In the Garden:September

31-Aug-2018

September

The weather is warming up - take a moment... look around you - its a hive of activity everywhere...especially after our light showers that helped to refresh everything from the birds to our lawn.

While the days can be quite warm, the nights still have a chill in the air and the weather is still fickle, with blustery winds appearing from nowhere.
Be mindful not to plant delicate seedlings out too early but rather, for the next week or two, go for the larger shrubs and trees.

Mulching around your plants is essential to seal moisture in to the ground to be available for the roots of plants -especially with the coming summer.

All forms of organic matter can be used as a mulch.

Woodchips are excellent when spread about 10cm deep.
Soil should be even without clods to reduce the chance of weeds focussing on them and then spreading through the mulch.
Woodchip left on the surface will slowly break down over many years allowing newly introduced plants ample time to get established. (Do not dig woodchip in)
While suitable for plants, woodchip is not appropriate for the Edible Garden - Sugar Cane mulch, one of the bagged lucerne's or aged hay/straw if you can get it, would be more appropriate.

Pruning

It is almost impossible to stress the importance and value of pruning trees and shrubs as soon as flowering finishes.

Most begin to form seeds as flowering finishes which can drain a lot of energy from the plant.

Wattles and other natives

As they finish flowering prune away dead flowers and exhausted wood, allowing the plant a valuable rest.

Besides encouraging hearty new growth, with Wattles in particular, this can help extend the life of the tree.

Plant

Seeds or seedlings to consider this month are:

Ornamental
  • Alyssum, Aster, Cornflower

  • Chrysanthemum, Coleus, Cosmos

  • Dahlia, Dianthus, Daisy

  • Geranium, Gerbera, Gladioli corm

  • Hibiscus, Hollyhock, Impatiens

  • Kalanchoes, Larkspur, Lobelia

  • Lupin, Marigolds(African and French), Myosotis(Forget-Me-
    Not), Nasturtium, Pansy

  • Petunia, Polyanthus, Poppy, Salvia, Viola, Zinnia

Edible


(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) this is the beginning of the season so in general we will have a bit of time.

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

(t) transplant seedlings to beds


  • Globe Artichoke, Asparagus, Basil(t), Beetroot(e), Borage(b), Burdock, Cabbage(su),

  • Cape Gooseberry, Capsicum(su), Carrot, Chicory/ Witlof(e), Chilli

  • Choko(b), Cucumber, Eggplant, French Beans(p), Kohlrabi(e), Lettuce, Okra, Pumpkin(b)

  • Radish, Rockmelon(b), Rosella(b), Silverbeet(e), Squash, Sweet Corn(b), Sweet Potato,

  • Tomatoes, Watermelon(b), Zucchini


Planning to Plant

Warm frost free area  - annuals can be planted directly in to gardens or containers.

Still experiencing some cool snaps? play it safe and start under glass or in a protected environment - like a window sill.

Ornamental & Edible Garden

Trees and shrubs are ok now.
Some to consider are
Azaleas, Camellias, Rhododendrons - but check what is available in your local area.

If not planting in a garden bed be mindful that grass can be a food and moisture thief;  so when planting out or feeding be mindful to mulch around the base of the tree to smother the grass and enhance the growth rate of your plant.

Lime beds that are designated for Annuals and remove weeds

Spread animal manure, blood and bone (or other soil improvers) and organic mulching material.
This will help control weeds while feeding the soil.

Planning to plant tomatoes? - leave the ground clear where you plan to pop them to give the soil a chance to warm up.

Potatoes - plant now to take advantage of moist conditions in the coming months.
Potatoes can be planted many times of the year - to be successfully harvested potatoes need 60-90days frost free.

Mulch around all fruit and berry plants with hay and straw.

Other

Houseplants

Diluted liquid fertilisers /seaweed concentrates are appreciated by houseplants from now.

Cyclamen will be almost finished now - allow to dry out slowly.

Gloxinia -starting their new growth -bring inside and gently water.

This is the time of year to refresh houseplants that have been in their pots for 2 or more years.

Keep in mind some flowering plants prefer to be "slightly" cramped - such as African violets and Strelitzias.

Foliage plants can achieve healthy abundant growth by regularly replacing or topping up the potting soil.

Most houseplants will grow happily in a mix of equal proportions of river sand, peat and qood quality top soil.

Never use just garden soil on its own in pots as it will congeal into a hard lump after a couple of weeks making the plant's job of growing very difficult.
Keep in mind to check your plants soil "preference" for drainage etc.

Roses

Aphid Season starts now for roses and other plants.

To eliminate (or at least keep under control) use  pyrethrum - a "safe" spray with lower toxicity levels for the majority of mammals and birds.
Even though it is "safe" do treat with care as some people can have allergic reaction from pyrethrum with the first noticeable symptom being sneezing.

Lawns

Small lawns - let alone the large ones start to get their spring spurt now.

Grass is one of the few groundcovers that can be regularly cut back to almost ground level and keep coming back for more.

 

A well maintained lawn can enhance the garden and if cut correctly there are few problems.

 

Resist the temptation to scalp your grass in an effort to save yourself some time; as this can result in shaved / scalped areas where there are unlevel patches.

 

Ideal height would be between 3 - 5cm. Mowers should not be operated with blades at 3 lowest levels.

 

When lawns are cut too short roots become exposed and vulnerable and lead to rapid brown off unless you wish to spend your time watering intensively.

 

The longer you can let your grass grow the deeper the roots will go - giving it a fighting chance when the dry season starts.

Feeding is recommended now.

 

Slow acting fertlisers entice the roots to follow them as they sink into the soil.
Fertilisers containing large amounts of sulphate of ammonia will produce masses of lush green growth but discourage active root development - if used frequently your grass may become dependant on "quick feeds" and suffer during hot weather.
As with all fertilisers never apply to dry surface and ensure watered in after application to wash any fertiliser from the leaves. (be it rain or hose...)
Hungry lawns are susceptible to flatweeds as it is unable to "hold" its ground effectively.

Citrus

For best results, Citrus need regular, gentle feeding. Spring is one of the best times to fertilise your citrus.
Citrus roots are very sensitive and have fine "hair like" shallow roots. Ensure that feeding begins with and is followed up by a good deep watering.

New Lemon trees can be planted out towards the end of this month.

Older Lemon trees can safely be pruned now - remove all old twiggy growth.
Water heavily afterwards.
Spray with white oil for scale control
Feed with aged manure, blood and bone. Keep main stems clear.

Happy Gardening!


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