Garden Master

26 Jul: July Talk

Inland gardening:
• Keep on picking sweet peas, Iceland poppies and stocks to encourage the plants to continue flowering.
• Remove faded flowers from other winter-flowering annuals.
• Feed all winter-flowering annuals every two weeks with a foliar fertiliser.
• When pruning hydrangeas, cut back the stems which have flowered by about half, ensuring to cut above a thick round green bud. Remove all diseased, dead, or damaged growth.
• July is a great time to cut out all dead wood, diseased branches and leaves, cut back trees that are getting too big and perhaps shading out the lawn or obstructing your view. Remember that after pruning, plants need to be fed. Fertilise roses and fruit trees with a slow release fertiliser or bonemeal at soil level. Roses and fruit trees will both love a dressing of kraal manure, worked into the soil around the plants.
• Feed citrus with 3:1:5 SR (slow release) and water well. Remember that all fertilisers need to be dug into the soil to be effective.
• Don’t neglect the veggie garden! Water deeply weekly.
• Continue harvesting winter crops and sow late plantings of green peas.
• Protect cold-sensitive vegetables like lettuce, celery and parsley from winter frosts with frost cloth.

Coastal gardening:
• Winter care for compost heaps includes adding activators for compost, to break it down quicker – these are available at your local Builders warehouse, makro and Gamestores. An interesting thing to note is that many of these activators for compost can also be used to break down contents of French drains to liquids. You can add chicken or rabbit manure for heat-generating nitrogen. Ashes from your fireplace will enhance the calcium, phosphorus and potassium content of finished compost.
• Re-pot and rejuvenate the water-loving plants in your water feature. An addition of kraal manure to the clay soil that your plants are growing in, will do them wonders. Remember to add a thick 0.5 to 1cm thick layer of river sand on top of the kraal manure in the pot before carefully replacing it back in the water. Note that a clean or reputable kraal manure should be used.
• This is the best time to access the “bones” or structure of your garden in terms of pathways and accesses. Widen pathways that are being taken back by the encroaching garden by adding more pavers. Add a “secret” pathway into very deep beds – this also assists tremendously with maintenance of the garden. Add pavers and a bench as a special feature. Tip: when laying any pavers, make sure you use weed barrier cloth and river sand under the pavers.
• Paint your garden gates a new colour.
• It’s prime time to for some winter-flowering aloes or succulents. Add them in.
• Lavish a new coat of paint on your trusty old wheelbarrow to prevent rust. It is an expensive piece of garden equipment to replace.
• Have your lawnmower and edge cutters serviced.