IN THE EDIBLE GARDEN
Watering, weeding and feeding is the name of the game this month. You’ll also be starting to see the (literal) fruits of your spring labour!
Here’s a few ideas on what to sow and plant in December: Beetroot, beans, carrot, capsicum, chilli, coriander, courgette, cucumber, melons, eggplant, lettuce, mesclun, parsley, pumpkin and squash, radish, rocket, silverbeet, spinach, spring onions, sweetcorn, tomatoes, and fruiting plants like strawberry, blueberry, and passionfruit.
Feed all of your veges with a good liquid fertiliser every couple of weeks. Tomatoes & strawberries are particularly heavy feeders; feed every 1-2 weeks with a fast acting food or fertiliser and keep them well watered. Read more on what to feed your plants for best results here.
Don’t forget to regularly remove the laterals on your tomato plants! Pinch them off while they’re still small; this encourages bigger, better fruit. Wait for a dry, sunny day to remove laterals - pinching them off opens up a wound on your plant, and doing this when it’s wet or humid can increase the risk of disease.
Keep mounding up the soil around your potatoes; early varieties are ready to harvest when the flowers are fully opened, while main cropping varieties are ready when the foliage dies off.
Onions and garlic are traditionally harvested around the longest day (the summer solstice) which falls on the 22nd December. But pay attention to the leaves, as they will tell you when they are ready! Harvest when the tops begin to wither and die down. Once harvested, leave to dry in the sun for a few of days until the skin becomes papery.
Remember to harvest your courgettes while they are small. Leave them too long and they’ll quickly grow into marrows!
IN THE FLOWER GARDEN
Here’s what to sow or plant this month: echinacea, begonia, dahlia, petunia, lavender, chrysanthemum, hollyhock, cosmos, gerbera, marigold, nemesia, love-in-a-mist (nigella), daisy, delphinium, calendula, and fuchsia are just a few ideas.
Lots of vibrant summer flowers are blooming, including roses ? To enjoy a gorgeous floral display all the way through summer, it’s essential to deadhead regularly. For more info on deadheading check out this blog.Make sure your dahlias have a good support - we love these Peony Supports as they are functional AND look amazing in your garden.
Display & enjoy cut flowers with a Kenzan! Such a fun way to get creative with your arrangements. They also make excellent Christmas gifts.
Once the leaves on your spring flowering bulbs have completely died down you can lift the bulbs & store in a cool dry place.
TASKS THIS MONTH...
- Watering is your most important task to keep on top of this month. Stick to mornings or early evenings - avoid watering during the heat of the day. In summer it’s best to water thoroughly every few days rather than a small amount each day. Make sure the water really penetrates the soil (it should be wet down to at least 5cm deep) as this encourages deeper root development.
- If you’re heading away for the holidays, take the time to set up some irrigation. Iriso has some great cost-effective, gravity fed options (no electricity, batteries, timers or mains pressure water required).
- Pests & birds can be a big issue in the edible garden this month; use a net tunnel or cloche to keep your plants protected. We often get asked whether strawberries are able to be pollinated beneath a net tunnel. Many of our customers have reported back that they have no issues with this - leaving the door of your tunnel open for a hour or so every other day should be enough to do the trick! You can find different pest control solutions (including bait, sprays, traps & more) here.
- Pull weeds as soon as you see them appear.
- Mulching is important over summer as it keeps the soil cool, conserves moisture and suppresses weeds. Layer in your mulch around 10cm deep (pea straw is ideal for the vege garden, but you can also use shredded leaves, compost etc.). Try to keep your mulch a few cm back from the stem of the plant.
- Keep your lawn from drying out by raising the cutting height on your lawn mower. Longer grass shades the roots, which helps to stop your lawn from drying out in hot weather.
- Mist your indoor plants using a mister.