This week 24 Nov 2006

  • If the rain ever stops, consider giving outdoor wooden furniture a protective coating to prevent mould growth, cracking in the sun and complete dehydration. You can buy product from hardware stores which is excellent but I find rather expensive (well, very expensive if you have lots of wooden outdoor furniture). I use a mix of somewhere around one third to one half raw liniseed oil to two thirds or one half turps, brushed on with a paint brush. The turps makes the oil spread more easily and stops the wood from being sticky for long. It should make outdoor furniture last longer. It certainly makes it look better.
  • Fertilise, fertilise and fertilise. This is the optimum time of the year to feed everything and hopefully the worst of the rain has passed so any topdressing won’t wash away.
  • Shape, prune and feed rhododendrons now as you deadhead them. They are in full growth so will recover faster from heavy pruning.
  • Stop picking asparagus now and give them a good feed, if you have not already done so. If you keep picking the spears, you will deplete the crown and weaken the plant for future cropping. After you eating all its early shoots, the plant now needs the chance to put on some foliage and build strength over summer.
  • If your new potatoes have succumbed to blight, as ours have, dig them promptly in case the blight travels down in to the tubers and save some for seed for a late autumn crop.
  • Keep the successional sowing of corn, peas and salad vegies going.
  • With all the recent rain, staying on top of the weeds has been difficult but take any opportunity to hoe and rake the vegetable garden and to handweed flower beds.
  • Botrytis is a problem with grapes in the current conditions. A spray with a suitable fungicide which targets botrytis (such as Bravo) may be advisable. It shows up as brown patches on the leaves at this time of the year and will seriously affect fruit set. Keep vines open by removing excess foliage, thin and unwanted growth along with removing all laterals until the fruit is set. Once this has happened, you let the foliage grow to strengthen the plant.