For juicy, flavour-filled tomatoes, don’t wait until spring; August is an ideal month in which to start germinating tomato seeds indoors.
Other vegetable seeds planted in trays should soon be ready for planting outdoors after the last frost has passed.
Potatoes can be planted up to a few weeks prior to the last frost and by now seed potatoes will be available.
Some vegetables are more prone to frost than others. Don’t plant carrots, parsley, parsnips or rhubarb outdoors until you are sure there are no more frosts to come and even in the warmer regions of the noreth Island this can be as late as early September.
With rain all too common this time of year it’s important to make the most of dry spells to keep lawns manageable.
If your lawn has been subjected to heavy and regular rain... get off the grass! Walking on a wet lawn can compact the soil and kill fragile new shoots.
Aerating the soil using spiked shoes or a rotary spike lawn aerator should be considered once the lawn has dried.
Once the last frost has passed, cut your lawn reducing the height to your mower’s lowest setting to remove dead grass.
A thin layer of compost can give your lawn a head start on spring growth.
Fertilising the lawn is important in late winter. Test kits, available from garden centres, can help you determine if, when, and if so, how much fertiliser you should apply to your lawn.
Fruit / Edibles
If you’re keen to grow deciduous fruit trees it’s time to get moving! These trees should be in the ground by this time of year.
In warmer areas, August is a good time to start pruning back winter growth on passionfruit and feijoa.
A spring and summer joy, strawberries can always use a head start. Strawberries can thrive in some areas when planted in August.
Keep citrus trees sheltered from late winter frosts.
Especially in winter when heating can alter temperatures considerably throughout the day, it pays to keep an eye out for plants suffering from temperature change. Often the only solution is to simply move the plant.
Trees & Flowers
‘That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet’, immortal words; but what Juliet may forget is that roses aren’t immortal and, while they may still smell sweet, they won’t look a treat if they’re not well cared for! Keep your roses smelling sweet as winter moves into spring with something that, well, doesn’t smell quite so nice: compost.
It’s also the ideal time to plant trees. With temperatures still low, trees planted now will have time to establish roots before spring rains and summer heat stimulates growth.
Although exotic plants add variety, love the one you’re with and go native in your garden! As native plants are better adapted to handle weather conditions in their natural environments than imports, they require less care, are less likely to need non-organic fertilisers, and are better suited to handling regional temperature fluctuations.
Providing shade in summer while letting sun shine through in winter, trees increase in value as they grow and save on energy costs.
Put that garden waste to good use! Any dead organic material can be converted into all-natural compost and today there are some fantastic compositing systems that make the job almost effortless.
Tools / Pruning
When it comes to the pick of the bunch, even the All Blacks have got to make cuts! Now is the right time to take up your secateurs and prune those dormant plants and trees. As plants conserve their energy during dormancy, they are better able to handle pruning. There is never a perfect time to prune for all plants however.
A busy gardener will get a lot of use from secateurs, so don’t skimp on quality. Although other tools such as pruning saws may be used, most pruning can be easily accomplished solely with a good pair of secateurs in hand.
Plant Care / Spraying
During winter dormancy spraying trees can ensure they will ‘spring’ to life a little better as the weather warms. Lime-sulphur spray, for example, can help control bacterial and fungal diseases.