October is the time to prepare your garden for the heat of summer, with minimal water! Here are some useful tips to focus on:
SPOTLIGHT ON: WATER WISE GARDENS
Most of us know that October is one of the best months for roses. Having said that, since we’re in a serious drought, the best thing you can do for your beloved rose plants is to make sure the soil around them is filled with rich mulch, to ensure the moisture doesn’t evaporate too fast!
Hopefully you managed to install a grey water system or rain tanks, during winter and can still water your roses enough to keep them going during the dry months ahead.
For gardeners that do not have roses, why not focus on planting a drought resistant garden that’s sculputural in form and aesthetically lovely to look at. We’re obsessing over cacti and succulents because of their waterwise properties and low-maintenance upkeep. Here’s what you need to know about growing your own cactus plants:
Before you plant, make sure you have:
When replanting a cactus, it’s a good idea to let the roots dry out completely before transplanting them into the ground – this reduces the possibility of infection as it allows all the tiny lesions that are unavoidable as the roots are ripped from the soil to heal and close. Make sure that bare-root plants are kept dry and in the shade while drying out. When it comes to soil type, cacti aren’t fussy, but they do need drainage. In a pot, water should flow freely through when the plant is watered. In the ground, water shouldn’t surround the plant, and a cactus shouldn’t be placed where additional moisture might be expected, like under a roof eave.
When you plant:
Wrapping several sheets of newspaper around the cactus further protects you from the spines. Loosen the soil around the cactus with a trowel, and then slip the trowel under the roots and lift the cactus out of the ground. Inspect the roots after lifting the cactus for damage and trim off any that are damaged. Most cacti have shallow roots, since they store water in their stems. Add 2-5cm of cactus potting mix, and make holes for the plants.
ON YOUR TO-DO LIST FOR OCTOBER
Plant and Sow (only if you have a grey water system or water storage tanks connected) :
Plant: summer-flowering bulbs like gladiolus, galtonia, amaryllis, tuberose and dahlia.
Sow: seeds of candytuft, alyssum, Californian poppy, cornflower, cosmos, dianthus, phlox,
verbena, zinnia, marigold, cineraria, lavatera and lobelia.
Vegetables: beetroot, broccoli, carrots, celery, cucumber, eggplants, lettuce, parsnips, pumpkins, radish, peppers, tomatoes, spinach and Swiss chard.
Give indoor and outdoor container plants extra sustenance with a liquid fertiliser like MultiFeed or Seagro. Nourish fuchsias, other spring annuals and bulbs every two weeks with a high potash fertiliser like 3:1:5. New lawns should be fed with 2:3:2 to promote strong root growth, while established lawns can be fed with 4:1:1 (a handful per square metre.) Feed apricots, peaches, plums and quinces with 3:1:5.
Prune and trim:
Tidy up hibiscus, bottlebrush, proteas, tea bushes, butterfly bush, poinsettia, confetti bush, potato bush, plumbago and conifer.
Cut back flowering apricots, peaches, plums and quinces to encourage stockier, sturdier growth and enhance light exposure.
Dead-head pansies and violas regularly to keep them flowering for longer.
Remove faded flowers from spring annuals and bulbs.
OTHER FRESH IDEAS
If you aren’t already, why not use grey water to keep your garden looking lush? Use buckets to
catch water from the shower, use the water from your washing days or even whilst rinsing out
dishes. Capture the water and reuse it to keep your garden soil moist. Be sure you know the
difference between grey and black water- You don’t want to be feeding your garden any
harmful chemicals from the sink- So now you are water-wise, and grey water-wise too!
Herb of the month: Coriander
Coriander is a staple ingredient in Indian and Thai cuisine. Both the leaves (sometimes
called cilantro or dhania) and the seeds are used to add flavour to curries, sauces and
salads. Coriander is an annual herb and it tends to go to seed fairly quickly, so it’s best
to plant small amounts of this herb at frequent intervals.