With spring only a month away there's plenty to do in the garden. It's time to start thinking about preparing and planning for spring planting, including sprouting your seed potatoes to ensure a Christmas harvest. August is also the perfect time for a winter tidy up - clip the hedges, edges and prune a selection of fruit trees.
In the vegetable garden
Leading up to spring there's plenty to do in the vege garden from planning your crops for the coming season, preparing the soil and planting some cold hardy vegetables.
- Once the soil becomes compacted, it is very hard for air and water to move through it, which limits root growth and reduces the ability of plants to establish themselves. Blend in compost and Tui Super Sheep Pellets in preparation for the upcoming growing season.
- If you have planted cover crops such as mustard and lupin now is the time to dig them in. These plants will rot down in a matter of weeks, adding nutrients and organic matter to the soil.
- Plant beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, peas, mesclun, onions, silverbeet, spinach, coriander, parsley, rosemary, sage, and thyme.
- Harvest Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbages, cauliflower, celery, kale, leeks, winter lettuces, mizuna, parsnips, rocket, silverbeet, spinach.
- Lettuces - early-season lettuces and other salad crops can be planted - in colder areas you may want to use poly tunnels or protective cloches.
- Potatoes - begin sprouting seed potatoes. Most potato crops take about three months to mature, so need to be in the ground in September for a Christmas harvest. Always choose certified seed potatoes. These are specifically selected to thrive in the home garden and guaranteed to be free of viruses and pests that affect potatoes. Mix Tui Potato Food into garden beds before planting seed potatoes.
- Lay Tui Quash slug & snail control to stop slugs and snails munching on your seedlings.
In the fruit garden
Buds on fruit trees may be starting to plump or fatten up getting ready to burst into blossom as the days get longer and the temperatures warmer.
- Pick tamarillos, persimmon, avocados, and citrus – lemons, limes, mandarins.
- All deciduous fruit trees can be planted in July, August and September while the plants are still dormant. The widest selection will be available in garden stores now. All fruit require a position in full sun. Shelter from prevailing winds is preferable.
- Stake all young fruit trees to enable to roots to anchor themselves into the soil for the first few seasons.
- It's strawberry planting time, to ensure a good strawberry crop the plants need to have a period of winter chilling. The cold temperature helps stimulate the flower buds which produce the fruit. Prepare beds by working soil over with a fork, blend in Tui Super Sheep Pellets, and layer of Tui Strawberry Mix prior to planting.
- In frost prone areas or for sensitive plants, protect tender fruit trees with frost cloth.
- Pruning promotes new growth which means more fruiting power and capacity. It also allows more light into the plant/tree. Always remove dead and diseased wood. Prune apples, pears and apricots. Prune feijoa once fruiting is over. Avoid pruning peaches, plums and almonds in winter because it can spread the silver leaf virus. These fruits should be pruned in summer to limit its spread.
In the flower garden
With spring knocking on the door it’s all about the power of the flower. Magnolias, blossom trees, daffodils, tulips and a whole host of flowers are beginning to put on a floral finale to say goodbye to the winter blues.
- Pick Daphne, warratah, protea, azaleas, daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, camellias, viburnum, wallflowers, winter roses, hellebores, dianthus, flowering kale.
- Plant roses, gladiolus, paper daisies, dahlias in frost free areas (even though dahlias are hardy once established, new plants are not always tolerant to frost) hebes, lavender, lavatera, nemesia, azaleas, rhododendrons, violas, kale, bellis, calendula, clematis.
- Apply Tui Bulb Food to existing bulbs plantings.
- Apply a side dressing of Tui NovaTec Premium fertiliser to pots and planters.
- Prune to tidy up the garden before new growth appears in the spring. If you are not sure what your plants are, a general rule of thumb is to prune after flowering, not before.
- Keep on top of weeds to prevent major problems with them in spring. Weed empty garden beds as soon as anything appears.
- A thick layer of mulch will control and even kill some small weed plants.
Click here for our Winter Gardening Guide