Digger Dan Gardening Tips March 2012 “Autumn is Nature’s Best Planting Time”

  • Time to sow… carrots, radishes, mesclun and coriander.

Dig through your soil with plenty of Living Earth Organic Compost, sprinkle seeds over, watering gently but thoroughly. Maintain regular water to encourage germination.
Remember to keep carrot tops well covered with soil, otherwise they turn green!

  • Groom your tomatoes: Yep, seriously, take off the less than attractive brown foliage as these plants reach their peak of production. This allows the plant’s green leaves and fruit to develop strongly. Feed with a little Living Earth Organic Liquid Compost to encourage a good crop
  • White butterfly hunting: Newly planted cabbages, Chinese cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, etc. have the most delicious leaves for white butterflies.

For less toxic control, you can keep inspecting the undersides of the leaves and picking off the green caterpillars or you apply a spray of Yates’ Success. Another good remedy is Derris Dust, but it will have to be re-applied after rain. But don’t kill these beauties (below):


Going for Gold: Add autumn colour to your garden. Somehow the gold of the turning leaves   of deciduous trees, such as maples and gingkos seems absolutely perfect in the turning light of summer. Plant some hot coloured flowers near the leaves that do turn now, such as orange leonootis (pictured above left with the monarch butterfly) or rudbeckias (above right).

  • Close Shave for the Hedges: If you trim them now, new growth will ‘harden’ before winter

As the heat reduces this month, it’s time to trim hedges a

nd topiary. There are several benefits: this will encourage more foliage growth that will mature and not be damaged by winter frost and; the crisper shapes that you cut now will stand out better in the low winter light, giving a more architectural look to your garden over the bare winter season.

  • Keeping Plants Fed…are those that enjoy a ‘good feed’ about now

Early autumn is the perfect time to give the ornamentals in your garden a bit of a boost. I’m talking about the shrubs that will give pleasure in late winter and spring, specifically camellias, rhododendrons and other acid lovers like daphnes, azaleas and magnolias. Sprinkle some acid based plant food around the drip line of these plants to feed them and the current rains will do the rest. And many other garden plants and hedges can be fed now, such as spreading Blood & Bone around them.

  • Lawn Renovation: autumn is the time to
     With autumn around the corner and temperatures starting to cool down it is time to turn attention to your lawn. After this unusually wet summer your lawns need some TLC and the sooner you do this the better it will look for the autumn. This will enable your lawn to go into the winter months looking lush and healthy. If your lawn is looking tired, yellow, full of weeds or just a little thin then it’s time for an autumn renovation. For lots more information on renovating your lawn  go to our website to our gardening resources:
  • Free Hedge Plants: take cuttings now from semi-hardwood on shrubby plants.

Cuttings root best in a mixture of pumice sand and compost. Take the slightly brown wood of new shoots from the base of plants. Try creating new hedge plants this way with cuttings of choisyas, camellias, pittosporum, rosemary, photinia and corokia. Keep them in light sun to part shade. NB: Box plants are easy – get cuttings started in a trench of well composted soil in a semi shaded spot.

  Digger Dan - Central landscapes

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