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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Things to do in February

Deadheading flowers

Trim off old flower heads on summer flowering perennials to encourage the growth of new flower buds. Not only will your plants look tidier, but they will reward you with a longer display of colour. 

Save seeds of beans

Start thinking about saving seeds of beans that are growing now in the vegie patch. Stop picking the beans off one or two plants (depending on how much seed you want) and allow the pods to mature and dry on the bush. Once dry, pop out the seeds and store in a dark, dry place to plant again next season. 

Order spring bulbs

Plan ahead and order spring bulbs now for planting in March. There is always a good range to choose from at this time of year. Try Jonquils and Bluebells for an easy set-and-forget buld display.

Things to do in March

Plant spring flowering bulbs

Spring flowering bulbs should be planted this month. Prepare the ground to a crumbly texture and plant the bulbs tip up (except for Ranunculus which are planted 'claws' down!) As a rule, bulbs are planted to a depth that is twice their length. Water in well.

Plant garlic bulbs

It's also time to plant garlic bulbs. Split the head of garlic into individual cloves and plant tip up into a well prepared, and well drained, soil. Garlic likes to be planted about 3-5cm deep and 7cm apart. Planting garlic now will allow it to develop root and foliage over the autumn and winter, then nice plump bulbs in late spring/summer.

Tidy up the vegie patch

Remove summer crops that you are no longer harvesting from and rejuvenate the soil with compost and well rotted manure for autumn plantings. Pick up any fruit that has fallen onto the ground under fruit trees to prevent a build up of pests and diseases. 

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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