Week­end gar­dener: Time to sow, snip and squish

The Timaru Herald - - HOMED -

Ed­i­bles

Make small but suc­ces­sive sow­ings of let­tuce, radish and spring onions to en­sure con­ti­nu­ity of sup­ply – and avoid glut or famine sce­nar­ios.

Other veg­eta­bles to be sown di­rect into the gar­den now in­clude beans, beet­root, peas and spinach.

Sow corn, cour­gettes and pump­kins un­der glass for trans­plant­ing out once the weather set­tles.

Snip off the top of broad beans and steam lightly for a fresh tasty green. This may also help rid the plant of aphids.

Sow cape goose­ber­ries. If sown, or planted out in sunny spot shel­tered from frost and wind, you should have them filling your colan­ders ev­ery au­tumn. While plants, which are a light shrub, can live for sev­eral years, un­der suit­able con­di­tions they will self­sow abun­dantly. Do not fer­tilise them, but pinch out new shoots to en­cour­age bushi­ness.

Mulch soft fruits – rasp­ber­ries, red, white and black cur­rants and goose­ber­ries – with com­post or well-rot­ted horse ma­nure to both feed the plants and help re­tain soil mois­ture into sum­mer.

Ornamentals

Give or­na­men­tal beds a good go­ing over to re­move an­nual weeds. The likes of scram­bling fu­mi­tory (with its small pur­ple pea-like flower) and cleavers (aka sticky weed) will be climb­ing up and over many plants, threat­en­ing to over­whelm them if left to their own de­vices.

Aphids will be build­ing up in num­bers. Ei­ther squish between fin­gers or spray – prefer­ably with a nat­u­ral spray. And be a con­sid­er­ate gar­dener, re­move all other in­sects that you don’t want to harm, like pray­ing man­tis for ex­am­ple.

Pull out weeds be­fore they flower and set seed – re­mem­ber one year’s seed­ing is seven years’ weed­ing.

New lawns or lawn re­pairs need to be made with haste, be­fore the days get too hot and dry­ing. For re­pairs, rake over area, spread a river sand and screened soil mix over bare patches and into dips, filling them. Water well, then scat­ter lawn seed, firm down well with a board and sprin­kle a tad more soil over the top. Do not let th­ese ar­eas dry out till the grass is well es­tab­lished.

Di­vide wa­terlilies should they be get­ting crowded – this usu­ally needs to be done only ev­ery four years or so. Lift the plants out of the water, with a sharp knife cut off small side rhi­zomes, en­sur­ing each has a shoot and re­pot in aquatic bas­kets just un­der the soil sur­face and with a layer of pea shin­gle on top. – Mary Lovell-Smith

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