Gardening calendar February 2021
As we head into the hottest months of the year, gardening in WA can be a challenge if ill-prepared. Waterwise jobs like mulching and use of wetting agents are a priority to make the most of every drop of water you apply and insulate vital topsoil from our scorching heat.
Flowers & Ornaments
- Use a top of the line potting mix such as Baileys Premium Potting Mix on you flowering rose. The red ticks Australian Standards logo ensures a good start. Roses that fit the Valentine's description include: Mister Lincoln, Papa Meiland, Red Cross, Fragrant Cloud, Scentimental (white and red striped) Double Delight (cream and crimson) and David Austin roses including William Shakespeare, Fisherman's Friend and Falstaff.
- Spring flowering bulbs arrive in garden centres this month. Buy early but plant late. Cold climate types can be stored in the vegetable crisper of the fridge. Tulips, hyacinth, crocus and fritillaria all fit this bill. Hold planting until April or even May until temperatures are mild. It is ok to plant out freesias, soldier boys and babiana or baboon flower into pots as these all come from South Africa where the heat is factored into their DNA.
- Select hibiscus plants while they are in flower.
- Repot permanent potted plants such as citrus and olive trees. Remember that potting mixes no matter how good, run out of steam within two years. Replace some of the mix with fresh Premium Potting Mix or Veg & Herb Premium Planting Mix even if it means excavating a portion of the pot's contents.
- Plant some summer colour, if only in a few pots its gives you such a lift. Petunias and vincas are two great summer performers.
Vegetables & Herbs
- Buy seed potatoes cut these into chunks with at least one 'eye' per piece. Leave these to sprout in a cool dark dry place before planting.
- Now is the time to sow seeds of cabbage, lettuce, silver beet, collards, celery, onion, leek, broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts. If growing in pots or tubs, choose Baileys Veg & Herb Premium Planting mix. If you are planting in the garden then amend the soil with generous quantities of Baileys Clay & Compost (for sandy soils) or Soil Improver Plus.
Select your favourite capsicum or chilli and save your own seeds.
Flowers & Ornaments
- Annual flowers and vegetables are also in good growth now so these need to be regularly fed. This is where liquid fertilisers come into their own as they deliver a small but readily digestible dose of nutrients. Use Baileys Vitpalant.
- Prune and feed roses in preparation for the autumn flush of flowering. Use Baileys Grow it Local Fruit & Citrus.
- Feed tropical plants as they are in active growth in the warm months. Use Baileys NPK or Baileys Soil Matters Garden.
- This might be surprising but Mango trees even though they might be still carrying fruit in the southern states can still benefit from a fertiliser application now. You need to be careful not to overdo it. Mature trees need only about a cupful of a high analysis NPK fertiliser such as Baileys NPK. For more tips on Mango Growing in WA read our blog here.
- Grape vines can wilt on extremely hot days and this is detrimental to their fruit production. If a heatwave is forecast try giving your vines a deep soaking the day before and then every day till cooler weather arrives.
Trees & Shrubs
- This is the month we tend to batten down the hatches and seek protection from the worst of the summer heat. Mulch every bit of bare soil around the garden. Baileys Moisture Mulch is excellent feeding mulch.
Pruning and Maintenance
Vegetables & Herbs
- Harvest zucchini regularly even if early when fruits are small. The idea is to promote fruiting over a long season.
- Harvest onions and cure by placing in a dry cool location for a week. These will store for long periods before use. One of the most effective ways of storing onions, garlic and shallots is to braid the leaves. They can then be hung up in a shed for many months.
- Time to harvest potatoes when the plants start browning off and loosing leaves.
- When harvesting sweet corn push a thumbnail into the kernels. If the juice is doughy it's over mature, if watery it's immature, but if it's milky then it's at a perfect stage to pick.
- Now is a great time to dry herbs - always away from the sun.
- Cut artichoke plants to the ground to promote fresh new growth.