During these hotter months water becomes vital, especially for your vegetables. They have a high percentage of water so they need plenty! If you have a bumper summer crop consider freezing, preserving or sharing your harvest so it doesn’t go to waste.
Key points for the month:
- Watering is critical to the survival of plants over summer months. Check watering systems are working. Check pots and planters daily and deep water if necessary. Ensure all edible crops are watered well.
- February can be the month where vegetable crops are attacked by pests and diseases so be prepared to spray when necessary.
- Harvest all fruiting crops regularly.
- Roses will need summer care, continue to dead-head and spray if insects or mildew are present.
- Start planting spring bulbs, the first varieties to arrive in store are Anemones, Ranunculus and Freesias.
- It’s time to plan your winter veggie garden, sow seeds now for harvesting in winter.
- Sow seeds of winter flowering annuals.
- Mulch trees and shrubs.
Water less often but more thoroughly. Take your time and check that the soil is wet to at least 5cm.
Water in the early morning or early evening to reduce water loss due to evaporation.
If pests have become a problem use an environmentally friendly spray around your vegetables, spray late in the day when the bees have gone home.
Replace sticky traps when necessary.
Stay on top of weeds as they compete for water and nutrients and give pests a place to hide, use a hoe around the vegetables.
Sow seeds: cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, Brussels sprouts, silverbeet, spinach and leeks. It should be warm enough in most areas now to sow directly in to the garden, water often as they dry out quickly.
Plant seedlings: cabbage, beetroot, cauliflower, leeks, celery, pak choi, spinach, silverbeet, parsley, silverbeet.
To encourage tomatoes to ripen remove any leaves that are shading the fruit. Remove any damaged fruit straight away to prevent disease spreading, keep plants well watered and fed. Check the stakes are holding the weight as the plants become heavy with fruit.
Harvest garlic when tops have flowered then turned yellow. The lower leaves will have also started to turn brown.
Start harvesting fruit trees as they become ready, check their readiness by tasting. Remove any fruit that has fallen to the ground as this will help break the life cycle of bugs.
Check codling moth traps and change if necessary.
Check all fruit trees for overly heavy branches and remove some fruit early if necessary to protect the whole branch.
Keep plenty of water on passionfruit and tamarillos as they get close to harvest.
Trim away leaves covering grapes to expose fruit to ripen with the sun. Cover with netting to protect the ripening fruit from the birds.
Start tidying strawberry beds.
Start planting spring bulbs: anemones, daffodils, freesias, ranunculus, sparaxis, ranunculus and ixias. Prepare the soil with compost and add a handful of bulb food as you plant.
Bulbs do well in pots, use a quality mix, and add a handful of bulb food to the soil as you plant.
Sow seeds: cosmos, impatiens, lobelia, calendula, pansies, poppies, salvia. Most areas are warm enough for sowing directly in to the garden, stay on top of the watering they will dry out quickly.
Sow seedlings: calendula, polyanthus, violas, primula, pansies, snapdragons, flowering kale, gazania, poppies.
Rosemary and lavender can be planted.
Lift mulch around roses and water well, replace mulch.
Remove finished flowers on perennials to extend the flowering.
Water your pots and use a water retention product to help keep them moist.
Trees and Shrubs
Check water and replace mulch where necessary.
Use an oscillating sprinkler to water shrub beds.
In humid areas watch for mildews, black spot and other diseases that thrive in this environment.
Watch out for insects, if necessary spray in the evening when the bees have gone home.
Raise the cutting height on your lawn mower. Longer grass shades the roots and helps them retain moisture which keeps the lawn green.
The summer heat will slow growth, water if necessary.