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Happy New Year from the Team at Seasol.

Finding a shady spot in the garden throughout summer is a priority. It’s at this time we appreciate the cooling effect of shade from trees. A dappled shade environment will help protect under plantings and reduce the overall water needs of the garden. The most important task at this time of the year is to ensure the garden is mulched. A 50-70mm layer of chunky mulch will reduce the soil temperature and reduce evaporation, ensuring the garden survives any extreme temperatures. A well cared for summer garden can be rewarding, full of colour and a cool haven in the hot weather.

 

Pets in a summer garden

Just as the garden needs a little extra attention through summer, so do our pets and putting a little space aside for the dog will ensure the garden won’t suffer from pet damage. Many dogs start digging through summer, because they want to find a cool position and the newly exposed soil (in the dog’s mind) is the perfect spot to get cool. Unfortunately, it’s always in the most inconvenient spaces.

Top tips to creating a dog friendly area;

  • Set aside a shady garden area, void of plants and fill with clean sand. This area can be retained with timber to keep the sand in a confined area.
  • Wet the sand down regularly as this will keep it cool when the dog digs.
  • Plant around the edges with strappy leaf plants that spring back when stood or rolled on.
  • Use a large clay or terracotta bowl for water. The larger the better as clay works like an old-fashioned Coolgardie Safe, keeping the water cool as it evaporates.
  • Plant Lavender, Rosemary and Mozzie Buster scented pelargoniums in the garden beds surrounding the cool dog area. These plants will help to repel mosquitoes and flies.

Blueberry Bonanza

Blueberries are one of the most versatile and easiest to grow fruiting plants, suitable for pots in a sunny courtyard or mass planted in a large garden. With the potential for each plant to produce up to 5kg of fruit each when established it’s easy to see why gardeners are planting a few different varieties to extend the season.

Successful Potted Blueberries

  • If planting in pots use Camellia and Azalea premium potting mix. Select a pot at least 40cm diameter.
  • Allow for free drainage and only place a saucer under the pot for short periods of time.
  • Place pots where they receive at least 6 hours of sun per day and preferably protected from hot afternoon sun.
  • Fertilise with PowerFeed Controlled Release Flowers, Fruit and Citrus at the start of every season and don’t allow the soil to dry out.
  • Prune lightly after fruiting to encourage new growth.
  • Avoid pruning in winter as this will remove the fruiting wood for the following season.

Turn up the heat

The warmer the weather the quicker the Chilli plants grow at this time of the year. Chillies are a true perennial in warmer climates and have the potential to continue fruiting for three or four seasons. They are very rewarding and a large pot with three or four varieties mass planted will produce hundreds of fruit.

Unlike their closest relative, the Capsicum or Sweet Pepper, which will rot if left on the plant for too long, Chillies can be harvested when immature or left to dry on the plant. There has been a long held belief that starving the plant of water and then flooding it at maturity will produce hotter fruit. Recently, the opposite has been found, the more the plant is watered and fertilised the hotter the fruit produced.

Plant into well improved soil or into a large pot in premium potting mix. Apply Seasol and PowerFeed for Tomatoes & Vegetables every week (30mL Seasol concentrate and 50mL PowerFeed for Tomatoes & Vegetables concentrate to 9 litres of water) to produce a bumper, tasty crop.

With at least 50 different varieties, ranging from mild to extreme heat rating available in Garden Centres there’s bound to be the perfect variety to suit the heat preference of every member of the family.

If only have 30 minutes;

If you have limited time there are a few things you can achieve over the next few weeks that will benefit the garden.

  • Protect trunks of plants such as Magnolias, Mangoes and Avocados from sun damage by wrapping light medium grade shade cloth loosely around the exposed area. Sun damage to this part of the tree severely affects its growth rate and fruiting or flowering capacity.
  • Splitting Elkhorn fern is easy with a sharp serrated edged knife. Select the shield to remove and cut a piece out with at least 60mm thickness. Place dampened sphagnum moss on a marine ply board and lay Elkhorn shield on the moss. Tie tightly with plastic coated wire or nylon stocking. Place the board in a protected position, preferable a shade house or patio environment and keep damp. Shield fronds will grow over the wire or stocking quickly covering the board.
  • Mulching large pots with stones is an effective way of reducing moisture loss through evaporation in hot weather. Even though the top of the stones feel hot, underneath at soil level it will feel cool. Stones are also a good choice for plants that are susceptible to collar rot problems because they don’t hold water around the trunk when compared to organic mulches.
  • When planting in summer avoid teasing roots out because any root damage to the plant will cause stress. This is different to planting in winter when a gentle teasing of roots will encourage them to head in an outwards direction.