There are always a few things to do on the January list and the garden and patio are no exceptions. Keeping your eye on the weeds, blitzing the bugs, a quick cut back and the order can be restored for the rest of summer. Here's our top tips to get it all sorted.
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. This fertiliser will bounceback your summer garden and boost growth feeding over a longer period as a slow release fertiliser.
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 add colour to the garden. The hot January will have finished off some and boosted others. Water wise Zinnias, Salvias as well as Marigolds and Portulaca will give a great show and extend your gardens colour through to late autumn. Take a few minutes to fill in a empty patches or plant up a hanging basket or container for the patio.
Plant a few Cone Flowers for something different. They are heat and drought resistant and flower from late summer right through to autumns end. Their botanical name Echinacea is derived from the Greek word for hedgehog because of the spiny domed centre of the flower. They grow to around 40cm high in a sun to afternoon sun spot.
Blitz the weeds
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.
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.
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 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. 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 a 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 Nip-it, 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.