Gardening Australia episode 21 2023

Gardening Australia episode 21 2023

Gardening Australia episode 21 2023 – Josh recently moved into a new loft apartment in the city. As he explored his new space, he discovered the previous tenant had left behind a thriving indoor garden. Lush green plants of all varieties filled the rooms – leafy ferns, palms, trailing ivy, and succulents. The air felt fresh and earthy, unlike the smoggy streets below. Sunlight streamed in through massive windows, bathing the plants in a warm glow. Josh found a greenhouse room where tomatoes climbed strings and herbs flourished on racks. It was an urban jungle paradise teeming with life.



Inspired, Josh decided to care for the plants left behind. He wanted to learn their needs to help them thrive. Each day he tended, watered, and pruned the plants while talking to them gently. Outside, the city bustled and clamored. But within the loft, Josh found sanctuary caring for the garden. This surprise oasis brought meaning to his life in ways he never imagined. Tammy had a passion for gardening and spent every free moment tending her backyard haven.



She carefully planted flowers, vegetables, and herbs for a lush, productive garden. Nestled beneath mature oaks, Tammy’s garden enjoyed dappled sun and shade. The canopy shielded plants from harsh afternoon heat. Tammy built raised beds with rich soil for rainbow chard, purple kale, and other vegetables. Along the fence, she planted zinnias, black-eyed Susans, and coneflowers, their bright petals adding pops of color. For shade areas, she chose begonias and astilbe for their shifting light tolerance. Daily, Tammy inspected her garden, protecting plant health. For Tammy, this was a cherished pastime. She cultivated a sanctuary where life burst forth in richness.



In his yard, Clarence had an old tree stump. With carpentry and vision, he hollowed the stump into a planter. At a nursery, Clarence hand-selected colorful cascading plants – petunias, begonias, and pansies. He planted each specimen with care, transforming the stump into a vibrant haven. Over seasons, vines wrapped the weathered trunk as annuals emerged each spring and summer. The once hollow center now overflowed with life. Clarence’s passion gave new purpose to something deemed useless, proving potential exists everywhere.


Gardening Australia episode 21 2023


Luscious Loft: Josh visits a couple who have transformed their home into a lush, plant-filled inner-city loft.

FAQs – Extra herbs | Sharpening spades | Depth of raised beds: Jane helps with excess herbs, Jerry sharpens a spade and Sophie discusses depths for raised vegie beds.

Spring in Your Step: Millie builds a heated seed raising bay and completes transition-season jobs before the spring rush hits.

Stumped for Ideas: Clarence creates a living sculpture by planting epiphytic plants into an old tree stump.

Kale Trees: Hannah demonstrates how to train kale trees.

Digging Deeper: Jerry shows how to sharpen a spade.

Bollywood Backyard: Costa meets Bollywood actress Evelyn Sharma who is creating a gorgeous garden in Chinchilla.

DIY Netting Tunnel: Sophie demonstrates an easy way to install protection netting.

Shady Greens: Tammy shows us three easy edible greens that thrive in pots and part shade.

My Garden Path: We meet palaeoecologist Michael-Shawn Fletcher who studies how plants and people are interconnected and sees the natural world as a history book.

Jobs for the Weekend: Seasonal suggestions for jobs to do in the garden this weekend.

Luscious Loft: Creating an Urban Oasis

Tucked away in a bustling inner-city neighborhood, Josh visits a couple who have transformed their loft apartment into a verdant urban oasis brimming with lush plants. As Josh tours the space, he is amazed by the couple’s living, breathing indoor garden that brings natural beauty to city living.

The air feels fresh and earthy, unlike the smoggy streets below. Sunlight streams in through massive windows, bathing the hundreds of plants in warm, golden light. A small greenhouse room houses vining tomato plants and pots overflowing with herbs like basil, oregano and thyme. It’s a jungle paradise of thriving greenery that seems transported from some far-off rainforest rather than a downtown loft.

Yet the couple has carefully cultivated this indoor botanic splendor. They inherited the plants from the previous resident but have dedicated themselves fully to the living loft. Josh watches them meticulously tend to the plants, watering, pruning away dead leaves, and misting the broad glossy leaves. They speak softly to their leafy companions as they work, as if having silent conversations with close friends.

The couple explains that although the bustling city clamors endlessly outside, within their loft they’ve created a sanctuary. Caring for this surprise garden oasis brings them joy and peace amidst chaotic urban life. Watching the plants slowly grow and change from week to week connects them to natural cycles so removed from city existence. Their verdant loft nurtures their mental health and wellbeing in profound and unexpected ways.

Josh leaves the loft feeling inspired. He realizes that with just a little imagination and care, small pockets of nature can flourish even in the most unlikely places. All you need is some living plants and an openness to let their tranquil beauty transform your space.

FAQs: Your Pressing Garden Questions Answered

Gardening well takes patience, practice and know-how. Our expert hosts are here each week to answer common gardening questions and provide their best tips and tricks. Read on for useful advice about dealing with excess garden herbs, properly sharpening spades, and ideal planting depths for raised vegetable beds. Consider starting an outdoor journal where you can log notes and continue expanding your gardening knowledge over time.

Dealing With Excess Herbs

Herbs often grow abundantly, sometimes leaving us with more than we can use. Rather than letting excess basil, oregano or other herbs go to waste, try these suggestions:

  • Make herb-infused oils by submerging clean herb sprigs in olive oil. Use for cooking, marinades and dressings. The oil will keep for 2-3 months refrigerated.
  • Mix chopped herbs into butter or cream cheese. Form into logs or disks, wrap well and freeze for later use.
  • Dehydrate excess herbs to use year-round. Many ovens have a dehydrate setting, or use a food dehydrator.
  • Chop and freeze herbs in ice cube trays filled with olive oil or broth for quick cooking.
  • Create herb-filled sachets with muslin and ribbon to add fragrance to drawers or closets.

Sharpening Spades

Using sharp gardening tools makes your efforts much easier. Follow these key tips for keeping spades razor-sharp:

  • Use a mill bastarde or metal garden file. Stroke down along the top side of blade to maintain bevel.
  • Place blade firmly in a vise or on a stool and file at a 20 degree angle with even, smooth strokes.
  • Use a whetstone or diamond file, applying even pressure as you stroke from base to tip.
  • Buff gently with emery paper for a smooth edge, being careful not to round off the precision tip.
  • Oil the blade to prevent rusting. Wipe clean after each use.
  • Check edge regularly. Sharpen again at first sign of dullness – don’t wait until completely blunt.

Raised Bed Planting Depths

For optimal growth of vegetables and herbs, raised garden beds should be filled with at least 12 inches of high-quality growing medium.

  • Leafy greens need just 6-8 inches of soil depth. Spinach, lettuces, kale can thrive in shallower beds.
  • Root crops like carrots and potatoes need 10-12 inches minimum to form full shapely roots.
  • Tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant require at least 12-18 inches of soil for their deep root systems.
  • Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts need around 12 inches for best development.
  • Tall crops like corn and pole beans need at least 18-24 inches of root space.

Tailor your raised beds to the specific crops you want to grow. And enrich the growing medium each season with compost for vigorous harvests!

Spring in Your Step: Preparing for the Growing Season

The arrival of spring means the gardening season will soon be in full swing! Millie has devoted this weekend to transition jobs in order to be fully prepared for the busy weeks ahead.

First, Millie constructed a small heated seed-raising bay out of timber, plastic sheeting and a heat mat. By creating ideal warm, humid conditions, she’ll get veggie and flower seedlings established faster and sooner than if seeding directly outside in the ground. She fills seed trays with moist potting mix, carefully plants the tiny seeds, and monitors their progress in the cozy bay. Millie smiles imagining the bay overflowing soon with hundreds of robust seedlings ready for transplant.

Gardening Australia episode 21 2023 - Preparing for the Growing Season
Gardening Australia episode 21 2023 – Preparing for the Growing Season

Next Millie does a thorough garden inspection, clearing old mulch and pulling any weeds that may have sprouted after recent rains. She checks each garden bed, enriches the soil with compost, and repairs any underlying irrigation issues. Proper soil health and moisture now means her plants will thrive later.

There’s excitement in Millie’s step as she works. She visualizes the barren winter garden awakening into a wonderland of vegetables, herbs and flowers in just weeks’ time. Her diligence and preparations now make all the difference. By getting essential jobs done ahead of the spring rush, Millie ensures her garden flows with ease all season long.

Stumped for Ideas: Creative Transformation

Some see debris ready for the compost pile, but gardener Clarence sees creative potential waiting to shine. He walks us through transforming an old tree stump, a remnant of a long-ago felled oak, into a living botanical sculpture. With simple tools, imagination, and a few store-bought plants, Clarence gives new purpose to something once deemed garden junk.

After carefully hollowing out the stump’s center, Clarence adds layers of potting soil to convert the hollowed space into a planter. At the nursery, he hand selects a variety of small, colorful plants with cascading growth habits—petunias, pansies, ivy, coleus and more.

Back home, Clarence plants each specimen into the stump’s nooks and crannies, tucking them into pockets and crevices. He tops off with fresh potting mix, steps back, and watches his creation come to life. Vibrant blooms in purple, pink and red now emerge from this forgotten stump.

As seasons pass, ivy and vines slowly wrap along the weathered trunk. Each spring, Clarence adds some fresh annuals to the mix. The once hollow stump has become a true haven flourishing with botanical surprises. Neighbors who used to see an eyesore now compliment the unique living sculpture.

With his simple vision and care, Clarence proves we can find beauty and purpose in even the unlikeliest places. Sometimes, the most mundane materials transform into marvels, if we only nurture them with imagination.

Growing Kale Trees

Many veggies that creep along the ground can be trained upwards into living sculptures we call “trees.” Hannah demonstrates how to create beautiful, edible kale trees perfect for small spaces or adding whimsy to any garden.

Start seeds in late winter so plants are ready for transplanting outside after final spring frosts. Choose a kale variety like Red Russian or Dinosaur that grows a central stalk up to 5 feet tall. Once kale seedlings have 5+ mature leaves, it’s time to begin training them up a central pole.

Install a tall, sturdy pole that will support the full-grown kale plant. Guide the tender kale seedling up the pole, loosely tying the main stem to the support as it grows with soft plant ties or twine. Remove lower leaves to emphasize the tree shape.

Place mature kale trees 18-36” apart in an area with full sun and nutrient-rich soil. Keep the root zone consistently watered. Pinch back the central stem once it reaches desired height to encourage bushy side shoots.

As the kale “tree” matures, harvest outer leaves regularly for salads and cooking. Inner leaves will remain tender and protected. Enjoy beauty and bounty from this whimsical, edible garden sculpture.

Digging Deeper: How to Sharpen Spades

Jerry digs into an essential skill for every gardener – properly sharpening your hand tools. Using a blunt spade forces you to use extra effort with every scoop and dig. A sharpened blade glides easily through soil, roots and all. Follow Jerry’s tips for keeping spades razor-sharp.

Use a mill file or whetstone, applying even pressure as you stroke downward along the beveled top edge. Place the blade securely in a vise to keep steady as you work. Use smooth, continuous strokes from base of the blade to the tip.

Maintain the original wide bevel angle, usually 20-30 degrees. Don’t let the tip curve, which weakens the precision edge. Stroke just along the topside; the bottom edge of spade blades don’t need sharpening.

Rinse and dry the blade well. Coat with a thin film of oil to prevent rust. Wipe clean after each use. Check the edge regularly and re-sharpen at first signs of dullness. Don’t wait until the blade is completely blunt, forcing you to re-establish the bevel. Consistent care makes your essential garden tools last longer.

Channeling Bollywood in the Backyard

Gardener Costa draws inspiration from the essence of Indian cinema to create a lively backyard escape with bright colors, dancing water features, and exotic plant textures reminiscent of classic Bollywood movies.

We follow his journey conjuring this garden from bare grass to cinematic oasis. Curved beds beckon visitors to meander along stone pathways that reveal new garden vistas at every turn. Giant elephant ear plants with bold texture evoke saris and headdresses. The sound of wind chimes and tinkling water mixes with the sweet fragrance of jasmine.

The focal point is an oval pond ringed with pavers and aquatic plants. Its surface reflects moody skies and shimmering sunlight, conjuring splashy Bollywood dance scenes. Nearby, passionflower and jasmine climb a whimsical trellis, fragile blooms waiting for lovers to meet beneath its arch.

From the plant selection to the evocative water features, each element in Costa’s design tells a story and sets a mood. He brings Bollywood’s essence to life through textures, colors and details that spark the imagination on this cinematic journey. We leave wanting our own backyard to be just as transportive.

Installing DIY Garden Netting Tunnels

Protect tender veggies from pests while allowing airflow and light with these easy netting tunnels from Sophie. Made from hoops, netting and twine, they form breathable, supportive enclosures.

  • Cut semi-circles from folded wire mesh or pliable branches. Bend into hoops and insert both ends into the ground along the veggie row, creating tapered tunnels.
  • Cover hoops with lightweight horticultural netting, leaving the ends open. Bury edges several inches deep to keep anchored.
  • For a quick single-row tunnel, simply drape netting over fronds and stems, then secure the sides with stones, boards or stakes.
  • Check netting weekly for rips or gaps and patch with twine or extra netting. Lift to access plants, then carefully replace.

These simple, protective tunnels allow sunlight and rainfall to still reach plants while keeping hungry critters at bay. Encourage vigorous growth with fewer losses!

Edible Shade Greens

Full sun often seems essential for productive food gardening. But Tammy shares three easy-to-grow leafy greens thriving in part shade pots:

Swiss Chard

This colorful leafy green tolerates partial shade. Grow rainbow chard for striking pink, orange, yellow and red stems and veins. Harvest outer leaves regularly, and new ones will continue producing all season long.


Leaf lettuces withstand light shade better than sun-loving romaine and iceberg types. Try oakleaf, red sail, and black-seeded simpson lettuce. Cut leaves individually or harvest whole rosettes.

Asian Greens

Fast-growing and high-yielding, tasty Asian greens like tatsoi, mizuna, mustard, and komatsuna grow well in dappled sun. Use fresh in salads or stir fries.

Give your potted greens a slow-release organic fertilizer and keep soil consistently moist for best productivity even in low light. With these tips, you can find leafy green abundance in surprising shadowy spots!

My Garden Path: Michael-Shawn Fletcher, Palaeoecologist

We meet Michael-Shawn Fletcher, a passionate palaeoecologist who sees the natural world as a living history book. He studies fossilized plant pollen and ancient seeds to piece together the interconnections between long-ago ecosystems, climate conditions, plants, animals and early humans.

To Michael-Shawn, every fossilized leaf or seed pod tells a story. They are clues helping us understand how landscapes and life slowly adapted over millennia. Peering through microscopes into deep time, he feels connected to primeval forests from eons past.

Michael-Shawn compiles his field and lab research into books and lectures for students and the public. He hopes to ignite curiosity about the relationships tying all life together across time. As a Black scientist, he also works to diversify voices in Earth sciences.

Guiding others along his journey of discovery brings Michael-Shawn profound joy. By exploring nature’s intricate narratives, he reminds us that the world we inhabit today is but one chapter in an expansive, unfolding story. Appreciating this long, shared history helps us feel part of something far greater than ourselves.

Weekend Garden Jobs

Unsure which tasks deserve priority in your garden this weekend? Follow our seasonal tips:

  • Inspect soil moisture and irrigation systems. Watering properly prevents future headaches.
  • Weed weed weed! Spring growth means young weeds proliferate rapidly. Get them early and often.
  • Edge along beds and borders for a tidy look. Define your garden spaces.
  • Prune dead branches from trees, shrubs and perennials. Allow new healthy growth.
  • Start acclimating tender seedlings before transplanting them outside permanently.
  • Plant peas, lettuce, kale, radish and other hardy veggies into prepared beds.
  • Consider adding a thin layer of compost or manure over beds for a nutrient boost.
  • Sharpen tools to make spring garden tasks easier. Don’t force yourself to use dull blades.
  • Stake emerging delicate perennials like peonies before they flop over and break.

Tackle spring garden tasks proactively and you’ll reap rewards later when your garden explodes in beauty and bounty. Enjoy your meaningful time nurturing nature this weekend!


This episode of Gardening Australia offered inspiration for transforming urban spaces into indoor plant oases. Expert advice helped demystify common gardening questions. We followed passionate gardeners as they prepared for spring, upcycled debris into art, grew whimsical edible kale trees, and drew creative inspiration from cinema. Other segments demonstrated simple net tunnels, shade-loving potted greens, and the work of a palaeoecologist decoding nature’s living history.

The unifying message was the deep connections we find when nurturing plants sustainably. Whether gardening in lofts, backyards or even peering back thousands of years, tending the earth beneath our fingers links us to natural cycles larger than ourselves. Doing our small part matters, for passing on a diverse, thriving landscape that sustains all life is a responsibility we share across generations. When we garden mindfully, we co-create beauty.

FAQ – Gardening Australia episode 21 2023


How can I create an indoor garden in my small apartment?

Start small by potting a few low-maintenance houseplants like pothos, philodendrons, Chinese evergreens, or ZZ plants. Place them near windows for light. Consider installing grow lights to supplement sunlight. Focus on greenery that purifies indoor air. Add herbs like basil and mint to your kitchen windowsill. Be patient and let your indoor garden grow over time.

What are some good vegetables to grow in raised garden beds?

Raised beds are great for tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, carrots, peas, beans, lettuce, spinach, kale, radishes, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and more. Tailor the soil depth to the specific plants’ root requirements. Enrich soil with compost and fertilizer. Raised beds provide excellent drainage and ease of access.

How can I prepare my garden for spring planting?

To get a head start on spring, clear out old plants and leaves, prep beds, improve soil nutrients, make repairs, start seeds indoors, and harden off seedlings. Install trellises, divide perennials if needed, and prune away dead branches. Correct any issues with irrigation, compaction or drainage. Sharpen tools now.

What are some unique ways to use old tree stumps and logs in my garden?

Transform stumps into planters, water features, benches, or mushroom farms. Stack logs to build rustic retaining walls. Use thinner discs and cookies for stepping stones or edging. Craft log slice art sculptures. Chip into mulch or burn for cooking and bonfires. Let stumps gradually decay to provide wildlife habitat.

How can I protect my vegetable garden from pests sustainably?

Use row cover fabric, insect netting, or DIY cloches over beds to create a physical barrier. Attract beneficial insects like ladybugs and lacewings. Use organic pest deterrents like neem oil or insecticidal soap. Pick pests off by hand. Rotate crops to disrupt reproduction cycles. Strong, healthy plants can better withstand some pest pressure.


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