That’s what I’ve been doing this week mulching … mulching …. mulching, with a bit of help for the boys on school holidays!
What a wet Spring we are having so far. Remember last year when the rain just stopped! This year has to be the complete opposite and I am loving it. The plants are too and are growing so fast its hard to keep up. So many irises are in bud this year which will be lovely, as the past few years has really been sad for the irises and lots of the flowering plants in my garden.
We love the rain and so do our gardens and this lovely wet spring has been the best antidote for our parched soils. Soon the warmth will return and we’ll be wishing it was cold again as the days heat up for summer.
So, that being said, it is time to get busy in the garden and fix your irrigation hoses and lay out your mulch, the ultimate insurance against heat stressed plants and rampaging weeds.
The easiest way to retain any moisture we do receive, is to mulch the entire area of your garden. Make sure the mulch is at least 10 cm thick and ideally of organic materials such as lucerne hay or offal, pea straw, or leaf and bark mulch. (Mulching also cuts down on the number of weeds that grow in your garden.)
You can still establish new, very drought tolerant plants while the weather is mild as long as you make a promise to check on them regularly as they will take some establishing in this weather. Water in any new plant with an organic wetting agent, which will help take moisture down to the root zone. It is especially necessary in non-wetting sandy soils. These soils will also be improved by adding organic matter, such as mulch and manures.
Now is the time to make sure all the drippers are working on your irrigation systems. Try to avoid spray systems, dripper and soaker/weeping hoses are more effective and create less evaporation, therefore conserving water.
Aphids are a pest, feeding on the juicy new shoots of roses. But wait, don’t spray; wait for their natural predators, the Lady Birds and Hover Flies, who will do that job for you. They will eat the aphids and their larvae. If you think the ladybirds are taking their time to get to your garden, you can also hose the aphids off.
Feed your entire garden, including the lawn, with organic fertilisers if you haven’t already done so. If you plan to fertilise natives make sure the fertiliser is suitable for natives, ie, low in phosphorous, such as blood and bone.
Feed citrus with high nitrogen fertiliser and chelated iron for green leaves and strong growth.
Prune spring flowering shrubs, after they have finished flowering.
Pull out spring weeds, especially before they set seed.
Plant out summer vegetable seedlings but protect any that are frost sensitive.
Now is a good time to plant seedlings for Christmas colour in your garden as they take 8-10 weeks to mature.
Finally, don’t forget to MULCH!!! Well that’s my lot for this week. Mulching the garden, its like tucking it in for the summer. It also equates to good exercise for those glutes.
Soon all we’ll need to worry about is keeping the garden alive in the summer. Until next time, happy gardening!!