Love your garden this autumn!
Loving your garden at this time of the year? It turns out you’re not alone, as the weather cools down and many homeowners start to venture outside our attention turns to revamping our outdoor space. Across the country deciduous trees are starting to show signs of the cooler weather, many leaves have dropped, and the hint of colour is giving us a taste of what’s to come. Autumn is a time to recharge, replant and re-evaluate the garden. Extreme weather in many parts of Australia from heatwaves to floods highlights the need to plant a garden that can stand up to these stresses.
A garden is a resilient space, and it doesn’t take a huge amount of work to add some life into an otherwise stressed landscape at this time of the year.
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Tips for waterlogged gardens!
If your garden has been subject to flooding or an extreme rain event, a few simple tips will reduce the long-term damage to plants. If plants have been submerged in water for an extended time, it is best to do nothing until there are signs of regrowth.
Symptoms of waterlogging include yellowing of leaves and wilting. Wilted leaves are pliable and often go black before dropping. Soil erosion during a flood event puts trees at most risk. Reassess the safety of large trees and if roots are exposed as water recedes it is important to cover the surface roots with soil to prevent drying out.
Tips for waterlogged pot plants
If plants are in pots and are showing symptoms of waterlogging it is the ideal time to repot to ensure continuing growth. If the root system is soggy and breaks away easily, remove it before replacing the plant back into the pot, this will reduce the risk of any root rot pathogens. There is enough fertiliser in a premium potting mix such as Seasol Advanced Potting Mix for at least 6 months of growth, but the addition of Seasol around the roots and over the foliage will stimulate new strong roots to ensure the plants recover from waterlogged stress quickly.
Reviving plants, particularly in pots that have been affected by heat stress is similar to waterlogging. Any dehydrated roots should be removed, and the bottom one-third of the soil inspected for ants and sour soil and removed if there is damage. If soil is extremely dry, make up a solution of Seasol Super Soil Wetter & Conditioner in a large crate and submerge the complete root system of the plant for at least 15 minutes before repotting.
The Edible Garden
April is the best time to plant a range of ‘instant gratification’ edibles. The soil is still warm and growth rates are fast and a quick trip to the garden centre will reveal punnets of kale, Pak choi, loose leaf lettuce, silverbeet, English spinach and Chinese cabbage. These varieties will be ready to harvest in a few weeks’ time and continue to produce leaves throughout the cooler months.
Sow broad beans throughout April as they tolerate low temperatures, unlike French or runner beans. Plant two or three crops of broad beans to ensure a long harvest season. If you live in a windy area plant broad beans in blocks of multiple rows rather than single rows. This will ensure they are a little protected throughout winter storms.
To encourage bushy growth and multiple growth stems nip the growth tip out when plants are about 20cm tall. These tips are a delicious addition to any salad. Broad beans ripen from the base upwards. Harvest regularly and early for the most delicious bean.
Often forgotten the humble radish deserves a spot in any vegetable garden. For those of us who remember a spicy unpleasant flavour profile as a child. I urge you to give them a chance again.
Seed germinates almost anywhere, and they are ready to harvest in a short time. Pick them small and serve thinly sliced in a green salad with lemon vinaigrette, this is when they are at their sweetest. Or try them roasted whole with butter or for something completely different in a radish salsa.
Remember when preparing the soil in the vegie patch for planting. dig in home-made compost and organic matter and/or Seasol Super Compost.
Citrus trees are one of the most rewarding plants to grow. They have so much going for them when conditions are right, bright glossy foliage, a bushy form, perfumed flowers, and an abundance of tasty fruit.
With citrus trees brimming with fruit throughout April, being so close to harvest it is important to ensure plants receive regular water and fertiliser such as PowerFeed PRO SERIES for Fruit & Citrus. Heavy rain events at this time of the year or a heavy hand with fertiliser can cause fruit to split. Extra moisture and sugars make their way to the fruit and fruit can’t swell quick enough to accommodate the increased load resulting in split fruit.
To avoid split fruit ensure trees have regular moisture throughout the growing season, improve soil with compost such as Seasol Super Compost as most feeder roots are in the top 10cm of soil and apply an organise based slow-release fertiliser such as PowerFeed with Troforte for Flowers, Fruit & Citrus regularly.
Citrus Tip – chilly weather intensifies the colour of the skin of citrus. If you harvest fruit early in the season, by colour alone the result may be some of the sourest you’ve tasted. The longer you leave the fruit on the tree the sweeter they are.
Indoor Plant Care
The house plant craze doesn’t look like its waning any time soon. Homeowners of all ages have discovered the magic of house plants. Regardless of the size of a room, there is a variety to suit any sized decorative pot and many of the common varieties are so easy to care for. It would be fair to say that even the novice gardener can develop a green thumb overnight.
The most common cause of house plant failure is overwatering and as the weather cools down and indoor temperatures drop a plant’s growth rate slows. At this point down watering frequency can be reduced. Only apply water when the soil feels a little dry throughout the cooler months. The most efficient and accurate way to check you’re not overwatering is to use your index finger as a moisture sensor. Ensure the finger’s length of soil feels dry and not soggy.
Signs of overwatering.
If there is an infestation of small flying insects (adult fungal gnats) it is a sure sign plants have been overwatered. Repot the worst affected plants, those that seem to have the most adults flying. Using sticky bug traps for a few weeks is an effective solution to reducing a population and removing adults from the breeding cycle. One adult fungal gnat will lay hundreds of eggs in their lifetime and warm humid environments are one of their favourites to breed in.
Other signs of overwatering indoor plants can be as little as brown tips on leaves right through to leaves, stems and flowers being moldy and a foul odour caused by root rot. Plants that have root rot may never recover but for other plants stop watering and leave the plant in a cool, shady spot. Also check drainage to ensure the plant is not swimming in water. Good luck!