June, full of inspirational gardening projects!
Gardening has seen a boom in the recent months and backyards are looking all the better for the extra time dedicated to the outdoors.
The mental health benefits for homeowners being able to grow some of their own food, participate in a citizen science project and plant a tree or two will be long lasting.
For all gardeners June is the hard slog month, where you don’t see a lot happening, but the time put in, between showers and freezing mornings is all worth it come spring.
Inspirational projects for June
- Get in early, dig the holes and be ready as soon as the bare rooted fruit trees hit the garden centres. If space is limited plant a duo, whereby two trees of similar growth habits can be planted together about 150mm apart in the same hole. Get creative and see how many combinations may fit in limited spaces. Deciduous fruiting trees have many additional benefits to fruit. They will cast shade, are selected for compact habits, and suited to backyards and the autumn leaves are a welcome addition to the compost pile.
- Divide, replant and share perennials around with your gardening friends. This is a cost-effective way of increasing the variety and colour in the garden.
Inspirational projects for June cont.
- Dry area planting should be carried out as early as possible to take advantage of any warmth still in the soil and as much free water as possible. Road verges and large garden areas are the perfect projects for dry area planting. Small starter plants are the best choice for dry area planting areas. Dry area planting is defined as those plants that are planted in winter, watered in maybe once at planting and then left to fend for themselves. As a rule of thumb with dry area planting expect at an 80% survival rate.
- Transplant any established plants that may be in the wrong position. Citrus, camellias, azaleas, deciduous ornamental, and fruiting trees transplant well at this time of the year.
Budding vegetable gardeners across the country should be harvesting crops of leafy greens. They are so easy to grow and can be used for soups, salads (hot or Cold) and are packed full of nutrients. The flavour of freshly picked homegrown microgreens, that has no ‘food miles’ is out of this world. I fall ‘in love’ (again) with my garden every time I pick another handful of flavoursome rich green leaves.
Unfortunately, there are a few insects and bugs that fall in love with the productive garden also. They are also sneaky and only come out at night to feast on tender young shoots. If you have discovered a few holes, missing plants and chewed leaves and there’s no evidence of insects during daylight hours grab the head torch and venture out after dark.
The pests that come active in the night include-
Garden Weevils – these hard-bodied insects are very destructive, and both the adult and larvae can cause destruction. They are easily recognisable by a long snout and antennae. The larvae eat the roots of vegies and the adults eat leaves in a very irregular pattern, causing a tattered look to the leaves. Sticky traps and a barrier of diatomaceous earth will slow them down. Plucking them off the plants and feeding to the chooks the next morning, gives great stress relief.
Cutworms are most destructive to newly planted seedlings. While the moth is not damaging the larvae live underneath the soil surface during the day and emerge at night, cutting the small seedlings off at ground level and then trying to pull them into their hiding hole. Barriers of aluminium foil or carboard toilet roll holders will protect the seedlings until they are strong enough to not be affected by the caterpillar.Slugs and snails are easily identified by their silver trail they leave behind. Its never ceases to amaze how quickly a seemingly harmless mollusc can be. Their favourite hiding spot during the day is under mulch and leaf litter. At night they turn in to a ferocious munching machine, making short work of newly planted seedlings. Copper tape barriers and beer bait traps are some of the most effective nonchemical controls.
Slugs and snails are easily identified by their silver trail they leave behind. Its never ceases to amaze how quickly a seemingly harmless mollusc can be. Their favourite hiding spot during the day is under mulch and leaf litter. At night they turn in to a ferocious munching machine, making short work of newly planted seedlings. Copper tape barriers and beer bait traps are some of the most effective nonchemical controls.
Armyworm larvae have a taste for tender seedlings, feeding at night there are many different species that come under the Armyworm banner. They get their common name because usually if you spot one there’s an army of larvae not far behind. A quick tour around the garden at night and inspecting the small seedlings will reveal what is causing the damage and removing them is one of the most effective, least toxic (and satisfying) controls there is.
If a member of your family has low vision or has found their vision deteriorating over time, there are a few simple planting tricks to make it easier to navigate around the garden.
- White flowering plants are perfect to border edges of paths.
- Silver foliage plants are ideal for mass planting and to highlight changes in the garden. Silver is particularly good to help those with low vision navigate garden areas at night.
- Relay paths and step edges with white paving to highlight changes in levels.
- Give a renewed focus to strongly perfumed plants, both flowers and foliage in high traffic areas.
- Avoid masses of small pots and mass plant large individual planters to avoid tripping hazards.
- Select light coloured glazed pots.
- The use of sticky reflective tape placed under the planter rim won’t be intrusive in the daylight but will reflect in low light conditions.
With the trend towards greening the indoors comes some new designer planters to match any décor. Many of these planters are what is referred to as self-watering pots, guaranteed to take the hard work out of watering. The symptoms for overwatering and underwatering are similar so many plant owners find it hard to decide if they are watering too much or too little and self-watering pots are often sold as the miracle answer. They work on the principle of capillary action. Plants are watered from a reservoir at the base of the plant and the water will seep upwards to the plant’s roots, reducing the need to water from the top. Remember these simple points when growing plants in self watering pots –
- Coarse chunky potting mixes won’t be as effective at drawing up moisture through capillary action compared to fine particle mixes, due to the air spaces in the mix.
- Water from the top occasionally so the salts released in potting mix from the fertiliser are flushed through the whole soil area.
- Flush out the reservoir regularly as there are a certain amount of dissolved salts in water which build up over time.
- If possible, use rainwater for filling self-watering pot reservoirs.
- Apply liquid fertiliser over the foliage rather than from the reservoir.
- Repot plants regularly to ensure potting mix doesn’t sour from continual moisture
- Allow the reservoir to dry out completely between waterings.