Digger Dan’s monthly garden tips for September
Vegetables & fruit:
- Dig in mature green manure crops– through the top 150mm of soil
- Harvest root vegetables and leeks, plus winter grown brassicas, making way for the spring ‘production line’.
- Forward Planning: Build climbing frames or tepees to make stands for a last sowing of snow peas or sugar snap peas – or, if you’re keen to get space ready for the summer beans.
- Plant seedlings of lettuces -mustard, endive and radicchio, get crops of spinach and cabbage (summer coleslaws) going.
- Sow (indoors) seeds of tomatoes, corn , capsicum – place on a shelf above the hot water cylinder or in a mini greenhouse, but don’t be tempted to plant outdoors, once they’ve germinated – this is early spring, not early summer; outdoors sow carrots, celeriac, parsnips, plus plant early crops of sprouted potatoes. (Remember the latter grow well in good fertilized soil and need mounding up as they grow).
- Last chance to dig some tubers of Jerusalem Artichokes – a curious, but very cool root vegetable that needs a bit of sun. Serve Jerusalem Artichokes at dinner parties – that way you can be assured that your diners leave – they are famous for their flatulent qualities…
- Dwarf fruit trees in pots: Place a large container in a sunny spot in the garden: fill with Potting Mix from Living Earth
- Plant dwarf Apple ‘Adore’ or try Peach ‘Rose Chiffon. Available at www.ediblegardens.co.nz
- A last copper fungicide spray before ‘bud burst’ on the fruit trees will keep them disease-free as they grow, but don’t spray if the foliage or blossom has opened
The ornamental garden:
- Think ahead – remove the flowers of Acanthus mollis, (Bear’s Breeches) to prevent them seeding – as much as you may like the foliage – they are an invasive plant. Same goes for wild Iris foetidus, but the ‘runner plants’ – ivies and convolvulus or Wandering Willy, should be grubbed out, taking as much root as possible
- Liven up the shadier bits of the garden – hydrangeas work well in damp sites as do hostas and astilbes.
- For drier soils plant abutilons, Renga renga lilies, campanulas, alstroemerias and clivias – or try Sarcoccocca confusa – fabulous scented flowers from September on.
- Fertilize the garden as you go, with sheep pellets or Liquid Compost.
- Replenish hanging baskets with new mix and plants for the summer season – try Living Earth’s new More than Potting Mix, which is packed with goodies, so closely planted annuals such as petunias, lobelias and alyssums will get all the nourishment they need.
- Aphids and snails are the worst culprits when it comes to the new season’s growth – spray Confidor on aphids on roses and ornamentals and spread Quash near new seedlings and fresh growth.
- Get into retro – plant some very ‘loud’ dahlias and gladioli – and really upset neighbours who prefer perfectly groomed ‘green and white’ gardens…..
- With the weather warming up and hopefully drying out you will want to turn your attention to your lawn. After a long winter even existing lawns need some TLC and the sooner you do this the better it will look for that all important BBQ season. If your lawn is looking tired, yellow, full of weeds or just a little thin then it’s time for a spring renovation.
- Fertilise with Turfmaster Gold or Garden Supreme to encourage strong growth.
- Spray weeds with a broad range weed killer to control broadleaf weeds.
- About 3-4 weeks later scarify the lawn heavily to create a good seed bed.
- Oversow bare or weak areas with the appropriate GTi Prolawn seed blend and fertilise with Turfmaster Starter.
My best growing tip: from now on, liquid feed the entire vegetable garden every fortnight with Liquid Compost to grow healthy, strong plants and maintain healthy soils. The whole point of growing your own food is to achieve tasty good sized plants for you to eat and be healthy.