As we head into the last official month of summer, the sun is only just beginning to shine in many places. While some folk may think they’ve blinked and missed out on summer, remember that February is often the hottest and driest month in the garden and care needs to be taken to ensure plants received the water they require. It’s also time to begin planting winter crops for the upcoming season.
During this time of year there’s a lot at... stake! Tie plants that have experienced wild growth and cut back overgrowth to allow younger plants to see the light.
Don’t let weeds take the lead. Carefully dispose of weeds to ensure there’s no ‘growing back.
It’s also the right time of year to do that compost heap a good ‘turn’.
Feed the seed! Use a balanced, all-purpose fertiliser - such as Tui General Fertiliser – on seedlings to provide an abundance of nutrients.
Dead head roses this month for good looking autumn blooms. Hold back a few for Valentine’s; headless roses never give a good impression!
Some spring flowering bulbs may already be available at garden centres; make your pick while stocks last.
Perennials and roses can still be planted, but be sure to keep such new blooms well watered.
Lift and store spring flowering bulbs.
Sow and grow: cyclamens, petunias, chrysanthemums, marigolds, violas, pansies, polyanthus and dahlias.
Vegetables & Fruit
While these may be our fruity salad days, once the cold weather sets in we’ll be craving winter warmers such as soups, stews and roasts. To make sure your garden will be giving up the goodies, February is the time to plant for autumn and winter.
Make the bed so they won’t die in it! Take care when preparing your vegetable patch, building soil with compost.
Sow and grow: carrots, swedes, turnips, peas, cauliflower, beetroot, broad beans, parsnips, silverbeet, and keep that lettuce coming!
When storing early crops of spuds, make sure they are fully dried.
Make the most of fruit trees while the fine weather lasts. Feed citrus trees with Tui Citrus Food and they will feed you well in return!
When harvest is complete, prune summer-bearing fruit trees to give them time for new growth to develop. Remember to clean secateurs after use with disinfectant to limit the spread of disease.
Beware of prolific pests and devastating diseases especially where little ‘blighters’ abound, revelling in the warm conditions. Armed with the right products and knowledge you can keep your garden relatively pest-free and productive.
Watch for powdery mildew on pumpkins, cucumbers, squash and other summer vegetables and protect with Tui Eco-Fungacide.
If your garden is suffering from late season infestations, try Tui Eco-Pest. Combining the insecticidal properties of natural plant oils, this organic product will control pests without harming the natural environment.
If you find yourself screaming at the birds to kindly ‘get the flock away’ from your fruit trees, pick fruit early and leave to ripen indoors.
Indoor / Container Gardening
Container plants especially will crave water in hot, dry conditions. Water these early in the morning, or in the evening, to reduce water lost to evaporation. Spring bulbs should be replanted into pots and containers.
Although the notorious grass grub can be more difficult to treat during warmer months, patchy lawns will require attention. Try Tui’s Superstrike Patch Pack to repair damage.
With such varied weather this summer, lawns throughout New Zealand have required more mowing than usual, so check your blades to make sure grass is not being damaged.
Take time to bathe in the last of the sun and enjoy your summer garden.