Quick Tips to Help Your Garden Survive Summer
In theory, January is the most productive month of the year for vegetables. Not only do they grow rapidly with the higher temperatures, but the flavour is often enhanced - tomatoes taste even better! Maintaining adequate soil moisture is the real challenge, but this is when the hard work preparation you did in the cooler months pays off! Water regularly; either early morning or in the evening and apply more mulch if necessary. Continue planting veggies like salad greens etc throughout January for regular copping.
Flowering annuals will be looking stunning. Although these plants love the hot summer weather, they will still need regular, deep watering. Keep dead-heading (removing finished flowers), and annuals such as petunias will need to be cut back to encourage some new growth and continuous flowering.
Containers & Hanging Baskets
Water your pots and hanging baskets thoroughly, rather than a light sprinkle every other night. It’s important that plants do not dry out. If you go away on holiday, ask a neighbour to water them or you can put them under trees where there is dappled light so they don’t dry out as quickly.
Summer can be difficult for roses as they battle rust and blackspot. Continue dead-heading and mulch to keep soil moist. Spray every two weeks to treat any disease or pests. Apply light side-dressings of Daltons Premium Rose Fertiliser towards the end of the month. The next brilliant displays of rose blooms will be in March/April – but it’s a holding exercise till then!
January is the main harvest season for fruit trees like apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches and plums which will be laden with delicious fruit! If you have any newly planted fruit trees, make sure they are regularly and deeply watered to help them establish a strong root system and mulch around them well.
Strawberries & Raspberries
New varieties will continue cropping throughout January and extend the traditional strawberry season. Water plants regularly and mulch with pea straw or crushed bark. Plants will start sending out ‘runners’ towards the end of the month. Leave them to develop into next seasons plants, or remove them if they are not required.
Raspberries cropping season comes to an end late January. Continue tying up young canes for next season’s crop. Remove excess growth where it’s not required.
Herbs are at their peak and thrive over the hot summer months. Keep clipping your herbs even when you are not using them in the kitchen. This will encourage young, fresh growth. Some herbs like parsley naturally mature and go to seed towards the end of January. Replant with new specimens where required.
The long hot summer is not easy for lawns. Where water is abundant you can irrigate to maintain your lawn but in reality, most of us struggle with water restrictions and the high cost of water. Therefore, just do the minimum until the cooler, moister autumn months arrive. Let the grass grow a little longer than usual to allow more ‘latitude’ if drought conditions are experienced.