In the Garden: August

27-Jul-2019

Following on the theme from July - it really is time to get gardening - boots n all!  

Surprisingly, even tho we know we are still to experience the traditional westerly winds for Ekka, the soil is still warming up with the slightly longer days and there is lots to do and achieve in the Garden.
So lets prepare your gardens so they are well and truly ready.

With this article we also provide a list of plants ready for planting now and whether or not they are as successful to put in September for spring planting and a successful season.

Pruning:

Once pruned, plants seem to regenerate and go into a growth spurt.

For this reason it is possibly best to leave pruning til almost the end of August - as otherwise a frost or cold snap could burn off any new growth.

Some that may need a tidy up are:

  • Roses, Citrus, Passionfruit, Ornamental Grasses.

As we get closer to the end of August the chance of frost diminishes and it is safe to prune the more delicate of your plants.
Citrus:  rarely need pruning and if still fruiting pruning can wait; however if yours does need pruning:

  • thin out the unproductive, twiggy growth.

  • Cut off all small branches and twigs. Right to end of main branch - don't leave any stumps.

Ornamental Grasses:  any that are looking tatty

  • cut them back - almost to ground level.

  • Feed and water to encourage fresh growth.

Plant

Ornamental garden:

Consider :

  • Alyssum, Calendula

  • Daisies, Dianthus, Gladioli corms

  • Pansy, Poppy

For a Shady area  - consider planting:

  • Hellebore (helleborus orientalis) small shrub - ideal for shady spot - especially if able to be left to seed under any deciduous trees you may have.

Also known as winter rose or Christmas rose - looks lovely with begonias.

  • Clivia ( Clivia Miniata) -flowers are usually orange though yellow varieties are available. Slow growing , clumps of strappy leaves.

Natives:

Most anything that gets planted out now will do very well, however our own natives seem to thrive extremely well if planted at this time of year.

It allows them ample time to vigorously establish root growth and make the most of any early spring rain while preparing for possible dry during summer  - this generally allows them to survive droughts.

Even though most of us love an "instant" garden, consider natives(especially fast growing ones) around 30 - 40cm(300-400mm) in height  - this size will quite often exceed the growth of larger plants especially over 2 years from planting.
This size can also mean less maintenance with watering and "shaping"/pruning once planted as at 300-400mm most are still quite compact.

Mulching will reduce the chances of weeds and competition for nutrients; allowing a good start.

Leave a good gap between the mulch and plant stem.Be vigilant about removing any weeds that grow in the gap as  they may overwhelm the plant and slow growth dramatically.

Edible

Except for onion beds (which we talked about in July) and carrots, start applying manures or blood and bone to other areas of the vege gardens.

Replace winter crops with summer essentials from the following list, do a plan of what you'd like to plant - dont get overexcited and fill the beds up too quickly or you wont have enough room and may end up with too big a crop of one particular item.

(e) this is the last month to plant out and achieve best results

(p) there will be another chance next month to get it in the ground.

(b) the beginning of the season,in general we will have a bit of time.

(su) start undercover in seed trays before transplanting to garden.

(t) transplant seedlings to beds 

  • Artichoke (e), Asparagus(b), Beetroot (p), Basil(su), Burdock(b)

  • Cabbage(su), Cape Gooseberry, Capsicum(su), Carrots, Celery(e), Chicory/Witlof (p)

  • Chilli, Cucumber (b), Eggplant (b), French Beans

  • Kohlrabi (e), Lettuce, Okra (b), Potatoes (e), Pumpkin (b)

  • Radish, Silverbeet (p), Squash (b), Sweet Potatoes

  • Tomatoes, Zucchini

Planning to Plant:

Dig up any empty beds to aerate and break up the soil.

Consider weed control - so has time to take effect before planting out.

Turn the compost.

Other

Houseplants

if any need re-potting this is the best time to get into doing them.
As the days start to lengthen consider adding liquid fertiliser when watering your houseplants. Consult instructions on your chosen liquid fertiliser.
Keep an eye on hanging baskets for drying out -  as can dry out quickly with the wind and increased warmth

Roses

Be on the lookout for sap sucking aphids on new growth - especially the all time favourite - the Roses.
Depending on your preference squash or spray with Pyrethrum to avoid damage. Confidor or similar will work a treat.
Ladybirds / Ladybugs - If you're seeing them, most are "good" bugs and worth protecting. One main component of the diet of their larvae are aphids - this will allow you to limit pesticides and let nature do some of the work.

Even though Roses in pots can be planted any time; August is the last of the winter months to do bare root roses.

Lawns

By the second week of August, we should be noticing that lawns are beginning to have a growth spurt - so too will many of the weeds we continually battle that grow in our lawns.
Make sure to use a catcher when mowing to reduce likelihood of more weeds germinating.

Level off uneven sections by spreading a good topsoil over any dips. If this is less than 5cm in depth existing grass will grow through in about 2 weeks.
If your dips are deeper than 5cm and you wish to only do the rounds once with the topsoil - we would recommend adding seed.

Citrus

Check Citrus for elongated swellings on stem.

These will be caused by citrus gall wasp and need to be removed & disposed of off site - not in your compost.

Feed Lemon and other citrus with blood and bone or aged / matured animal manure

I have been told that with Lemons in particular that they are best:

  • clipped from the tree just before fully ripened.

  • stored in a covered box to complete the process.

This may take a couple of weeks however the process is supposed to result in thinner skins and a much juicier fruit.

 Happy Gardening!


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