With life returning to normal and the kids back at school the days get very full and sorting out the garden slips down the list. Keeping your hands in it though is the best recipe for success. Here’s our list of “sort out and go” in the garden for those of us with only ten minutes to spare as the back to school run starts.
Time to feed
Fertilising over the next few weeks is important to keep the garden green, in flower and able to bounce back after the heat. The early summer rains would have leached out most of the nutrients and the greens will soon start to lose their luster and you definitely want to keep the colour and promote more flowers as we head toward the tail end of summer.
BioGanic is our best selling organic fertiliser. It’s also the most water wise way to fertilise. Feed at a rate of one handful per square meter or per shrub. The added benefit of using organic fertilisers is that they won’t wash out if we have a lot of rain over late summer.
Hydrangeas also need feeding through summer to improve next summer’s colour. Sweet soil will give you pink flowers and acid soil will lead to blue flowers. One can feed with an all purpose fertiliser such as BioOcean for flowering plants but by feeding in addition with Acid Plant Food or Agricultural Lime to assist in colour improvement.
Get a few spots of colour refreshed
Bedding plants and flowering perennials add colour to the garden. The rainy weeks with hot days in between will have finished off some and boosted others. Easy to grow Zinnias, Salvias as well as Summer Snapdragons and Portulaca will give a great show and extend your gardens colour through to late autumn. Take a few minutes to fill in empty patches or plant up a hanging basket or container for the patio.
If you need something taller and creating more of a focal point, consider planting a Bougainvillea or a Hibiscus in a sunny hot spot. A large container that drains well is all they need. Plant them up with Culterra potting Mix and a layer of drainage silica sand at the bottom of the container.
We also love the Mandevilla Jade plants with their cascading white, pink or red flowers. Adding to the tropical feel to the garden they are a scrambler and will also climb up a small topiary frame.
By the end of February the effectiveness of herbicides (weed killers) will go down considerably as they work best when weeds are growing fast. With that in mind now is the time for a quick spray to bring them under control. The weeds in the paving which just seem to come from nowhere must go to help tidy the garden and if you have a weed problem on the lawn this is the time of year that they seed so get a head start on next summer by spraying now.
We recommend that the area sprays should stay dry for at least 5hrs after application to be most effective. Rain or irrigation needs to be kept in mind on spray day.
There are ready to use options for all weeds which take out the guess work as well as making it safer to use as the dilution is correct. No Weed Lawn and No Weed Paving are perfect for small patches.
On larger lawns Hormoban is the only effective option especially for the hardy clover weed that just seems to dominate in our local area. The effectiveness is best if there is at least 5 hours of sun and no rain or watering after application. Depending on what weed you are spraying a second or third application may be required especially if you are trying to rid the lawn of clover.
For paving the most organic way of ridding weeds in paving is by hand or with a kettle of boiling water scorching the leaves. Sometimes one needs a different option but it is personal choice.
Roundup is available as a ready to use or as a concentrate which is more economical and ideal if you are doing large areas. Diluted 45ml into 1lt of water Roundup will work within 3 to 4 days if it has a sunny 5 hours after application. Use Roundup responsibly and only dilute as indicated on the packaging.
Have you heard of #waterfeaturewednesday? Well it doesn’t have to be on a Wednesday but we do recommend if you have a few minutes to spare that you check that the water feature pump is working at its optimum giving you the splash you’re looking for.
Make sure that the water level in to fountain or pond is at the right height so that you don’t end up with missing the reservoir draining and the motor of the pump burns out. Check to see that there aren’t leaves blocking the inlets – if so give it a quick clean and make sure the pump is re positioned into a more guarded area of the pond and also clean out any sand that may have found its way into the pond. Sand can get into the motor and damage the turning bits, the impeller, which leads to slowing down or bringing the impeller to a halt.
Bedsides not looking great increased algae levels in the pond can do similar damage to the impeller. A quick sort out with Algae control or Pond Clear will do the trick.
Eckards stocks the brand leader range of Waterhouse Pumps that come with a water safe three core cable ready to plug and play. Our team can help with finding the right pump for your water feature instore.
Bugs off now!
A few minutes of bug control will bring months of pleasure. Our team are always on hand to give you the best advice. The most common problems that need to be checked this time of the year are Clivia Worms, Snails and Ants.
Snails can have a devastating effect on your Veggies, succulents and ground covers if left unchecked. A few is a good thing in the garden as they help keep the layer of plants on the soil thinner to allow light and moisture to the earth but when they are left unchecked they can multiply in a few seasons to give you a headache when planting new seedlings or they eat your latest Echeveria succulent for dinner one night.
If you don’t fancy the idea of standing on some snails apply some Scatterkill for Snails early evening to catch them at their most active time of day. This product has a pet repellent as part of its makeup as well as being bran based bait. Don’t throw it everywhere, make small clumps in areas where you think the snails are and the snails will come to it.
Ants also seem to come from nowhere this time of the year. We need ants in the garden as they clean up all the dead insects etc but as with everything a few is better than an unchecked invasion. More often they will nest against the house, finding their way indoors or under paving. Easy to use Efekto Ant Vanish, an ant bait that will control the nest at the source and soon you’ll be able to leave a teaspoon in the kitchen sink again.
Snip and Tuck
This is the time of the year that you should find some time to get out into the garden for a quick walk around with your secateurs. With all the growth form the summer, shrubs and climbers can get a bit unruly and if you shape them now they will keep the look for the next few months. The added benefit of cutting back this time of the year is that it lets more light in as well as better air circulation in the garden so smaller plants around them perk up and add some growth before winter.