Have a wonderful festive season – enjoy some quality time in the garden!

The first month of summer can be a shock to the gardener and the garden as days reach their maximum length and temperatures and humidity levels rise. With the right care, it’s a time of growth in the garden. Keep up with regular watering when it’s needed, fertilising and maintenance such as deadheading to encourage plants to keep blooming over the months ahead.

Getting the festive spirit

Having the garden looking good this month means you’re well placed when friends or relatives drop in. A bit of early planning takes the stress out of entertaining outdoors. To get the garden in shape, deadhead flowering plants that have finished their show. Many perennials and shrubs (especially roses and dahlias, which are the star performers in the summer garden) come back into bloom after a light pruning and a regular liquid feed with PowerFeed PRO SERIES for Roses & Flowers. Application is easy, simply mix 50mL of the PowerFeed concentrate per 9 litres of water (standard watering can), every 2 to 4 weeks.

Continue the clean up by mowing the lawn and weeding garden beds. Make sure to cover weeded areas with mulch to deter regrowth and to give the garden a cared-for look. If the weeds take over, naturally control them with EarthCare Organic WeedKiller spray. Glyphosate free, it is a non-selective contact herbicide.

Festive garden – what to do checklist

Use a broom or water jet to clean outdoor areas including paths, pavers, walls and under cover areas. Brush down outdoor furniture and clean the barbecue. Put up some outdoor lights in trees, along the fence or verandah – look for solar powered lights which don’t need a power source and are safe to use in any location.

Create splashes of colour with plants bought in bloom at your local hardware or garden centre such as hydrangeas, marigolds, salvias, petunias or calibrachoas, which can be potted up or planted into the garden. When decorating an outdoor space with pots look for a theme, either all pots the same colour but different sizes, or the same size pot in different shades that all look good together.

When planting in the garden or pot remember to water your new plants in with Seasol GOLD to reduce transplant shock and aid plant establishment. Regular applications of Seasol GOLD every 2 weeks helps to promote healthy growth, improve root development and reduce stress from heat, drought, pests and diseases.

Hydrangea care

The ‘hydra’ part of hydrangea’s name refers to their love of water. The exceptionally high winter and spring rains in many areas means hydrangeas are looking their best this summer and should bloom prolifically. They are also beautiful cut flowers for a vase display at Christmas.

Keep hydrangeas looking good all summer with regular deep watering. They are ideally planted in a spot that gets afternoon shade in summer to protect the flowers from burning and to reduce wilting. Where plants look wilted in the afternoon, give them a long watering, directing the hose around the root area. On very hot days hydrangeas benefit from temporary protection such a covering of shadecloth or a well-positioned beach umbrella (make sure it is secure in case conditions turn windy).

Hydrangeas will also benefit from a granular feed over summer with Seasol plus Nutrients Roses & Flowers, to keep them blooming throughout the season.

Tomato growing guide

Tomatoes are everybody’s backyard vegie favourite. Tomatoes are delicious when eaten fresh and ripe from the garden or added to your favourite salad. To get the best from your tomatoes this summer, make sure they are trained onto their support (usually a stake or tripod). To do this, tie in and adjust ties regularly. Also pinch out excess side shoots (known as laterals), which grow from the leaf axils, and pinch out the top growth when it has reached the top of the stake.

Water daily and liquid feed regularly every 10-14 days with a tomato fertiliser such as PowerFeed PRO SERIES for Tomatoes & Vegetables. It’s a fast-acting fertiliser that contains a balanced nutrient and trace element mix to promote flowering and fruiting for a bumper crop. Plus it is boosted with liquid compost to improve soil health and water and nutrient uptake.

To avoid fruit fly damage in areas with fruit fly, pick tomatoes when they are fully sized but not ripe, and cover individual trusses with mesh exclusion bags.

For more information on growing tomatoes, check out our tomato guide for all the tips and tricks.

Great 10 minute gardening tips for Christmas Your Garden December 2020

Summer lawn care

Summer is the season when our lawns really take centre stage in the garden. They offer a soft green respite on a hot day and call the family outdoors to play or just sit with a picnic or a drink.

Keeping the lawn growing through summer means regular watering, especially if days are hot and dry. Water restrictions permitting, use a sprinkler or irrigation to effectively water the lawn, setting a timer so it doesn’t get forgotten and waste water. The best time to water is early in the morning when it’s cool, allows the lawn time to absorb and use the water. Watering late at night can cause the lawn to remain wet overnight, which could cause fungal diseases. Remember lawns respond well to a routine of watering less often but for a longer period to ensure roots grow down into the soil in their search for moisture and nutrients.

If water isn’t soaking in, use a soil wetting agent such as Seasol Super Soil Wetter & Conditioner to allow the water to get to where it’s needed. Use the click-on to the hose to make the application easy and effective.

Summer lawn mowing and repair

Mow the lawn regularly through summer but don’t scalp the lawn or mow so close to leave bare patches. Longer leaf blade leads to a healthier, greener lawn that’s more likely to be weed free. If there are weeds, hand weed or spot treat such as EarthCare Organic WeedKiller spray taking care to follow the instructions on the container. Re-application may be necessary after 7 days depending on the weed.

If there are bare spots, gently break up the soil surface and sow seed or plant runners from other parts of the lawn if the lawn is a running variety such as buffalo, kikuyu or couch. Avoid walking on newly planted lawn areas until the grass has become established.

Apply Seasol Lawn & Turf Starter to newly sown seed or newly laid runners every week for the first six weeks. With Seasol and liquid compost, it helps with seed germination and establishment of the lawn runners with strong root development.

Cover well-worn tracks

It is very easy to wear a track across the lawn by taking a short cut (instead of using the path). The family can also create a worn track across the lawn as it runs to its favourite barking spot.

To manage wear, either block the route with a temporary barrier or give in and move the path to the worn spot! Other worn spots may occur where the lawn narrows. Consider removing grass from pinch points and putting down pavers or stepping stones to avoid unsightly dry or muddy patches.

To keep lawns healthy, lush and green over summer apply Seasol for Lush Green Lawns regularly every fortnight to month throughout the growing season. Safe on all lawn types including Buffalo, it feeds and revitalises your lawn, but also conditions the soil. The added wetting agent makes sure that valuable water and nutrients can penetrate the root system, so it’s the perfect pick me up for a healthy lawn all year round.

For more tips and trick on summer lawn care, check out our summer lawn guide.