Jobs pick up as tem­per­a­ture drops

Central Otago Mirror - - FEATURES -

Rain, hail, thun­der, snow – win­ter has cer­tainly ar­rived. Which means it’s time to do all those win­ter jobs that keep things flow­ing smoothly in the gar­den – rak­ing up fallen leaves, clear­ing drains and gut­ters, clean­ing gar­den tools, in­clud­ing your lawn mower, and spray­ing fruit trees and roses to keep dis­eases at bay.

Rake up those leaves and ei­ther add them to your com­post heap or place them in a black plas­tic bag to make leaf mould. Your com­post heap could do with the ex­tra car­bon ma­te­rial dur­ing win­ter as de­com­po­si­tion slows down. Au­tumn leaves are a good source of car­bon. While equal quan­ti­ties of green (ni­tro­gen-rich) and brown (car­bon-rich) ma­te­ri­als are typ­i­cally re­quired for com­post heaps, car­bon-rich ma­te­ri­als give mi­crobes the en­ergy to con­tinue de­com­po­si­tion dur­ing low tem­per­a­tures.

You can also in­su­late your com­post heap by sur­round­ing it with hay bales. A layer of ma­nure cov­er­ing the pile can also gen­er­ate some heat.

If mak­ing leaf mould, run over the leaves with the mower first to chop them up be­fore fill­ing a plas­tic bag. This helps to aid de­com­po­si­tion. Add a hand­ful of gar­den soil and a lit­tle wa­ter too. Poke a few holes in the bag to let in air, then stash the bag out of sight un­til spring, when you will have a rich leaf mould for your gar­den.

If you need a bit of plant ther­apy, head to your lo­cal gar­den cen­tre – new fruit trees and rose bushes are in store now.

Three new roses, avail­able this month from gar­den cen­tres are Golden Gate, Akaroa and Sky Chaser, all grown by Matthews Roses. If you’re look­ing for an award-win­ning climber, con­sider Golden Gate. This climb­ing rose has clus­ters of large scented golden yel­low blooms on vig­or­ous canes. It’s the win­ner of mul­ti­ple awards in rose tri­als over­seas for its healthy fo­liage, good form and spicy scent.

Akaroa is a flori­bunda rose with rich cherry cerise red blooms with white on the re­verse side. Flow­ers cover the com­pact bushy plant and re­peat well. This rose was named in France in hon­our of our French town, Akaroa. Height 80-90cm.

Sky Chaser is a flori­bunda rose with bronze-apri­cot, medium-sized flow­ers. Plants are strong and ro­bust, with fo­liage to match. Bushes grow to a height of 1.2m.

If you’re look­ing for fruit trees, keep an eye out for the new plum, Lucy, from Waimea Nurs­eries. It’s a For­tune/Luisa cross with the meaty tex­ture of For­tune and the su­perb flavour and heart shape of Luisa. It’s a mid to late sea­son va­ri­ety, grow­ing 4m tall, though it can be trained into a fan shape for small gar­dens.

An­other new of­fer­ing from Waimea Nurs­eries is the plum­cot Scar­let Sun­rise. A plum­cot is a cross be­tween a plum and an apri­cot, so it possesses dou­ble the flavour. It’s an early ripen­ing va­ri­ety, with red-pur­ple skin and yel­low flesh. It’s a self-fer­tile va­ri­ety so there’s no need to plant an­other one for pol­li­na­tion.

Though if you do noth­ing else this win­ter, why not check out the lat­est plant cat­a­logues from on­line nurs­eries and or­der in for spring plant­ing.

Com­post: Rake up your au­tumn leaves as they are a good source of car­bon.

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