Posts Tagged ‘fertilising’
October 7th, 2010
October is a very busy month and there is heaps to do out there in the sunny, pretty days to come. If you plant some annuals in pots or hanging baskets now they can be looking quite beautiful for your Christmas time entertaining & they make super gifts. I like to get some impatiens and put them in those dark, shady spots to cheer them up a bit. You need to plant them around 15 centimetres apart, to get that nice full look. Then when they get around 15 centimetres high, pinch out the centres of the plants to encourage bushiness.
The azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons are all looking for a bit of a feed around now. I also like to give them a bit of a prune to keep them in good shape and encourage bushiness. Azaleas and rhododendrons are shallow-rooted and should be fed with natural fertilisers, such as blood and bone or cow manure, as chemical fertilisers can burn the roots. It is best to feed them after they have flowered and always make sure that the soil is damp before applying the fertiliser.
Because they are shallow-rooted, azaleas and rhododendrons should be mulched regularly. This helps to keep the roots cool and moist over the summer months.
Weeds are rampant at this time of the year, so that is an ongoing task. I always seem to be out there pulling them out – but they sneak back overnight. Still, if you are ever to get on top of it – this is the month to get cracking! I try to cheer myself up by popping in some plant or other in the spot where weeds once were.
Did you know that nasturtiums can help to keep the woolly aphids away? I have planted some under my roses to check it out! They are growing quite happily and are cheerfully flowering as we speak.
Well, I am off to the nearest nursery to get som annuals to fill the little empty spaces. Happy springtime gardening!
August 8th, 2010
There is much to do in August. For a beginning I need to get out and buy some Aquilegia seedlings. I just love these flowers and now is the time to plant them. They are very rewarding too as they seem to self seed in the garden, but, I need more in different colours! You can also plant out snapdragons, foxglove and larkspur if the mood takes you. Yes, folks, time to get ready for spring!
I also need to get busy in my humble vege plot. Looking a little worse for wear at the moment. I intend to follow up the dolomite lime I put on last month with some cow or sheep manure. Of course, first to find a cow or sheep! So, a trip out to the country must be planed, where you just might happen to drive past the signs that say Cow Manure $5 a bag. My children won’t come on these trips with me any more, even though I keep it a secret as to the real purpose of the trip, they complain about the smell in the car on the way home. So it will be a lonely trip for me. Should I still take the picnic lunch? The up side is that there will be no one to complain should I take in a couple of nurserys on the way.
Did you know that you can buy Dynamic Lifter in tablets? While wandering around in Bunnings I discovered this. The packet assured me that they are totally organic slow release fertiliser. But I did not purchase any because, well, truth to tell, it just didn’t feel right to just put one tablet under my tree. I enjoy forking around under the lemon to loosen the soil and then spreading the bag of whatever on top. To tell the truth I even enjoy the smell. A tablet just won’t do the same thing for me, never mind the tree!
January 26th, 2010
All gardeners know that the success of our garden depends largely upon the health of its soil. It is essential to understand the soil you have and to provide it with anything it lacks. Soil is a living community and contains a zoo-full of micro-organisms and animals that rely for their nutrition upon the organic matter in or on the surface of the soil. Soil mineral particles are held together by hyphae (fine strands of fungus) and by secretions produced by countless micro-organisms. So, organic matter is the magic ingredient for improving soil structure and its ability to hold moisture and take up nutrients.
I don’t think gardeners need to carry out tests on their soil to determine what type of soil they have. It becomes ovious as you work it and water it. Clay is made up of very fine particles and is the base of my own garden soil. Clay is the most naturally fertile, even though it may be slow to drain and heavy and difficult to work until you take to it with gypsum, aged manure (thank you ducks) andthick layers of mulch, which break down and contribute to the soil’s structure. Sandy soil will also thank you for manures, mulch, and – the best antidote of all – compost. I try to apply these very regularly and have watched my soil improve over the years.
A vast variety of activities is taking place beneath the soil in your garden. A wide array of living organisms – from earthworms ( the gardeners best friend) to woodlice, slugs and beetles – all these little creatures are busy breaking down large pieces of waste matter, whether compost, mulch or leaf litter. I never use any chemicals on my garden, out of consideration for the birds and insects, let alone the soil organisms. All parts of the soil are interdependent and the processes taking place in the topsoil and subsoil are integrated. By destroying one small element, you upset the complex natural balance and jeopardise the health of your soil.
One excellent fertiliser is poultry manure, I use my duckhouse straw which the ducks have enriched for me, but you can buy chook manure and it does the same thing. I spread this thickly over my vege patch before the major planting of the spring, then I top this with a very thick layer of lucerne as a mulch. This also helps suppress weeds and conserve water. Sometimes I put the poultry manure into my compost heap too.
Another really great fertiliser is Blood and Bone. This is an organic all-purpose fertiliser that you can either throw over the garden – and then water in – or apply in liquid form. The plants just love it! It does smell a bit though, makes you think you are on a farm.
Of course, your very own sweet-scented, dark and crumbly compost is the best and cheapest of all soil conditioners and fertilisers – it adds to the structure and porosity of your soil and releases essential nutrients as it breaks down. Making compost is not just kind to your garden and wallet; it is also kind to the environment. By composting gardeners avoid increasing landfill.
By working at improving your soil you will be working with your garden and your plants will thank you for it. Happy gardening!
January 5th, 2010
The summer is getting mighty hot out there so I head out first thing these days and try to finish all my little chores early in the day. Some chores are wet and cool and there is nothing more pleasant than watering in the cool fresh morning after a hot night. The plants enjoy it too. Here are the main tasks that will keep me busy for the month ahead.
Fertilising: All the flowering annuals will benefit from a fortnightly application of liquid fertiliser. So will the tomatoes and any veges in that vege garden. Azaleas, camellias, rhododendrons and daqhnes can also be fertilised this month. You need to water well before and after applying the fertiliser or you can burn the plant. If you have any problems with yellow leaves on plants such as daphnes you can cure this by watering with a watering can full of water to which you have added 1 tablespoon, but no more than 1 tablespoon of epson salts just once a month.
Watering:January is the month where this really becomes a chore esp. with all the water restrictions in force. The roots of the plants should be encouraged to reach deep down into the soil, where it will be cool and moist, and this can be achieved by a good soaking once or twice a week. Lots of short waterings only encourage the roots to remain near the surface, where they dry out easily and can be burned off on a hot day. The best time to water is early in the morning. Roses are best watered in the morning, as damp foliage in the evening provides an ideal enviroment for the spread of fungal diseases such as black spot and downy mildew.
Weeding: January is that dreaded month where weeds run to seed, so we do need to try to keep the weeding under control. To win the battle you need to pull the weeds out before they go to seed. This makes the job much easier in the coming year. I mulched my garden in October so the weed situation is not too bad for me but there are some determined ones out there….
I find that I have a much healthier and mor robust garden if I have mulched at the beginning of the summer, but it is not too late to start. All gardens benefit from mulching. Compost, dried leaves, lucerne-hay all make excellent mulch. Water first (after pulling out those weeds) then stuff that mulch on top. Waddles and Hazel love to help as I weed and mulch you just never know what snails are still lurking out there.