Its winter planning time. Time to get out and prepare things for the spring burst
If you have sufficient water storage you can plant some bright camellias, showy azaleas,
I say water storage is important, because don’t be fooled by this wet water. All the boffins who are in the know, all predict that Melbourne’s weather will change dramatically over the next ten years, due to that current hot potato, Global warming
Melbourne’s weather is due to become a lot more tropical in nature, Long periods of dry and enormous down pours, as witnessed in the first time floods in Geelong and the CBD last year and the appearance of………Coach roaches. A previously unknown intruder to Melbourne where it is now warm enough for them to survive
Enough of that for now. Let’s look at:
What you can plant in the vegetable garden?
- Potato (Tubers)
- Strawberry (Runners)
- Broad beans
- Peas, Parsnip, Turnips
Bulbs and Perennials to plant –
- Arum lily
- Calla Lily
- Lily of the Valley,
- Peony Rose
Plants for your house
It can feel a little glum in winter so how about choosing some colorful plants to brighten the house over winter. Cyclamen, Primula and African Violets are ideal. Put the Cyclamen outside at night as they love the cold air. Rotate your houseplants into natural light and keep them away from cold draughts and heated rooms. Less watering is required over winter as plants grow slower during the cold weather.
Winter is a good time to do a lot of pruning. There is some debate at the moment that fruit tree pruning is actually best done in late summer/early autumn when there is still some sap flow to aid in the healing of the wounds caused by the pruning and to help prevent disease infestation.
But let’s assume that it was not done earlier in the year and you want to get out there with the secateurs, which indecently you want to disinfect after
each tree so you do not carry disease from one to another (Jar of very salty water,
are fine just to dip them into or a wipe with metho’ or tea tree oil)
- Prune Hydrangea stems back to a double bud and apply a blueing or pinking agent if you want to change or intensify the color
- Prune fruit trees and grapevines
- Prune Roses
- Thin Camellias where there are multiple buds at the one point. This will give bigger blooms
- Prune Fuchsias in late winter if they are in a sheltered position
- Prune back winter flowering shrubs as the flowers finish. This will promote bushy new growth over Spring and Summer
- Remove spent flowers on annuals on a regular basis to promote further flowering
- A lot of natives are flowing in winter so watch them for when that is complete so you can prune them back with a pair of hedge sheers t thicken them up. This can be done for all natives after flowering
- Fruit trees and deciduous trees pruned to shape. If unsure as a very general rule, prune to an upturned vase shape, clearing out the center of tangled crossing and dead of diseased wood
Pests and Diseases
- Monitor the garden regularly for aphid and caterpillar activity. Control as necessary with Pyrethrum
- Control Cabbage White Butterfly with Cabbage Dust
- Treat roses with Lime Sulphur over winter while the plants are dormant. This will help control fungal diseases and mites
- Spray deciduous fruit trees to control leaf curl, freckle, brown rot etc.
- Protect frost sensitive plants if you are out of the CBD
- Feed bulbs with bulb food once they have finished flowering
- Check plants under the eaves and close to buildings to ensure adequate watering
- Feed Azaleas and Camellias as soon as they finish flowering. Dead head and trim at the same time.
- Start a compost heap with autumn leaves and garden scraps. Once rotted, dig it into the vegie patch for Spring planting, or add to garden beds
- Sharpen secateurs and clean/sharpen other tools
- Move deciduous trees in July if necessary
- Clean out gutters and drains
- This means that the only pruning required in winter, when trees take longer to heal, involved creating and maintaining a good structure.
- Follow the basic rules of removing dead and diseased wood, crossing and poorly positioned branches, and any suckers growing at ground level from below the graft. For vase shaped trees, open up the centre and thin out any crowded branches.
- Always use sharp tools and sterilize them between trees with metho’ or tea tree oil.
- Citrus and avocados need some loving during autumn and early winter.
- At this time of the year they are putting lots of energy into developing fruit, so it’s
important to give them a boost
- While you’re at it, keep an eye out for pests such as scale and citrus leaf miner. If they’re present, give the tree a spray with horticultural oil.
- Finally, if fungal diseases are a problem in your area, give your trees a spray with an organically approved fungicide. Use copper hydroxide on evergreens, and lime sulphur on deciduous trees.
After you have done all that it is time to go to the library and get that book you have been putting off reading for ages, take it out and sit by the heater of fire with a big mug of Chai and indulge yourself