I gave the wwoofers the day off today. It’s horrible outside, so I’ve decided to also have a bit of time off from the garden to catch up on some tasks indoors. I need time to plan and prepare for the busy weeks ahead. There isn’t much to report on the garden front, so I’ve put together a list of some random thoughts, tips and ideas about gardening. I’m limited for space, so I can’t share all my ideas here. As always, I’m very interested to hear others’ opinions and experiences!
Caring for the garden
· To dig or not to dig the garden over? Some experts say that doing so can be beneficial, but others believe it can do more harm than good. I usually keep it to just once a year, when I want to work compost, sheep pellets and fertiliser into the ground. I’ve found that seedlings planted in ground that hasn’t been dug over still do well
· I’ve read in a lot of gardening magazines that it’s best to water the garden several times per week very deeply, rather than superficially every day. However, we find that in order to keep plants alive (not just potted plants but even the ones in the ground), we have to water the garden every day in summer. What do other people do? Does anyone have irrigation? I’d really like to hear about other people’s watering system because ours could be improved
· This might sound like an excuse to avoid weeding, but sometimes it pays to wait for the weeds to grow a bit so you can see what has self-seeded in the garden. Plants that have popped up recently include wildflowers, poppies, calendula, sunflowers, malabar spinach and raspberries
· In winter, I recycle the potting mixture used to grow capsicums, chillies and eggplants in pots over summer and sow carrots. In spring, after I have harvested the carrots, I use the old mixture to help mound the potatoes so they remain covered with dirt and grow better
· Lawn mowing clippings makes a good mulch around fruit trees and roses
· An organic method of pest control for growing potatoes is to line the trench with comfrey leaves prior to planting. This is supposed to protect against the potato worm. Admittedly, I haven’t tried this myself yet. I really wanted to this year but our comfrey leaves seemed to have been eaten by insects themselves and didn’t look very healthy, so I didn’t want to spread any diseases. Has anyone else done this?
· Speaking of comfrey leaves, they can be used to make liquid fertiliser. Again, I didn’t want to this year as our comfrey plants were in such bad condition
· Planting garlic near roses is said to help keep aphids away. Parsley grown around roses is thought to help prevent black spot
· If you remove the laterals from your tomato plants, you can pot them up. They will soon form roots and you’ll have some free plants
· Perennials easily propagated by cuttings include roses, lavender, hibiscus and hydrangea. Herbs that can be grown from cuttings include rosemary and mint. Use a little Yates Clonex Purple Rooting Hormone Gel to improve the strike rate of cuttings
· Plant bulbs in bulb baskets to make them easier to find after they’ve finished flowering
Do you have any other random gardening tips you’d like to share with others?