In order to ensure a continual supply of fresh vegetables, plants can continue to be planted out at regular intervals. Seedlings of cauliflower, lettuce, spinach, radish and broad beans are all suitable for planting out now.
Broad beans grow easily from seed planted out now. However, the pods will not form until the weather starts to warm up in spring. It is preferable to pick the pods when they are young and tender. Once harvesting has finished, the plants should be dug into the soil as they will add nitrogen to the soil.
Plants that are commonly grown as spinach are often actually silver beet. Traditional English spinach is much more tender than silver beet, which has large, crinkled leaves that are more strongly flavoured. However, English spinach can be difficult to grow if the weather becomes warm. A "Perpetual" form of silver beet, which is more like spinach in growth and flavour, is now available. Its name comes from the plant lasting for more than one season.
Tart delights of citrus
A citrus tree is one of the most useful fruit trees that can be included in the average garden. Lemons are generally the most popular choice, although the new Australian finger limes may also be considered.
Different varieties of lemons, oranges, grapefruit and cumquats are available, according to individual needs and growing conditions. For example, ruby grapefruit are particularly useful when making marmalade.
Double-grafted citrus trees, where two different varieties are growing on the one tree, are now available. These include combinations such as: "Washington Navel" orange and "Meyer" lemon; "Washington Navel" orange and "Tahiti" lime; and "Meyer" lemon and "Tahiti" lime.
Double-grafted citrus trees are ideal for many gardens as they require much less space.
Selecting one of the increasing numbers of dwarf citrus varieties is also a good way in which to save space, while still being able to enjoy the freshly-picked fruits.
Dwarf citrus trees are the same as the more traditional bigger growing trees except that the plant material has been grafted on to under stock that will only grow to a metre or two in height. The lemon variety "Lots a lemons" is an example of this and will grow very successfully in a pot on a balcony or in a courtyard, provided the plant receives several hours of sunlight each day.
A good quality potting mix should be used when planting citrus trees into pots
Cumquat varieties also make good tub specimens.
A good quality potting mix should be used when planting citrus trees into pots.
Citrus trees are usually purchased in tubs or pots, making transplantation relatively easy. A position with good drainage is essential. Soil that has a heavy clay base and drains slowly may require plants to be grown in large pots or to have a raised bed constructed. Well-rotted manures and compost should be dug into the soil prior to planting time.
The hole that is dug for the new tree should be large enough for the new root-ball to fit into it comfortably. It is important that the hole is not so large that the trunk of the plant will be below the soil of surface of the surrounding soil. The original soil surface in the pot should still be visible after planting. This may require some adjustment of the depth by adding soil to the bottom of the hole. If a plant is placed below the surface of the soil it will soon be subject to collar rot of the main trunk.
Once the tree has been placed in the soil, the soil should be well watered with a seaweed solution. A layer of organic mulch can then be placed over the new soil, keeping it away from the tree trunk.
Getting roses ready to bloom
Garden beds that will be used for planting out new rose plants should be prepared now. An open position that is well-drained is preferable. The soil should be dug over to a depth of 20cm, with well-rotted compost or cow manure added to the soil. Lime should not be added to the soil.
The garden bed should then be allowed to rest for several weeks before new rose plants are placed into the soil. If rain doesn't occur the soil should be dampened weekly.
Planting will generally be more successful if planting is delayed delay until their dormant season, between the end of June and August.
Strawberry plants can be planted out now, ready for the production of fruits in October and November. Compost or aged poultry manure should be dug into the garden bed. Strawberry plants can be purchased in pots or punnets. These plants will be guaranteed to be free of virus diseases. Runners (long, thin shoots that are produced from parent plants) may also be used. It is preferable to select the new plants that are forming close to the parent plant as these will be stronger.
The new plants should be spaced about 30cm apart. An application of mulch will help in preventing weeds from growing near the plants. It will also keep the fruit clean at harvest time.
As the plants grow, they will eventually produce flowers. At this stage of the plant's growth an application of a liquid fertiliser, such as Nitrosol, should be made every few weeks.
Strawberry plants will continue to be at their most productive for about three years. After this time, new plants should replace the old plants.
Pinch out the tips of developing annuals such as pansies and primulas, to produce bushier growth.
Cut back summer-flowering perennials, removing old shoots completely at ground level.
Take cutting from favourite roses and pot them into a sandy mix.