Central's Tips February 22
The vegetable garden is in full swing, harvest frequently to keep plants producing, water morning and evening evening and keep an eye out for insect damage. Harvest the summer berries and thin out developing autumn fruit to ensure a better quality crop.
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It’s been a hot, dry summer, make sure to water plants regularly in the morning and evening when it’s cooler and conserve water by saving your grey water for watering.
The fruit and vegetable garden
Thin out fruit developing in clusters on young citrus, apple, and pear trees. This ensures the final fruit are a good size and that healthy plant growth occurs as well.
Pick summer fruit: blueberries, raspberries, apricots and peaches regularly. If necessary, cover with bird netting.
Get ready for autumn vegetables – directly sow beetroot, carrots and parsnip from now on.
Layer thick mulch around your fruit trees – from citrus to apples, pears and plums, they need access to moisture in the soil for growing fruit. Same goes for feijoas, passionfruit and tamarillos.
Turn the compost heap and keep it moist - dry compost doesn’t break down well.
Green looper caterpillars hatch quickly in the heat and start to decimate tomatoes, lettuces and any summer brassica plants. Control with an organic spray such as Bugtrol or Derris Dust to stop them ruining crops.
Place pea straw or plastic under pumpkins and melons, to avoid them rotting if they’re sitting on damp ground.
The ornamental garden
- Planning a late summer celebration? Modern roses should be cut back 8-10 weeks before the date. Deep watering, fertiliser and a layer of mulch is helpful to encourage growth and flowers.
- Cut back the tired foliage of shrubs and perennials. Some, such as daisies and lavenders, will re-bloom in autumn. A liquid feed and they’re on their way.
- Seek out some different shrubs for the garden – luculias for fragrant flowers, the native Hibiscus trionum for its unusual colour and abutilons (Chinese lantern bushes) with their bright flowers.
- Rejuvenate tired pots and hanging baskets: remove annuals that are finished, tidy up and deadhead the rest and fill in the spaces with new plants. Liquid feed to get everything underway.
- Mow lawns on a high setting to prevent stressing grass during the hotter months.
- Now is a great time to take photos – this will help you to recall what was good about your summer garden so that you can plan it all again in late winter!