Gardens all around are looking brilliant as a result of early soaking rains. The showers have come slow and steady which has meant that the water has had a chance to soak into the soil rather than running off. If you applied a wetting agent to the soil before the rains came it will be helping to make the water soak in even further but if you haven’t, it’s never too late.
Early winter weeds have also germinated and controlling them now whilst they are still small and the sun is shining saves a job later on in the year. Small weeds only need a small amount of chemical to control them. For soft foliage weeds, non-toxic controls such as Beat a Weed are perfect for controlling weeds between paving, pathways or near vegie gardens.
The autumn rains have caused some of the early citrus fruit to split because there is extra water or nutrient available to them. They absorb this moisture so fast that the skin on the fruit can’t stretch quick enough to accommodate the enlarged cells. Usually only a few of the fruit will split so remove these and allow the others to ripen as normal.
Moss thrives in lawn areas where it’s very shady, the soil is compacted and there is a lack of drainage. It can be controlled by aerating and cultivating the soil with a garden fork. If lawn isn’t growing because it’s too shady try removing the lawn and planting shade loving ground covers.
Controlling fruit fly is important at this time of the year. Better Pets and Gardens have been helping their clients with fruit fly control for years. Call into your local store if you have a mandarin or orange tree to find out how to minimise the damage from this pest so that you can have fresh juicy fruit – maggot free!
It’s the perfect time to start digging in the vegie garden and to add blood and bone, soil improver and compost. After that, plant a crop of broad beans or peas since all these require is a sunny position and good soil. Legumes convert atmospheric nitrogen into the soil so they are good for the garden as well as for you.
Fertilise spring flowering bulbs now that they are pushing up through the soil. Bulb fertiliser will deliver all the nutrients a young bulb needs for flowering. Bulbs are fantastic waterwise plants and look stunning mass planted in pots or in a sunny position in the garden.
Caterpillars are abundant this season because the damp and warm conditions are perfect for hatchlings. Success or Dipel are a must for the garden shed. They are both very safe for animals and humans, but deadly on caterpillars.
If reverse cycle heating is the only form of heating in your house, place a saucer of water close to indoor plants. This form of heating tends to remover moisture from the air causing indoor plants to suffer so they will benefit from moisture from a nearby container of water. If possible, move the plants away from the direct air flow.
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.