January is the month of festivities and fun so enjoy your time in the garden. A few jobs done at this time of the year ensures that it will look fantastic for the remainder of summer. Choose the cool of the evening to garden since it’s amazing what can be achieved in a short time.
Jobs to do
When the weather is really hot outside the focus in the garden turns to the patio or courtyard so it’s a perfect time to give it a makeover or simply plant up a few containers and baskets.
One of the most important tasks to do in the summer is mulch, mulch and more mulch. The water it saves and the benefits for the garden are shown by the extra growth and health of the plants.
When planting anything in summer, spray with an anti transparent which is available from Better Pets and Gardens. This product reduces the evaporation rate of the plant and protects the leaves from the scorching sun. It is a water based polymer and stretches as the leaves grow. It’s a sunblock for plants!
When planting seedlings in January, do so in the evening and break small branches off a shrub or tree and poke in next to the seedlings to protect them from the harsh sun. After a week or so they will be strong enough to handle the conditions on their own. When selecting seedlings always buy those that are hardened to the weather and your local conditions. Sometimes, they may not look as lush as those in shaded conditions but you will have guaranteed success.
There are many plants suitable for brightening up the patio. When selecting them consider those that have a fragrance at night and couple these with a small water feature so that the scene is complete. Water features don’t have to be elaborate or large; a glazed bowl or pot will look stunning with some water plants and a small submersible pump to circulate the water.
Caring for the Christmas Tree
The festive season is over and nothing looks more daunting than taking the decorations down. What do you do with the living tree that you want to keep for next Christmas? When you take the tree outside, water it thoroughly and keep it under a shaded patio. Feed it with an organic liquid fertiliser weekly for a few months then top dress with a slow release fertiliser. The transition to full sun needs to be done gradually it may take a couple of months, depending upon where you live. These trees need to be kept in the full sun to keep a compact bushy shape.
Vegetables to Plant
January is time to plant beans, beetroot, capsicum, corn, celery, Chinese cabbage, cabbage, chillies, cucumber, egg plant, gourds, lettuce, rockmelon, honeydew melon, watermelon, radish, silverbeet, tomato and zucchini.
Written by Sue McDougall, a qualified horticulturalist and experienced garden centre owner who grew up in the WA wheatbelt and has had experience in gardening throughout the entire state. You may know Sue as the garden expert on 6PR radio and by her many TV appearances.