Friday, August 1, 2008

July in the Garden

July is often regarded as one of the coldest months of the winter with heavy frosts, southerly storms and possibly a snowstorm. Take the opportunity when it arises to work outdoors. It is a great month to clean up the garden shed, sharpen the tools and clean the tools up ready for spring work. Take the lawnmower in for its annual check; don’t wait until spring like everyone else.

Vegetable Garden
• Plan crop rotation in the vegetable garden by identifying areas for spring planting
• Plant onions, shallots and garlic
• In warmer climate areas plant early lettuces, cabbage, early potatoes, broad beans
• Mulch the ground with compost
• If green crops were planted dig them in now so they rot down before spring
• In sheltered spots plant seeds of radish
• Prepare cloches and greenhouses for new crops.

Crop rotation - Understanding simple crop rotation.

Crop rotation is practiced when growing vegetables. It is a simple concept that people often get worried about.

Crop rotation is practiced for two main reasons. Prevention of the build up of pests and diseases and to make the best use of nutrients in the soil.

There are three main groups of vegetables or edible plants.
1. Root crops like carrot, beetroot, parsnip and potato
2. Legumes like peas and beans.
3. Leafy crops like lettuce, cabbage, basil, silver beet.

Successive plantings in the same piece of ground should generally follow this sequence, root crops, legumes and leafy crops.

Why? Root crops take from the ground a wide range of nutrients but they do not like too much nitrogen as the roots will not develop in nitrogen rich soil. If you do not have much room just try planting a few early potatoes.

Follow root crops with legumes like peas and beans. These naturally produce nitrogen in little root nodules. People often say they do not have room to plant peas but you do not need much room and lets face it fresh peas a re wonderful. Also plant dwarf or French beans as these can produce a great crop.

Follow legumes with leafy crops as they like a lot of nitrogen to produce large leafy plants. They get their nitrogen from the soil as it was left there by the legumes.

In order to remember where different crops were planted each year make a small plan and mark them down each year.

Ornamental Garden
• Plant new roses, trees, shrubs and trees.
• Move plants around the garden to new positions by digging them up with plenty of roots and trans planting them
• Prune back shrubs that flower on new season’s wood.
• Plant iris bulbs
• Trim hedges
• Prune roses

How to prune roses

  • Here are some simple steps to make it easier and quicker.
  • Remove all the dead and dying branches. Remove all the crossing branches. (These grow from one side of the bush to the other.
  • Remove oldest wood (easily identified by the grey corky bark).
  • Aim to have three to five strong young stems remaining - and shorten these back to about 40 - 50cm. Make sure there is an outward facing bud at the top of the shortened stem.

• Aerate lawns using a fork to improve drainage and grass growth.
• Fill lawn hollows with sieved soil to level lawn

Home Orchard
• Prune fruit trees and spray with all seasons spraying oil to control pests and diseases.

Conservatory and Indoors plants
• Pot plants near windows should be shifted to warmer parts of the room.

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