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Gardens: Things to do in June & July

 

Now is the time to make the most of those fresh winter days to plant, prune and prepare your garden in time for next spring. 

Fruit Trees

Now that it is winter, it’s time to have a very close look at your fruit trees. Deciduous trees are now easy to examine. Remove any dead or diseased wood or branches that are growing towards the inside of your trees. Remove any rough bark with a stiff brush to flake away a haven for codling moth — get rid of it now!

 

Winter Vegetables and Herbs to Grow Now

 Herbs – plant chives, coriander, garlic, lemongrass, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, shallots, tarragon and thyme.

Fruit & Vegetables – plant broad bean, beetroot, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, broccoli, Chinese cabbage, spinach, leek, lettuce, onion, parsnip, peas, potatoes, silver beet, swede and turnip.

 

 

 

Low Maintenance Winter Garden Ideas

 

 

Don't let your whole year's hard work go to waste this winter when cold weather strikes your garden.

When the weather gets colder and wetter, and the days seem increasingly shorter, it's natural to want to spend more time inside and less tending to your garden. If you still want your outdoor area to look great with minimal effort put in by you, here are some ideas!

Plant densely

Densely planted gardens can look great and save you maintenance time. This will protect your plants and reduce weeds, allowing for minimal maintenance. Don't pack plants too close together, as this can result in root systems competing for nutrients, but if you're going for a slightly ramshackle, secret-garden style look, this option is great as you can let plants roam into each other and create a more diverse area.

Reduce your watering

Potted plants require less water when the weather cools down, and winter rain means your outdoor garden will likely require less water from your hose or sprinkler. This gives you more time spent indoors curled up with a book. If you are watering indoor plants, take the chill off tap water slightly with a small amount of hot water, as this will prevent the freezing water from shocking the roots.

Sort out your drainage

Any drainage problems in your garden will be heightened during winter, so save yourself time and effort in the future by preparing for this now. Push vertical holes into heavy soils and create surface drains to help reduce moisture from killing your plants. Gypsum can work wonders on clay soils, as it allows air to get into the space between particles to help extra water drain away.

Compost and Soil

The last of the autumn leaves should be falling, so get out there and rake them up! They are the ideal soil/compost improvers. Simply make a cylinder of chicken wire secured with a couple of stakes and then fill it with the leaves, adding a few handfuls of lime as you go. In spring it will have formed crumbly compost ready to dig into the soil.

 

 

Winter Lawn Care Tips!

 

For most of us, winter is not the ideal time to show off your outdoor area. Learn how to keep the life in your lawn over the cooler months.

The colder months can drain the life from your lawn, leaving it a listless shadow of its normally lustrous summer self.

Leaves and grass clippings

During autumn and winter your lawn needs as much sunlight as possible. Make sure that leaves dropped from deciduous trees and lawn clippings are kept to an absolute minimum. Leaves and lawn clippings left on your lawn will often lead to killing off areas of grass by starving it of air and sunlight.

Mower cutting heights

During the cooler months, grass grows much slower, so it's a good idea to raise your cutting height a little so as not to damage it. As a general rule, it's wise not to cut your grass lower than 2.5cm. The big risk of mowing low is 'scalping' which browns your grass. Scalp your lawn repeatedly and you risk weakening it, allowing more weeds and diseases to take hold.

How often to mow

In winter lawn growth will decrease substantially. As a guide, your lawn should only need to be mowed around once every three or four weeks. Growing rates can vary between different grass types such as Couch and Kikuyu, but make sure that your lawn height doesn’t exceed 5-6cm as your lawn may become “stalky” and far less pleasing on the eye.

Aerate of extra O2

If your lawn has had a big workout over summer with increased temperatures and loads of foot traffic, there’s a good chance that the soil has been heavily compacted and is restricting the movement of water and oxygen throughout your lawn. Hire an aerator from your local hardware or machinery hire centre and give your lawn the once over for some much needed breathe room.

Sowing seeds

If your lawn is a bit patchy and lacking in some areas, the colder months are the perfect time for seed germination without weeds impeding. Aeration will also help with the germination process.

Feed up for winter

Just because your lawn's productivity decreases over winter doesn’t mean that your lawn loses its hunger for nutrients. Try to seek out a fertiliser which supplies the correct balance of the three major nutrients required for a healthy lawn with uniform growth. A good mix of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium is ideal.