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March Madness

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Well…. interesting times we all currently live in, well not interesting, to be honest, it just absolutely sucks, Australians have been hammered with one disaster after another since October last year, with our bushfire crisis, people lost homes, loved ones, business, the country had a massive loss of native animal population, then Covid 19 arrived and now we are losing more people and many more have lost jobs and businesses.  Sadly we have also lost a few of our favourite customers this year due to health issues, so 2020, is not a year, I wish to look back on fondly and we are only in March !!!…. hopefully we can find a way to buck the trend and finish the year with some form of positivity….. finding a cure & vaccine for covid 19 and also heavy changes to the animal welfare culture in Asia will be a great start.

We are lucky and thankful that we can still continue to trade… for now, but our turn will come. We are also very grateful to all those who continue to support us, even though some of them have just lost their jobs and income.

This is one of the main reasons we have lowered our prices and are running crazy heavily discounted clearance specials at the moment, people have looked out for us, so we are giving back through low to no profit on some lines…. I’m happy to just get back something I spent rather than the plants going to waste… there will be plenty of time to be a normal business in the future, but for now, if you can afford to grab some bargains, grab them…. keep playing in your gardens and fixing things around your home, I think the mental health side of this crisis, will be just as, if not more than the physical side, so keep mentally active and busy.

just  on mental health

i had intended to put many random pictures of beautiful plants on our pages from past and present to fill my news feed with something pretty, instead of the current crisis taking up all the space, but sadly lightning fried our office equip on Sunday just gone and after 7 hours ( 2 calls of 3.5hrs length), of being on call hold to Telstra  only to have a tech finally come up to tell me, yep it’s fried, ‘I can’t help you’, ‘you will have to call Telstra or nbn and organise new equip and another technician’…… well that tested my mental health !! 😤😡, it would be a good idea for them to carry spare parts, like other repairmen/women do, so we don’t have this merry go round of bullshit.

so you can imagine, by the end of the day, I have had enough of my mobile…. and may have missed some of your calls and messages, for that I am sorry…., plus the kids steal my mobile to FaceTime friends etc 😳🤪

Currently, we are also working on an online shop, so you can order and pay for your plants online and we can arrange a safe way for you to pick up your orders…… I’m not using the usual post at this stage as I don’t want to third party any risks to you my customers.

sadly my works on these 2 things are on hold for now until I can fix my tech issues… which we will.

these things are sent to test us and test they have…. either which way, we will remain positive, as others out there are doing it real tough, and if all I’m complaining about is a melted modem, and listening to Telstra music for 7hours, then it’s not much to complain about.

keeping the brain positive, busy and active…

regardless of what happens over the coming weeks, we will still be here working, as most nurseries and flower growers will be. We all need to start preparing stock for the spring months shortly, then not long after that we start preparations for the Christmas stock, so there is no downtime. At some point this crisis will end and we have to be ready to offer some form of happiness and normality is our colourful range of plants.

we are checking daily with the government guidelines for trade and safe practice, there has been some confusion along the way, but there has been no modern template for any of us, including our governments,  to follow on this scale, so we all just do the best we can with the info we have.

We are not going anywhere, we have to continue some normality, in the hopes that this crisis will be solved and ended and we can return to normal life.

I will end by wishing you all the best of health in the coming months, stay safe and smart, keep active at home, keep positive no matter what you see on tv, look out for one another ( from a distance), play in your gardens,  send us pics of your garden creations and most importantly thanks for your support, time, acknowledgement and sharing of our posts, we appreciate all your custom, because with out you, we could not continue to grow.

Cheers

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

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Heavy or Clay soil tips

Do you have a problem with the soil in your garden?

is it heavy or clay and frustrating you no end?… there is no easy fix, sadly it will take some hard work, but the end result will be worth it, here is some advice and information

WHAT IS HEAVY OR CLAY SOILS

Heavy, or clay soils are those that have finer or small particles that during the warmer/drier months, become hard and cement like and during the wetter/cooler months tend to be very sticky and compacted.
These soils can be high in nutrient, but are often slow draining, difficult to work with and take too much time to warm up in spring. These types of soil structure need to be corrected before any plantings are to occur, to improve water drainage, air through soil, for better root development and the encouragement of beneficial soil organisms such as earthworms, nematodes and microbes.

HOW TO IMPROVE SOIL
Compost, compost, compost…. The more the better, to change the heavy soil, you need to change structure and the best way to do so is by adding composts and digging up clumps of the hardened or soggy areas to allow air and water penetration. Fork through or turn over Large amounts of either manure, gypsum ( clay breaker), compost, peat moss, course sand, fine crushed rock, garden lime or leaves from deciduous plants, or a combination of any of the above will help.

MAKE YOUR OWN COMPOST
Make your own rich crumbly compost to improve your garden beds and soil by either using a large bin or section in your garden where you can layer garden debris/leaves, grass clippings, vegie scraps, garden lime, blood n bone, peat, animal manures and sugar cane mulch…. Liquid feed it once every month or so and turn the heap on a weekly basis to help it decay and break down before putting it in your soil or on your garden. Your plants will love the nutrient.

ONCE YOU HAVE IMPROVED YOUR SOIL QUALITY, IT IS NOW TIME TO COME AND SEE US AT PADDYS PLANTS AND GRAB SOME GREAT QUALITY GARDEN PLANTS TO SHOW OFF QAND HIGHLIGHT THAT HARD WORK YOU HAVE JUST DONE.

WE LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU ON YOUR NEXT VISIT

HAPPY GARDENING

PADDY