July 20, 2007 Weekly Garden Guide

  • Onions like settled ground so prepare the onion bed now for sowing in early spring (late August) and then keep it weed free. If you live inland and have heavy frosts, you can take heart that Jack is meant to break down the clumps and sweeten the soil so his visits are not all bad.
  • If you grow frost tender material that needs protecting from the occasional frosts, you may like to try old umbrellas as frost protection. Easier to whip out than frost cloth and don’t blow away like single sheets of newspaper. Our yellow clivias looked quite cute with red and blue brollies earlier this week. A keen new gardener on the coast tells me he put in poles beside his bananas when he planted them and puts up cheap golf umbrellas when frost threatens.
  • If you have a well protected spot (not too windy and cold), you can start planting the first crop of peas. Sown now, you may have fresh peas by mid spring (around 2 to 3 months to maturity depending on the variety). Peas are a great crop to grow with children. You won’t get any peas for the cooking pot but at least they will be snacking on something which the Government Food Police will approve of.
  • It is still winter cleanup time with copper and oil spray for all deciduous fruit trees and roses. It is usual to prune the roses before spraying but it probably doesn’t matter. Even if you never spray roses in summer, this one winter spray is reputed to make a big difference to their summer performance.
  • Haunt the seed stands in the local garden outlets and pick out the annuals you want for this year. Most can be sown in trays now, some can be direct sown in milder coastal areas at least. Ditto spring vegetable plants, especially salad vegetables. Prepare now because time and spring wait for no gardener and will be on us before we realise it.