Gardening In Winter
August is a bit of a strange month for gardening as it can be freezing cold and uninviting some days, yet others are nippy but blue with sunshine whispering of Spring around the corner. Here and there buds are showing and the first blossoms and bulbs are out getting us all excited!
Perhaps over Winter you’ve let the garden go, and with these little signs of Spring you’re hearing the call of the garden saying ‘time to get busy’! So now is a great time to clean the garden up. Pull out any plants that haven’t performed like that sad looking conifer, do the weeding (and more weeding), hack back the creepers before they go crazy again in Summer and rip the dead fronds off those ferns!
Pruning is on the menu too, which is great for cold days as it is hot work! Start with a light pruning of the evergreens. Modern Roses can be pruned one third in the middle of Winter, taking off any diseased or dead branches. A good spray with Lime sulphur before the leaves grow back is a good way to get rid of any scale insects and fungal diseases. Keep in mind that different Rose varieties require different treatments in this department. Whilst on the subject, a good guide to pruning can be found in the Yates Garden Guide including a two-page section that gives a brilliant overview of pruning in general. Some of it’s most important recommendations are:
Never cut without good reason.
Prune at the right time for the plant.
Prune lightly, rather than severely – more can be cut off later.
Always use sharp pruning tools.
There are loads of different vegetables that can be planted now, so pull out any sad looking plants and boost your green vegetable crops by planting more continual-picking lettuces like oakleaf, snowpeas, Asian greens, broccoli and rainbow chard. Hardy herbs that love the colder months and are easy to grow include flat leaf parsley, coriander, mustard greens, winter savoury and corn salad.
Leaf curl is a problem that inflicts members of the stone fruits family, particularly peaches. Spray with a copper hydroxide or copper oxychloride solution (available at our nursery) just before bud burst -now! A repeat spraying is not a bad idea either to save from loosing the whole crop or even worse the whole tree.
Don’t forget bulbs and flowers. Beautiful bulbs to plant right now include herbaceous Peonies, Canna lillies, Alstromeria and Asiatic Lillies. Seeds including petunias, salvias and marigolds can be planted now and you can choose to keep only the strongest! Hellebores are glorious right now.
Other jobs include loosening up the soil and adding back in nutrients with a combination of manure, mushroom composts, green waste like garden scraps and grass clippings plus mulch. Plants with yellow or purpling leaves or leaves with veins showing are hungry for a light liquid feed. Feed your other plants including citrus and vegetable patch whilst you’re at it.
Slowly the days are getting longer, frosty mornings will come less often and that rather unfriendly southerly wind will back off. You’ll be so glad you rolled up your sleeves now so you can really see Spring roll in with style! Come in and see us at The Garden Tap Nursery and let us help you with your every gardening need.