Warmer temperatures and longer days mean we can plant with confidence. Anything that goes into the ground now will get a rapid wriggle on. Penny Woodward has collected together advice from several of our regular contributors with some great ideas about what to do in your garden now.
Before the rains arrive, move your potted Mediterranean herbs (savory, sage, thyme, rosemary and oregano) into a sheltered spot under cover where they will be protected from soaking rains, but still have good exposure to sunshine.
Give fruiting bushes such as okra, chilli, capsicum and eggplant an all-over trim and tidy. Throw some organic fertiliser around their roots and soak them well.
Bean fly burrows deep down into the base of the plant stem where it weakens the plant. If you see swelling and cracking at the base of your bean stems, hill the soil to above the damaged area to provide immediate support and encourage new root growth above the damage.
Fruit trees need good drainage and protection from strong winds, particularly cold southerly and westerly winds.
Feed citrus by watering the ground to just beyond the outer edge of the canopy, then broadcast organic citrus fertiliser over the same area. Water it in well, then mulch.
Kick your compost into gear with grass clippings, shrub prunings and weeds. Toss it all on the heap, sprinkle over some blood and bone, then give it a good turn and a wet down.
Keeping gutters clear of leaves becomes an ever-increasing chore as temperatures increase and eucalypts begin to drop leaves. You can avoid this by installing gutter guards before the heat of high summer. Metal guards are recommended for high fire-risk areas.
Plant shrubs and trees that will survive with little water in dry regions, but give them good soil preparation to allow a deep, friable root run. Deep watering for their first season is vital too.
Two-spotted mites (or red spider mites) love hot, dry weather, so minimise their damage with a misting of water in the evenings to increase humidity. Remember to spray under the leaves where they like to hide.
Once sweetcorn is growing strongly, plant beans at the base of each plant so it acts as a trellis for the bean to climb.
Spray roses with diluted seaweed extract, which will not only provide trace elements but also help to toughen the leaves so they are less susceptible to black spot.
Protect recently planted young trees with water-filled bladders or tree guards. These not only drip-feed water to the plants but also decrease temperatures around the plants, lowering evaporation rates.
Grow herbs as Christmas gifts. Fill 30cm-diameter pots with quality potting mix, water, then sow seeds. Cover with more potting mix and water again. Keep moist until they are ready to be given to friends and family.
Cut the bottom out of small pots and place one around each seedling, pushing it into the soil a little. The pot stops birds from scratching out the seedlings.
Soil is the best place to store water during dry times. The more organic matter in your soil, the more water it will hold. Dig in compost, green manure crops, moist coir and sprinkle over biochar (learn more about biochar).
First published: October 2019