Monthly Tips & Tasks May 2012

May All About Gardening with Michael Coulter

MAY ALL ABOUT GARDENING

With Michael Coulter

How’s your autumn ?   It’s a funny season …. the end of the growing season.  It’s time to think about what we did in the previous twelve months.  What worked and what didn’t.

Chrysanthemums are looking good this year.  It’s not easy to get colour in your gardens at this time of year.  Chrysanthemums are excellent for that.  Cyclamens add colour indoors in a cool well lit spot. Outdoors you can still plant sweet peas but time is running out for planting spring bulbs.

When spring comes around we tend to make the same mistakes each year.  Sometimes it’s plants placed in the wrong spot.  Take the time to work out what goes best and where.  So far, we’re 45 hours behind in sunshine hours, therefore everything was behind on the previous year.   Michael said he tried Italian Fennel in the garden this year.  Wonderful in soups.   Try pushing the boundaries.  Try something that grows well in Auckland to see how it performs in Canterbury.  What did well and what didn’t in your flower garden.  Thinking now goes a long way to sorting next seasons garden. Same with your vegetable garden.  Think about a green garden and plant lupin and mustard seed now for digging in at the end of winter.

It’s a time for spraying and general tidying up.  It’s a time of falling leaves.
Your leaves should be used as mulch or compost.  Don’t fill your green bin with them.  Michael said leaves NEVER leave his property.

Consider the influence the weather has on your property

Get a clean-up spray on your trees.
Give deciduous fruit trees a lime sulphur spray after leaf fall.
Use Conqueror Oil to deal to spider mite in the over wintering stage.
Don’t forget to check your soil condition and if necessary use a good garden lime.
Move your cold sensitive potted plants into a more sheltered position away from the frosts.Although there is an unmistakable chill in the air it heralds the start of a busy season of planning and planting.
Sow broad beans. Transplant seedlings of broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. Also plant silver beet for late spring harvest

QUESTION TIME

Q;        Is it possible to grow tamarillos in Christchurch ?

A;        Yes.  They grow very well on Banks Peninsula and in sheltered areas.

Q;        How do I get rid of weed grasses in my lawn ?

A;        Generally, if a lawn is raked reasonably hard, then mown with a rotor cut lawn mower on a low setting, you can eliminate most weeds.  Then a spray with Turfix or other weed application to get rid of broadleaf weeds.

Q;        My neighbour has two very large walnut trees that shed leaves onto my property

Can I compost these leaves ?

A;        Yes you can  –  as long as they are very well mixed with other leaves.  There is something in walnut leaves that effects other plants if applied in large quantities

Q;        Do I apply garden lime or dolomite lime ?

A;        They are slightly different.  Dolomite will generally not bring up the Ph level in the soil as quickly as garden lime will.

Q;        This year I have planted a lupin green crop. When do I dig it in ?

A;        Planting a lupin or mustard green crop improves the soils structure. Normally August – September.  Use the double digging method.  Turned in too soon doesn’t allow the nitrogen to work properly.

Q;         Which way up do I plant my anemone ?

A;         Ranunculus down  –  anemone up.  If  in doubt – plant them sideways