Garden tasks for January 2015

Flower garden

  • DE14_garden-tasksLift spring flowering bulbs once the leaves have died down completely, and store in a cool, dry place. Tulips should be lifted before the tops are quite dead.
  • Tie dahlias, delphiniums and other tall growing plants to stakes as they grow.
  • Pick sweet pea flowers regularly to ensure a continuous display of blooms.
  • Mulch throughout your shrub beds particularly flowering shrubs such as azaleas and rhododendrons, to help conserve soil moisture and reduce weed growth.
  • Watch out for snails around newly planted annual seedlings. They also love the buds and blooms of several plants, especially lilies.
  • Pests such as aphids, caterpillars and thrips, are also starting to increase numbers now that the warmer, drier weather is here – take action immediately! Large infestations can destroy or cripple plants, but in small numbers pests such as aphids, can be hosed off or squashed (not recommended for the squeamish!)
  • Dead head roses, perennials and flowering annuals as flowers finish.
  • Sow seeds of ageratum, poppies, cineraria, marigold, impatiens, aster, sunflowers, primula, viola, alyssum, stock, pansy, verbena, zinnia and sweet pea.
  • Plant out summer annuals in your garden and containers: petunia, verbena, marigold, lobelia, snapdragon, godetia, hollyhock, phlox, cosmos, begonias and nasturtium. Remember to water well — use water crystals to help plants survive hotter months.

Fruit and vegetable garden

  • DE14_tamarilloFeed tamarillos with liquid manure and keep moist.
  • Tie in new canes of loganberries, raspberries etc.
  • Keep citrus well watered – this is important for the production of healthy fruit.
  • Also keep passionfruit well watered and mulched.
  • Protect strawberry plants with bird netting. Mulching with straw keeps fruit off the soil, and prevents rotting.
  • Fruit trees grown in containers will need to be kept regularly watered and fed with slow release and liquid fertilisers.
  • Continue mounding earth up around potato plants to give nodules a chance to sprout — do the same for kumara, leeks and Florence fennel.
  • Water sweetcorn well, especially at flowering – watering helps cobs swell to their full size. Pick when tassels have began to dry.
  • As you harvest tomatoes keep removing laterals and tying up tall varieties. Removing bottom leaves helps air circulation.
  • Pick cucumbers and courgettes as they come ready to encourage continuous fruiting.
  • Leafy crops such as silverbeet and basil will benefit from a regular feed of seaweed- based fertiliser.
  • Mulch around cucumbers, courgettes, pumpkins and sweetcorn — these plants all like sun, but will do better if their roots are shaded.
  • Sow seeds of beans, radishes, parsnip, swedes, celery, cress, turnips, cabbage, carrots, lettuce, spring onion, and broccoli.
  • Plant out seedlings of cabbage, capsicum, leeks, silverbeet, spinach and cauliflower.

Lawns

  • Lift the mower up for the summer season. This will aid in moisture conservation and help keep lawns greener.

Second thoughts

Weeding is essential this month — don’t let unwanted, unnecessary plants take valuable water supplies.