January 26 - February 1, 2020: Issue 435


The Inaugural Sydney Edible Garden Trail - Learn how to help your garden survive the heat, drought, and water restrictions

Photo: Costa and the SEGT team - image supplied

The Edible Garden Trail will run over 21 and 22 March 2020 with backyard growers, school and community gardens, large and small, opening their gardens to the public. This is a community not-for-profit event with all profits going to participating school and community gardens.

Early bird tickets are now for sale. Buy now or register your edible garden to be part of the trail to go in the draw to win a Waterups wicking bed worth $395. Visit: www.sydneyediblegardentrail.com. NB: Registrations close the end of January 2020.

Water restrictions at a time when your edible garden desperately needs watering might seem like a disaster, but can also be an opportunity to learn more efficient, eco-friendly skills.

A lot of the things you do for yourself on hot days are applicable to plants – staying hydrated and covering up!

Writer and permaculturist, Cat Dorey, has pulled together some of the things the inaugural Sydney Edible Garden Trail garden hosts are doing to keep their gardens alive. 

1. Keeping hydrated – start with the soil Make sure you have a good volume of compost in your soil (30–50% depending on the soil quality). This improves soil structure, keeps microbes happy, and helps retain water. After rain or watering, the top soil often looks wet, but just a few  centimetres down it can be bone dry. Always look closer and consider getting a moisture meter – a probe you can stick into the soil to check water content. If your soil has dried out completely it might become hydrophobic and have trouble rehydrating, especially with sandy soils and potted plants. The water sits on top of the soil instead of properly saturating it, or takes the path of least resistance, running down the inside wall of the pot and straight out the bottom. Submersing pots in a tub of water can really help! Soak them until the air bubbles are all gone, and drain in an empty tub to save that precious water. You might need to add a soil hydrating agent to address hydrophobic soil, but be careful as many commercial ones are synthetic and not biodegradable.

Gardening Australia’s Jerry Coleby-Williams has some great suggestions for organic wetting  agents, including making your own from food-grade thickener, agar agar (algin), derived from seaweed. You might find that using a seaweed solution in your watering can more regularly in summer is enough.

2. Cover up – mulch! Always have a generous layer of mulch covering your soil. As well as suppressing weeds, mulch stops the soil drying out and can reduce watering by about 50%. Organic mulches like pea, sugarcane, or lucerne, break down slowly and add more organic matter to the soil. A layer of about 3–5cm is fine as you want water to get through. Be aware that some of the finely chopped mulches can create a thick mat that doesn’t let water through, especially after repeatedly drying out. Leaves and grass mowings can be useful free mulches, but these tend to form mats. A mix of the two is better. Wood chips can work well under fruit trees. For any large, unplanted beds, cover them with cardboard or plastic sheeting to maintain moisture until you’re ready to plant, or plant some green manure as a living mulch to improve the soil.

3. Find or make some shade On those really scorching days even the hardiest plants can struggle and suffer leaf burn. Build shade covers to protect them. A basic frame made from bamboo or plant stakes can be effective for holding up shade cloth. You can use old fly screens, safety netting from old trampolines, and even old sheets. For smaller plants try cardboard boxes, wicker baskets, or wire baskets covered in cloth. Temporarily move potted plants to areas that get more shade. Remember that unglazed terracotta pots are permeable and, while they stay cooler, lose water faster than glazed pots. Pots can get very hot in the direct sun and bake the soil inside, so if you can’t move them, consider shading or wrapping them in hessian sacks or cardboard.

Group herb pots around larger ‘pot ponds’ so those that need more shade can be protected by other larger pots. In the longer term, think about how you plant your vegetable beds – taller hardier plants can provide shade for others.

4. Build resistance and apply first aid Make sure plants are getting nutrients regularly to keep them strong and healthy so they are more resistant to, and can recover from, water loss, heat stress, and sunburn. Use lots of good compost, worm castings, well-rotted manures, and seaweed emulsions. Plants grown with seaweed emulsions are more tolerant to drought and revive quicker when treated with seaweed following heat stress.

5. Choose hardy plants. There are some edibles that just don’t cope in the heat, and as the changing climate means that Sydney weather will get hotter for longer, we all need to rethink what we can grow, where, and when. For really hot areas, drought tolerant Mediterranean herbs can work well.

6. Clever ways to water Hoses might seem like the quick and efficient way to water plants, especially when we’re limited to using a bucket or watering can, but there are better ways. Some plants don’t like being watered from above, and it can encourage fungal growth. Watering only the top of the soil can be fine for more shallow rooted plants, but much of the water can run off or evaporate.

Why not use the water restrictions as motivation to try out some of these more efficient watersaving methods?

Watering spikes: a variety of manufacturers make a cone-shaped plastic spike or peg filled with sand or made from a permeable ceramic that lets the water leach out slowly and deeper into the soil. You could also make your own version from the many ideas online.

Ollas: (Oh-yahs) An ancient form of irrigation, these unglazed ceramic pots are buried in your garden with just the neck sticking out. They’re filled with water which leaches out slowly into the soil when it’s dry. You can even make them by sticking two terracotta pots together, mouth to mouth, with silicone glue and with one end plugged, or with one pot and a saucer on top. Eco Bag Tree waterer: this 25 L permeable bag, from Green Harvest, sits around the trunk of a tree slowly releasing water for up to a month. Great for young fruit trees as they get established!

Self-watering pots and beds: A whole article could be written on different ways to make these selfwatering or ‘wicking’ devices. The basis of all wicking devices is that you have a water reservoir built within the pot or bed, below the soil and plants, which allows the water to move up through the soil by capillary action. Some designs have an overflow outlet to ensure that the plants don’t drown with too much water. Other designs have the pot or tub sitting above the water reservoir with a synthetic cords or fabric ‘wicks’ hanging from the pot into the reservoir that conducts water up into the soil. You can buy a variety of pots that come with a water reservoir in the bottom and some manufacturers make a basic kit to convert your own pot. Just remember that it’s hard for soil to wick water up further than about 30 cm. A wicking bed uses this idea on a larger scale within a raised vegetable bed. You can buy ready-made wicking beds, like the small Vegepods, or the modular system developed by our SEGT sponsors, Water-ups from Down-Under or custom-made beds from Very Edible Garden Wicking beds, or make your own. There are many resources online on how to build them.

Vegepods are a great idea for the junior gardener or for those who like to pick fresh produce straight from their Unit balcony.

Water ups wicking beds - in a Lane Cove SEGT garden.

Finally, it’s a good time to get familiar with, or revisit, the 12 permaculture design principles

Every one of these principles, from ‘Observe and interact’ through to ‘Creatively use and respond to change’ are important right now! Learn from other gardeners by joining a local permaculture group or one of the many online groups, and really engage with your own garden to see what works and what doesn’t.

The 12 Principles of Permaculture

  1. Observe and Interact
  2. Catch and Store Energy
  3. Obtain a Yield
  4. Apply Self-Regulation and Feedback
  5. Use and Value Renewables
  6. Produce No Waste
  7. Design from Patterns to Details
  8. Integrate Don’t Segregate
  9. Use Small, Slow Solutions
  10. Use and Value Diversity
  11. Use Edges and Value the Marginal
  12. Creatively Use and Respond to Change

The Edible Garden Trail will run over 21 and 22 March 2020 with backyard growers, school and community gardens, large and small, opening their gardens to the public. This is a community not-for-profit event with all profits going to participating school and community gardens.

Early bird tickets are now for sale. Buy now or register your edible garden to be part of the trail to go in the draw to win a Waterups wicking bed worth $395.

To find out more and get your tickets, please visit www.sydneyediblegardentrail.com.

Northern Beaches area Gardens are listed HERE - NB: some more may be added in to please revisit prior to March 21st.

Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 Water Saving Ideas During Level 2 Restrictions Plus 'Don't Sweat Summer' Specials

Greywater Hoses

In times of Level 2 water restrictions, every drop counts. Drop in to see us for a range of ideas like the greywater hoses (modelled here by Scott) to take your washing machine water to your yard.

Keeping your soils Wetta

Come and speak to us about water saving options to help your plants and lawns flourish in times of water restrictions . Helen is seen here modeling Amgrow's Wettasoil range with the 1L liquid Concentrate on the left and the 2kg Granular Soil Wetter on the right.

Johnson Bros Mitre 10 - Mona Vale: Our January Catalogue 'Don't Sweat Summer' is Out! - Browse http://bit.ly/2MgyChL and shop in store.

From the 'Don't Sweat Summer catalogue 

AUSSIE FLAG COOLER 18L: $35.00 36W x 25D x 38Hcm. Top opening hinged lid. Carry handle.

ICEZONE PERFORMANCE COOLER 18L BLUE: $99.00 4-9 day ice retention. 30(H) x 46(W) x 31(D). Concealed Hinges. Quick release stainless steel latches. Reversible non-slip or easy glide feet. Shoulder strap. Adjustable handles. Variable flow drainage. Secure locking points. Easy clean surface.

3m Aluminium Market Umbrella: $89.00 -  Taupe single layer polyester canopy.  8 aluminium ribs. Crank open/close system. Tilt function.

OZTRAIL FIESTA GAZEBO GREEN 2.4 X 2.4M: $199.00 - Ideal for providing ample shade for small groups. Green. 98% UV rated. Includes heavy duty wheeled carry bag for easy transportation & storage. 

ONIX 40CM PEDESTAL FAN: $13.90 - 3 speed settings. 60cm sturdy cross base. Fixed and oscillating function. Tilt adjustable. Check out our co

ONIX 30CM DC RECHARGEABLE FLOOR FAN: $149.00 - 12 (30cm) Rechargeable DC floor fan. Variable Speed settings. 3 Aluminium fan blades. Tilt adjustable head.

Outdoor Living - Beauty of Nature

Breeze through our outdoor living range http://bit.ly/2Z66ggi

Mozzies Gone

Thermacell Mosquitoes repellents are really good at getting rid of unwanted pests.... except for the one holding it :)

New Brushless Planer

JUST ARRIVED - The new Makita Planer! - It's BRUSHLESS..... just like Scotty!

Green Life Garden Centre at Johnson Brothers Mona Vale

Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 Trade Centre at Mona Vale - everything you need under one roof.

Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 New Store
73 Bassett Street
Mona Vale - Online Store: Jbhmv.Com.Au

Products advice is available from the trained friendly staff at Narrabeen, Mona Vale and Avalon Johnson Brothers Mitre 10. 

Click on logo to visit Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 website

Johnson Bros Mitre 10 - Avalon            (02) 9918 3315

Johnson Bros Mitre 10 - Mona Vale     (02) 9999 3340

JBH Timber & Building Supplies          (02) 9999 0333

JBH Fencing & Landscape Supplies    (02) 9970 6333

www.johnsonbros.com.au Online store: jbhmv.com.au

All information and tips in this publication are of a general nature only and neither Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 or Pittwater Online News does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information and tips in this publication. This publication is not intended to be a substitute for expert advice. Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 advises you to always consult an experienced and qualified person when undertaking jobs of this kind (including consulting a qualified tradesperson such as an electrician or plumber where relevant expert services are required). 

You should also consider any safety precautions that may be necessary when undertaking the work described in this publication (including wearing any necessary safety equipment such as safety glasses, goggles or ear protectors or hard hats). The information and tips in this publication are provided on the basis that Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 and Pittwater Online News excludes all liability for any loss or damage which is suffered or incurred (including, but not limited to, indirect and consequential loss or damage and whether or not such loss or damage could have been foreseen) for any personal injury or damage to property whatsoever resulting from the use of the information and tips in this publication. 

Pittwater Online News and Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 also advises there may be laws, regulations or by-laws with which you must comply when undertaking the work described in this publication. You should obtain all necessary permissions and permits from council and/or any other relevant statutory body or authority before carrying out any work. Major projects published in this publication always list these and/orlinks to where you may research what your own project requires to meet regulations.

Previous DIY Pages:

Decking Timbers  Caring For Your Deck Decking Finishes  Privacy Screens I Privacy Screens II  Privacy Screening Hardwoods  Autumn Paths and Lawns  Insulation Batts Plasterboard  Ventilation - Edmond's Ecofan Blackboards for Children and Home Spring Lawn Care  Shade Sails & Watering  Basic DIY Tools DIY Tools - Power Drills Recycle Your Trampoline into An Air Bed  How to Build Your Own Backyard Cricket Pitch Christmas Lights Displays around House and Garden Summer Mildew - Refresh, Renew How to Fix Things That Drip and Bump in the Night Time To Plant Winter Vegetables in  a Raised Garden Beds Layout Organsing Your Tool Shed  Make Your Own Weathervane Installing A Garden Watering System  Decking Oils  How To Make Garden Compost  How To Winter proof Your Lawn  How to create Shabby Chic effect on Timber Furniture How to Build Your Own Raised Garden Bed  Growing Your Own Winter Vegies  Winter Heating Guide  Prepare Your Yard For Winter Eradicating Noxious Weeds From Your Yard How to Fix Furniture Finishes Part I  How to Repair Scratches, Dings, and Dents of Furniture Surfaces - Part II Winter Draughts Fix  Classic Wooden Tool Carrier Spring Garden Checklist Part I  Install Your Own Skylight  Retaining Walls for Saving Soil and New Spring Garden Beds  Summer Salad Garden  Native Plant Garden for A Fairy Arbour Renewing Short Flight of Exterior Stairs Deck Maintenance DIY Summer Tasks You Can Do In Time to Get to the Beach  Garden Ponds for Attracting Birdlife, Dragonflies and for the Soothing Sounds of Water  Salt Air: Maintenance and Protection Creating an Outdoor Dining Arbour, Gazebo or Patio - Part I Creating an Outdor Dining Arbour, Gazebo or Patio Part II  Autumn Garden Tasks  Autumn DIY Jobs: Waterproof Your Home Checklist  Dealing With Dampness Inside the Home  Fixing Your Fence  Repairing and Replacing Damaged Decking boards  DIY Toy Box and Snow Globes: School Holidays Fun - Winter 2015  DIY Wooden Toy Cars and Perfect Painted Flowerpots: School Holiday Fun - Winter 2015  Shoring Up an Under House Earth Bank – Installing a Basic Retaining Wall  DIY One Shelf Sideboard  Early Spring 2015 Garden Care Salad Garden For Children  Keeping Your Garden and Home Cool in Hot Weather  Classic Beach Garden and Camping Chairs 3 Portable Versions Anyone Can Make DIY Outdoor Furniture Mark I: Park Benches for Your Garden Make Your Own Scooter or Skateboard: Summer 2016 Fun  How to Install a Solid Core Door and Door Furniture  Summer Garden Jobs: Pruning A Hedge  How to Make A Swing Chair - With A Frame for Garden Setting  Garden Jobs for March to Make A Beautiful and Healthy Spring  Keeping Outdoor Nooks Warm During Cooler Months  Children’s Step Stool with Storage  Stop Winter Rain Lawn Loss and Soil Erosion on Slopes  DIY Garden Shed: Part 1 of 4 - Base  DIY Garden Shed: Part 2 - Framing Walls  DIY Garden Shed: Part 2b - Gable Roof Framing  Garden Shed Part 3: Roof Installation  DIY Garden Shed: Weather- boards - Door And Window Installation And Paint Finish DIY Coffee Table With Chessboard Inlay  Spring Gardening: Feeding Your Soil And Plants - What Works For Each Plant  DIY Sandstone Flagging Parking Area - Platform  DIY Pre-Summer Checklist For A Safe Home   Summer Spruce Up: Interior Paint Tips and Three easy steps to rejuvenate your timber deck The Perfect BBQ Garden Setting DIY Water Wise Garden   DIY Side Gates  DIY Storm Preparation And Home Protection  One To Two Day DIY Weekend Spruce Ups  Vegepods For Autumn Planting + Easy To Make Lego Table Or Student Desk That Can Be Dismantled + Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 Online Store   Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 Great New Mona Vale Store: Still In Bassett Street - number 73  Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 New Mona Vale Store: The Greenlife Garden Centre  Go Outside And Play: Creating Garden Spaces To Connect Children With Nature DIY Plasterboard Repair DIY Dolls House Or Garage Or Boatshed  DIY Child's Waggon - or use as a large planter mover DIY Bathroom Refresh: Zing For Spring  Tips for Growing a Native Garden FireCrunch, Australian Developed Fire-proof, Sustainable, Durable and Reliable Building Board Now Available at Johnson Bros. at Mona Vale and Narrabeen School Holidays DIY Ideas for Children: Little Vegetables Garden, Swing, Windchimes Bushfire Season Preparation 2017: Home and Outdoor Areas  Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 Trade Centre at Mona Vale + Issue No 1 of Mitre 10’s inSITE Magazine for Tradies and Handymen  Preparing Al Fresco Areas for Christmas Get-Togethers and Summer Visitors  Summer De-bug; Mosquitoes, flies, cockroaches and ants - how to keep the outdoors insects where they belong DIY Summer Projects: Install A Fountain Or Water Feature  Late Summer and Early Autumn Projects: A Shed For All Storage Solutions + Garden Tasks + Keeping Our Waterways Clean   Autumn Plantings for Winter Harvests   2018   Paintback Collection Event: Johnson Bros Mitre 10 Mona Vale Saturday, April 7  Reducing Ticks in Your Garden: Garden care, Plants that Repel, What to Wear Outdoors Attracting Insectivore Birds to Your Garden: DIY Natural Tick Control  Mother's Day 2018: DIY Rose Garden Winter Mould & Mildew Inside Your home: How to Keep Air and Surfaces Healthier DIY Traditional Rocking Horse  Johnson Brothers Trade Day 2018 DIY Mushrooms and Vege Kits: School Holidays Fun Winter 2018 for Curious Kids  Woodworking Projects for Beginners: School Holidays Fun Winter 2018 - Simple Storage Box + Wood Tool Box Spring Garden Prep: Soil Care  Spring into Spring + JBH August 2018 Trifecta  DIY Backyard Doggie Paradise  Garden Care for Heavy Rain Days + Non-Toxic Snail and Slug Debug Ideas  Garden Design and Plant Management to Minimise Tick Attacks and Infestations - insights from an essay by Bill Conroy BSc. (Agr) (Syd) + a Tribute to Wilfred Lawrence Conroy CBE by Keith Jackson, PNG and others  Make Your Own BBQ Kitchen Garden: Gifts That Grow Past That Giving Day  Christmas Lights 2018: Light Up the Night  How to Keep Your House Cool During a Heatwave Without Using an Air-Conditioner Mid-Summer Garden Care  2018 Winners Of National Hardware Store Of The Year - Johnson Bros Mitre 10 Mona Vale! + End Of Summer Garden To Do List  DIY Fruits of Your Garden: Growing Figs  Fruits Of Your Garden: Growing Passionfruit - Autumn Is Also The Time To Plant Strawberries For Spring  How To Water Your Plants When Away On Holidays + Some April 2019 School Holidays Fun For Outdoors; A Skateboard Swing Or Indoors; Grow Or Make Pot Plant People Dealing With Autumn Dampness Inside The Home + Mums Day Gifts For 2019 Winter Heating Guide + Get Ready For Winter Specials  Keeping Your Garden Dewful During Times Of Water Restrictions and Drought  Installing Leaf Stopper Gutter Guard + Trade Day 2019  JBH Mitre 10 Trade Day Guests 2019  An Artfull Garden - for Winter School Holidays 2019 DIY Deck Refurbishment: Turning Wood Into Open Tiled Spaces - Groundworks  Father's Day Wish List 2019 + How to Re-stain your Deck timbers and posts for Summer  Installing Posts For Decks and Verandahs With Heavier Loads + Installing Membranes For Tiled Decks National Garden Week's 2019 Focus Is On Children(Oct 13-19): Spring School Holiday 2019 Garden Ideas (to get started on)  Replacing Balustrades Handrails  DIY Tiling Your Verandah: and Choosing Your Simple Or Complex Tile Pattern  Reduce Bushfire Risk To Older Homes + Preparing Your Yard For Bushfires  Time to Put Up those Christmas Lights and Deck your Gum Trees with rows of Jolly!  NSW RFS Bushfire Survival Plan 2020 + Reduce Bushfire Risk To Homes + Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 Great Water Saving Ideas during Level 2 water restrictions + some  'Don't Sweat Summer'  Specials 


John and Bob Johnson - The Johnson Brothers Profile  John William Alfred Johnson - The Eulogies for those who could not attend Mass

Australia's Prime Minister Visits Mackellar - Informal Afternoon Tea with Hon. Malcolm Turnbull October 2016

JBH Win Awards August 2018 Trifecta - 2018 Free Trade Day supporters, Mitre 10 Heritage Advert features JBH Mona Vale Store, Hardware Australia’s 2018 NSW Hardware Store of the Year over 2500sqm.

Front Page Issue 294: 2018 Winners Of National Hardware Store Of The Year - Johnson Bros Mitre 10 Mona Vale !!!

National Garden Week's 2019 Focus Is On Children(Oct 13-19): School Holiday Garden Ideas (to get started on) & Congratulations Award Winning Johnson Brothers Mitre10 At Mona Vale - 2019 NSW Store Of the Year2019 NSW Trade Centre Of the Year and 2019 Village Garden Centre of the Year