With holidays coming to an end, it’s time to get back in the garden and start exercising those green fingers. Most importantly, we need to make sure that our gardens are well-equipped to deal with our severe lack of water during these hot summer months.
One of the better, longer-term solutions is to start planning and planting indigenous. Native plants are built to cope much more efficiently with the dry conditions. They work wonders when it comes to attracting birds and wildlife to the garden, and they aren’t too shabby to look at either (in fact, many of them are utterly gorgeous!)
Plant and sow:
- Sow the following herbs in containers: basil, chives, dill, nasturtiums, parsley and watercress. Keep the soil moist until the first shoots appear, and pinch out new growth on the seedlings to encourage them to become compact and bushy.
- Plant heat-tolerant annuals like alyssum, celosia, sunflowers, marigolds, petunias, portulaca, red salvias and zinnias.
- Sow these veggies: artichokes, beans, beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, leeks, lettuce, potatoes, pumpkin, spinach, squash and turnips.
- Plant irises in rich soil that has been nourished with superphosphate. The rhizomes should be half-exposed to the sun and the soil should be kept moist.
- Feed your lemon trees with 3:1:5 or 8:1:5 (organic feeding) and water them well (you’ll be surprised how much water one can collect by keeping a bucket next to you in the shower). Surround the trees with a thick layer of organic mulch.
- Use grass and plant clippings (from pruning) as mulch in your garden beds.
- Fertilise Fuschias with a high potassium fertiliser like 3:1:5 (organic).
- Feed your entire garden with a general fertiliser like 2:3:2, or an organic all-purpose fertiliser and water deeply (unless you have a borehole, do this with a watering can in the mornings and evenings).
- Check the mulch around your roses and re-apply if necessary. Nourish them with 8:1:5 or 5:1:5.
- Feed cannas, day lilies, hibiscus and dahlias with 3:1:5.
- Sustain indoor and outdoor container plants with a liquid fertiliser.
- If you have a borehole, feed your lawn with a handful of 4:1:1 or LAN per square metre and water it well in the early morning.
- Lightly prune your roses to encourage new flowers to develop. Pull up any sucker shoots (light green, thornless shoots) growing from the base of the bushes.
- Remove some of the smaller flower-heads on dahlias plants to encourage the development of bigger blooms (we’re talking dinner-plate size!)
Tackle those weeds:
- Remember to pull up any weeds before they go to seed and cause more problems for the future. Weeds rob your plants of valuable water and nutrients, so right now couldn’t be a better time to get rid of them.
- Spray driveways and paving with weed killer like McGregor’s Path and Patio Weedout.
OTHER FRESH IDEAS
Grow your own: Cabbage
Cabbage is a vegetable patch staple which can be grown at different times of year, depending on the variety. It’s easy to grow, with a harvesting time of 11-15 weeks, and is a go-to addition for plenty of summer meals: salads, slaws, stir fries – you name it.