In the Garden this Week: May 20, 2011

Arguably the most critical copper spray of the year on citrus now

Arguably the most critical copper spray of the year on citrus now

• Get a copper spray on to citrus trees as soon as dry weather returns. This is a particularly important spray to stop fruit rotting on the trees before it even ripens and to stop leaf drop. Mandarins are particularly susceptible.

• Sow broad beans and you can continue planting the reliable brassicas (except Brussels sprouts – it is far too late for them. Your Brussels should already be half a metre high by now if you are to get a crop in late winter).

• We are dubious of the practice of fertilising and routinely spraying your lawns because it is just all round bad environmental practice but if you insist on continuing to use hormone sprays, getting them on now rather than waiting for spring may contain some of the damage to neighbouring plants. Plants coming into fresh leaf in spring are extremely susceptible to the faintest hint of spray drift. Hormone sprays are used to take out undesirable lawn weeds. Hand weeding is kinder to the environment if you don’t want a bio-diverse lawn.

• Get the last of your autumn harvest in before you lose the lot. Any potatoes still in the ground will be getting eaten. We have finished the tomatoes here but the capsicums and peppers will hold longer in the shed whereas they rot in the garden. Gather nuts and dry them rather than leaving them to feed the local rodents.

• Polyanthus can be lifted and thinned. Replant the strong crowns to get a better display shortly.

• Keep an eye on leaf litter landing in fish ponds and water features. If you let it rot down in the water, it increases the nutrient levels leading to later problems with algae growth and it can even kill the fish by reducing oxygen levels. A kitchen sieve or butterfly net is a useful scoop for this task.

• Lily bulbs are now in stock at garden centres. These are best bought fresh so if you want to grow these wonderful summer bulbs, get in early. Pot them if you are not ready to put them straight into the garden because they don’t store well.