Winter Soil Care with Seasol Liquid Compost
No matter where you live within Australia, this winter help your soil along with a bit of TLC.
Winter in Australia from the top down
Australia is a diverse landscape, with a variety of winter climatic and soil conditions, so what you plant and how you garden can differ depending on where you call home. Here are a few simple tips to help you rejuvenate your soil for winter planting or prepare your garden for a blooming spring – no matter where you live.
The Tropics Region
The top end includes areas from Broome to Cairns. This time of year is the dry season, with warm sunny weather (30°Ç) and little rainfall. The overnight temperature may get down to 14°C but there’s never frost.
Winter in the tropics is a great time to plan ahead and carry out all the necessary garden jobs that you have been putting off for months because of the wet.
At this time of the year you can plant a huge range of vegies, including choke, okra, broccoli, beetroot, tomatoes, pumpkins, rockmelons and herbs. In the ornamental garden try planting palms, shrubs, ground covers and maybe a new lawn.
Tropical soils are often exposed to high annual temperatures and rainfall, which strips them of nutrients, so good soil preparation is a must. Check out the soil TLC tips below and remember to plant in the cool of the day, early morning or late in the afternoon to avoid plant stress.
The Sub-Tropics Region
This region includes the area from Mackay down to Coffs Harbour and from Broome to Exmouth. At this time of the year the days are generally dry and mild from 11 to 26°C, however nights can be cool, but rarely fall below 9°C.
In the vegie garden consider growing peas, carrots, beans, sweet corn, lettuce, shallots, silverbeet, broccoli and beetroot. In the ornamental garden try growing palms, cycads, ficus, hibiscus, frangipani or talk to your local garden centre.
Subtropical soils are exposed to lots of sunshine, warmth and plenty of rain during summer, but things can dry out through the cooler month. Now is a great time to nourish garden beds with compost and organic matter to help condition the soil, improve moisture retention and help guard against drought. Soils vary from clay, loam to sand on the coast. Each soil type has its own pros and cons, so check on the soil TLC tips below.
The Arid Inland Region
This area includes desert or arid inland areas such as Alice Springs. Here the winter nights are chilly and temperatures can fall below zero. You may wake up to brisk frost mornings but have pleasant afternoons (low 20°). When rain does come, it may even lower the temperature.
Consider planting vegies such as artichoke, asparagus, broad beans, carrots, mustard green, onions, parsnips and turnips. Check with your local nursery to see what is good to plant at this time of the year or hold out for spring planting.
The soil here is typically red, dry and low in organic matter and nutrients due to the arid climate. Soil preparation is a must to feed and maintain the vigour of your plants. Follow the soil and planting tips specific to your area and soil type.
The Warm Temperate Region
Further south is the warm temperate zone, inland Queensland, coast from Coffs Harbour to Sydney and Exmouth to Geraldton. Winters are cooler with light frost, but usually non-existent on the coast. Usually the lowest temperature is 5°C, with daytime temperature from the high teens to low twenties.
In the vegie garden, plant lettuces, onions, mustard greens, peas, radishes and spinach. In the ornamental garden, plant annuals such as pansies and violas and flowering shrubs like leptospermum and grevillea. Check the area where you live to see what neighbours are planting and get advice from your local garden centre.
Soils will vary in each region from clay to sandy soils depending where you live and therefore will be treated differently. Follow the soil and planting tips specific to your area and soil type.
The Mediterranean Region
Towards the bottom end is the Mediterranean zone for coastal areas from Adelaide to Perth. This zone shares many of the characters of the warm temperate zone but is a little cooler – temperatures may get down to zero and frost can appear. The day temperatures range in the teens depending on where you are.
This is the time to take stock of what is happening in the ornamental garden in preparation for spring. In the vegie plot plant cabbages, beans, garlic, broccoli, cauliflowers, snow peas. In the garden this is the time to plant bare rooted ornamental and fruit trees as well as roses.
Soils will vary in each region from clay to sandy soils depending where you live in this vast region. Follow the soil and planting tips specific to your area and soil type.
Cool Temperate Region
The cool temperate or alpine zone covers Melbourne, Canberra, Tasmania and the mountain areas. Here there are cold winter temperatures with heavy frost and snow on the peaks. Morning temperatures may start at below zero with day temperature in the low teens and much cooler in mountain regions.
In the vegie plot, plant onions, shallots, garlic, lettuces, spinach, peas cabbage, broccoli kale and silverbeet, In the garden plant, camellias, hellebores, bare rooted ornamental and fruit trees, as well as roses.
Due to the variation in the landscape, geology and climate, this area consists of a diverse range of soil types from sand to loam to clay. Follow the soil and planting tips specific to your area and soil type.
Winter Soil TLC Tips
If you are unsure of your soil type, take a sample to your local garden or hardware centre. They are local experts with local soil and gardening knowledge.
If your soil is clay, dig in gypsum, organic compost and well-rotted manures to break up the clay and unlock nutrients within the soil. This helps improve soil structure and fertility.
For sandy soils dig in organic compost and manure to improve nutrient and water retention and stop leaching.
For an easy no dig option, try Seasol Liquid Compost. an easy no dig option
Seasol Liquid Compost is a dynamic soil conditioner, soil improver and plant health treatment in one, designed to revitalise and rejuvenate your soil, improve soil structure and moisture retention. It also breaks up clay and reduces nutrient loss in sandy soil. And the added Seasol provides a tonic and health treatment for every plant in your garden.
Application is easy – mix it into a watering can (50mL of concentrate per 9 litre of water) every 3-6 months or for extremely poor soils mix 100mL of concentrate per 9 litres every 2 weeks until the soil improves. For larger areas or ease of application use the 2 litre hose-on pack which attaches to your hose.
Winter Soil Planting Tips:
In the tropics and sub-tropics apply a thick layer of mulch to stop water evaporation.
If you’re planting in temperate areas be sure to protect young plants from winter frost. Help to even out soil temperature variation with a good layer of mulch.
Just because it’s cold in many areas doesn’t mean it’s wet so set up a good irrigation system to ensure plants get adequate water when they need it.
Apply Seasol (30mL per 9 litres of water) when planting. Continue to apply every week for the first couple of weeks, and then move to every 2 to 4 weeks to promote strong root development, beneficial soil microbes and to help plants cope with heat, drought frost pests and diseases.
Apply PowerFeed (20mL – 50mL per 9 litres of water depending on the size of your plant every 2 to 4 weeks). It promotes strong, healthy growth and encourage lots of flowers and fruit. It also contains highly active liquid compost which will continue to enrich and improve your soil.