Hot Zone

What to do in the garden

July

In the depth of winter an easy splash of colour can be achieved by mass planting the pink and white everlastings Rhodanthe chlorocephala ssp directly into the garden or into pots.

If you have a deciduous fruit tree, ornamental flowering tree, a grape vine or a deciduous vine like wisteria in the wrong spot, this is the month to move them. Take as much soil as is possible to minimise root disturbance and transplant shock.

Sharpen the secateurs for pruning most deciduous plants now, although leave spring flowering prunus until flowering is complete. Chinese mulberry should be pruned immediately after they lose their leaves as they quickly reshoot. When pruning grapes, establish whether you need to spur (cut back to old wood like in vineyards) or cane prune (allow new canes to be trained out and then these will reshoot. Incorrect pruning can unknowingly be detrimental to next season's crop.

Prune roses mid-month and follow up with an oil application to clean up mite, scale, mealy bug and with any previous fungal diseases apply a copper or sulphur spray. Fertilise roses once pruning is completed to promote healthy spring growth and wonderful floral displays in October and November.

Commence preparing beds for spring plantings introducing lots of compost and organic manures into the soil. Turn and water once a week to stimulate activity. The bed should be left for 8 - 12 weeks before replanting. Planting too soon can actually result in poor growth and disappointing results.

Chip young winter weeds weekly to keep them under control, mulch bare areas to limit weed seed germination and treat bindii and clover in lawns before they set seed and the problem is compounded, remembering one year's seeds equals seven years weeds.

The winter vegetable garden should be at its peak now in terms of production. Continue planting masses of coriander, rocket and fast growing Asian greens, for an abundant harvest - they love the cooler months. 

Geoff Miers

Alice Springs, NT

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

Sow now

Asparagus, beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, celery, celtuce, chervil, chilli, chives, coriander, corn, dill, kale, lettuce, mint, onion, parsley, parsnip, peas, radish, silverbeet, spinach (NZ), spring onion, thyme. 

If you would like to add this seasons seeds to your shopping cart automatically, CLICK HERE

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What to do in the garden for August

Sow tender seedlings

Get a jump start on spring by sowing tender seedlings in a heated propagation kit or glasshouse. Plant them in a good quality seed raising mix and keep warm. Once the seeds have germinated water with a weak liquid fertiliser and pot-on once they have formed 2-3 sets of leaves.

Plant potatoes

In frost free areas potatoes can be planted now. They can be planted into a well turned over garden bed, in pots or specially designed potato bags. As the plants grow, add compost or straw to the beds to protect developing tubers from light. 

Plant some groundcovers

Get groundcover plants growing now so they smother any weeds that are trying to get established in garden beds. Over summer they will also help conserve precious soil moisture by reducing evaporation.

Things to do in September

Prepare your vegetable garden beds

Now that the temperatures are rising, it's time to prepare for your spring vegetable plant out. Weed your bed, dig in a good manure, preferably sheep or well rotted chicken manure, dig in and mulch.

Prepare your watering system

Be prepared before summer starts, to have an easy and reliable watering system in place to look after your crops while you are away. Dripper lines, and water timers are critical to regular watering which ensures even growth and plentiful harvest.

Watch for bugs

It's not just gardeners that look forward to spring, bug are moving about now to feast on tasty new growth and sap. Aphids will begin appearing on soft new growth and are easily combated with a soapy water spray. Snails will make a meal of any newly planted seedlings so set traps for these too. 

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 improve your soil

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