A deep watering, followed by a thick layer of our coloured wood chip mulch will look after the water hungry while you do the ‘Christmas rounds’. Many plants, especially those that went into the ground this season or are planted in an area that dries out quickly, get stressed when the heat hits. Applying a good layer of mulch works like an insulation blanket – keeps the roots cool and moist while the foliage expands in the sun! Works well for potted plants that are likely to dry out quickly – it’s also a good idea to move pots into shadier places while you’re away to help them cope.
Food crops: Last call to plant tomatoes, kumara and the summer veg: chillies, capsicum, eggplant and cucumber. Others that will do well in the garden now: French Tarragon, Basil ‘Red Rubin’ and ‘Lettuce Leaf’, crops of new lettuce (plant them with half a day of sun) and leeks. Leeks should be dropped into a 10cm deep hole in the soil, made with a thick pencil. Stake up fast growers, or you’ll have a tangled mess to deal with when you return from holiday.
Beating Whitefly: This is the time when whitefly can do ruinous damage, particularly to food crops, so spray with something natural like Pyrethrum & Garlic. Other pests to watch out for are aphids (use Pyrethrum) and thrips. To control thrips that are active under leaves of viburnums, rhododendrons and other evergreens now, spray water up under the leaves of vulnerable plants to dislodge the pests.
Colouring up Christmas: You’ll find a great supply of red and white flowering plants available now for instant effect: Hippeastrums, geraniums, New Guinea impatiens and petunias. The trick to getting the best out of them is to plant into Living Earth More than Potting Mix or Organic Potting Mix (available at Central Landscapes’ yards). Regularly water during the Christmas period.
Fabulous fragrance: a number of plants have alluring scent from their flowers at this time: Trachelospernum jasminoides(Chinese Star Jasmine), gardenias and frangipani. Other scented treasures include English lavenders: try L. ‘Super’ or L. ‘Pacific Blue’; philadelphus and the powerful scent of flowering citrus trees. (Thin out the latter’s fruit when the flowers drop).
Weeding: a combination of regular rain and warm temperatures have seen a lot of unwelcome growth, so dig out weeds by hand or spray on Kiwicare’s Organic weed-free Rapid. Get rid of unwanted thugs such as convolvulus and ivy by painting with Woody Weedkiller; try Round-up on general weeds, but take care not to let the spray drift onto desirable plants (if it does, hose it off immediately).
The Lawn: with the wet and cold of winter becoming a distant memory we are now faced with the new problem of our lawn drying out.Historically the answer to this problem has been water and more water, however when the soil surface becomes water repellent or “hydrophobic” it requires more than just an irrigation system!!
There are a number of reasons why your lawn may become water repellent but it is not impossible to remedy using the latest in wetting agent technology.
AquaTurf Max G granules are one of the most effective tools in dealing with a wilting lawn. AquaTurf Max G is easy and safe to apply and can be used even in the hottest temperatures. This product will allow the water to penetrate and move down through the soil surface giving an even and deep wetting. AquaTurf Max G granules will then attract and retain moisture which will reduce the chance of the lawn re-drying.
AquaTurf Max G granules can be applied by hand as they are non toxic, however because it is important to obtain even coverage applying with a hand spreader is recommended. AquaTurf Max G is available in a 4kg pack from your Central yard.
Happy Christmas from the Central Landscapes Team