Let’s get ready for Spring!
As the days lengthen there is definitely the feeling of spring around the corner.
Rainy days are appreciated and warm sunny spots are treasured by both gardeners and plants alike.
Take advantage of the warm sunny nooks to get a head start on germinating warm season vegetables such as tomatoes, chillies, capsicum, eggplant and zucchini.
Strong sun hardened seedlings can then be planted out at the beginning of September or when the danger of frost has passed.
Capsicums are a versatile vegie and if given the correct conditions will produce fruit for at least 6 months of the year.
They are the perfect summer vegie crop.
Plant into well improved soil that has had compost or soil improver and organic based fertiliser added.
The more effort that goes into improving soil the better the plants will fruit.
The trick is to get them growing quickly and strong early in the season.
Young capsicum plants will start producing fruit almost immediately.
Remove buds if plants are too small to develop large fruit.
This gives them time to develop a strong root system. In warmer areas capsicum will fruit for most of the year.
One of the problems of home grown capsicums is they tend to be thin walled and bitter.
This is caused by stressed plants that haven’t had received enough nutrients.
Top 6 Tips For Growing Sweet Capsicum
- Improve soil with well rotted compost and manure. If you want a no dig option, try Seasol Liquid Compost.
- Use a granular controlled release fertiliser at planting at planting such as PowerFeed Controlled Release for Tomatoes and Vegetables.
- Apply liquid fertiliser such as PowerFeed PRO SERIES for Tomatoes and Vegetables every 2 weeks by completely covering the foliage and around the root system.
- Don’t allow plants to stress from lack of water as this will cause thin walled pliable fruit.
- Allow fruit to develop, depending upon the need. Small fruit tends to have strong flavour, perfect for adding flavour to cooking, but not suited to fresh salads.
- All capsicums start off green and will develop colour later. The longer the plants are left on the bush the sweeter the fruit is.
Gardenias are one of the most versatile plants suited to growing in Australia gardens.
They grow just as successfully in large pots as they do in garden beds, forming a hedge or as a specimen plant.
For subtle fragrance throughout the garden in the warmer months plant Gardenias close to entertaining areas or at the front entrance.
These plants are hardy once established and will tolerate sunny positions in the cooler areas of Australia.
Protect from heavy frost by planting under a canopy of foliage in frost prone areas.
It’s far easier to keep Gardenias healthy and growing vigorously than waiting until leaves turn yellow and are looking stressed, before they are cared for.
Gardenias require slightly acidic soil and regular fertilising.
Liquid fertilisers are ideal as they are absorbed through the foliage far quicker than if it’s applied to the soil and then take up by the plants roots.
In spring when leaves turn bright yellow they require a complete fertiliser containing magnesium.
This is when they are forming their flower buds and at their greatest need for trace elements.
For a granular feed try PowerFeed Controlled Release for Flowers, Fruit & Citrus, for a liquid feed try PowerFeed PRO SERIES Plant Food Roses & Flowers.
Top 5 Gardenia varieties
- Thunbergia Tree Gardenia is a slow growing large shrub deserving a position in any garden. It is slow growing, but worth the wait. Dark green foliage contrasts against the tubular white flowers in autumn. Suited to growing in a large pot or as a background shrub in a garden setting.
- Golden Magic Gardenia is a strong growing medium shrub reaching heights up to 1.5m. Pure white flowers fade to buttery yellow creating a two tone effect over the shrub. Plant close together to create a simply stunning, low growing hedge. It’s ideally suited for planting around pool areas.
- Florida Gardenia is the bestselling variety Australia wide and for good reason. It’s one of the hardiest and most floriferous forms available. Only growing to 1m high it forms a lovely rounded shrub for mass planting or to grow in pots.
- Aimee Yoshiba Gardenia is said to be the best of the large flowering varieties. Large pure white flowers are superb and a real feature of this plant throughout the summer months. Plant in an area of the garden where both the flowers and perfume can be admired.
- Radicans Gardenia is a small ground covering shrub only reaching 30cm high by 50cm wide. Masses of white flowers cover the plant in summer and autumn making it the best choice for borders and small spaces.
Gardenias are naturally bushy and usually only require a light prune occasionally. Prune after their main flowering time, this is when they are in their most active growth phase and will bush up very quickly.
Water lilies are very easy to grow whether they are in a small glazed water feature or in a large pond.
These plants are classified into two broad groups; tropical varieties that are dormant throughout winter and evergreen, which keep their leaves throughout the colder months.
Water lilies require a sunny position to perform at their best and while there isn’t a lot to see on these plants throughout August, it’s time to divide and repot to ensure gorgeous spring/summer flowers.
Repotting Water lilies is messy, but not complicated.
The only tools required are a sturdy serrated knife or pruning saw, gumboots (if you have to walk into the pond to get them out) and if plants are large a garden spade.
Split the rhizome into manageable pieces and ensure there are growth buds visible.
180mm or 200mm pots are ideal as they have a wide enough base so they don’t tip over easily and is important if the pond base is a little uneven.