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Let’s celebrate the garden!

It’s time to celebrate the garden, take some time to look around and savour the spring bounty. The hard work put in through the winter months is worth it as the garden comes alive. Take a trip to your local garden centre or visit an open garden this month, there are many inspirational ideas behind the garden gate. You will find gardeners are happy to share their knowledge and a simple conversation could start you on the path to a new gardening passion.

Kid playing fetch with Dog

 

Rejuvenating Lawns

With the weather warming up there is no better time to rejuvenate an old lawn. After many years couch lawns tend to become spongy and dead patches are more common than not. The organic matter that builds up on the soil surface absorbs water and prevents it from soaking into the soil, resulting in dry soil and dead patches. Follow these simple steps to a good looking water wise lawn;

  • Vertimow the lawn. A vertimower is a specialised machine that has a series of vertical blades on a shaft. As it revolves it cuts into the lawn removing thatch, organic matter and excess runners.
  • Remove excess organic matter and rake smooth.
  • Apply a 5-10mm layer of organic soil improver specially blended for lawns along with Seasol Super Soil Wetter & Conditioner  and water in well. Fertilise with an organic based slow release lawn fertiliser throughout the spring, summer and autumn months such as PowerFeed LawnFeed.

99% of dead patches in lawns are caused by water repellent soils and the water not soaking through to the root zone. The easiest way of checking to see where the water being applied is soaking to is dig a square of lawn a spade’s width and depth out after watering. If the soil is dry under the roots, despite being watered check the reticulation is working and apply wetting agent such as Seasol Super Soil Wetter & Conditioner. In some areas of Australia non wetting or hydrophobic soils require wetting agent to be applied regularly throughout summer months.

Desert Pea

Sturt Desert Pea

All it takes to grow Sturt Desert Peas successfully is sunshine, heat and sandy soil, something that the majority of Australia has in abundance. Sturt Desert Peas are striking when grown in pots and October is the perfect time to plant them as they require warm temperatures to thrive.

If growing in the ground select a sunny position and mix a small amount (about a ½ litre) of sheep manure and coarse sand into the soil. Plant seedlings with a teaspoon of native controlled release fertiliser such as PowerFeed Controlled Release All Purpose including Natives under the root system, being careful to not place in the soil deeper than the level they were in the pots. Mulch with gravel or stones.

If growing in pots select a unglazed terracotta or clay pot or large bowl and mix coarse sand with premium potting mix at a ratio of 2:1. In the top 15cm mix through controlled release fertiliser for native plants such as PowerFeed Controlled Release All Purpose including Natives and plant seedlings at 20-30cm spacing. Plant at least three seedlings in a large pot and mulch with gravel or small stones. Water in with Seasol and apply every 2 to 4 week. Ensure the pot is up off the ground and is draining freely as Sturt Desert Peas are prone to rotting. Place in a sunny hot position. As the runner develop the tips can be removed to encourage bushy growth and multiple flower stems.

If planning to germinate Sturt Desert Peas rather than buying seedlings the seeds can be treated one of two ways to soften the seed coat.

  1. Soak seed in boiling water and leave over night. Drain and place in a tray of sand and seed raising mix 2:1 ratio or
  2. Place seeds on a flat tray and pile a couple of handfuls of dry grass over the top. Set alight and when the flames have gone out sprinkle the remaining ash (which contains the seeds) over soil/seed raising mix.

Place seed raising trays in a morning sun, afternoon shaded position. Once the plants are about 2cm tall they can be transferred into individual pots. Apply Seasol every couple of weeks to build a strong root system and promote healthy growth.

Sweet fig

Tasty Figs

Fig trees are the fruit of choice at the moment. A versatile fruit, they taste their best when they are freshly plucked off the tree. This is the reason many people want to grow their own, but beware figs are not the tree for small backyards as their root system is very destructive. They are closely related to the Rubber Tree, the bane of many homeowners lives in the 70’s. It is for this reason that figs went out of favour for many years as they are the perfect tree for larger land holdings or parks.

But all is not lost, figs will grow and fruit successfully in a large pot in a small garden.

  • Select a pot at least 60cm in diametre, remembering this will be the home for the fig tree for at least 10 years its worth investing in a good quality pot.
  • Add coarse sand to the potting mix at the base of the pot. This will help improve drainage for years to come.
  • Lift the pot up off the ground with pot feet or paving bricks. It’s important that there is air space between the base of the pot and the ground as figs are notorious for rooting into the ground.
  • Place in a sunny position and apply Seasol and PowerFeed every 2 to 4 weeks during the growing season.

After a few years it’s possible to rejuvenate the soil by removing 1-2 litres (depending upon the size of the pot) and replacing with new potting mix when the tree is dormant through winter. This can be done in at least three places around the soil surface. Next year this practice can be repeated in a different position. Replacing the soil will reduce the need to repot the tree. Remember each time you do this watering in with Seasol (30mL per 9 litres of water). If you find the older potting mix is drying out and not taking up water, apply Seasol Super Soil Wetter & Conditioner (50mL per 9 litres of water)