Gardening in 10 minute blocks is advisable at this time of the year because the priority is to keep cool and avoid sunstroke. There are many tasks that can be completed in a short time;
- Grapes may need to be treated for mildew as it tends to re occur at this time of the year. This fungus appears on the fruit in humid weather. To reduce the chance of getting mildew prune some of the foliage around the vine to increase the air movement. Don’t forget to spread bird netting over the plant while they are in full fruit production. There is nothing more frustrating than sharing your crop with the birds, because guaranteed they won’t leave you much.
- Seems crazy, but in the hottest months it is time to plant winter vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli and brussel sprouts. They can be planted as seeds or seedlings now as they require the long growing season of autumn to develop size before maturing.
- Red spider mite or two spotted mite as it is sometimes referred to, is harbouring in the vegetable garden at the moment. These minute insects are very hard to see with the naked eye (unless you have great eyesight) and love dry conditions, hiding under foliage, causing yellowing of leaves, leaf drop and very fine webbing. Tomatoes, capsicum and eggplant are very prone to attack. Treat with dusting sulphur.
- Even in the hottest month of the year the flower garden can be very colourful with many trees and shrubs saving late summer to look their best. Many of our gardens tend to look brilliant in spring and summer misses out. Take a drive to your local garden centre now and check out what is in flower, you may be surprised.
- Gardenias have finished their main flowering and are now displaying bright yellow leaves. They stand out so badly because they look so bright next to the dark green foliage. Don’t be alarmed. You can be guaranteed nearly every other gardenia around is doing the same thing. It’s caused by a magnesium deficiency and can be easily fixed with a treatment of Epsom Salts (magnesium sulphate). Dissolve a dessertspoon full in a watering can and apply the solution around the root system. The application of Powerfeed fortnightly over the foliage is also beneficial at this time of the year.