Gardening tips and tasks
- In the absence of rainfall, water regularly and plants in pots should be watered daily.
- Decorate your outdoor entertainment areas with pots of flowering plants or herbs.
- Keep whitefly and other pests away from veggies by spraying with organic insecticides.
- Feed annuals and other flowers with a liquid fertilizer to keep them flowering over the festive season.
- Fertilize the roses mid-month with Ludwig’s Vigorosa.
- Spray the roses with Ludwig’s Insect Spray and Chronos or Rose Protector to protect roses from pests and black spot.
Indoor & patio plant of the month
What else but poinsettia? It’s become the festive plant of choice around the world, with its Santa Claus red ‘flowers’, bright yellow bracts and lush, green leaves – the colours of Christmas. It’s a showy gift plant (even for those without green fingers) and for decorating the home. These indoor plants like a warm position with good indirect light but no direct sunlight. Keep the potting mix moist but not soggy. To keep it going past the holiday season, feed with a houseplant fertilizer once a month, but don’t fertilize when it’s in bloom. After flowering, cut it down to 10cm and repot into a larger pot or plant it in the garden. Details: plantimex.co.za
We’re planting …
Alstroemeria Summer Red is a dazzling summer flower, especially for gardeners who love bright pops of colour in the garden over the festive season. This summer-flowering perennial forms an upright clump – 60cm high and wide – with narrow, dark green leaves. It grows in full sun, likes fertile soil that drains well and regular watering. Being compact, it doesn’t need staking. As the flowers fade, cut or twist off the stems at the base, leaving the tubers in the ground. The foliage dies down in winter but shoots out quickly in spring. Prevent slug and snail damage of young plants with organic Ferramol snail bait. Details: ballstraathof.co.za
Veggie of the month
What could be more yummy than freshly picked and cooked sweetcorn smothered in melting butter? Did you know that sweetcorn is at its sweetest and tastiest 30 minutes after picking, which is why shop-bought sweetcorn is nothing like home-grown? This Golden Bantam is an heirloom variety that grows tall and produces multiple 14 to 16cm cobs filled with sweet yellow kernels, the first of which cobs are ready for harvesting within 75 days from sowing. It needs full sun and fertile soil. For good pollination, plant in blocks, or two or three rows, with plants 35cm apart and 60 to 70cm between rows. Plant two seeds together in each hole. Thin out the weaker plant later. During the growing period, water regularly, keeping the soil moist with mulch and feed with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer when plants are knee-high, repeating two weeks later. Harvest when cobs are plump and well-filled. Test for readiness by piercing a kernel. If it’s still milky it’s ready for eating. The tassels should also be dry and withered. Details: kirchhoffs.co.za