Hot Zone

What to do in the garden

January

January is the month to generally kick back and enjoy the holidays, however it's also a great time to be enthusiastic about the garden, particularly with respect to your edible crops.

The vegetable garden should be heaving with produce, along with the fruit orchard and vineyard. It’s time to start preserving summer produce for the winter by bottling, pickling, drying, freezing and of course creating lots of jam, chutneys, sauces and other conserves.

January is a great month for planting a second crop of tomatoes. Planted now they will grow with vigour, commence flowering in March as temperatures drop resulting in good fruit set and they will mature well before the onset of winter. In warm zones, another crop of sweet corn planted now will thrive.

Start preparing garden beds for autumn plantings. The earlier the preparation is undertaken, the better the soil conditions will be once you're ready to plant. The old timers used to prepare their vegie patches 3 months in advance using compost/straw, cow, chicken and sheep manure.

Planting should be confined to the early morning and evening. Always water the garden prior to planting  and only plant into moist ground. Where seedlings or plants are a little soft, it pays to provide temporary light shade for 2-3 weeks until the plants settle.

General landscape planting can continue throughout Summer provided the plants are sun hardy and are irrigated as required until they establish.

Barmy summer storms can result in tree limbs being torn from trees. Where breakages occur they need to be cut neatly to limit pest and disease entry into the wounds.

Lightly prune roses in late January and February and spray with copper oxychloride. Fertilise now to ensure a second flush of flowers in autumn.

Late January is the ideal time to fertiliser a range of food producing perennials including citrus, deciduous fruit trees and many vines. Fertilising now “recharges their batteries” for the following fruiting season. 

Container grown plants really appreciate a fortnightly feed with a liquid fertiliser over the next two months. This is a little like giving them a plant tonic while conditions are at their most extreme. 

January has to be possibly the worst month for experiencing pest and disease problems in the garden and every gardener literally has to go on to a daily pest and disease management observation program. The key to successful pest and disease management is to literally nip the problem in the bud. Pest numbers literally can explode overnight with a small outbreak multiplying into thousands within 7-10 days, so be vigilant - especially against fruit fly. 

Watering becomes critical this month as hot dry northerlies can result in the demise of many container grown plants. It is essential that automatic irrigation systems are checked regularly, particular where watering regimes are programmed to come on during the night.

Where a hot dry summer is being experienced, water the entire garden periodically, including your natives. All plants require a little moisture from time to time, especially under trying conditions.

Geoff Miers

Seeds to Sow Now

Seeds to sow now if you live in areas like Geraldton, Warburton, Mt Isa and Longreach or places where there are 39 weeks a year or more with temperatures over 15°C

FOR A FULL LIST OF SEEDS TO SOW NOW IN THE HOT ZONE CLICK HERE


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Basil & corn.

 

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Things to do in January

Summer pruning of fruit trees

Start to think about pruning fruit trees after you have harvested the fruit. Pruning at this time of year will restrict the growth of the tree, making it the ideal time to prune espaliered fruits. 

Give fruit trees a good, deep water

If it's been a dry summer, give your fruit trees a good, deep water once a week. This is better than a daily, light water than will only reach roots close to the surface. It will also prevent fruit from splitting. 

Fill up the bird baths

It is not just plants that need a drink over summer! Keep bird baths topped up to help the wildlife cool down. Birds will love having a splash around and it is delightful to watch. 

Vegie Garden Basics

Learn how to create a vegie garden from scratch with our Horticulutral Advisor Julie Willis.

This article includes: 

- location

- soil

- nutrients

- what to grow

- crop rotation and more. 

READ HERE>>

Vegetable Growing Tips

Starting a vegetable garden

- Choose an area that gets full sun and is not too far away from your house. The mid-winter dash to the vegie patch will be easier! 

- A good, healthy soil is the foundation to success so focus on improving the soil before you do any plantings. 

- Know what to sow, when to sow and how. Every vegetable seed has its own growing requirements. We offer a beautiful heirloom Seed Sowing Guide here and a 2018 Gardeners Diary with space for seed packets, garden plans and notes here.

How to sow seeds

How to Compost

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