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Let’s get out into the garden and give your soil some much needed TLC!

If you love dirt July is the month to be up to your armpits in it. Whether it’s a revegetation project, orchard, advanced transplants, or a new garden our focus turns to the importance of soil health for plants at this time of the year.

Gardening is 90% soil and 10% plants – the work that goes unseen in the soil reflects in the health of the garden. Visitors to your garden will rarely (if ever) comment on your soil but will admire your roses and savour the flavour of home grown produce for months.

It has been proven that a strong healthy plant can fend off pests and diseases and bounce back after external stress, such as drought.

How to improve your soil with Seasol Liquid Compost

Five top tips to great soil.

  1. Focus on feeding the soil before feeding the plants. Fertilisers will deliver nutrients to plants, what a healthy soil requires is the catalyst to convert these nutrients into a form plants can take up. The addition of soil improver such as Seasol Liquid Compost, worm castings, compost and beneficial microbes are the catalyst.
  2. Look at leaves, lawn clippings and weeds as a valuable nutrient rich resource for replenishing the soil.
  3. Invest in a worm farm for recycling kitchen scraps. Composting worms make short work of vegies peelings and stalks.
  4. When planting new garden areas improve the soil with compost or soil conditioner such as Seasol Plant + Soil Booster before planting. It is a lot easier to get compost and soil conditioner under the root system of plants before planting rather than after.
  5. Always use mulch on garden bed areas to conserve moisture and keep soil temperatures consistent – cool in summer and warm in winter.
Why Spray Fruit Trees in Winter

Why Spray Fruit Trees in Winter?

While trees are dormant, there are many insects and fungal problems that hide are just under the plants surface (bud scales) waiting to infect new leaves in spring. Controlling them now, certainly makes life easier later in the year.

Deciduous fruit trees and vines will benefit from a cover spray while they are dormant and the opportunity to clean up any minor problems before they turn into big ones.

Lime sulphur is one of the most effective clean up sprays for the winter orchard and should only be used when there are no leaves on the plant as it tends to burn soft new foliage. Don’t be put off by the smell, it’s perfect for mites that may be overwintering on vines or fruit trees, rust, shothole and scale insects.

After spraying your fruit trees or vines, apply Seasol to the soil around the plant. This will help to promote healthy growth and reduce stresses from insect and fungal attack.

Indoor Plant Care and great indoor plant varieties

Indoor Living Colour

Bring the colours of spring inside this month with some easy to grow varieties of indoor plants. Lasting longer than a bunch of flowers living plants will add colour for many weeks (sometimes months) before the flowers fade.

Position in a well-lit room or next to a north facing window for the best results. Avoid overwatering indoors, the easiest way to check is put your finger in the soil, if it feels damp it doesn’t need watering.  Fertilise regularly for the longest flowering season and remove spent flowers to encourage new ones to form.

Best plants for indoor colour –

Anthuriums can tolerate low levels of light for a short period of time and still produce some flowers. The brighter the conditions the more flowers appear. These hardy indoors will continue to perform for years and produce some of the longest lasting flowers. Well known for bright red flowers, there are many different varieties, guaranteed to impress. 3 or 4 varieties multi planted in a large pot makes a stunning table feature.

Indoor Plant Care and great indoor plant varieties

Phalaenopsis orchids, otherwise known as the Moth Orchid, are one of the most readily available varieties across the country. They are also one of the easiest orchid varieties to grow, even after the last of the blooms fall the dark strong foliage is a stunning feature. Keep damp, but not soggy, in a well-lit area. After the flowering has finished it is the drop in temperature that triggers the next flowering spike, so placing outside under a patio or in an alfresco area in the cooler months will encourage the next flush of flowers.

African Violets are so versatile, producing flushes of flowers for many months of the year. They are ideally suited to small well-lit spaces as they are slow growing. Watering from the bottom is the easiest way to ensure continual flowers and healthy foliage. A wick through the bottom of the pot to a reservoir outer pot takes the guess work out of watering. Applying a specially formulated African Violet fertiliser regularly ensures all the nutrients required for flowering are delivered at once.

 

To get the best from Poinsettias

Poinsettias are thought of as the Christmas plant and are usually overlooked at this time of the year. For brilliant colour they can’t be ignored. If the thought of the red ones reminds you too much of Christmas look for the pink, salmon, or white varieties. The bright coloured bracts will last for months and once the last of them has dropped they also perform brilliantly as a garden plant. The varieties grown for indoor culture will grow successfully as a garden plant.

Bromeliads are affectionately referred to as ‘Broms’ and are widely available from Garden Centres. Growing as an indoor plant is easy and the bright hard coloured bracts will hold colour for months. The brighter the position inside the better the colour on the plants. There are many different colours and leaf forms, almost a colour to suit every deco style. Often replicated as a plastic plant, nothing beats the real thing. Water is applied down the centre of the plant, filling the cup or vase shape. Allow to dry out before watering again.

If you have 5 minutes between showers!

  • Spread a granular organic fertiliser around citrus trees. Allow the rain to wash it in.
  • Clean the secateurs in readiness for Rose pruning. Take to them with hot soapy water and a scourer or steel wool. Remove the sap stuck on the blade from previous pruning sessions and sharpen the blade with a fine oil stone. Sharp tools make pruning enjoyable.
  • Remove weeds around small seedlings, they compete for moisture and will ultimately win.
  • Pour boiling water between pavers to kill weeds quickly and safely.
  • Apply a weak solution of copper sulphate to slippery paving. Avoid splashing on foliage as it will burn.
  • Start digging some holes for new plants. A good strategy if you live where the soil is heavy clay or its dry. Dig a bit then allow the hole to fill up with water and then come back to digging the next stage later.
  • Check potted plants are not waterlogged and are draining freely.
  • Remove saucers from pots that are in the open, don’t allow the plants to continually sit in water.