Is it possible to grow turmeric from pieces bought
from the supermarket?
Mary of Ashgrove
Turmeric is a rhizome crop and fresh sections purchased
from retail outlets are the easiest way to start your
own crop at home. Plant rhizome pieces in sun or part
shade. Only moderately fertile soil is required. Expect
the rhizomes to grow and multiply over spring, summer
and autumn and die back completely in winter. Harvest
the entire crop when plants die back or smaller pieces
as required. Clumps left in the ground produce beautiful
flowers in late summer. Turmeric is
hardier than ginger (which grows in the same way). The
colour of your turmeric harvest is determined by the
variety you choose (there are white, yellow and orange
types), soil type and nutrition as well as and the
maturity of rhizomes at harvest.
I want to grow my own garlic? How do I get started?
John of Carinda
Garlic can be a challenging crop to grow in the subtropics. It is
best planted in autumn in well-prepared, but not overly rich, well-drained soil.
A full sun position is required. Plant cloves removed from a garlic knob of
garlic. I suggest planting a variety of different types available from organic
outlets and mail order suppliers. In your first year you will be trying to
determine which varieties are best adapted to your planting situation. Your
harvest should be mature by early summer, but it is important to harvest before
the onset of summer rainfall. In my experience, applications of liquid silica
and potash (see www.batphone.com) can be useful in helping combat disease
Everyone is being hit by lawn grub. Remember that lawn
grub is not one insect but the name gardeners apply to a
range of beetle and moth larvae that attack the roots
and stems of grass. These insects have been busily
laying eggs all during the drought. The eggs did not
hatch because there was no grass for them to eat. Once
the rain came multiple generations of these insects all
hatched at once into grubs that attacked lawns. The
lovely orange wasps flying over the grass are now
frantically trying to provide biological control by
laying their eggs into the lawn grub larvae.
If your lawn is already brown, there is no point
spraying. The damage has been done and the insects will
have moved on. The chemical sprays used for lawn grub
are toxic. If you choose to spray a 'still green' lawn
remember that you will kill not only the grubs, but also
beneficial organisms including earth worms. You should
also be aware of keeping children and pets off the lawn
immediately after spraying.
What is the name of the pink flowering trees that line many
streets in Brisbane and are also outside the ABC building at Southbank.
These street trees are commonly known as pink trumpet trees or Tabebuia. There
are a number of different species including several pink and mauve forms as well
as a number of yellows. Tabebuias are deciduous. Trees are seed grown, gangly
when young and do not tend to flower until they are 7-10 years old. Best
flowering is achieved where trees experience a dry period followed by good rain.
They tend to flower poorly when planted in gardens where they receive regular