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2020 … a year in review and it aint over yet !!

The following is a long post…. DO NOT feel you need to read it… i have written it mainly for my own reflection and record of the things i want to remember about this year that was…. 2020… we all lived it together and know what happened, but i doubt generations in the future will believe us in 20 years time… i do a review of my year, each and every year… this is the only one i will probably post, as it has been an exceptional year, now none of the following is intended to offend anybody.

Jan 2nd 2020….. 9am… Open trading for the year

first weeks of January….. a continuation of the most devastating, destructive and ferocious bushfires the eastern seaboard of Australia has experienced, destroying native animals and forests.

For us personally…. Traceys parents, Stella & Alan who live in Nowa Nowa ( just past Lakes Entrance), had been staying with us for Christmas and didnt know if they had a home to return to… luckliy my brother in Law Craig was one of the firefighters down there and during his breaks from firefighting was able to let us know if there home was still there.

Our employee Jo, was also down there over the Christmas break on holiday, so we were glad to get her back home safe and sound as well. We had other locals, customers & friends trapped in communities affected by bushfires and were glad to see them back safe and sound in our home town again as well.

January and February were so intense with sadness of the losses from the bushfires, we all knew somebody affected and were all motivated to in one way or another help those communities, either by donations, fundraisers, or ensuring on our own breaks, we visited those towns and spent money with the shops to help get them all going again.

Australia Day weekend… Harry & Stephanie… actually worked together on something, thanks to donations from our local baker Matt and the butchers, the kids did a sausage sizzle and raised over $300 for the Healesville sanctuary to help with the injured wildlife from the bushfires. One of our friends Geri, that works at the animal hospital at Healesville allowed the kids to go in and see an injured Koala operated on.

Geri, Harry & Steph at animal hospital @ Healesville Sanctuary

After such an intense start to the year, it only had to get better… right !!

February 11th… 1pm….. the phone call parents dread…. Harry has had an accident at school….. Harry has actually broken his bone in his arm… it was the second time in 12 months Harry had done this… the first time was only a fracture, but this time he did it properly

Stephanie keeping herself occupied at Hospital with selfies on dads phone

We went straight from school to the Angliss, where we sat in emergency for 6 hours, before we were transferred to Maroondah, where we had to stay the night. Harry had rods put in his arm and we were home by lunch time the next day.

This was the break that kept us busy all year.. with Hospital visits, days off school, etc etc… i have never been to a hospital so many times in my life and was concerned about harry missing a lot of school in his last year… but something else was going to make that worse.

February 18th … unbeknown to my family, my sister in law Michelle, from England, had wanted to have a holiday in Australia, so between the 2 of us, we decided to surprise her parents Stella & Alan and the rest of the family and smuggle her in. Do you know how hard it is to organise a family to turn up at a single place at the same time for no reason at all… it is near impossible, so we used stellas birthday as an excuse and i told them i has organised a surprise guest, they know an ex afl coach is a customer of ours, so i kind of led them to believe a celebrity was coming… in my eyes, Michelle is a celebrity !!… there was a lot of the usual, im busy bullshit, or im tired can we do it another night, so i roped in my other sister in law Georgie and it was on…. and the 3 of us got them all good.

This would have to be one of the highlights of the year, but sadly the 2 girls and i have only proven to the others… that we are good liars … all for a good cause of course…. but possibly not to be trusted together as a threesome ever again… because if the 3 of us are together… somethings being planned !!!….. we still got them all good !!….

Michelle worked with us at Paddys for a few weeks and we loved having her here, we could have kept her forever as she just slotted in like she belonged here, but sadly her hubby Tony and son Joel… may have missed her a little bit, so we had to return her back to blighty.

It was only at this point we were learning about some virus from China that was spreading….. We had just been through the most devastating bushfires to Australia’s wildlife and forests… who cares about a stupid cold from China… wasn’t that about to change.

March to May… Covid 19 ramps up in Australia and to be honest… the dates and happenings of this from this point on, really are a blur… we all lived it, but we were all on constant edge… some of us has been on constant edge since the previous October ( 2019), when the first bushfires started locally and we had the hottest week leading up to Christmas on record… so what else could happen… 2020 … was just like that… it was the year shit was going to happen, so just roll with it.

Family and friends here and overseas had to close businesses, had no employment, were struggling with the day to day… was our turn to come… we were not really an essential business.. or were we?

People were buying months worth of groceries, hoarding toilet paper, rice, flour, canned foods and the supermarkets couldn’t keep up with supply…. the world had gone mad… people were even assaulting each other over toilet paper…. really ???… it was chaos going shopping. we sold out of 3 months worth of vegie & herb stock within 3 days and couldn’t get seed supply to sow anymore… after all the goodwill and generosity of people after the bushfires, it was hard to believe they had snapped and gone bat shit crazy and selfish over this.

Stephanies new school uniform & home classroom… she loved Art

The Afl season was cancelled, Travelling was cancelled, which meant our trip to Scotland for a family wedding was off… for now…, we had to social distance and were only allowed X amount of people in shops at a time, we had to start wearing face masks in public, were only allowed X amount of people at your home at anytime, Anzac Day was to be in your driveway only, no gatherings for events, Birthdays, weddings, funerals, no Easter, no going out to restaurants or the movies, we couldnt even see our Mums for Mothers Day and later our Dads for Fathers day, lucky mine are suppliers for my business, so i was still able to see them… from 2 metres away, but better than nothing… then the home Schooling… or remote learning… we were reminded often by others that us parents are not teachers and were just to assist the children with their learning…… I have a great respect for the teachers out there… an even better one now… but i disagree… parents ARE the original teachers of our kids… if we didn’t instil in them, our morals, beliefs and rules at home and how we want them to behave in society, then your classrooms would resemble scenes from the movie Gremlins on a daily basis, you would need copious amounts of alcohol just to get through your day, i know some can still be little arseholes and mine have their days of it too, but they arrive to you in prep for moulding academically, most of us parents have already taught them rights and wrongs… now we have to teach them poetry… a whole friggin term of it… that was the most bullshit of the whole Covid 19… not the death, devastation, losses and tragedy … a whole tern of Poetry did my head in…. thank f–k for single malt whiskey.

Harry…. after 6 years of hating school… started to actually take an interest… just hated zoom meetings

but we got through it… that was 2020… shit happens, just deal with it.

now we were still going back and forth to hospital with harry for arm check ups etc etc, he needs rod out, but cant get surgery as it is not essential at this stage.

the nursery has been busy, tracey work has been busy, we have been working 7 days a week since january 2nd… most of it, i have been up at 4am and finishing at 6pm, then cooking dinner,remote learning, etc, because traceys job is flat out and she was getting home later than usual… we are the lucky ones… there are no guarantees our jobs or business will remain open, so we will work until told not to and make hay while the sun shines…. we keep getting told we are not essential, but yet we are busier than ever…. people are bored stuck at home with nothing to do, so they come and get some plants to keep busy in the garden. We realised in March, that people were losing jobs and income, so we lowered our price of our average stock from $6.49 per pot to $5.69 each to allow peoples money to go further, yes it would be a small loss to us, but then in the long run it wasn’t, because people kept supporting us and kept buying more and more.

for quite a few months i had been setting up our online shop, with over 700 items to upload and describe and with high demand for products, that sold out before we had a chance to post… it was a nightmare… some of the plants take 6 months, 12 months, even 18 months from propagation to saleable size… we are NOT a bakery, so we cannot produce things over night… a lot of criticism came about why we didn’t produce more… well if we had known in 2018, what 2020 was going to be like… we would have… but only after warning the planet about Covid 19 and then being released from the loony bin, because none of you would have believed me 12 months ago.

so inevitably our time in the sun came with stage 4 lock down…we were all limited to only travelling 5kms for essential items, only members of your household were allowed to be there and everybody who was working had to have work permits or you would get a $5000 fine……. all non essential businesses had to close to public entry… that was our business… Traceys work was still to remain open, but under strict restrictions, so at least we had that. I was worried for my employee, how was she to survive, i knew we would be alright, but did i have enough in the bank to keep her going and was the govt allowances gong to be enough to get through…. i read up on the dos and don’ts from the vic gov website and so began click and collect and online shopping at Paddys Plants.

up went the SNOT screen for click and collect sales

We had to construct a safety wall and swinging gate ( SNOT screen), so that customers could order their plants online, then if they were in the 5km zone, they could collect their orders, or if they were up to 20kms from us ( as the crow flies), we would deliver to their doors.

Well this was the busiest we have ever been in our history… Jo, Tracey, the kids and i have never been so busy, with nobody even in the place. We followed the government rules and procedures and it was the best we had ever done… again… we were the lucky ones. We could have done with more staff, but were not allowed to introduce anybody into our already set environment. We are eternally grateful to our locals and regulars for there support during this lock down….. they all kept us going and gave us the best distraction to what was going on in the world…. again, we have been working 7 days a week since january 2nd…. and loving it…. no time for being tired or poor me im sore, exhausted, need a break… no time for that… people need us, they need stock to play in their gardens and escape the real world… the government don’t think we are essential, but our public do and they need us as much as we need them …..bugger you Covid, as long as we have sun, rain, soil and alcohol, you are not stopping us enjoying ourselves.

Mad Dog… Paddys newest member

I loved the home deliveries… i had to keep a log book for contact tracing with all sorts of details… just in case… it was a little extra work and record keeping, but worth it. The kids always name our vehicles… this one is Mad Dog… no idea why, but Steph just came up with it… so it stuck.

Mad Dog and i went everywhere within our 20kms…. to lots of our regulars multiple times…. everybody else lock down, was my freedom and i virtually had the roads to myself… im sorry if this offends, its not meant to, i know others suffered financially, mentally etc, but this post is not about them, its my version of 2020 and as said many times.. i have been lucky in many ways and totally grateful…. i loved stage 4 lock down, i was able to go anywhere i liked, within my 20kms and thank god we live here in the Dandenong Ranges, just being free to travel around our zone was the break i needed for the year…… but that came to an end too, we re-opened and our customers came flooding back… its was great to see all the ones who didnt shop online, but our business had changed forever, we now had new customers, that love the online no waiting and still want click and collect and home delivery…. so we have had to change to suit the future and that means 2021, will be a new, different set up than pre July 2020…. you will see and it will work… it already has…. 2020 has given us no choice but to embrace and make change,….. cause sometimes shit happens and you just have to get on with it.

December 2020… the busiest month of the lot…mostly Harry related, as 2020 has been…. Harry went to his first day of high school at my old school Monbulk College…. i still cannot believe i have a child in high school…. Harry had surgery to remove the rod from his arm, sadly the bone had grown around it, so he missed out on some of the activities for the end of grade 6 and missed more school, missed the class photo for graduation, but at least had his graduation ceremony and dinner…. his graduation at the theatre at Monbulk college was the first time i had been inside that building since my own year 12 graduation, 27 years ago… the theatre had the same uncomfortable stinky seats and had the same students i graduated with …. except they were the parents of his classmates, so that was a weird experience….even weirder, looking across at the noisiest person there and realising, it was my son….. gets that shit from his Mother !!!….

Life in general for everybody, is busy this time of year, in reflection, this year we have had many ups and downs, supply issues, life issues, work issues, family issues, schooling issues, all sorts of things thrown our way… but thats been 2020….. we have also lost family, friends and customers to all sorts of ailments… we love them and will miss them all….. it has been a shit year, right from the start…… I will be celebrating New Years Eve this year, regardless of what going on in the world, just to make sure 2020 does indeed bugger off and hopefully 2021 is a more positive and enjoyable year for all of us on this planet.

The one shining light for us in 2020, is that even with all that has gone on and a lot i haven’t mentioned, because some of it i do want to forget, we have been kept busy by you… our customers and loyal supporters…. Our business has survived 2020 thanks to you and your support and would not have done without you all.

We Are Indeed the Lucky Ones

I would like to wish you all a Safe and Merry Christmas

and a Happy and better New Year in 2021

Happy Gardening and see you from the 3rd of January 2021

Paddy

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We are now ready for Online Orders & Delivery… up to 15kms from Monbulk

WE ARE NOW  READY FOR DELIVERIES !!

Due to Current Stage 4 COVID restriction in Victoria, all retail businesses are now CLOSED to public entry…. our wholesale and trade customers can still purchase from our contactless shop front, we just cannot let you wander around nursery.

For our retail customers, we can offer you our online shop at paddysplants.com where if you live no further than 15kms from us ( suburbs listed below), you can purchase & pay online,…..  there are 2 options for our retail customers

option 1, if you live outside the permitted 5kms travel zone, and up to 15kms away from us you can order online and organise contactless  delivery… i will confirm your delivery day with you, so please include your best contact number. Delivery fees will be $15 per delivery, minimum order for delivery will be $30…. orders over $150 get FREE delivery.

option 2, if you live within the 5km permitted travel zone, that is the suburbs of Monbulk, Kallista, The Patch and parts of Olinda & Silvan, you can order online and pay, and collect your order from our nursery, or email us your order and pay on collection of your order from our new contactless collection area at our nursery.

Delivery Suburbs…… MONBULK, KALLISTA, THE PATCH, ( pick up from nursery only, unless you cannot drive), OLINDA, MT DANDENONG, KALORAMA, SASSAFRAS, FERNY CREEK, MT EVELYN, SHERBROOKE, SILVAN, EMERALD, MACCLESFIELD, AVONSLEIGH, GEMBROOK, COCKATOO, MONTROSE, MENZIES CREEK, SELBY, BELGRAVE, TECOMA, UPWEY, FERNTREE GULLY area, LYSTERFIELD, BORONIA, THE BASIN, BAYSWATER, WOORI YALLOCK, SEVILLE, WANDIN, YELLINGBO, HODDLES CREEK, LAUNCHING PLACE, KILSYTH, MOOROOLBARK, LILYDALE (part) …. if i have missed any towns in the 15km radius, call 97520706 between 9am and 5pm to confirm.

OUR LOCAL (5kms), COLLECTION TIMES ARE 9am UNTIL 5pm TUESDAYS UNTIL SUNDAY

WE WILL BE OFFERING CONTACTLESS DELIVERY SERVICE ON THOSE DAYS AS WELL.  I WILL ORGANISE A DELIVERY SCHEDULE TO SUIT ORDERS AND NOTIFY YOU OF DELIVERY TIMES.

NO COLLECTION OR DELIVERIES WILL BE AVAILABLE ON MONDAYS 

WE WILL BE CLOSED MONDAYS  FOR PRODUCTION & STOCK MAINTENANCE

We  hope to hear from you soon and thank you for your support during this year, we have done our best to get organised for this new challenge ahead and are looking forward to displaying the many thousands of products we have coming on, in our growing area.

Our stock page will have a lot of new products added in the coming weeks, as they become available, i cannot wait to show you all.

We look forward to offering you lots of our beautiful colour to liven up your homes and gardens this Spring and do our best to provide you with access to some garden therapy.

we are only an email, message or  phone call away

Happy Gardening

Paddy

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Stage 4 Lock Down Restrictions

nursery painting

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….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…. that’s for people living within 5kms of us… if you live up to 15kms from us, you can now order online at paddysplants.com and have your plants delivered contactless to your door, check our contact page for delivery suburbs and prices. For everybody outside our 15km zone, I’m sorry we won’t see you until stage 4 is rolled back….. if we could, we would.

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,

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 with reduced abilities….. 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