Plenty of summer jobs to be done in garden
SUMMER HAS WELL and truly arrived in most parts of the country. With masses of growth in the garden, there are plenty of tasks to do while enjoying the sunshine.
For a healthy garden, and in particular vegetable, always try to have good garden practices. This includes garden hygiene such as cleaning up any dead leaves or foliage and regular weeding, which helps discourage pests and diseases.
All summer vegetables should now have been planted. This includes; beans, beetroot, cabbage, celery, corn, cucumber, lettuce, courgettes, spring onions, peas, pumpkin, radish, spinach, tomatoes, silverbeet and kumara. Make sure your developing vegetables are well watered— without overwatering them. Continue to ‘lateral’ (nip out shoots that appear between the junction of a leaf and the stem) tomatoes and tie them to stakes for support. Keep staggering your vegetable plantings for continuous cropping over the season.
New season herbs should also be planted by mid-November. It’s now safe to plant herbs like basil and coriander as the chance of frosts is minimal. Remember herbs grow best in a fine, well-drained soil in full sun. They struggle in heavy clay soil and in shady parts of the garden.
Summer flowering annuals should be in vigorous growth now and look stunning in the garden. They include alyssum, ageratum, aster, candytuft, cornflower, cosmos, marigold, nemesia, phlox, portulacas, petunias, salvias, strawflower and zinnias. Keep deadheading (removal of finished flowers) to promote continuous flowering.
Fruit trees are in full growth mode now and it’s worthwhile applying a side dressing of fruit tree fertiliser, especially with young trees. Water deeply when required to help establish strong root systems. Mulch around trees to reduce water loss and suppress weeds.
As gardens reduce in size, containers on decks and balconies assume greater importance and can be used for growing herbs, mini-vegetables or providing a splash of colour when planted with summer annuals. Being in a confined space, potted plants do deplete the soil more quickly of nutrients, so feed them approximately every two to three weeks with Daltons Premium Goldcote Landscape and Garden Fertiliser, and keep them well watered.
Often the best month for roses, full, clean blooms are growing on healthy plants. Side dress with a rose fertiliser every four to six weeks. Dead head regularly to aid continuous blooming.
For hedges, aim to trim them ‘a little and often’— they are best trimmed after a flush of new season’s growth. Water and fertilise plants regularly to help achieve a strong dense hedge.
For ornamental trees and shrubs, fertilise them regularly andmulch to reduce water loss over hot dry summermonths and discourage weed growth. Give them a summer prune; especially ornamental trees to help a strong framework for later growth.
This is the last month to sow or patch large parts of your existing lawn before it becomes too dry.