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Digger Dan’s Monthly Garden Tips

The weather patterns for this spring are diverse to say the least! This gives rise to some key things to watch out for as you begin gardening in earnest this October:

The Fruit &Veggie Garden

  • Liming Soils – Adding dolomite lime can help to reduce acidity and suits a large number of vegetables, but don’t bother with it in the potato patch.
  • Directly sow seed into the garden: beans, peas, beetroot, parsnips and silver beet and lettuces. Seed potatoes that have been sprouted can go in now – varieties such as Rocket Swift and Jersey Benne are still in the running to give you Christmas Day spuds on the table!
  • Indoors or in the glasshouse: get some basil, eggplants, capsicum and corn underway. It’s still not too late to sow tomato varieties.
  • Tomato growing: The most common failure for tomatoes is planting out too early in the season. If you’ve a budding young gardener desperate to get the tomatoes planted these holidays, get them to grow them in a sunny area indoors – and plant outdoors when school’s been back a week or two.
  • A liberal watering in of Living Earth Liquid Compost is a good way to establish young seedlings.
  • Unfurling leaves of pip fruit & stone fruit trees can become diseased in variable spring weather and this can lead to poor fruit production. Spray with an organic fungicide such as Perkfection.

General Garden Work:

  • Clear weeds while the soil is moist and they are easy to pull out.
  • Trim hedges to encourage bushy growth. Apply fertiliser around the drip-line.
  • The warm wet weather is ideal for increasing populations of slugs and snails, so continue to apply bait around fresh new leaves of plants such as hostas, delphiniums and rengarenga lilies.
  • It may be necessary to spray leaves for powdery mildew early on in the season: 1cup of milk in a litre of water is an easy remedy.
  • ‘Pinch’ out the tips of bushy growers such as lavenders, daisies, hebes and salvias. You’ll lose the early flowers, but the extra growth will reward you all season.

The Lawn:

  • Spring is now fully upon us with a constant mixture of sun, rain and wind. This is a vital time for the health of your lawn. You may find that your lawn has broadleaf or flat weeds starting to germinate and grow, so it is very important to spray these out before they take a strangle hold of your lawn.
  • First fertilise with Turfmaster Gold or Garden Supreme to ensure your desirable grasses are growing actively. Once the fertiliser has taken effect make sure you mow the lawn a few days prior to applying your weed spray.
  • Use a SELECTIVE broadleaf herbicide such as Turfix, Banvine or Triumph Gold. Ensure even application over the whole lawn and don’t be tempted to give some areas a “little extra” as this may damage your grass.
  • Never use grass clippings for compost or mulch after applying a broadleaf spray as some sprays can have long residual activity and can damage desirable plants even months later. Always apply chemicals responsibly and follow the label instructions.

Once your weeds have died you may have some bare areas, seed these with the relevant Prolawn seed blend. If you find yourself with minimal grass left follow the lawn renovation tips from September’s edition

Digger Dan - Central landscapes

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