Compost autumn leaves - these are absolute GOLD for your compost or worm farm. Or simply pile up in an area you want to plant out later. In a couple of months they will rot down and condition your soil for you. To plant: dig your hole (twice as wide and a little bit deeper than the rootball of your plant), add kaolin clay, mix through and you're good to go.
If not already done, spray your deciduous stone fruit trees with copper to prevent curly leaf and other fungal infections. Kocide or Fungus Fighter are both good. Ensure the spray is done after leaves have fallen (you may have to pick them off yourself if not done by mid June) and prior to bud burst.
Outdoor pot plant leaves browning or sagging? Check the roots, they may be rotting. If so, prune off affected brown roots, repot, remove any saucers and put pot feet underneath to allow airflow through the drainage hole. Or buy a new plant, it's often easier!
WEEDS – get onto them! Hand weeding is much easier this time of year and weeds are excellent in the compost if not full of seed heads. Seeds can go in very hot composts but most composts are not hot enough to kill them.
Plant asparagus and rhubarb. Crowns are available at nurseries now.
Ensure wicking pots are draining well. It is always a good idea when setting up to put in a winter drainage outlet at the lowest part of the container which can be plugged up in summer.
Indoor plants need much less water in winter and no feeding at all. Ditto for bromeliads. Water with tepid water only if dry. Move them away from heaters & draughts. Spray leaves with water, group plants together or place pebbles in saucers to maintain the humidity they like. Do not let them sit soggily in their saucers. As with outdoor pots, lift them up onto pot feet to allow air flow.
Tip-prune sweet peas and feed with Go Go juice, Eco Vital or compost/worm tea every 2 weeks for a month (ie twice) when about 15cm tall to get them off to a good start. Protect from wind.
Spread compost or soil conditioner over your garden then mulch to enrich soil and to take advantage of the winter rains.
TURN OFF RETIC. Let your plants breathe. More is not better.
Check gutters, down pipes, rainwater filters and drains for leaves/rubbish. Clean out any sludge in the bottom of your rain water tank (or get someone else to do it).
Install gutter mesh to avoid this problem in the 1st place.
Rake autumn leaves & add to compost. Leaves left on lawn may cause dead patches.
VEGIES: Plant 1/3 or 1/6 of what you need this winter of mustard & Asian greens, asparagus, leek, strawberries, radish, kale, broccoli, shallots, leeks, spinach, silverbeet, broccoli, peas, cabbage, lettuce, broad beans, carrots, caulis, beetroot. If possible, plant crops fortnightly – little & often avoids gluts. Plant garlic, citrus, all native trees and shrubs, Mediterranean plants and herbs.
Prune bougainvillea by only 1/3 after flowering. Pruning hard will create thorny growth.
Like mushrooms? Grow your own – visit your local garden centre to buy a mushroom kit.
Cut blue gingers, cannas to ground. Prune salvias, buddleias by 1/3 - 1/2.
Train sweet peas and any other malleable climber stems down more horizontally to promote more flowers. Use Ezi-ties, they are plant friendly, reusable and last for ages.
Ensure your pets are warm enough and not in windy spots during cold winter nights. Do the same for your indoor plants.
Install a rainwater tank so you can make the most of the rain.
Check for caterpillars. Hand pick them off, spray with 1tbs molasses: 1L water or use Dipel, Success or horticultural Diotomaceous Earth.
As per June, keep staggering the vegie planting for a balanced succession of crops.
Plant seed potatoes (can sprout in a dark place before planting). Trenches or tubs are ideal.
Apply EcoGrowth’s Eco Oil to all deciduous trees mid-late July to smother mites and scale after they hatch from eggs in late winter/early spring. PS – although not stated on product labels, you can also mix copper-based product, Kocide in with the oil spray. This is an effective addition to the battle against fungal and bacterial diseases. Thankyou to Peter Coppin for this time saving hint. www.petercoppin.com
Prune off diseased/crossed branches on deciduous fruit trees. Spray leafless stone fruit/nut trees with Multicrop’s Kocide or Yates Fungus Fighter to prevent fungal infections. Spray before blossoms open. Pick a fine non windy day to do this.
Fertilise vegies every 2 weeks with liquid fertiliser or worm/compost
Check your soil isn't non-wetting. If it is, use a liquid wetting agent like Eco Hydrate or Eco Wet and, a clay amendment (if sandy) + compost. Top with 2-3cm of a coarse mulch (not peat/jarrah mulch).
Prune roses late July by ½. Spray with lime sulphur – add a drop of detergent to help stick. If unsure how to do this, call Dawsons to attend a free rose pruning workshop.
Prune grapes & spray with lime sulphur or Multicrop’s Kocide or Yates Fungus Fighter. Apply spray as close to bud-burst as possible for best results, but your vine must not have new leaves or green buds as spray will burn them. Protect other plants & paving by using a tarp to catch drips. Cuttings of 15cm strike easily now. Use unprocessed honey or aloe vera gel on ends to assist the rooting process and to protect against disease.
Prune Sasanquas camellias as soon flowers finish. Cut back long, whippy shoots to promote bushy growth. Use hedge shears for trimming into formal shapes.
Prune natives (especially bottlebrush) & evergreen shrubs after flowering by 1/3.