Welcome to autumn in the garden – Enjoy
As the weather cools our gardening enthusiasm grows and autumn is the season to look around and evaluate what has survived, thrived, or perished. Its also the time you can be a little ruthless if there’s a few plants not performing. Take the plunge and swap them for something that grows well and gives great flower and foliage colour.
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Tips for growing plants in the shade
You may have found that as the garden has matured there are areas that were once in full sun are now in shade and plants are not looking as good as they once did. Take this change as an opportunity to grow a selection of different plants.
Shade in a garden is an asset and there are plants that will thrive in shady positions in the garden. Many garden owners give up attempting to grow plants in shaded areas because they either become weak and stretched, stay at the same size they were when planted and refuse to flower.
Most failures are the result of improper plant selection, selecting sun loving plants for shady positions. The first indicator the area may be too shady for the plants selected is when plants develop a lean towards the light source.
Tips for picking plants for different types of shade.
There are many varieties of shade loving plants available to plant and the first step in establishing a shaded garden is to identify the type of shade.
Dry Area Shade
Are those areas that are shaded by foliage or the canopy of established trees. The soil in these areasy full of roots from the established trees and creating gardening beds can be a challenge, but not impossible. Any fertilising such as PowerFeed All Purpose including Natives needs to be as a foliar application to minimise the potential of established roots to rob the nutrients. This is where the installation of a root barrier is worthwhile and particularly when the source of the root competition and shade is from the neighbour’s property. In dry shaded areas dripper irrigation is recommended so water will be delivered directly to the young plant’s roots rather than to the large trees. A wetting agent such as Seasol Super Soil Wetter & Conditioner is crucial in this growing environment.
Shade under eaves
These areas dry out quickly and are often forgotten about in the winter when it’s raining. If garden beds are established under eaves, ensure watering continues through winter. Apply Seasol every fortnight to month and keep soil damp in winter, even when the irrigation system is turned off and fertilise at the beginning of spring and autumn.
Other shaded areas
- South side gardens – these areas are often in full shade in winter and as the sun rises in the summer months bear the brunt of the searing summer heat. Select varieties of plants that will tolerate both shade and sun.
- Shaded by a fence – Usually the easiest are to grow when it comes to shade classification because even though its shaded, there is sufficient light around the plants and most plants will thrive.
Germinating seeds is successful in the shoulder seasons. March is nature’s natural planting time and the best time of the year to grab a few packets of seeds, seed raising mix and get them growing. Last year we saw a shortage of vegie seeds, but there are good stocks around this year. Growing vegies from seed is really good value and while the weather is a little warm or the summer crop is still producing the last of its crop, you can get a head start.
Here are six tips to ensure success:
- Place seed trays or pots in a light position but not direct sun. Transfer to a sunny position to harden off the seedlings as they grow.
- Some varieties of seeds will benefit from soaking overnight in warm water. Silver beet, English spinach and beetroot will germinate very quickly if soaked overnight.
- Delay planting large seeds, such as Broad Beans and peas until they can be sown directly into the area, they will be grown in.
- Once seedlings are established transplant 2 or 3 plants together rather than splitting them and planting individually.
- Soak in Seasol before planting to help reduce transplant shock and aid plant establishment. Continue to apply Seasol every week to fortnight for healthy growth.
- Seedlings are always hungry as they develop their growth so liquid feed with PowerFeed PRO SERIES for Tomatoes & Vegetables every 2 weeks. Mix 20mL of concentrate per 9 litres of water.
It’s raining leaves
As the leaves fall from the deciduous trees, don’t throw this rich source of nutrients away. We spend hundreds of $’s per year on compost and soil improvers, yet it’s easy to make our own with hardly any intervention. Deciduous tree leaves are perfect as they break down quickly converting cellulose and lignin (with a little help from bacteria and soil microbes) into a form that will improve the soil and make nutrients available to plants and trees. A little moisture from rain or irrigation and an application of Seasol will speed up the process and ensure the nutrient cycle is complete.
Prevention is better than cure.
If your roses have taken on a stunted look as if they have been burnt or sprayed, they may be infested with chilli thrip. It has expanded rapidly over the last decade. This pest has caused significant economic damage across the world and has a broad host range of plants. Roses being one of their favourites. In severe cases the new growth is stunted and damaged to the point of die back and flowers are malformed looking remarkably like severe sunburn. If it hasn’t hit your neighbourhood rose bushes yet prevention is better than cure. Regular applications of Seasol around the root system and over the foliage will thicken the cell walls and strengthen the plant. It’s important to apply regular applications when plants are in their fast growth phases – autumn and spring.