Growing Turmeric
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 much 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 can be useful in helping combat disease outbreaks.


Lawn Grub
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.
ABC Caller

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 irrigation.

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