Win­ter check­list will reap ben­e­fits

Central Otago Mirror - - FEATURES -

in­ter is a good time for many tasks that, if car­ried out now, will re­ward the gar­dener with a grand show of blooms or fruit in spring and sum­mer. Rose care

Re­move leaves and other de­bris around your rose bushes to pre­vent dis­eases and pests from over­win­ter­ing. Burn or bin th­ese. Spray with cop­per to com­bat fun­gal dis­eases (rust, black spot, pow­dery mildew) and pests. Spray once be­fore prun­ing, once af­ter prun­ing and then once more 3-4 weeks later. Spraying oil helps con­trol scale and mites as well. But don’t spray cop­per and oil on the same day as prun­ing as it in­ter­feres with the nat­u­ral heal­ing process of wounds. Carry out prun­ing mid-to-late win­ter. Prune on a dry day, re­mov­ing all dead and dis­eased stems and keep­ing the cen­tre of the bush open to al­low good air flow. Cut other stems back by about half.

Plant gar­lic

There’s not much point sowing any­thing in the gar­den this month – un­less it’s gar­lic. But even then you want to make sure the soil is freedrain­ing. In heavy, wa­ter­logged soil the bulbs are likely to rot. Break off the in­di­vid­ual bulbs from your seed gar­lic (avail­able from gar­den cen­tres) and plant the fat­test ones in nu­tri­ent-rich soil in full sun. Push each clove, un­peeled and pointy end up, about 5cm deep and 10-15cm apart. You can grow your gar­lic in pots if your soil is gluggy. Just re­mem­ber to keep plants well wa­tered dur­ing spring growth. As soon as the leaves ap­pear, fo­liar feed fort­nightly for a cou­ple of months.

Plant a fruit tree

Bare-root de­cid­u­ous fruit trees will be ap­pear­ing in shops soon. Grab your­self a tree and plant it im­me­di­ately in a sunny, shel­tered spot in the gar­den. Dig a hole twice as big as the root ball. If your tree is grafted, make sure the graft is above soil level. New trees need a lit­tle TLC in their first year: Stake plants when po­si­tion­ing (two stakes ei­ther side of the tree, with flex­i­ble ties), wa­ter reg­u­larly and keep mulched in the warmer months to con­serve mois­ture.

Pre­serve grape­fruits

Grape­fruits bear their sunny fruit dur­ing win­ter. Trees are typ­i­cally pro­lific, so pre­serve your har­vest by mak­ing mar­malade or curd. Or eat them fresh. Grape­fruit is de­li­cious sprin­kled with brown sugar and cin­na­mon and grilled un­til the sugar is golden brown. You can also make a tasty savoury salsa. Com­bine 2 cups grape­fruit seg­ments, 1 diced av­o­cado, 1-2 ta­ble­spoons finely chopped red onion, 1 ta­ble­spoon lime juice, 1 ta­ble­spoon honey, 2 ta­ble­spoons chopped co­rian­der leaves, tea­spoon ground co­rian­der and salt and pep­per to taste. Mix well and serve with chicken or fish.

Build a cold frame

Seedlings, cut­tings and ten­der plants will be more cosy in a cold frame. It’s a sim­ple mat­ter of build­ing a box frame from scrap wood and fix­ing a re­cy­cled win­dow to the top, with hinges, for easy ac­cess. Or for a quick fix, push stakes in the ground around plants and cover with frost cloth.

Colour­ful: Prune your roses now for a beau­ti­ful sum­mer dis­play.

Top crop: Gar­lic needs awell-drained soil and sunny sit­u­a­tion to do well.

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