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Spring 2017.... 


Welcome to the best time of the year in your garden.  The fruit trees have produced their delightful flowers.  This will soon be followed by their plump green buds and leaves that have been encouraged by the warmth of the sun.  Now it is time to get organised, go outside brave the chilly winds and survey your areas of garden whether large or small it is yours.  

 

ANNUALS

 

September and Spring is here with cool mornings and warm afternoon sun.  It is the perfect time to plant some annuals to brighten up your garden.   Before planting, add a small amount of compost, give a good water before planting to ensure the young roots don’t get affected by the compost. So plenty of water first.

 

AUSTRALIAN NATIVES

 

This is the best time of the year for these flowering beauties:  Banksias, Boronia, Calistemons, Geralton Wax plant, Grevillea, Hakea, Thryptomene, Kangaroo paw (Anigozanthos), Mint bush (Prostanthera), Native fuchsia (Epacris), Pittosporum, Tea Tree (Lepospermum), Wattle (Acacia), Waxflower (Eriostemon), Willow myrtle (Agonis). 

 

BULBS

 

When the spring flowering bulbs have finished blooming, do not cut off their stems and leaves.  As they die down they can be neatly tied together this makes the appearance neater and the old leaves provide food for next years flowers.  Other summer flowering bulbs can be fed fortnightly from now on

 

HERBS

 

Encourage children or grand children when you are planting any herbs or vegetables to plant some for you.  This time of year Sweet Basil is an annual sown in Spring and grows very well for a few months.  Basil is good planted near your vegies, if you have any that is. Your home grown herbs will give you a sense of satisfaction when you go outside and can pick some basil, mint, parsley or thyme to add to a meal.  Remember --  mint and tansy need to be confined into containers, if let go you will have mint everywhere.

 

ROSES

 

The beautiful colours of their new leaves, tips and buds with the promises of some gorgeous blooms to look forward to now that it is Spring. Most gardeners would have pruned their roses before the end of July but if you haven’t now is the time to chop them back.  Firstly remove any dead diseased canes, especially from the centre of the bush.  Reduce it by about one third, this will encourage new growth.  Fertilise established roses when the first leaf growth appears.   Remember to keep watching for hungry insects.

 

PEST CONTROL

 

Now is the time to encourage any Native birds into the garden, this is a natural pest control method.  Australian Native Plants are favoured and perennials also provide many flowers for the birds to hide whilst they are eating those annoying pests.  A small pond or a water stand is also most beneficial as these pests must taste bad!  You should not use any herbicides.  If you need to spray, here is a commonly used natural garlic spray.

  • 75g fresh garlic cloves qtr cup of paraffin oil
  • Glass containers pure soap or soap flakes
  • Sieve or piece of muslin

Method: Crush 75g fresh garlic cloves.  Place in a glass container and cover with qtr cup of paraffin oil.  Dissolve 10g of pure soap or soap flakes in a litre of water.  The next step is to add the garlic mixture to the soapy water.  Using a sieve or piece of muslin, strain the mixture ensuring no pieces of garlic are in the liquid.  Store in a glass container.

 

To make a spray dilute one part garlic mixture to 40 parts water.  Shake well and spray affected plants.  It is best to spray in the morning.

 

OTHER METHODS

 

A ring of fresh sawdust placed around newly planted seedlings will deter snails and slugs.

Mulch some rice hulls by spreading over a Strawberry patch will keep slugs at bay.

Traps, there are commercially available flytraps which will attract white fly rather than having them infect developing fruit.

Aphids watch for them when your new roses shoot.  Squash them with your fingers by using a fine latex glove or your two fingers which will be very messy.

 

SUCCULENTS

 

Spring and succulents require the same treatment as the year before.  Check your pots for over crowding, if required buy some succulent mix and repot up the young plants.  Remembering before they are planting that the broken/cut area should be healed over before it is planted.  I have found that some succulents that are too big I plant them in the garden and they are very happy there and make a lovely show.

 

TREES/LARGE SHRUBS

 

September is pruning and feeding time of any deciduous shrubs that have recently flowered on bare wood during winter or early spring flowering cherry, japonica and forsythia.

 

Shrubs that flower later in spring or summer on new shoots (oleander and fuchsia) should be pruned early this month before new growth begins.

 

Cut oleanders and poinsettias back fairly hard.

 

Any shrubs that form dense clumps of canes such as japonicas and forsythia should have about a third of the oldest canes cut out entirely with the rest shortened by about a third.

 

Ornamental trees and shrubs will benefit from suitable fertilisers.  Feed acid loving plants such as azaleas, camellias, daphne and rhododendron only after they have finished flowering.

 

Gardenias should be fed with plenty of animal manures, must be watered in well.

 

FRUIT TREES

 

Now is the time to feed your fruit trees.   Plenty of mulch around fruiting trees and vines (not too close) and spray with a leaf curl spray also a fungicide to control brown rot.

 

VEGETABLES

 

Now is the time to make sure your soil has benefitted from the rains we have had this winter.  It is essential to weed and fertilise your chosen vegetable site or a warm spot in your general garden to allow your vegetables to grow well.  Planting vegetables into unprepared soil and an area that has a lot of shade will be most unsatisfactory for a healthy vegetable patch.  All vegetable plants love our hot sun for a large part of the day and keeping in mind, in the hotter weather, do need the water kept up to them.

 

Planting, nurturing and harvesting your own vegetables is well established now with the home gardeners.  I also encourage young people/children/grand children to have a go and appreciate “Mother Nature” at her best at your harvest time.

 

Your first task would be to dig over the area.  You will need to add plenty of compost, manures, worm castings and a sprinkle of lime. Fortnightly feeding will give you good results.

 

Plant grafted tomatoes in a warm, protected frost-free spot for early fruiting.  In October – dwarf beans, capsicum, cucumber, eggplant, pumpkin, salad vegetables, silver beet, spring onions and zucchini.

 

The following vegetables are all easy to grow as long as the watering and fertilising takes place.  Begin to sow seeds in early September or you can buy seedlings from the nursery.  One of my favourites is silver beet, spring onions, carrots, potatoes and loose leaved lettuces.  Growing some marigolds around your vegies helps keep the pests away.  Depending on what vegies you prefer to eat, your local nursery will have every kind to choose from.  Plant lettuce, rocket and asian greens, Brussel sprouts, carrots, leek, squash and chillies.  Also try growing some strawberries in pots or raised beds.

 

Frost tender plants such as beans, capsicum and sweet corn should be planted at the beginning of October.  Potatoes sown this month will be harvested in December.  


Happy Gardening
Patricia

 

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