsley beetroot, chives, onion, garlic, sunflower
Beetroot Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, onion, peas, potatoes, spinach, bush beans Tomatoes, climbing bean
Capsicum Onion, carrots, tomatoes Celery and dill
Carrots Beans, peas, tomatoes, chives, coriander, lettuce, radish, sage, rosemary Carrot and potatoes
Celery Tomatoes, spinach, peas, onion, cabbage, dill Sage and potatoes
Cucumber Sunflower, lettuce, pea, corn, cauliflower, dill, carrot, beans, basil, broccoli
Eggplant Spinach and beans
Lettuce strawberries, peas, beans, onion, cucumber, cabbage and beetroot, carrot, marigold parsley
Parsley Asparagus, corn and tomatoes
Peas Beans, beetroot, corn, squash, cabbage, lettuce, potatoes, cucumber, celery chives, garlic, onion
Pumpkin corn, beans, cabbage, eggplant, peas, radish potatoes
strawberries spinach, sage, pyrethrum, onion, lettuce, beans, chives, leek, marigold broccoli, cauliflower, garlic, cabbage
sweet corn beans, peas, cucumber, squash, pumpkin, zucchini, melons, potatoes cabbage
Tomatoes basil, celery, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, chives, dill, marigold, mint, nasturtium beetroot, fennel, potatoes
zucchini lovage, marjoram, nasturtium, sweet corn

How to plant a plant

How to plant a plant the right way.
The two types of planting in Melbourne I will discuss are planting into a pot and planting into the ground. The first thing you need to know is that potting mix is only used when planting into pots and compost is used when planting into the ground. Always water plants with a seaweed solution in the original pot at least two hours before transplanting into the ground or a larger pot. When planting into a pot use premium potting mix and plant the plant so that the potting mix falls at least 2 inches bellow the rim to gives space for watering. A small percentage of the potting mix will need to be replaced every 2 to 3 years as it will slump, become compacted and be of poor condition for optimum plants health and growth.

When planting in the ground dig a hole about 3 times the diameter and one and a half times deeper than the plants pot that you are planting is in. With the soil you dug from the hole add to it 25% of it’s volume worth of compost. Place fertilizer in the bottom of the whole then enough of the improved soil on top in a small mound so that the soil level on the plant in the pot will sit at the same level as the natural soil level in the ground when planted. Back fill the hole around the plant and firm down the soil gently. When planted water the plant well with a seaweed solution to minimize transplant shock and remove all of the air pockets in the ground.

Sun loving plants need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight a day. Plants such as Lavender, fruit trees and vegetables.

Shade loving plants need to be in full shade or morning dappled shade with no afternoon sun at all. Plants such as Ferns,Stag horns and Baby’s tears.

Part shade plants can receive morning sun but no afternoon sun. Plants such as Gardenia, Hydrangea, Pieris and Clivia.

Planting design tips

Designing a garden needs knowledge of several disciplines including science and an artistic nature. I have put together a collection of tips to help you down the garden path.

1 Rather than having one of every plant, try mass planting.

2  Plant in odd numbers when planting less than ten plants in a group.

3 Mix plants with different textured leaves such as large leaves with fine leaves.

4 Mix plant forms such as tall and narrow with short and rounded.

5 Create patterns in long borders such as three daisy’s, one silver bush, three daisy’s one silver bush etc.

6 Layer plants by having the  2 meter  plant’s at the back then  1 meter plant’s in front of those then a ground cover as a border.

7 Fill your garden beds to make your beds look lush and reduce weeds.

8 Uses plants that are ground covers along your beds edges to frame your plants and soften edges.

9 Layer plants 3 or more rows this adds depth.