Summer in Gauteng is nearly over and we are starting to see the early signs of autumn all around. The next few months are a great time of the year to get into the garden, the days are still hot but the cooler mornings and evenings slow the growth of plants down particularly visible in the lawns, this gives the gardener chance to relax and enjoy the colours and textures before the leaves begin to fall.
Many plants look at their best during this time of the year as there is less heat stress on the foliage and colours begin to intensify. The key this time of the year is to feed with an organic fertiliser such as BioGanic to replace nutrients lost with the recent rains. By fertilising now you also wake up all the autumn and winter perennials and boost the green foliage plants as the soil starts to cool down over the next month strengthening plants so that they will handle the coming months better.
Getting things sorted in the garden and on the patio this time of the year keeps everything looking great right through to winter. General growth on trees and shrubs has slowed down and by pruning and shaping now they will keep tidy for the next six months or so.
Look out for perennials that flower this time of the year. Most perennials clump and one gets a more long term colour spot adding more permanence to your landscape design. Aster Astee is one of them that make a striking show in full sun to half sun every autumn. Perennials look great for a season and then go down till the next year. Besides Asters, look out for Butterfly Gaura and the popular Evolvulous Blue My Mind from the Keith Kirsten range as alternatives and for colour variety. Mix and match to create an informal romantic styled border or plant on mass for a striking show.
TIP: By planting a mixed grouping different this look at their best at different times giving you year round interest.
Sow some herbs & Veggies
You can still sow succession crops of beetroot, rocket, carrots and Swiss chard. Prepare your beds now to sow cool season veggies like peas, cabbage, cauliflower and onions as the month turns. Early March is also a good time to get your parsley going and to start your crop of leeks for winter soups.
Prepare the beds with plenty of compost and a generous feeding of Bounce Back. Remember to keep your new seed well watered especially if we have a hot few days in a row.
Last boost for lawns!
Late February is time to give your lawns a last boost in the growing season. Lawns fed now will green up sooner in the new spring and are stronger which keeps down the weeds. With water challenges an organic fertiliser that won’t wash out with a thunderstorm or burn if you don’t water it our first choice. BioGanic Lawn will also add to the toughness of the lawn for high traffic areas. Well irrigated lawns if you have a borehole can also be fed with 713 Lawns and Foliage fertiliser as a quick result fertiliser for colour and growth.
If you are fighting weeds do so before March as the efficacy of the broadleaf herbicides goes down by half or more as the season changes. Hormoban is still your best option as a weed killer in lawn, spray on a hot sunny day and make sure the lawn stays dry for five hours after application for best results.
Keep the colour
There are plenty of summer bedding plants that will stretch right through autumn and give you a great show until it’s time for the winter bedding plants. The Salvias, Zinnias and Begonias are the most rewarding and truly spectacular if well fertilised. To extend their flowering season deadhead the Salvias as well as adding a layer of compost around their base. Zinnias and Begonias need to dry out between watering this time of the year so watch your irrigation on them.
Feed once a week with Multifeed Flowergro to stimulate flowering and to keep them looking at their best. Multifeed is a water soluble fertiliser that can be used as a drench or as a foliar feed. One heaped teaspoon into a 5lt watering can is all you need.