Seasons > Summer
Caring for your garden in Summer
When the heat is on, garden during the cooler parts of the day. You and your plants will appreciate it!
In most parts of Australia, container-grown trees, climbers, shrubs, vegetables, etc., planted in summer, will grow quickly in the seasonal warmth.
A decrease in humidity, caused by Air-conditioning, can be overcome by grouping plants on a tray of small pebbles or mist regularly in the morning. Leaves shouldn’t be left damp for too long.
Bring in any plants that were left outside during the cooler months, or check them for water daily. Maybe invest in some self-watering pots. For the garden an option is to install a watering system. These come in kits, and can be installed by the home handyman. Water then can be delivered by either a drip system or fine spray. Mulch garden beds and vegetables to retain moisture and suppress weed growth.
Many summer-flowering plants grow vigourously and flower so freely, there is no reason why your garden should be ablaze of colour.
Summer flowering shrubs, such as hibiscus,oleander,crepe myrtle, gardenia, roses, and in coastal areas, frangipani.
Shady spots, impatiens,fuschia and hydrangea are tops.
These plants can be grown from container - grown nursery palnts, and others such as rose, hibiscus, can be grown from cuttings.Dahlias give a wonderful display right into late autumn, grown from tubers planted now.
A wide range of annual plants can go in as advanced bedding plants, or raised from seed. Some plants are grown readily from seed where sown. Try big gyp,cosmos,and spider flower.
Annuals which give plenty of summer flowers are,
Late summer and early Autumn vege crops can be pplanted early in the season. Make successive plantings,so that the crops don't mature all at once.
They will need a sunny well-draine dpositon- six hours of sunlight a day needed. Plant virus resistant and mildew resistant varieties.Melons, cucumbers,squash, are prone to powdery mildew,so try and plant mildew resistant varieties.
In warm areas, vegetables can be sown earlier. Give them a side dressings of sulphate of ammonia, or poultry manure. Give leafy veges a fortnightly feeding with a foliar fertiliser.
Summer crops of lettuce,tomatoes,beans,sweet corn, and capsicum grow quickly.Use summer varieties of lettucesuch as 'Great Lakes','Greendale',and Pennlake'.Grow lettuce quickly ,regular wateringand feeding with a foliar fertiliser.Use snail pelletts to control slugs and snails.
Tomatoes thrive in all parts of Australia and grow in an average garden with plenty of humus dug in. Stake tall varieties will need to be staked and tied losely with something flexible, pantyhose for example.'Apollo' is a good one for the home garden, a heavy cropper as well.
'First Prize' is a newie and is very popular.Sold usually as a bedding plantin mini pots. In tropical areas, 'Scorpio' is a good choice.It is heat resistant and to disease.
Other crops to try...
Lawns which grow throughout the warm weather need monthly applications of fertiliser.Feed with complete lawn food or straight sulphate of ammonia, then water in well before and after to avoid fertiliser burn. Winter lawns - bent,kentucky bluegrass,rye and fescue -are fairly dormant during the summer months and do not need feeding.
Vegetables and annuals should be given side dressings of complete fertiliseres or blood-and-bone during their growing period.
Summer -flowering hibiscus, oleander and frngipani, use complete fertiliser and water well.
Chicken manure is an excellent fertiliser and can be used on all plants except acid soil fanciers,such as azalea,camellia and natives.
In Tropical and sub-tropical zones, many shrubs need a summer pruning to keep them under control. Diosma can be lightly trimmed now to keep it shapely. Cut runners off strawberry plants.
Insect pests increase as the weather warms up, and the food you supply them,grows rapidly.These pests must be controlled, aphids and thrips. They damage plants by suckiing and chewing, but also infect them with virus diseases.For aphids, use Pyrethrum Thrips need need a semi-systemic spray such as Malathion to be effective. Spray Caterpillars with Dipel. Derris dust is a natural control for caterpillaars,but is poisonous to fish, so take care near any fishpond you may have! Apple and pear trees are attacked by coddling moth, spray with Carbaryl.
Flowering Peach trees should be pruned hard to remove unwanted fruit which harbours fruit fly.Do not allow fallen fruit to remain on the ground.It may contain fruit fly eggs or larvae, so they need to be raked up and burnt as soon as possible.
Garden care for dry times..
Most Australian gardeners have to contend with hot, dry summers, except for the topical north. Plant a selection of hardy drought - and heat - resistant plants, which will stand up to the harsh conditions.
Australian natives are are a natural choice when looking for drought resistant plants. Make sure you choose from drt areas.Look for these signs to determine the toughness of the plants....
A lenght of agricultural pipe can be placed in the ground beside trees and shrubs for direct watering to the plants'roots.
Here are some tips if you live in a high fire dfange area.....
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Plant these for loads of colour.