Brave the cold and benefi t

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - HOME - Tino Carnevale

BUILD­ING up the courage to ven­ture out into the gar­den in win­ter could be likened to stand­ing on a beau­ti­ful Tas­ma­nian beach in your togs, want­ing to go for a swim but wor­ried you may lose a toe to frost­bite.

Once you have taken the plunge though, you re­alise it is not so bad and you start to en­joy yourself.

With the clear crisp days it is a plea­sure to be out­side and the benefi ts of the jobs you do in win­ter will carry on well into the warmer months.

With plant growth slowed to the con­sis­tency of syrup, prun­ing hedges and sculp­tured plants now will mean that they stay neat un­til spring.

Prun­ing de­cid­u­ous trees, vines and shrubs dur­ing win­ter will pro­mote vig­or­ous green growth in spring.

So it is a good time if you have any fi rst, sec­ond or third- year trees or if you are want­ing to re­train an old tree.

If your plant has suf­fered from a fun­gal at­tack in the pre­vi­ous sea­son it would be ad­vis­able to spray the wounds you make while prun­ing with lime sul­phur.

With the clear crisp days it is a plea­sure to be out­side and the benefi ts of the jobs you do in win­ter will carry on well into the

warmer months

’Some plants such as roses and grapes that are fun­gus mag­nets al­ways benefi t from a spray and re­mem­ber to clean your tools to pre­vent the spread of fun­guses from tree to tree.

As the canes of late fruit­ing rasp­ber­ries stop pro­duc­ing they can be cut back to the ground leav­ing any new fresh growth. I like to use a sharp spade to edge around the rasp­berry patch to con­trol any way­ward roots from es­cap­ing into other parts of the gar­den.

Lightly cor­ing lawns with a gar­den fork will pre­vent com­paction and help to drain wa­ter away from wet ar­eas.

Lay­ing beer traps will al­low slugs and snails to go out with a bang but by far the most ef­fec­tive way of con­trol­ling these de­struc­tive gas­tropods is by hunt­ing them at night with a bright lan­tern or torch and a bucket. It is one of the few times in the year when it is pos­si­ble to feel in con­trol of the weeds in­stead of the other way round.

Be­cause many pest in­sects lay their eggs on weed species in your gar­den, keep­ing on top of your weeds over the win­ter pe­riod can help to avoid in­fes­ta­tions of in­sect pests in the spring.

Win­ter is a great time to work on soil im­prove­ment whether that is by the ad­di­tion of com­post, green ma­nure crops, cul­ti­va­tion or all three.

Al­though it is im­por­tant to note that cul­ti­vat­ing heavy wet soil will de­stroy the soil’s struc­ture as well as your back so if the soil is wet, it is worth wait­ing for it to dry a lit­tle be­fore you get out the shovel or ro­tary hoe.

There are cer­tain days that are so chilly that even the most stoic gar­dener fi nds it diffi cult – well you don’t have to ad­mit de­feat. It can be a great op­por­tu­nity to get in the shed and give your tools a good clean, sand­ing and oil­ing han­dles and sharp­en­ing blades.

So get out there and cel­e­brate our beau­ti­fully cold weather and you will fi nd it is some of the most en­joy­able and re­ward­ing gar­den­ing you will do all year.

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