November 30, 2007 Weekly Garden Guide

  • We are getting very dry so make sure container plants get a dose of water daily. Few plants like a flood or drought regime (that is where you suddenly notice that the plants are wilting so you give them a really good soak and then ignore them until it happens again). Woody plants are likely to develop root problems. If the water pours out the bottom as fast as you pour it on top, you can be sure that it is flowing straight through and not being absorbed by the roots or the potting mix. In this case, water a little often, soak the whole container if you can or apply some surfactant or a little detergent to encourage penetration by the water. Scratch around the surface to see how far the water is penetrating.
  • Wetting the surface of garden beds is not going to do anything except keep down the dust. Gardens need a good slow soak but if your style of gardening depends on watering, maybe now is the time to review what you are growing and how you are managing it. It is not good gardening practice to have to water all the time and not at all PC in an era when water is becoming a scarce resource. At the very least, make plans to pile on a mulch after the next good rains when the soil is damp.
  • Keep turning your compost heap and make sure it does not dry out. It is probably acceptable to water compost and you do not want it developing fire fang.
  • Do not cut lawns too short (scalping them) as it causes them to dry out faster and to burn.
  • Keep sowing dwarf beans at two week intervals, assuming you like fresh beans.
  • With the rise in temperature, summer weeds such as portulaca are starting to germinate. Push hoe often to try and get rid of these weeds before they get established.
  • If you have not sprayed the onehunga weed in lawns, you are leaving it late so get on to it straight away. This is the nasty, prickly summer weed which can make it impossible to walk barefooted on lawns and is the bane of all children.
  • Keep copper sprays on potatoes and tomatoes and keep up with pinching out laterals on tomatoes (the leafy side shoots) to encourage good cropping.
  • Spring flowering perennials can be cut back and divided but you will need to keep them watered until they perk up again.