by Angie Thomas
IF YOU'RE planning on growing fruiting vegetables like zucchini, pumpkin and cucumber over the warmer months then including some bee-attracting flowers in the garden will promote a much better fruit set.
If vegetables aren't on your gardening horizon, it's still important for gardeners to grow flowers that will provide food for bees and other beneficial insects. And you can never have too many flowers in your life!
There are plenty of flowers that will attract buzzy workers to your garden - the more brightly-coloured, the better.
Marigolds are bright, happy flowers that are ideal for growing in pots, garden beds and as border plantings.
They can be sown during August in tropical, sub-tropical and warm areas (in cool zones wait until spring) and they'll be covered in large, softly-curled flowers in yellow, gold and orange in 12 weeks. The other good thing about marigolds is that they can also be helpful for repelling pests.
Garden tip: Grow Yates Marigold Cupid Mix as a low border plant around the outside of the vegetable patch. It will look wonderful and your vegetables will love you for it.
Protect seedlings from snails and slugs by keeping plants happy and healthy with a liquid plant food, by spraying with eco pest control and by being vigilant about squashing pests in the garden. Remember to check under leaves for eggs.
Trim off spent flowers regularly to help keep the plants tidy and encourage new growth and flowers.
And to attract even more bees and other beneficial insects into the garden you can also plant nasturtiums, salvia, lavender, forget-me-not and borage as well as let herbs like basil, chives and coriander flower.
Stopping toxic spraying
A big "thank you” to everyone who has so far signed the petition to Ballina Shire Council to stop spraying chemicals, including glyphosate, in parks, reserves and other public areas.
The petition is online as well as at Belle General, Belle Central and The Gallery Café. https://www.change.org/p/ballina-shire-council-stop-toxic-spraying-in-ballina-shire
If you are a green thumb, and would like to share ways you control weeds and pests in your own garden without using spray, please email email@example.com. We'd love to hear your "green” solution.
Be aware that sprays cannot only be harmful to the environment and your health, but bees can be severely and even fatally affected by pesticides, fertilisers and other chemicals. This problem has been the object of growing concern because of the threat it poses to agriculture.
Veg of the week: Magnificent mignonettes
Lettuce is so handy to have in your kitchen garden, whether you're whipping up a quick salad or adding some crispy leaves to a sandwich or wrap.
Mignonette lettuces are hardy and quick growing and their small heads have leaves that are tender and sweet tasting.
Yates Lettuce Green Mignonette and Yates Lettuce Brown Mignonette are two heat-tolerant varieties that are perfect for growing in a sunny spot in either pots or garden beds and will be ready to harvest in just 8-10 weeks.
Throughout the year, seed can be sown direct where the lettuces are to grow or raised in trays of seed raising mix and transplanted when the seedlings are about 3-4cm high.
Make successive sowings every few weeks to ensure you have an ongoing supply of these delicious lettuces.