Sun ripened tomatoes, new potatoes and home grown salads are the rewards for all your hard work. It can be just too hot to be out in the garden during the day, wait until the evening when it is cooler.

Key Points

  • Protect vegetable crops from white butterfly and insects.
  • Plant swan plants to attract butterflies into the garden.
  • Check watering systems are working or install new ones.
  • Roses will need maintaining: dead-head and spray if insects or mildew is present.
  • Early crops of garlic can be harvested.
  • Harvest crops of tomatoes, beans, salad and herbs as they become ready.
  • Mulch citrus and shrubs.
  • Refresh garden colour with new season summer plants.

The Edible Garden

Regular harvesting of quick producing crops is the key to this month – courgettes, cucumbers, gherkins, beans, peas all need checking and picking on a daily basis. This will keep your veges young and sweet and stop them getting too big! It will also encourage plants to keep on producing for many more weeks.

  • Control white butterfly caterpillars with Derris Dust.
  • Plant successional crops of quick growing summer veges such as lettuce, beetroot, radishes, silverbeet, bok choy. Now is also a good time to plant seedlings of the first of the autumn/winter veges – cabbage, cauliflower, leeks, spinach.
  • Keep on feeding the summer garden. Liquid feed around tomatoes and peppers with liquid tomato food or Yates ‘Flower and Fruit’ soluble plant food. Give leafy veges like lettuce, silverbeet, a side dressing of ‘Sulphate of Ammonia’ to kick them along.
  • Continue to water regularly, especially if the summer is dry. Remember a good deep watering around the roots of the plants 2-3 times per week is more beneficial than a daily light sprinkling.
  • Adding compost and other organic material to the soil helps retain moisture as well as conditioning the soil.
  • Check fruit trees for brown rot and blackspot and spray with ‘Fungus Fighter’ if these are prevalent.
  • Tomatoes will be ripening now. Thin out foliage around lower parts of the plants to allow light in and air around the fruit. This will speed up ripening and help keep diseases at bay.
  • Garlic and onions can be lifted now and laid out to dry.
  • Harvest new potatoes as flowering finishes.
  • Collect herbs for drying or making pesto and freezing.

The Flower Garden

  • Fill gaps in the garden with instant potted colour – Zinnias, Dahlias, Marigolds, Salvias, and Petunias will all flower on for some time yet.
  • Zinnias are great for providing summer colour. They also attract butterflies, bees, and birds to your garden.
  • Plant Gazanias and Arctotis in drier, sunny spots of the garden for masses of bright colour during the hotter months.
  • Keep deadheading flowering plants including roses – this will encourage more flowers to develop.
  • When picking roses, cut a reasonably long stem, making your cut just above an outward facing bud.
  • Feed roses now with Rose food – this will encourage more flowers and growth to harden before the first frosts.
  • It is now time to plant the first of the spring flowering bulbs – Anemone and Ranunculus.
  • In warmer climates, Hibiscus will be in full show. These respond well to plants food high in potash, such as citrus fertiliser. Remember to water well after feeding.

The Lawn

  • The summer heat will slow growth, water if necessary.
  • Cut the grass dry and remove the catcher on your lawnmower to let the clippings fall on the lawn. They will act as mulch conserving water and prevent scorching.
  • Water well to keep it green, use an oscillating sprinkler for maximum coverage.