Garden calendar December 2019
- Plant some pots for summer colour with annuals and perennials.
- Hot weather is a reminder to plant more trees for shade next year. It's the most efficient way of air-conditioning the outdoors.
- Plant up geraniums and petunias for instant Christmas colour.
- Tropical trees including fruiting exotics can be planted now that the weather is warm. A few examples: avocado, mango, lychee, guava, banana, Aztec fruit (casimiroa), papaya, passionfruit, acerola, tamarillo, custard apple, black Zapotec, longan, babaco, soursop, Java plum, dragon fruit, pineapple, water apple or wax jambu, sugar cane, monstera, loquat, feijoa, Natal plum, five corner fruit, Surinam cherry, sapodilla, Brazilian tree grape and ice cream bean. You may not recognise all of these but everyone has been grown in Perth.
- Vegetables to sow or transplant as seedlings include: sweet corn, rockmelon, watermelon, cucumber, squash, eggplant, asparagus pea, rosella, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, zucchini, leeks, radicchio carrots, fennel, tomatoes, English spinach, capsicum, chilli, celeriac, choko (plant the fruit), okra, rocket, kohlrabi, loaf, Swiss chard, beetroot, spring onions, lettuce and radish.
- Sow a brand new herb patch with basil, dill, borage, chamomile, chervil, coriander, tarragon, parsley, chives, rue, lavender, sage, fennel, sweet marjoram, lemon balm, oregano, summer savoury, thyme and lovage.
- Feed potted plant to keep them growing actively during the warm season. Liquid fertilisers such as Baileys Vitaplant are suitable for small plants including herbs and vegetables.
- Feed citrus trees with Baileys Rose and Citrus fertiliser. Make this part of a regular program by applying half the recommended quantity every month of the growing season which is September to April.
Pruning and Maintenance
- Potted plants go through a critical time in early summer as the first few hot days test the water holding capacity of the pot, the potting mix and the strength of the plant. You will need to ensure that the plant is adequately watered. Scratch the soil surface to the depth of the first knuckle. If you can feel moisture at this depth then you don't need to water. If it’s dry give it a good soaking drink.
- Top up mulch levels to a depth of 75 to 100mm. If there is no bare soil in your garden you are well on the way to conserving water like a pro. Use Baileys Moisture Mulch.
- A hoe can be a great tool to control weeds popping up in your garden. On hot days weeds die fast after having their root system cut off from the stems and leaves.
- Deadhead annuals and roses. This means cutting off dead flowers. It redirects growth into new growth or flowers. If you leave the flowers on the bush it tends to cost the plant energy as it sets about creating seeds.
- When you are cutting roses for a vase, take an extra-long stem and you will at the same time be giving your roses a summer trim.
- Clip fast growing hedges.
- Prune any dead stems or branches from trees and shrubs. Check the tree ties on your trees and shrubs to make sure these are not biting into the bark.
- Cacti can be propagated this month. Make sure that the cut surface is allowed to dry out for at least two weeks before potting.
- Water repellent soil is a real issue in early summer and can be fought with a quality wetting agent such as Baileys Grosorb Wetting Agent, in either granular or liquid form. This also works brilliantly for potted plants and lawns too.
- Couch, buffalo and Kikuyu lawns can be planted from runners or turf however they will need careful watering to get them established in the hot months.
- Wetting agents in a granular form can be applied to lawns to improve water retention and penetration. Use Baileys Grosorb Wetting Agent at the rate of 40gms (just under half a cupful) per square metre.
- A source of brown spots in your lawn can be sprinklers that are not covering correctly. Try the coffee cup test. Arrange a number of straight sided cups around your lawn particularly on those patches. Run your sprinklers for the usual time. Measure the amount of water caught in the cups. A variation points to partially blocked sprinklers.
- Some gardeners are affected by the easterly winds which can blow at the same time as the sprinklers are timed to come on. This can change the watering pattern leading to some sections remaining dry.
- Increase the regularity of mowing as growth hits full speed. Once a week is not too often. This helps keep weeds in check too.
- Azalea lace bugs can also leave rusty brown or cream markings to the underside of azalea foliage. Confidor tablets are the go to keep these nasties away.
- Pimple psyllids attack the foliage of lillipilly at this time of year causing tiny raised blood red lumps to pop up in young leaves. Confidor tablets are a neat way to combat these disfiguring pests. Apply this in the soil at the base of the plant. Remember its one tablet for every metre of height of the plant.
- Powdery mildew often strikes zucchini as well as grape vines. Use non-toxic Lime Sulphur to combat these attacks. Remember this smelly liquid needs greater dilution for spraying at this time of year so refer to the label.
- Passionfruit can be struck by fruit fly and this is the cause of hard lumps in the skin. Fortunately the thick skin stops the fly from laying eggs in the pulp.