In the garden this week: September 17, 2010

  • Give top priority to getting woody trees and shrubs planted which includes fruit trees. The soils are warming up and you want these plants to get established and make fresh root growth before summer. As a general rule, fruit trees do best in full sun.
  • It is time to wage war on wandering jew (tradescantia) and onion weed. These are not easy weeds to eliminate. If you are hand pulling them, don’t pile them in a heap and hope they will rot down – they will merely grow. You need to kill them, usually best done with heat – black rubbish sacks on concrete under a hot sun will work but does take effort. If you are willing to spray, Shortcut or Amitrol appear to be best options for home gardeners but you also need to add a surfactant to make the spray stick. Grazon or Tordon Gold will work if you are a farmer with these in the cupboard. Glyphosate won’t work at all. With wandering jew, if you roll up the top layer (and dispose of it elsewhere because every piece will grow again if it gets the chance), you will get a better kill with spray because you are killing the layers closest to the ground. Be prepared to spray on repeated occasions for eradication.
  • Don’t rush to plant tender summer crops such as tomatoes, cucumbers, aubergines or melons in the garden yet. You won’t gain anything and it really is still too cold. You can, however, be giving them a head start in containers in a sheltered position such as a porch or a glasshouse. If you have been tempted to buy baby plants from the garden centre, pot them on to a larger pot and cosset them until the great Labour Weekend plant out. It is really important that small plants not be checked in their growth by poor conditions (too dry, too cold, too wet or root bound in pots which are too small for them). They rarely recover from early encounters with adverse conditions.
  • Pinch off the first flowers on your freshly planted strawberries. This allows the plant to get larger and stronger and produce more fruit in the long run. It takes a lot of energy for a plant to produce fruit and you don’t want to exhaust the poor wee juvenile plants. You can still plant strawberries but don’t delay if you want fruit for Christmas. I see the handy advice is to put in five plants per family member. If you have a large family and you are buying plants, it would be cheaper to wait until next year and to plant runners much earlier in the season.
  • Keep the fertilising round going this month. Cheap and cheerful fertilisers are fine for the garden – keep the expensive, slow release fertilisers for container plants. Compost will also nourish and has the advantage of improving the texture and health of the soils. We recommend laying the compost on top as a mulch to suppress weeds. Nature and the worms will do the rest to mix it in with the dirt below.

1 thought on “In the garden this week: September 17, 2010

  1. Pingback: Tikorangi Notes: Friday 17 September 2010 « Tikorangi The Jury Garden

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