Winter is the perfect time for a gardening project!
A winter garden can be incredibly beautiful. Citrus trees brimming with ripening fruit and large dew droplets forming on newly woven cobwebs are a few of my favourite things. Despite rainy days and cold temperatures winter gardening is a roll up the sleeves and get stuck into it sort of month. Grab the tools, gloves, and wheelbarrow and start a weekend project.
Select one of our garden design tips to get you started in the garden.
Ten simple design tips to make your garden POP
- Select plants that look good at different times of the year. Focus on flowers through winter to brighten up the dull days and select soft cooling colours for summer. Define areas in autumn by using deciduous colour to your advantage.
- Our eye is drawn to the weeds rather than the flowers. Control weeds while small to avoid future seeding. Use mulch to your advantage to control weeds and create interest. Select mulch for different colours and textures to highlight areas of the garden.
- Group plants around a theme. This could be similar flowering colour or planted into pots of similar shades. When planting, water in with Seasol to reduce transplant shock and aid transplant.
- The addition of garden art will add interest to a garden even if there are no plants around. This design feature is used widely in gardens which endure extreme summer conditions and a lack of water.
Ten simple design tips to make your garden pop cont:
- Select multiuse plants that are both edible and are good ornamental plants. Liquid feed with PowerFeed All Purpose including Natives during the growing season.
- Repeat same varieties of plants at multiple locations to give the garden a sense of continuity.
- Choose feature plants, trees, or shrubs at focal points. Focal points are the areas where your eye is drawn to when you look at the garden. To test whether an area is a focal point, place a non-descript plant or pot in the area. Is your eye immediately drawn to the area or does it skip over the placed plant to a different position? Move it around until your eye is immediately drawn to it.
- Avoid clutter in a garden. Try to be disciplined and restrain the eclectic collection by sticking to a theme.
- Use variegated foliage plants to your advantage.
Ground covering plants are the underrated heroes of the plant world and provide many ornamental and environmental benefits for the garden. Plants are broadly classified as a groundcover if they spread wider than they do high.
While there is moisture in the soil and holes can be dug easily, prepare the soil by applying well-rotted manure or compost or for a no-dig option, apply Seasol Liquid Compost. Planting a few ground covering plants will save work in the garden in future years as they serve many purposes that aren’t often thought about:
- Groundcovers are one of the best weed controls methods you can employ. By blocking the light to the soil surface annual weeds can’t germinate easily. Seeds require light and moisture to germinate, and groundcovers block out most of the light.
Benefits of Gorgeous Groundcovers
- A thick matt forming plant is a force to be reckoned and will prevent the creeping of perennial weeds to a garden area.
- They provide habitat for lizards, Quenda’s, and other beneficial bugs. Cascading ground covers disguise entry to ground dwelling nests for birds such as Spotted Pardalotes.
- Often referred to as living insulation, groundcovers will keep soil cool in summer and warm in winter.
- As older leaves drop from the plants, they break down quickly, feeding the soil as they compost. To keep them well fed apply granular PowerFeed with Troforte ALL Purpose including Natives which not only feed ground covers, but feeds the soil as well.
Remember to select the variety best suited to the growing conditions. Avoid planting sun loving species in shady positions. Depending on space available plant the same variety in groups of 3 or 5 to create a feature in the garden.
Warm days and cool nights grow the best flavoured carrots and while there is much discussion on what carrot flavour is the best, it’s a fact that carrots turn sweeter once they are cooked. This is because the natural sugars contained in the cells of the carrot are released in the cooking process.
Carrots are considered a longer-term crop and are perfect for winter planting. They can be harvested as soon as they are big enough to eat or left in the ground to mature. The same variety will go through a distinct flavour change from being harvested at baby carrot stage to a mature root vegetable.
Five top tips for perfect carrots
- Avoid high nitrogen fertilisers and irregular soil moisture, this will cause branching and splitting of the root. It results in unusual, shaped carrots.
- Plant in friable rich soil that has available potassium to avoid woody roots.
- Loose friable soil will result in long strong roots that develop into straight carrots. They will grow around stones.
- Avoid overcrowding when sowing seeds and thin seedlings early to allow development of long roots.
- For more information on how to grow carrots, check out our seven steps to growing carrots.
One of the benefits of the healthy raw food trend is the interest in growing our own food, which has more than trebled in the last few years. Nothing beats the flavour of home-grown food, not to mention the environmental benefits. There is one plant that will take you from the conservative food gardener to a push the boundaries gardener. Once you have tasted home grown wasabi there will be no turning back to the green paste in the tube.
Wasabi takes a little extra care to grow and requires a cooler temperate climate to thrive. In temperatures over about 25 degrees it struggles and takes two years to mature. Despite these limitations and you’re up for a challenge give it a go. Select a shaded position and plant in soil that is damp, peaty and cool. A bog garden area is idea.
Harvest mature rhizomes by selecting shoots with a minimum diameter of 15mm, wash and remove leaves. Only remove what will be consumed within 12 hours as the flavour fades quickly.
To retain flavour wasabi can be saved for year-round consumption by drying the rhizomes and grinding into a powder. To use mix the powder with a water to make wasabi paste.