By Sue McDougall, Horticulturalist and Gardening Personality
The garden is looking forward to cooler times and we can all smile as it’s not long until the official start of autumn. This month plants are at their most stressed, hot days are taking their toll on species. Keep the mulch topped up around their root system and ensure the water is soaking in and not running off the soil surface. An application of Seasol Super Soil Wetter and Conditioner is more important at this time of the year than any other.
The summer crop on the fig tree is so close to picking and at the moment is susceptible to fruit fly damage for those of us unlucky enough to live in a fruit fly area. Spraying isn’t the preferred option for control, but sometimes you have no choice if you live in a fruit fly infested area. Continual baiting is also an effective method and works to reduce the population. There are many homemade fruit fly recipes available and some are more trouble than they are worth.
The vegemite and cloudy ammonia recipe is effective;
600ml warm water
2 tablespoons Cloudy ammonia
2 tablespoons sugar
1 dessertspoon vegemite
Pour 1-2cm in 500ml clear plastic drink bottles.
Make lots of holes at the top big enough to for a fly to fit in. Hang 6-8 in each tree and replace every 2 weeks.
Favourite summer herbs
In the bare spots in the vegie garden fill them in with a few extra plants of Basil. Basil thrives in the hot weather and will be ready to harvest in a few short weeks.
Top tips for the best flavoured basil;
When making pesto remember to harvest young flower stalks and add them to the mixture as they have the most flavour compared to the leaves. Fresh pesto freezes very well so an abundance of produce in the summer will be welcomed in winter when a quick meal is needed.
There is no doubt roses are one of the most popular ornamental plants in the world. Many plants across the country have a few sunburnt leaves and are looking a little tired this month. Give them a new lease of life by feeding and mulching. They are developing their buds for their autumn flowers and will benefit from a top dressing with a complete fertiliser. Water it in well and be sure the mulch is shading the soil from that searing sun.
If you only have 10 minutes
Gardening in 10 minute blocks is advisable at this time of the year because the priority is to keep cool and avoid sunstroke. There are many tasks that can be completed in a short time;