Head outside now and start making the most of your winter garden with these top 5 tips.
A bouquet of flowers: Pansies and violas planted now as seedlings will come into flower right through to late spring in both garden beds and containers. Feed with a soluble fertilizer, such as Yates Aquasol, every two weeks. Keep blooms coming by “deadheading” or picking off dead flowers. Other winter bloomers include polyanthus, lobelia and poppies.
Pick of the crop: Even in the coldest parts of the country you can enjoy home grown veggies – try spinach, silverbeet, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots and loose leaf lettuce (you pick leaves as you go rather than harvest the whole plant). Make sure your veggie garden gets plenty of sun. You don’t need to water as heavily as in summer, but keep the soil moist and feed regularly with a liquid fertilizer, such as Seasol PowerFeed For Veggies.
Regeneration: Segregate and replant clumps of perennials such as agapanthus, cymbidium orchids, cannas, ginger lilies and dahlias. Discard old, dried-out sections from the centre and plant healthy new divisions in well-prepared soil. Use leftover plants as gifts for gardener friends.
Bearing fruit: You don’t need a big garden for fruit trees. Deciduous (loses leaves in winter), summer-fruiting trees, such as apple, pear, peach, nectarine and plum trees, are sold bare-rooted at this time of year. Short on space? Grow dwarf or shrub varieties in a large pot. You can even buy plants with several varieties grafted on the one plant. Another space saver is to espalier (grow flat) fruit trees against a courtyard fence or wall. Scatter slow-release fertiliser, such as Brunnings All Purpose Fertiliser, around the perimeter of your planting hole so it’s accessible to the plant when it starts to grow in spring.
Tool up: On cold, rainy days head to the shed and take the chance to repair, clean and oil garden tools on the top of your workbench so they’re in top condition.