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Stage 4 Lock Down Restrictions

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Good Morning our loyal followers

Our time in the sun has come to an end.  On Wednesday 5th August 2020, like everybody else in Melbourne, we will close our Retail Operations at 5pm.

I still cannot believe it has come to this. There are many reasons why this has occurred, of which i do not need to remind you of. You have all been witness to this over the past 7 months and have all been affected or suffered in one way or another.

I just hope this latest round of rules and restrictions, actually works and people respect the rules, so that we may all have a chance of recovering soon.

Saying all that, there is so much negativity in our state at the moment, i want to look at the next 6 weeks in a different light… what will we do?

Firstly…

We are still OPEN today Tuesday 4th August 2020 and Wednesday 5th August 2020 for you to come into our nursery from 9am until 5pm and take advantage of our clearance special, where everything is 15% off…. sadly this only applies to people living in Monbulk, Kallista, Olinda, the Patch, parts of Silvan, parts of Emerald, or anybodys locality within 5kms of us, that i have forgotten to mention

Second..

we are still allowed to continue operating contactless, after the 11.59pm deadline on Wednesday…… that is, you can order what you would like and organize pick up without contact….

we will set this up at some point, as a lot of work has to be done in regards to pictures and info on our webpage, but not right now…..

The last 12 months…. that is 7 months of Covid 19 and 5 months of bushfire ( Oct to Feb) ,  has been hectic for all Victorians……  Ourselves, we have had worries & concerns for family and friends in affected areas and how to manage our business in order to be relevant and survive all the challenges and then came the  schooling from home with 2 Primary aged students and the fact that we have been OPEN and available 7 days and some nights a week since it all started,

whilst we have been grateful for the additional support, trade, employment etc etc  now might be an ideal time for us to take a week off and get freshened up ready for our next chapter and challenges.

we will still be busy here, prepping and preparing for a massive SPRING & Summer onslaught of colour and edibles when the restrictions are lifted….. we had plans before all of this occurred, gardeners and Nursery people plan 6 months or more ahead, we dont think of now, we always think ahead,  our preparations cannot be done over night, it takes time, planning and co ordination, ….. possibly a good reason why Gardeners should be Prime Ministers or Premiers!!

Our Planning & Preparation does not change, the only issue we may have is little to no income, less funds to prepare with and possible less access to vital supplies, but we will work around that so that when restrictions are lifted, we can put on a good show to lift peoples spirits and bring some joy to all this gloom.

What do we need from you?…. most importantly…… Just you !!… we need you all to stay safe, healthy, be smart and positive, keep yourselves busy and safe  at home, Ride this one out as best you can. We are all in the same boat, we want to see you at the other end of this.

as mentioned above, we are still OPEN for 2 more days, then we will be having a short break before we look at how to trade without contact, all will be revealed in the next week or so, so keep in contact with our social media pages and if you aren’t on them, join up today, so you don’t miss out on any great deals or bargains.

Keep Safe, Best Wishes

and Happy Gardening

Paddy

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Our online shop !!!!

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Crazy times that we are all living in right now….. if we could have seen into the future, who would have believed any of us this time last year, that any of the last 6 months of events would have happened….. honest truth,…….  nobody would have believed a word of it and would of had us locked up in a mental hospital for talking crazy.

Australians have been on high alert since September last year, with one of the potentially most dangerous and damaging Bushfire seasons, we have ever encountered… thankfully our human loss wasn’t as high as previous bushfire seasons, but sadly our wildlife  & habitat loss was devastating…… all of this has almost been overshadowed and forgotten about ( except for those in affected areas), by the current global Covid 19 pandemic.

We… thankfully have been allowed to continue trading in a relatively normal fashion and are absolutely grateful for the continued support and custom, by you, our followers,  public and customers, without your loyalty, custom and love of gardening, we would be in a whole world of strife. We are also  very sad for friends and customers, who have had to close businesses or have lost employment

In respect of  all  those who have lost employment, businesses, or have been forced to close or isolate, we have taken it upon ourselves to work even harder than ever before and to lower our prices to near,  just profitable rates, in order to allow everybody the chance to afford gardening at some level to keep yourselves, sane and  occupied in the safety of your own home.

I had initially set up an online shop, which I am still working on and will be an ongoing process, but with almost 500+  products to upload and display, pictures to take, descriptions to be thorough, etc, etc, it is a slow process. Currently I have only completed 120 products, due to technical issues for the last 3 weeks with phone & internet.

As I said above, we are respectful of those who no longer are working or earning an income and trying to provide the most affordable pricing of our stock, so as to allow you to be able to purchase and garden to keep yourselves busy, but at the same time, we, like many other parents around the country,  still have children at home, doing their schoolwork, we also have 40 – 50 customers stopping per day at the nursery for their supplies, questions and advice,  and now that our phones are working again, we would be getting up to 20+ calls per day.

Throw into the mix that our business is not only retail sales, but a wholesale production nursery as well, so currently we are prepping for spring and producing the stock required for spring into summer sales….. shortly we will start production for our Christmas range….. yep Christmas, we have to be over 6 months ahead of time.

I have been starting moist of my days at 4am, Tracey at 5.30am and we have been open 7 days per week from 9am until 5pm, since the crisis started, as we earlier had no indication of how long we would be able to stay open for.

This is why we set about starting an online shop, it was a way of continuing to trade in the event that we would have to close, but so far the indications and thanks to a lot of hard work and lobbying with govts, from our Victorian and Australian Garden industry bodies, the information is  that Nurseries,  will remain open throughout the pandemic, for the positive mental health of the community.

Our online shop instead will be more of a display board of information and what we offer in store, rather than a service for purchasing.

Due to our busy situation right now… ie schooling from home, production of spring/summer stock, daily sales at the nursery and life in lockdown ( I haven’t been further than the main street in months!!!!), we simply and currently, do not have the resources to be running an online shop of orders and despatch as well.

I will continue to update and promote using the online shop, as a display board of our stock and it is set up, so that in the event that, if we ever are asked to close our doors for safety, it will be easy enough ( 3 clicks from my end), to turn the shop on and allow you to order and pay online with a delivery service attached.

But currently right now and for the foreseeable future, our online shop will only be for viewing our range, information to save shopping time in store and any orders/purchases that you would like. Purchases will have to be made physically when you come visit our nursery. Our shop will allow you to save time spent in our store, by doing the research online about our products, so you can come in with your list, grab and go, that’s for if you don’t want exposure to others  …… for those of you needing an escape, you are still welcome to wander and enjoy a break from it all, we have plenty of gloves and sanitiser, but bring your own, just in case….. safety first !!!

I understand some of you are in lockdown and cannot physically come right now and I apologise for this convenience not being available to you, especially, when you need it most, and we miss seeing you visit us, but I simply cannot operate online sales,  currently with everything else we are doing.

Jo, Tracey & I are already working harder than we ever have before and those of you who know us well, know that, that is bordering impossible !!!, especially those 2 girls, they are 2 of the hardest working people I have ever met, they would do the work of 3 people each on a daily basis and then still have homes and children to tend to…… I cannot ask anymore of them.

As mentioned above ……. crazy times….. I wish for you all to keep safe and healthy and an end to this pandemic. I thank everybody who has and is supporting us right now, we are doing the best we can to keep on top of everything and do what we do best and that is provide quality stock at affordable prices.

Keep Safe…. Keep Sane…. Keep positive and Keep Gardening, we will get through this and there will be one hell of a party and hug fest at the end of it all.

thanks for reading my blog

Happy Gardening

Paddy

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Spring 2019 ….. failed to upload !!!

What a Spring it has been so far in Melbourne !!… Lots of rain we would love to share with our northern neighbours, suffering drought & bushfires,  only a few warm days of sunshine for us to enjoy, so far,  un seasonal snow in our alpine regions and sadly some damaging hail….. we have certainly had a lot of variables.

we have been lucky here at Paddys Plants, that most of our stock has been unaffected by the weather, except for maybe taking a little longer than normal to grow or flower, but that is all changing, currently we have a wide range of products now available, with tens of thousands on the way.

i have been bombarding our Instagram & Facebook pages with posts of availability and prices, so that, even though it is too cold and wet to play in your gardens now, at some point the sun will come out and the time will be right to start getting your homes and gardens looking great for the Christmas period and at least you have the heads up on what we have to offer and how much you will need to do it.

Recently we have been opening on a Monday ( our only day off), because every weekend has been wet & cold, but yet the Mondays have been the best day of weather for the week, we will again be open this coming Monday 11th November, Rememberance Day ( no service at 11am for Rememberance).

For those that have already been gardening through the crappy weather, including ourselves, it has been cold, wet & miserable, but yet things are trying to grow, trying to flower, thats the beauty of nature, it will adapt, take advantage of the extra rains to settle plants in, plant out the tough stuff and let it get going, but maybe leave the cold sensitive plants aside for another week or so until we see what weather turns up next, there is still plenty that can be done around the home and garden, you may just have to leave a few spaces for the heat/sun loving plants to be added later on.

using liquid feeds in this kind of weather, to boost your plants, especially here on the mountain, may have varied results…. i know for us here, pouring seaweed onto our stock when the weather is below 15 degrees is pointless, unless the plants are already stressed, the seaweed just wont have a reaction or activate unless you have sunshine and warmth to stimulate growth, i normally switch over to a complete balance soluable fertilizer like aquasol, which i have been using through this cold spring to get things going. Aquasol is an old fashioned liquid feed that you have to mix yourself, unfortunately it is not suitable for natives ( i still use a weaker strength) or to be used on days over 30 degrees, when we get to consistent days of 18 degrees or above, switch back to seaweed tonics or fish emulsions for rapid results.

the kind of weather we have experienced is not uncommon, Melbourne weather and the weather in our beautiful Dandenong Ranges varies a lot, it was not too many Christmases ago we had 2 or 3 days of high 30s degrees, a day of 40 degrees, then 2 days later it snowed, your plants and garden reacts to this, adapts and in most cases will bounce back from it and thrive once again, you just may need to help it out a bit, that the joys of wins and losses of gardening…. you never stop learning new tricks.

the reason for my blogs like this, is, some of you already know or have heard these things, some of you have taught me these things, some of you know some better tricks or advice to offer, but there are others reading this, who are new to gardening, are just getting the gardening bug and keen to learn more, or may not have experienced certain problems in their gardens yet and can do with some forward advise. My advise is based on our enviroment here in Monbulk and how our gardens and stock are reacting to certain conditions, nobody is right or wrong, just as long as what you are trying is working, we can all learn together.

In gardening shared knowledge is golden, you never stop learning and you will never know everything, elder gardeners have taught me most things, but younger ones have too… age is no barrier….. and the best gardening tools are your eyes, ears and mouth….. observation, sharing experiences/knowledge/tips  and listening to experiences/knowledge/tips. I have heard and been told some pretty wacked out ideas, that have actually worked, but i will save them  for another blog.

thanks for reading, as i say, some will hopefully benefit from my ramblings and that is the whole point of sharing tips.

we have a nursery absolutely chockers full of great quality plants and gift ideas to jazz up your home and garden this season, so why not pay us a visit and get your place looking great in time for Christmas……. could be a white one at this rate !!

Hoo Roo for now & Happy Gardening

Paddy

 

 

 

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You Cant Cook Sausages in the fridge !!

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Well thats what it feels like we have been trying to do here at Paddys Plants since May this year.

We have had lots of queries daily, as to why we havent got certain lines available that we had ready at the same point in other years gone by…. Mother Nature dictates when things will be ready, not us, not calenders, not Jane Bunns weather reports or predictions and especially not you. All we can hope to do, is prepare our stock to the best of our ability, so that when the sun finally shines, as it has done for only a few days in the last month, our stock will kick start into growth and bloom.

Our industry has always been and always will be reliant on good growing weather and if it is too cold for a prolonged period, which it has been this Winter into Spring, then that will delay or slow down the availability of certain crops. Which is what has happend so far… we feel stop start, stop start this Spring… but it is all about to happen this week, the recent warmth and sun has really kick started some growth & blooms.

As most of you are aware, we grow our crops here, as do a lot of our local suppliers, outside in our local elements, or in shade cloth frames ( for frost protection), so that our plants are hardened and aclimatised to the local conditions, making for you more stable, healthier and hardier plants for your home and garden. We provide you the best quality Mother Nature allows us to, at the best price.

If all of this is still nonsense and excuse to you and you cannot understand how hard it can be to have perfect plants all year round, we totally understand, let me say, there are plenty of Hardware, big retail stores and Supermarkets ( obvious professionals & experts  in the plant industry!!!),  that will provide you with plants from interstate, where the weather is warmer or plants that have been grown in glasshouses or climate controlled frames….. those plants,  will last about 5 minutes in your garden in our colder elements, but hey, at least they were available when you wanted them

Those of you reading this, are probably my loyal fans and already know these facts, thats why you shop with us in the first place, because you trust our judgement and sourcing of quality locally grown stock for the above highlighted reasons.

Now, due to Spring weather, coming a bit later this year ( feels like start of September, rather than 25th October), we are totally stocked with a large range of Spring and Summer flowering lines as well as herbs, vegies and tomatoes………. in fact, close to 48000 plants to choose from, that are grown here on site… so we wont be able to buy in as much stock from other growers as we had done, until we clear a bit of space.

All that said and done…. our weather has delayed our usual Spring excitement, but we will take it, at least we have been getting some rain and not had scorching temps and dry weather, unlike our other poor Eastern states, if we could send some rain there way that would be great.

Our Spring starts now, with nicer days predicted over the coming weeks, we are going to have lots of colour and edibles for your gardens available, with lots of deals… as always,

so keep checking our Paddys Plants Instagram & Facebook pages for upcoming availability, deals, promos and specials, and if you havent joined our pages yet, now is a great time to do so,………

its going to be a big few months

Happy Gardening

Paddy

 

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Tomatoes

 

Today is the 7 th of September 2019 and

It is that time of year again… to start Talking… yes, just Talking about getting ready to plant your Tomato crops for this Spring & Summer. We already have them available ready to go, but we will not be selling them to you until the end of September… here is why…

I do a post like this every year and notice posts from other growers and gardeners every  year at this time of year and we all say the same thing and have been saying it for decades, it is the age old debate in Melbourne about when to plant out your Tomato crops to ensure you get Maximum yield of fruit over Summer.

There is nothing more rewarding than growing your own food and especially Tomatoes. Nothing beats that fragrant smell or taste of sweet fresh tomatoes grown in your backyard and especially for kids and grandkids, picking healthy freshly grown fruit straight off the bush, they can run around the garden all day picking and eating.

The following is my advice and observations from growing tomatoes in my home town of Monbulk. It is not necessarily the BIBLE for growing tomatoes in the universe, as each region has its differences, it is always best to buy and get advice from your local nursery, garden centre or grower about what is best for your area.

I have learnt not only from Family members, peers, other growers, locals, but also my own customers over the last 20+ years. you never stop learning and it is great to share knowledge and advice as no year of growing is without issues, complications or experiences new and old.

I believe There are 2 types of Tomato suppliers,

a:  is the Hardware & supermarkets only doing it because it is the current interest for the season and a quick easy way to bump up some profits, they generally have tomatoes available for purchase from late July/August.

They are generally more expensive than proper nurseries or market sellers and don’t offer a staff member to guide you or assist you in how to best grow your tomatoes… so avoid and ignore those seedlings they have bought from glasshouse or interstate to get the jump on the local suppliers, transplanting those ones into your garden will probably result in slow growing plants, early flowering or stunted growth, the hardware and supermarkets are not interested about your success or failure in growing plants and in general are leading people to not get the best results, or finding growing plants in general too difficult and leading to our absolute worst nightmare, people not bothering gardening at all, because they feel they are no good at it.

b: is Nurseries and Market Traders, we grow the plants for a living, know when to offer them for sale for best results, rather than just throwing them out there to maximise profits, are on hand to advise when and how to plant and how to problem solve, because there is always something that needs fixing throught the growing period, thats just how Mother Nature works, but it is all part of learning and experiencing and anybody can do it.

Nurseries and Market traders rely heavily on trust of product and knowledge from you, the customer, so that you keep coming back to us, trusting our quality, advise and experiences, without your repeat custom, you will only have option a: in the future, so it is our job and livelihood to ensure you have success and enjoy Gardening.

Now some of you might think I could have done this post without giving the hardware’s and supermarkets a slap,…. well NO… I couldn’t have, the reason is, we have so many people and especially new gardeners ask us daily right now as to why we don’t have Tomatoes and Basil available like certain large chain stores do,  my answer has always been i do things the right way at the right time for the right reasons.  i do not want to discourage people from gardening for the sake of profits, we are here for the long haul and need people to trust our quality and advice.

NOW WE HAVE GOT THAT OUT OF THE WAY, lets get on with the reasons why

TIME OF YEAR TO PLANT TOMATOES IN MELBOURNE

My Father and Grandparents have my whole life taught me, that you never plant Tomato seedlings out until around Melbourne Cup weekend ( first week of November), the reason for this was to avoid any chance of late Winter or Spring FROST wiping out the fresh seedlings, also transplanting any seedlings before the end of September can result in poor or damaged growth due to the cold night air and soil temperature still also being too cold, generally by the end of September, we are getting more days of 20 degrees or above, which Tomatoes prefer, they are a Summer fruit after all.

I MIGHT JUST ADD AT THIS POINT, IF YOU HAVE A GLASSHOUSE, GREENHOUSE OR IGLOO, THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING, YOU CAN ACTUALLY GROW TOMATOES EARLER.  WE SOW OUR SEEDS IN OUR GREENHOUSE IN AUGUST TO HAVE TOMATOES AVAILABLE FOR END OF SEPTEMBER SALES.

Our range of Tomatoes will be available from AFL Grand Final weekend.

SOIL PREPARATION

the key to growing strong, healthy and productive Tomatoes is too not have a high level of nitrogen in your soil, you still need some nitrogen for plant development and growth, just don’t overdo it. Nitrogen is great for leafy greens, like lettuce, spinach, silver beet etc, etc, but you don’t eat the leaves of Tomatoes, so what’s the point.

I prepare our garden beds for tomatoes, every year about now ( 3-4 weeks before I plant Tomatoes) with a neutral fertiliser, like Cow Manure, you could use chook manure, i also add a small amount of garden lime to the garden beds to raise calcium availability in the soil and prevent blossom end rot in your tomatoes.

if your soil is heavy with clay, use some gypsum to help break it up a bit along with the above advice.

i like to use a seaweed concentrate once per month, i know this is pushing the not too high nitrogen advice and high vigour foliage growth, but i find it aids my resilience, strength of stems and growth of tomatoes if the weather during the Spring months is a bit topsy turvy ( extremities of hot, cold, windy etc), i also find that using a small amount of potash around November helps to induce flowering or more flowering, which is what we are aiming for.

HOW TO PLANT TOMATOES

Plant them deep.

whatever the height of the Tomato ( not including root ball),  you have purchased, I normally plant half into the ground or pot. Remove any leaves on the section you are going to plant into the ground to avoid risk of rot or disease.

Planting Deep  will enable the Tomato to develop more roots along the stem, making it more resilient to variation of soil moisture, temperatures and providing a much more vigorous, stronger, healthier plant, you will have to take our word for it.

ONCE THE TOMATOES ESTABLISH IN THE GARDEN

I like to prune away any of the bottom branches so that they are not touching the ground, keeps the air flowing around the tomatoes, reducing the risk of infection, rot or disease… it is also good to companion plant Basil, Marigolds or any other fragrant smaller herbs around your Tomatoes to distract white fly or bugs from attacking the fruit when it sets.

Staking… please yourself, most gardeners have a method that works for them, we have tried the flimsy wire frames from the a: suppliers, most of them are rubbish and bend over with the weight of the plants when in fruit… out simple solution or alternative that we use, is just 3 hardwood stakes tied together like a tee pee…. really simple and effective.

WHAT DO WE OFFER AT PADDYS PLANTS

there are so many varieties of Tomatoes to choose from and everybody has their favourites that they swear by, which is great, it means people are passionate about growing their own food, but in my 20+ years as Paddys Plants, these are my best performers that we stock here

  1.  Patio…  globe type fruit, our best performer and yielder of fruit, we pick buckets                       off one plant of these every summer.
  2.  Sweetbite… Cherry tomato, always a favourite, but due to people not having                              backyard space for this variety, we have decided to substitute it for Tiny                      Tim and Tommy Toe, which are both excellent dwarf form sweet cherrys
  3.  Grosse Lisse… again another old fashioned favourite, for good reason, the                                  originals,  are generally the best, a good slicing tomato for salads &                                 sandwiches, fruits best from Mid January onwards
  4.  Roma … and again another old fashioned favourite, great for sauces, slicing, salads                 etc, so versatile
  5.   Truss…   globe type and long trusses of  sweet fruit, great for salads, cooking etc,                        we also have Candyland Red available as well

We just have the 7 varieties of Tomatoes available this year, all red forms, with 2 cherry forms, 2 truss forms, 1 cooking form and the old fashioned favourite Grosse Lisse, these have been our best performers for not only yield, but growth and sales over the last decade and we are confident in our quality and advice, that you will have great succes this summer in your garden with our tomatoes.

Happy Gardening

Paddy