In the garden this week: September 24, 2010

  • Cut the spent flowers off your hellebores to stop the likely infestation of aphids, which find them a pleasant home, and to prevent them self seeding.
  • You still have time to start your own summer veg from seed but don’t delay with tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, aubergines, capsicums and the like. These are all started off sown in trays or pots for planting out in the garden later next month. If you only want one or two plants, it is probably just as cheap to buy the plants as packets of seed but sowing seed gives you the chance to be generous and share plants with friends and family.
  • Mark will be starting his corn in baby pots here. It is too early to plant out in the open yet but this being his most favourite vegetable of all, he likes to maximize the season and to get an early start with established plants.
  • Cloches come into their own at this time of the year. They will warm the soil more quickly, so allowing earlier planting out. They will also protect young crops and keep rain splash off micro greens.
  • In the ornamental garden, dahlias can be lifted and divided.
  • Feed roses if you have yet to do so. They are in full growth now so will have maximum uptake of fertiliser. If you are laying mulch around your roses, keep it well clear of the rose crown near the ground.
  • Kumara can be chitted, like potatoes. Place them on damp sawdust, straw or even crumpled newspaper in a warm, dark spot to encourage them to start sprouting. Kumara are another crop that needs maximum growing time, so the timing of planting out is important.
  • Get a copper spray onto deciduous fruit trees as they break dormancy. This is a key application to prevent problems later and is the single most important spray of the season.