Digger Dan’s Monthly Garden Tips – March 2011

Autumn in the Garden

The fruit & veggie garden:

Watering: Maintain regular watering on the crops that are producing now: aubergines, peppers, chillies, tomatoes and melons. BUT water at the root area, not over the foliage as this is still powdery mildew season.

  • Dig up main crop potatoes as foliage begins to die off and store in a cool dry place
  • Remove vegetable plants that have finished cropping and cut back tangled growth of herbs, as this stops them from harbouring insects and disease, that can spread to desirable plants
  • New crops of coriander or parsley can be sown or planted now, but take care to water young seedlings daily, so that they won’t ‘bolt’ to seed.
  • Sow oriental greens such as choy sum and bok choy now.
  • Feed citrus trees now
  • Prune out the old canes of summer fruiting raspberries, leaving the new ones to grow on. (but do not prune autumn fruiting varieties – this should be delayed until August)
  • Time to research and order fruit trees such as apples, plums, apricots and pears to arrive in winter for planting.  M9 rootstock is ideal for trees that will not grow too large in our smaller city gardens.
  • Dig compost through areas of the veggie garden that are now bare to restore organic matter. Our Living Earth Compost is rich in nutrients and it is available by the trailer-load or the team at your local Central Landscapes yard can deliver.

The rest of the garden:

  • Trim back spent growth on perennials.  But don’t prune roses and hydrangeas – only dead-head them.
  • Buy spring flowering bulbs from now, but delay planting until the soil is cooler. (Tulips, daffodils and hyacinths can be placed in a paper bag in the fridge for 4-6 weeks).
  • Plant the following trees for spectacular autumn color: Nyssa sinensis (tupelo tree), Acer ‘Senkaki’ (coral bark maple), liquid ambers and dogwoods.
  • Feed acid-loving plants such as magnolias, camellias, azaleas and rhododendrons.

Time to save seed:

  • Gather seeds of favourite flowering plants and vegetables (*), when they are dry and rattling in their pods.
  • Collect on a sunny day when conditions are nice and dry
  • Place in paper bags or envelopes or in wooden trays
  • Store in a cool dry and dark area.
  • Good seeds to collect from flowers in the garden: the umbelliferae – Queen Anne’s Lace and bronze fennel, astrantias, cerinthe (honeywort), asters and Echinacea

(*) Remember that F1 hybrid vegetables and flowering annuals will not necessarily be the same plant next season – they may revert to the stronger parent in their cross. Sow or collect seeds from heirloom veggies and perennials.

The lawn:

With Autumn around the corner and temperatures starting to cool down it is time to turn attention to your lawn, After a long hot summer even existing 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:

  • Fertilise with Turfmaster Gold 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.

NOTE: Lawn fertiliser and seed available from your nearest Central yard.

Our Central Landscape & Garden Supplies Yards are open every day for all your Garden Projects. Come and see us for great advice and service! Don’t forget our great home delivery service or borrow our free loan trailers!

Call us on 0800 005444

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