I love the smell of flowering broad beans; it’s unmistakeable, a heady, heavy perfume. Have you walked in amongst a paddock of flowering canola? Or peas? Wandered in a cottage garden of sweet peas? Plenty of other flowers give off scent this time of year as well. Sometimes I wonder if we don’t pay enough attention to the sensory side of gardening. Heavily scented plants can repel, and attract, insects, garden pests and pollinators – not to mention gardeners. For example, elder, dill and fennel attract predatory insects. Basil, lavendar and sage confuse pests and masks the smell of the plants they are searching for. Wormwood and tansy are repellants. (Penny Woodward will have more info on scented herbs at her website.)
Smells are an important part of gardening. Think about the sweet smell of the biodynamic preparations or freshly dug, healthy soil. The acrid pungency of compost that is too wet or anaerobic. Use your nose to guide you in the garden.
If you’ve just planted or transplanted, watch out for slugs and snails and other munching pests; try the copper tape as a deterrent. Coffee grounds around the plant, or diluted plunger coffee sprayed onto the leaves and soil also works. Make your own horticultural oil to smother scale, aphids, white fly, mites, etc by mixing 1 cup of vegetable oil and a few good sqeezes of biodegradable dishwashing liquid or liquid soap, shake well until milky and use diluted (2 – 3 tbsp in a litre of water) in a spray bottle to cover plants. The good old garlic/chilli spray is another one – chop up a few cloves of garlic, a few chillis (add chopped onion if you like) or chilli powder and place in a jar with warm water. steep for a day, add a squdge of detergent and dilute to use (1 -2 litres water).
October is a busy month in the garden – seed raising, getting watering systems up to scratch, turning in green manures, paying attention to crop rotation, feeding rapidly growing crops, weeding and turning all that lovely growth into fertiliser. Soils will respond with a biodynamic spray of BD500 (and a balancing spray of BD501 the following morning). The October Notes are now posted. Take in the scents and sight of the spring garden and enjoy October outdoors.
Our Childrens Literature Fest Program Workshop on 30th September is now fully booked out. Stay tuned for news about the Growing Abundance ‘Seasonal Cooking Workshop’ on November 10 at the garden. And don’t forget the Produce Exchange, Saturday October 5th outside The Red Store, 10.30am.