December 7, 2007 Weekly Garden Guide

While we are hardly in the drought territory of Australia, the current dry season is certainly having an impact. Suspend planting ornamentals and trees until the rains return. Don’t lay mulch on dry gardens (the mulch will keep the gardens dry) but with the possibility of a dry summer continuing, be prepared with the mulch to lay after the next decent rain. Water container plants daily. If you spread fertiliser, water it in. At least the dry is keeping mildew problems at bay and the roses are loving the conditions with fewer fungal problems.

  • Conditions are ideal for weeding generally and for push hoeing in particular. While you need to gather up weeds which have formed seed heads (even when pulled out, some will continue to ripen their seeds in the sun) you can just leave other weeds sitting on the surface and the sun will shrivel them to a cinder in a short space of time.
  • Pruning is also a pleasant occupation in the dry weather and now is still the time to prune most plants except flowering cherries.
  • Any planting in the dry vegetable garden involves thorough cultivation of the ground. Compacted soil dries out faster. By aerating the soil and tilling it, you increase its water holding capacity. As you prepare for planting, dig a trench, cultivate it well, fill the trench with water and compost and then cover it all lightly with soil. Leave the top dry so that it acts as a barrier to water loss. Done this way, you should not need to water again on a regular basis unless we get very dry in mid summer. Don’t delay on getting pumpkins in.
  • Wisterias are making a bid for world domination. You can resort to hedge clippers for their summer prune if you wish because you don’t need to be too precise. If you are more particular, take off all their wild waving new growths and prune back to about four leaf buds from the main stems. Keep an eye open for borer holes. Oil (even cooking oil or CRC) or fly spray down the hole will work.
  • Deal to convolvulus and wandering jew now. If you are not organic, Woody Weedkiller or Banvine is an effective option for the former and Shortcut, Amitrol or Grazon for the latter.