Garden calendar November 2019
- Flowering seedlings to plant now include vinca, petunia, amaranthus, celosia, cosmos, gerbera, marigold, rudbeckia, snapdragon, sunflower, portulaca and zinnia.
- If planting a new garden or just a bed, look to grey leaf plants to save water in the future. The grey or silver colour enables plants to reflect the sun’s heat away and it is a common trick employed by desert plants.
- Early summer is a great time to plant tropical and subtropical plants that thrive in the heat. Bougainvillea and frangipani are good examples.
- Summer's number one herb basil comes in many forms other than sweet basil and this is the time to get a crop going for all your summer tomato dishes.
- Seedlings or seeds to plant now include varieties that soak up the sun such as tomato, zucchini, squash, sweet corn, runner beans, capsicum, chilli, pumpkin, okra and cucumber. For something different try growing spaghetti melon.
- Growing salad lettuce makes sense as these are the mainstay of our summer eating. Become adventurous in your choices as there are many types you can grow. Remember lettuce need lots of watering in summer to thrive. This makes them great value for hydroponic and aquaponic systems. Try growing a salad bowl near to the kitchen with half a dozen different varieties including the cut-and-come-again types.
- Time to plant passionfruit. Try the two tropical varieties now available - Panama Gold and Panama Red. Also, all tropical fruits are best planted now so they can get up to 6 months of warm to hot weather to establish.
Pruning and Maintenance
- Prune 'once a year' flowering roses, including weeping standards, later this month when their moment of incomparable glory is over.
- Trim hedges as well as early spring flowering plants such as rosemary, Chinese lantern, Geraldton wax flower, wisteria and geranium.
- With Christmas only a few weeks away, get busy planting up some colour so the house looks good for the festive season. Outdoors plant out petunias by the tray-full because they make such a brilliant show.
- Once spring flowering proteas and pincushion flowers have finished their show of blooms for the year, cut back the growth by about a third. This keeps the bush compact and encourages more flowers next year.
- If your pond is starting to turn green, add some edible aquatics to the water such as Lebanese cress or English water cress. These quickly grow and spread over the surface. Their roots mine the water for nutrients removing these as a source of food for algae. Best part - you can eat the foliage in salads and stir fries.
- This is a good time to do some aerial layering particularly with tropicals such as mango, lychee, hibiscus and avocado.
- Top up mulches before the heat sets in. Most mulch disappears after 18 months, so an annual addition makes good sense. The most effective mulches are so chunky that they are uncomfortable to walk on with bare feet. You can pick up Baileys Moisture Mulch in bags at your favourite garden centre.
- Each change of season brings a new suite of weeds to the garden. Summer dominant weeds are usually fast growing which makes them vulnerable to glyphosate based weed killers such as Zero and Roundup. Getting control early in the season is the secret to a weed free garden.
- If you have a big crop of lemons try preserving them Moroccan style and bottle them up as home-made Christmas presents.
- Some other gift ideas include pots of herbs, a potted fruit tree particularly dwarf types such as Ballerina apples, miniature grafted citrus and potted seasonal vegetables.
- Start to stretch out the days between watering to condition your lawn for the summer ahead.
- Adding biology to your lawn is now seen as a way to combat thatch and to ward off nematodes, tiny worms that destroy root systems in sandy soil. Baileys Lawn Reviver massaged into the grass with the back of a nail rake does a great job.
- Tomatoes are pretty popular with pests and diseases. Applying water at the root zone will help to prevent fungal problems. This also works well for zucchini, pumpkins and melons all of which suffer from foliage diseases.
- Uneven watering of fruiting vegetables such as tomato and capsicum can develop a rot at the opposite end of the fruit to where it attaches to the vine. Called 'blossom end rot' the best solution is to mulch the plant with organic material.
- Fruit fly control programs need to be put into top gear. These can involve cover spraying or baiting. Individually bag fruit in paper bags. It's very laborious but it is a completely chemical free fix.
- This is the time for African black beetle to invade. Rather than blitz the garden with insecticides try flooding the lawn in the evening with water so the beetles and larvae come to the surface to provide a feed for kookaburra and other local birds.