I review these products during tasks I personally carry out within my garden on a regular basis. Using the right product or tool for the job makes the difference of doing it the easy way or the hard way, so I really value a product which can make my life easier.

I am hoping that garden related companies will send me ‘products’ to test and evaluate. However I must stress that I will not be anything but fair and make no promises to these companies other than to tell the truth. Many of the products here are what I have already purchased for my own gardening use and are happy with.

You may ask, what are your qualifications? Well Judy and I opened our garden through the ‘Australia's Open Gardens’ for
10 years. We now open to support a specific charity. We won Gardening Australia’s 2009 ‘Golden Trowel’, have appeared on the ‘Garden Guru’s and ‘Gardening Australia’ twice and on various other television shows. We give presentations to garden clubs on Sub tropical gardening and open our garden for bus tours. What is more important is that we have learnt from our gardening mistakes.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Garden Sprayer

There are so many garden sprayers on the market that it has become difficult to choose.
For me one of the most important things I look for in a sprayer is, can I get spare parts?
Certainly if you bought a ‘Chinese cheapy’ you would not get spares and would have to throw it away.
My choice is ‘Hozelock’ these are made in the UK and are distributed by Fiskars, so there’s two very reliable brands.

Spares are always available, be it washers or nozzles, I cannot stress the importance of this.
The sprayer pictured is a top of the line model (Viton) which can be used for industrial liquids as well as general garden spraying.
The sprayer pictured has a 10 litre capacity but you can get five and seven litre capacity sprayers.
The sprayer is easy to pump and gives out a good spray, that’s about all you need in a sprayer and as an added bonus it has a two year warranty.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Sugar Cane Mulch Brisbane

I am often asked what sort of much I recommend.
I only use sugar cane in bales, I find that this coarse mulch does not compact and allows rain and fertilizer to flow through and reach the soil, whereas other fine mulches will compact and any rain will drain off.
The other benefits of sugar cane are:
 It is virtually weed free;
Good for controlling weeds;
Easy water penetration and moisture retention;
Reduces the need for watering;
Promotes earthworms;
Prevents soil erosion; and returns nutrients back into the soil.



We apply sugar cane twice a year using around 160 bales every year (we have a big garden).
We apply it to a depth of 3 “or 75 mm and ensure the soil is moist prior to spreading.
Remember that by mulching your garden you are INSULATING your soil, so the most important time to mulch is prior to winter.

Now where do you get it and how much?
We get ours delivered (10 bales or more is free delivery) at $5.50 a bale by Andrew Currant from Norwell. His contact details are farm (07)55462303 and mobile 0414458175.
My garden blog is found at http://ianjudy.blogspot.com/

Friday, September 3, 2010

Garden Product Review: Pruning Fruit Trees with a Fiskars Pruner

It’s that time of the year when the Custard Apple trees need pruning back, you can always tell when the leaves start to turn yellow and drop. Like all fruit trees they are best kept to a size which is relatively easy to maintain.
My problem is that I have six of them and they take a lot of pruning.
This year Fiskars came to my rescue and provided me with a log reach pole pruner to review which I really appreciated.


It certainly made trimming the lower branches easy but was not long enough to get all the way to the top of the trees, for this they make a telescopic pruner which I had already purchased several years ago, so with these two pruners I was able to complete the job without too much effort.
The trimmer head swivels 26 degrees, cuts branches up to 32mm thick and has a reach of 1.58 metres.
Like all garden tools these cutters require some maintenance, usually a quick spray with WD 40 or a similar lubricant.
The products are made in Finland and are excellent quality, you can expect years of hard work out of them and they have a lifetime warranty.
My garden blog: http://ianjudy.blogspot.com/

Monday, August 23, 2010

Garden product Review. Sub Tropical Gardening Magazine



Follow your dream, that’s obviously what Paul Plant did five years ago when he started his publication ‘Sub Tropical Gardening’.
It took a lot of courage from the outset to envision a high quality publication that catered to the sub tropical regions, it would either be a complete failure or a great success and what made matters worse was that the magazine was started in one of the worst droughts ever and gardening especially in Queensland became a dirty word.
Well the magazine has now reached its 20th issue  and it seems to have found a real niche in the market.
We are never too young or old to learn something new and this magazine will give you interesting information to help you become a better gardener.
I have never subscribed to the magazine but have most copies including number one, I usually flick through it at the newsagent’s then buy it.
It is a high quality glossy magazine that looks good but sometimes disappoints me with the contents; OK I know I am biased and have my favourite type of plants, but I do realise there are other people with different interests to mine, so what does not interest me interests others.
One thing I do not agree with is that Horticulturists should be the only contributors to articles, there are some dedicated garden people out there who could make a great contribution, for instance, John and Genny Catlin from Jacobs Well, their plant knowledge is so vast that it should be written down because I know of no one else who has their scope of knowledge of warm climate plants.
My favourite part of the magazine is ‘Sub Tropical Collector’ I find this great to identify plants and learn about them.
 If you keep the back copies then there is a great search/index function on the STG website.
Overall it’s a great magazine for warm climate gardeners.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Garden Product Review: Seaweed (Kelp) in the Garden

I am going to recommend a product which Judy and I use all the time in our garden and believe has helped make our garden and plants so healthy all year round.


We are great believers in the benefit of using Kelp (seaweed) in the garden as a foliar, transplanting and soil conditioner.

NatraKelp has their factory situated in Maroochydore and processes the kelp which has been imported from Tasmania.

We believe this is a very superior product to some you can buy, it comes out of the container like treacle and we mix it at a 10 to one rate which is 100 mills in a watering can.

NatraKelp make liquid seaweed from Tasmanian bull kelp (Durvillea Potatorum) one of the world's richest sources of micro-nutrients, alginic acid, essential amino acids, minerals and other complex organic compounds. They use a natural bacterial fermentation process to liquefy the kelp and maximise the seaweed's high nutrient levels. When we buy new plants or do any transplanting we always water them in with a kelp solution.

With the foliar spray the one we use is an 18-3-10 solution we spray all the plants at least every month,

This is a great plant food which contains nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium - plus the added growing power of liquid seaweed, this product contains a base of 65% liquid seaweed with a range of NPK formulations (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) plus chelated trace elements, this mix boosts the health, vigour and yield of all our plants.

NatraKelp soil conditioner is a mix of several different types of seaweed and helps the soil retain moisture, this liquid seaweed plant and soil conditioner uses a base of premium seaweed, blended to increase its natural 'stickiness' and water-retention qualities in soil. This product not only enhances moisture retention and soil structure at the same time, it promotes healthy plants by delivering a package of essential nutrients.

Our garden is a success partly due to our use of Natrakelp products.

If you want to know more, visit their web site found at: Natrakelp
My garden blog: http://ianjudy.blogspot.com/