Gar­den­ing sea­son still full of work

Alice Spenser-Higgs gives gar­den­ing ad­vice for May

Business Day - Home Front - - HOMEFRONT -

THE rain bought a tem­po­rary halt to gar­den­ing at the end of last month but that did not mean the end of the gar­den­ing sea­son. There is still much to do and plant in May.

The ivies and many of the trees are start­ing to drop their leaves and there are a num­ber of ways to use these leaves. Sakkie Nel of the Clivia So­ci­ety last week re­minded me that clivia grow un­der a rich mulch of leaves in the forests so any avail­able leaves can be gath­ered up and spread around the plant. The leaves can also be dug into the soil be­cause clivia need hu­mus-rich soil that drains.

The snails should be out and about af­ter the rain. Here is a home rem­edy to try. Lay a black plas­tic refuse bag on the lawn or near where the snails feed at night. Af­ter they have fin­ished feed­ing they will head for the plas­tic bags as a nice dark place to hide un­der. In the morn­ing turn over the bag and you should find the snails un­der­neath. Kill them by putting them in a bucket with salt wa­ter. Stamp­ing on them just spreads their eggs.

All the rain may have chased the ants away but if it hasn’t then you can try the fol­low­ing ant bait. Mix to­gether half a tea­spoon of bo­rax with one litre of wa­ter and four ta­ble­spoons of sugar to make syrup. Put the syrup in a con­tainer out­side or where the ant prob­lem is and the ants will not be able to re­sist it.

If your roses are still full of leaves and you want good blooms into win­ter then it is worth get­ting out the spray pump and spray­ing to pre­vent black spot. Lud­wig Taschner rec­om­mends Chronos as the long­est last­ing fungi­cide and even if the roses have al­ready de­vel­oped some black spot it will pre­vent it spread­ing. Other prod­ucts are Dithane WG (with a sticker) or Rose Pro­tec­tor.

As­sess the per­for­mance of the past sea­son and re­place roses that have been par­tic­u­larly dis­ease prone. Two new dis­ease re­sis­tant roses are “Mara Louw”, a waist high hy­brid tea with deep gold cen­tre and dark pink petal edges, and “Vu­vuzela”, also a hy­brid tea that has a bright yel­low cen­tre. If rose have not per­formed well in spite of care then the prob­lems could be a lack of light or wa­ter, com­pact soil or root com­pe­ti­tion.

Broad beans, let­tuce, kale, peas, radishes, Swiss chard and spinach can still be sown in May. Ori­en­tal veg­eta­bles like tat­soi, mizuna and gi­ant red mus­tard will be avail­able as young plants and can be planted in a semi shade po­si­tion that re­ceives morn­ing sun.

For a good crop of spinach and Swiss chard har­vest and feed reg- ularly to en­cour­age the plants to keep on pro­duc­ing leaves. Don’t cut off all the leaves at once be­cause this sets the plant back. Let­tuce should be grown in full morn­ing sun and soil should be kept con­sis­tently moist to pre­vent the leaves be­com­ing bit­ter.

Broad beans will give a good yield if the soil is en­riched with plenty of com­post and even 2:3:2 or 3:1:5 be­fore plant­ing. With all the rain, watch out for downy mildew and use Dithane WG. It can also be used for pow­dery mildew on lower leaves.

Wa­ter reg­u­larly but don’t over wa­ter. Al­though growth slows down it is nec­es­sary to feed veg­eta­bles at least once to twice a month with a liq­uid fer­tiliser. Leafy veg­eta­bles grow well if fed with a ni­tro­gen rich fer­tiliser. Put thick mulch around young plants to pro­tect the roots dur­ing win­ter. Use nat­u­ral mulches like straw, rough com­post, peanut shells or even a deep layer or news­pa­per, about 10 to 15 pages.

Plant­ing in au­tumn al­lows plants to set­tle in over win­ter and have a head start in spring.

For po­si­tions with full sun or plenty of morn­ing or af­ter­noon sun plant alyssum “Lob­u­laria mar­itime”, snap dragons “An­tir­rhinum ma­jus”, bach­e­lors but­tons “Bel­lis peren­nis”, Cal­en­dula “Cal­en­dula of­fic­i­nale”, mini chrysan­the­mums “Coleoste­phus mul­ti­caule/ palu­do­sum”, Di­as­cia hy­brids, Di­anthus chi­nen­sis, Gaza­nia hy­brids, Ice­land pop­pies, pan­sies, petu­nias (only in sum­mer rain­fall ar­eas), stocks “Matthi­ola in­cana”, win­ter vy­gies “De­losperma” and vi­o­las.

In shady ar­eas plant fairy prim­ula “Prim­ula mala­coides”, Cineraria senecio, and Foxglove “Dig­i­talis”.

RoseTheThe Mara Louw Rose Vu­vuzela .

Prim­ula and cineraria.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.