Winter is here and it’s time to plan for the seasons ahead!

Heading to the garden throughout winter with a wheelbarrow full of soil improver, compost and/or Seasol Liquid Compost and plants remains one of my favourite tasks in life. There is a sense of anticipation and excitement as I visualise each plant that goes in the ground and what it would look like at maturity. Regardless of how large my garden is, there is always room for an extra plant or two.

Gorgeous Verges

For those gardeners who see this area as a waste of space it’s a perfect opportunity to put it to good use, either by planting with a lawn substitute, that from a distance will look like a lawn or using it as a continuation of the front garden, selecting ground covers for the road edge. Others see this area as the idea space to establish productive fruiting trees and who are willing to share produce with passers-by.

Before any changes are made to the verge area it’s a good idea to check the verge garden policy with the local council. Many councils are pro-active and have seized the opportunity to work with residents who want to beautify and improve their street appeal. If the verge is being retrofitted from lawn to garden bed areas, a simple landscape may be all that’s required to receive the go ahead. It’s a good idea to include mature heights of plants intended to be planted. This will save the local council time as they don’t have to search varieties and demonstrates that you’ve done your research when it comes to selecting suitable varieties.

Tips for creating a verge garden

As a general guide and a starting point:

  • Plants over 50cm in height are not permitted to be planted.
  • If a tree is to be planted, it must be under pruned to ensure the pedestrian visual line of sight isn’t impeded.
  • Street trees must not interfere with overhead power lines.
  • In the case of footpaths foliage mustn’t grow over the edge.
  • Avoid planting spiny or varieties that are known to cause allergies.
  • When planting, water plants in with Seasol to reduce transplant shock and aid plant establishment.
  • If the soil is not taking up water it may be hydrophobic (repelling water). Applying a soil wetter such as Seasol Super Soil Wetter & Conditioner  will help get water to the plant’s root system.

It’s important to remember that this land remains the property of the local government jurisdiction and if they need to change or dig up the area for any reason, they have the right to do so. Even though these rules seem daunting local councils are very keen to see homeowners and residents caring for and beautifying their verges and are more than willing to work with residents for the benefit of the area.

Herb Verge Garden

Hardy Mediterranean herbs are ideally suited to growing in verge gardens and are low growing.

Favourite varieties include:

  • Ground covering Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Thyme – there are at least 10 different varieties of Thyme to select.
  • Oregano
  • Marjoram

Harvest herbs regularly to encourage continual supply of soft flavoursome shoots. Apply PowerFeed PRO SERIES for Tomatoes & Vegetable for a bumper supply of fragrant, healthy herbs to share with family and friends.

Permeable pavers

Allowing rain to seep into the soil where it’s fallen is so important to the environment, health of large trees and bushland areas. The large area of hard surfaces in urban settings results in stormwater runoff. The preference to hard surfaces is green space, lawn, ground covers or garden beds. If installing green spaces isn’t an option in certain areas always select a permeable paver. These pavers are specially designed to allow water to pass through to the soil rather than it running off.

The benefits include:

  • Reduced storm water runoff.
  • Recharging the shallow underground aquifer.
  • Fine feeder roots of surrounding plants are watered.
  • Established trees can access natural rainfall rather than requiring additional irrigation.

House plants

One of the main reasons house plants die, is from overwatering. In winter when the temperature drops remember that plants aren’t growing as quickly and evaporation rates are lower. Keep the water away until the soil feels dry.

How to tell if your house plants are overwatered –

  • Stems become soft and collapse. In fleshy stemmed plants they will feel slightly mushy.
  • Edges of leaves are brown or black.
  • Plants will wilt, but remain pliable.
  • Older leaves will turn yellow.
  • Soil smells musty and adult fungal gnats will hover around foliage.

Remove the plant from the existing potting mix and replant it with a premium indoor potting mix such as Seasol Indoor Potting Mix. It contains everything you need to take the guesswork out of growing and looking after indoor plants.

How to grow vegetables - spinach

Top 10 plants for winter edible balcony gardens:

All these edible plants grow brilliantly in pots in a sunny position with soil prepared with Seasol Super Compost.

  • Asian leafy greens grow quickly and can be harvested from three weeks after planting. Harvest only what is needed allowing the plant to produce additional leaves.
  • Silver beet is a hardy versatile leafy green. Harvest when leaves are small for the best taste.
  • Repeat harvest lettuce varieties are super easy to grow and suited to south facing balconies.
  • English Spinach tastes even better in winter. Plant close together and liquid fertilise regularly.

Top 10 plants for winter edible balcony gardens (cont):

  • Spring onions are very worthwhile as tops can be harvest when young or left in the pot and allowed to mature. Plant close together for best value.
  • Celery grows brilliantly in deep pots with regular fertilising. Small tender stalks are packed with flavour for soups and stews.
  • A crop of dwarf sugar snap peas will produce tender young shoots and tasty pods. Plant closely and keep in an airy position to reduce fungal problems.
  • Baby carrots are the best. Sow the densely in a medium sized pot and harvest as needed. Avoid high nitrogen fertilisers as this cause branching of roots. Apply PowerFeed PRO SERIES for Roses & Flowers which is perfect as it’s low in nitrogen and high in potassium.
  • Beetroot is versatile, harvest tender young shoots when small for tasty leafy greens and then allow roots to develop for the best flavour.
  • Herbs such as parsley, basil, rosemary, chives, thyme and sage will grow well all year round.