Posts Tagged ‘weeding’

On the Wild Side

November 9th, 2010

After all the wonderful rain that we have had lately the sun has come out, the soil has warmed up and the weeds have become wild!  Time to tame them!  How many tedious hours I am spending beavering away lately, but it is all good, it happens every year!  The ducks come out and help too, the freshly turned soil just has to have some interesting little treats for them!

Waddles loves to help in the garden

About two or three years ago I discovered sugar cane mulch!  Around about this time of the year it is time to get a few bales and spread them about over the recently weeded areas, it is really super in the vege patch and most effective at keeping the weeds under control.

The broad beans are being harvested now and are a very tasty treat at dinner.  It is a bit late, but I am putting in some tomatoes and some carrot seeds.  The rhubarb is very tasty at this time of the year and gives us the pleasure of rhubarb and apple crumbles topped with a big blob of cream.  Yum!!  I have left some lemons on the lemon tree, so lemon delicious pudding still makes it onto the table too.  Ahh, the pleasures of the harvest!

Rhubarb -for the crumble

It is such a treat to have our own supply of vegetables, herbs, lemons and eggs fresh from the garden.  Not only is the produce organic, it is also immensely satisfying to grow your own food.

Happy gardening!

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The October Garden

October 1st, 2010

Bearded Iris

The weather is getting warmer, and there is now no good excuse to stop getting out into the garden.  The nurseries look wonderful at this time of the year and are stuffed full of flowering plants to tempt one into impulse buying.  I try to avoid this by making a list, but find myself giving in and coming home with something I had not planned on at all.  Last weekend I come home with three beautiful flowering plants that require full sun, when the only spaces I have are in the shade! What was I thinking?

Broad beans

Out in the vege patch the broad bean plants are covered in flowers, which will soon turn into juicy broad beans.  Can hardly wait! This is probably the most important month for sowing or planting vegetables.  Ahead is at least six months growing weather, so it is important to get on out there and plant, plant plant!   The ducks are laying every day now and we can enjoy egg sandwiches, egg mcMuffins, cakes and all things eggy!

The soil is pretty much warmed up now and although we are still having some quite cold nights the threat of frosts are becoming a thing of the past.  The days are longer now too making it much easier to find a little time in the late afternoon for a bit of pottering about.  The roses I cut back have all got beautiful new growth and some even have tiny buds.  They look at me as I pass them in the driveway and call silently for some fertilizer such as blood and bone. 

camellia

Out the back it is all looking a bit the worse for wear.  I need to get busy and tidy it all up.  Pots tend to dry out with great speed during this time of the year and can be drooping before you know it, so it is back to a watering program to be fitted into my daily routine.  Other than that it is weed heaven out there, so I have to get on to them.

Well, the sun is calling me and I must be off and out and doing!

Happy gardening!

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May Jobs

May 17th, 2010

It is time to make an assault on weeds, for these will accelerate in growth at this time of the year with the rain!   My most invasive weed at the moment is oxalis!  I have known people to go mad at this time of year over this little plant!!  It is enough to drive you to the weed killer – but we won’t go there!  We want our garden to be free of all that!  No, it is best to remain calm and try to look positively at all that extra time spent in our garden bed pulling it out.  A dear friend of mine told me that if I could get all the oxalis out (including all the little bulbs) before it flowered I could be rid of it forever.   I have never succeded, but I live in hope. 

Another ongoing little chore is raking up all those lovely autumn leaves for the compost bins!  It is fun to do this – it keeps you warm and gives you exercise!  If you have too many leaves to fit into your compost bins you can spread them at the back of the flowerbeds  or under shrubs, whatever you do with those autumn leaves – don’t waste them by burning them!

The dahlias are all looking a bit sad now but it is important to let the foliage die back naturally to allow the tubers to take in food for the following year.  Around the end of the month they are usually ready for me to cut the stems of the plants to within 15 centimetres of the ground and leave the plants in the ground for a few more weeks to allow the tubers to mature.  At this point some people lift and store them for next year.  I have never had much success with lifting dahlias; inevitably they become too dry and shrivel or they fall prey to slaters, or I forget about where I put them and they die a sad death in the dark corners of the shed, alone and forgotten.  I find that my dahlias will usually suffer less by being left undisturbed – something I do very well – until it is time to divide and replant them around November.

While raking up the leaves I saw my little clump of violets – they will be flowering soon, so it is time to give them a little bit of TLC with some fertiliser and maybe tidy up the old leaves by giving them a little bit of a trim back.  Dear little things that they are!

Well, I am off out into that garden bed to pull out some more oxalis!  Happy gardening!

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The April Garden

April 4th, 2010

Dahlias still delight

Dahlias still delight

April is the perfect month for gardening, the days are long and mellow and the soil is still warm from the summer sun.  The days lately seem to be calling you outside to play.  But just lately I seem to be very busy and not have the long days to spend.  How frustrating!  But, you cannot deny that in the past week or two it has been beautiful gardening weather!

my red sasanqua camellia

my red sasanqua camellia

It is still bulb time, time to plant heaps of things!  I mean, when you think of it, doesn’t it make more sense to plant in the autumn?  If you plant in the spring, the little plant has only a couple of months growth and then its tiny root system has to cope with the heat of the summer.  But if you plant now they will have two good months of growing time before the winter cold sets in, then they may grow more slowly, of course, throughout winter and then put on a burst of growth when the spring comes.  All the more reason for getting out in that garden!!

Pineapple Sage, the honey eaters love it!

Pineapple Sage, the honey eaters love it!

One thing that is growing with abundance out there in my garden is weeds!!  So, have to get on to them pretty soon.  I plan to make myself real comfortable out there with a little pad for my knees or my bottom and just enjoy being out in the still warm weather!  In fact if you plant yourself in the centre of the garden and quietly work away the little finches dart about above sometimes and it can be a quite pleasant job.  Time seems to slow to a moderate pace and you can enjoy the garden from a different perspective. 

GardenApril10 020My red sasanqua camellia is covered with blooms and out the back the pineapple sage is beginning to send out its red flowers that the honey eaters love so much.  My pineapple sage is just where I can view the little honey eaters from my kitchen window, so this time of year, I enjoy watching them flit about while I wash up.  My new fig tree has figs!! They are slowly ripening.  Hopefully my possum wont know what they are.  But a friend of mine says I should cover them just in case!  Molly, my possum, is a funny creature, a lady of very particular taste.  Last year I planted out a pot of pansies, yellow, orange and blue.  I had bought ones already flowering from the nursery for a quick colour lift!  They looked a picture!  Very pleased with myself I went to bed only to find that Molly the possum had eaten all the yellow & orange ones.  Apparently blue ones do not appeal. Or, perhaps Molly couldn’t see them in the night being a dark colour.  Who can tell, not me.  But  now I only plant blue ones and never do they get eaten!  Molly also likes yellow roses but lucky for me not red ones!  My neighbours possum does like red ones and thinks I am very lucky with Molly.

Now I must away to plant myself amongst the weeds and start to make a difference!

Happy gardening!

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In amongst the weeds

February 23rd, 2010

GardenFeb2010 011

Yes, they are back!  Not that they ever seem to go away.  The thing is to get in down amongst them and hack away!  ‘A weed’ I say through clenched teeth,’is only a plant growing in the wrong place!’  I say this to myself as I scratch away at that rock hard clay soil, where my poor little plants are getting somewhat overgrown by lush, green weeds with roots that seem determined to stay put!  Waddles and Hazel are down in amongst them as well!  Although they mean well, they are no help at all!  Still, it is the only way with weeds.  You just have to keep on at them!

GardenFeb10 014I remember when I first began in my garden I had weeded very carefully, done a good job, or so I thought and a friend of mine came over to share a cuppa and after I showed her proudly around my little garden. ‘ I just finishedweeded here yesterday’ I modestly informed her. ‘ But you have forgot to weed that one out!’ she exclaimed.  ‘Oh, no, thats not a weed,’ I replied, ‘Its a pretty little ground cover that has lovely little blue flowers’  Hmmmm.

GardenFeb10 018The next few weeks I realised how very wrong I was, although it was certainly a ground cover – also a plant cover and in my lawn and over the top of the little plants I had planted.  Definately not a dear little thing at all!   Still, live and learn.

Today, being vastly more experienced, I can tell which are weeds and which are not.  I have even learned the names of quite a few, I am you might say on intimate terms with them all!  But, weeding is not all gloom and doom!  You can even begin to enjoy yourself!  You can get into an almost zen state!  Into the flow….  Waddles and Hazel, the ducks, find it most exciting, you just never know what might turn up, snails, slugs – they live in hope.  They try different weeds to see if they are tasty, onion weed is not too bad, but if you are duck you should not indulge in onion weed too much.

Don't worry I'll help!

Don't worry I'll help!

While weeding yesterday, I noticed that Yorik the Yabby has built his castle mud mound even higher and has added – always the DIY specialist – a leaf door on the top.  Quite beautiful, if you are a yabby but a little unfortunate looking from my angle as a gardener.  Being positioned, as it is, in the middle of a garden bed and looking like some kind of strange feature.  Still, live and let live.  Yorik does quite well really, his is the tallest clay feature and there are many yabbies living in my back garden, he seems to outwit all the kookaburras, including Chuckles.  Although, I see Chuckles parked up on my balcony just above Yoriks’ castle and watching very patiently…all things come to she who waits she seems to be saying to herself!  I try to keep out of things like that, but yabbies don’t help make a garden bed look better!  I try to resist the temptation to knock down the tower, I know he will only build it even higher the next night.

Oh, well,back to the weeding….back into the flow….Oh!  Girls, I’ve found a snail!

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February Jobs

February 10th, 2010

 

GardenFeb2010 005There are many little tasks to keep us busy this month.  The Bearded Iris (Iris Germanica )  can be lifted and divided this month.  You need to lift the clump with a fork, and cut away the oldest parts.  The really fun bit is triming the leaves to an inverted V, approximately 6 centimetres at the outer leaves, very neat!  Replant your peices of rhizome on a slight ridge of soil leaving the tops exposed.

Keep tomatoes happy by eating their fruit

Keep tomatoes happy by eating their fruit

Another job for this month is to hoe around and under the lemon tree who could use a bit of feed this month, just to encourage it along. 

Semi-Hardwood cuttings of many plants can be taken this month too, on my list is of course my Fuchisias – all of whom very badly need to be cut back, and waste not want not!  It is how I got to have so many!  They are good for swapping with friends and other gardeners too.  To take semi-hardwood cuttings, cut off pieces of young but well-ripened (fairly hard) wood, about 20 centimetres long, preferably with a heel (this is the section that joins onto an older piece of wood).  Make sure that you dip the ends of the cuttings in hormone powder and trim the leaves.  Trimming the leaves helps the plant to save energy while it develops roots.  Thats why you cut back the leaves on the Iris too.  It gives the plant less to think about -less stress.  Yes, its true, plants feel stress too. 

Waddles & Hazel ready to help

Waddles & Hazel ready to help

But, why stop at fuchisias?  You can also take cuttings of azaleas, camellias, pelargoniums, lavenders, rosemary Cistus…. the list goes on.  Its fun and a very good way to increase your stock. 

Those naughty weeds are creeping back in..so they will need to be dealt with and the usual care, watering, feeding, eating of tomatoes  -all this must be kept up with.  Tomatoes might also enjoy a little more mulch and if some of the leaves are turning yellow it is best to pinch them off, it looks better and helps to let more light reach the fruits to ripen them.  So, much to be done, so little time.

Happy gardening!

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January Jobs

January 5th, 2010

 

Water in the cool of the morning

Water in the cool of the morning

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.

Feed the tomatoes once a fortnight

Feed the tomatoes once a fortnight

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….

Waddles ready to help with the mulching chore

Waddles ready to help with the mulching chore

Mulching:

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.

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Filling the Gaps

December 15th, 2009

Fill the gaps with some colourful annuals

Fill the gaps with some colourful annuals

I have been very busy in the garden over the past few days. The weather has been lovely and it has been good to be outside. Getting busy with the secateurs, then the choppers. Scrapping those determined weeds, digging, mulching etc.  But then I stood back and looked at all my hard work  to find….gaps! Yes, the weeds have secretly been having their own way. Sneaking into the garden when I wasn’t looking. Must have been while I was busy dead-heading the roses!
Anyway, whatever, there were gaps and they must be filled! So away to the local nursery. Such a tough job, but someone has to do it and it was up to me!
Bare patches must not be wasted! One cheap, trusted and fun option is to break open a packet of nasturtium seed. Just sprinkle these about with abandon, something usually comes from this. The packet doesn’t say ‘easy to grow’ for nothing. Really what is summer without nasturiums? You can eat them! Unfortunately, my ducks enjoy doing just this. So, I need to plant these where the ducks don’t get a look in!   

Don't waste the gap

Don't waste the gap

Petunias used to be a favourite of mine, back before the drought. But I really cannot afford to water them and it is too sad to put them in. I do miss them and their happy colour so at Christmas I treat myself to putting a few into a hanging basket which I hang right in front of my kitchen window. This cheers me up while I wash the dishes!
Some things to remember when going on a mission such as this is, well, don’t get carried away! Remember, when you get home you have to have enough gaps to fit all the plants you buy into! Also, you have to plant them and you don’t want so many that it becomes a chore and not a hobby. The hot weather is coming and you will have to nurse them along with extra water for a few weeks while they settle in. So, just calm down, maybe set yourself some limits or write a shopping list.  My sensible self always gives advice like this. Follow it if you like I seldom do and come home with heaps! Then find I can’t fit them all in!  Quick to the pots!

Putting old pots to use in summer

Putting old pots to use in summer

Talking of which after the expedition you may have some of these left over. Before you turf them into the bin try sinking them down into the soil near young trees that do not receive water from sprinklers. Fill them twice a week over the summer months. This little trick gives you a low cost way of drip watering. I find also that the pot in the ground reminds me that I need to water. It saves wasting water just surface watering, where the water just runs off and dosen’t get down to the roots where it is needed.

Well, I am off to sink some pots!

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