Ornamental gardens thrive but weather unkind to vegetables

LOCAL gardeners have found recent weather conditions mostly beneficial to their gardens but a few say it hasn’t been a great year for fruit and vegetables.

Berry Garden Club former president Bob Croker, whose garden was in this year’s Berry Garden Festival, said it hadn’t been a good year in the vegetable patch.

“I have about 16 varieties of vegetables and 20 varieties of herbs but it hasn’t been a good year. I’ll be letting them die down this time of year for a bit of a spell before I start planting the winter vegetables like cabbage,” Mr Croker said.

“I spend about 20-30 hours a week in the garden. Everything had to be in A-one condition for the festival and I’ve been doing a lot of propagating as well.

“Even though it was dry early on this summer, we’ve had a fair bit of rain and there has been a good amount of growth, especially on lawns and our camellias and we have about half a metre of new growth on the maples and other exotic trees.

“The humidity is good for the plants but it does bring about the bugs and diseases. The best way to treat that is to keep the plants healthy,” he said.

Mr Croker said it was the time of year for a general tidy up in the garden to ready it for the winter period.

“It’s best to have a maintenance program to prune your plants after they have finished flowering, but nothing drastic in the middle of summer,” he said.

“I have also been spending time watering and I try to keep the fertilising under control at the right times.”

South Nowra’s Yard-N-Garden owner Chris Turner said he had seen camellias do very well this year and, interestingly, magnolias flower twice.

“The high humidity has meant a lot of gardeners have pulled out their tomatoes early because of fungal diseases,” Mr Turner said.

“Now is the time to mulch your gardens and get on top of weeds before they set seed.

“It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on roses and fruit trees with bugs in abundance this time of year too.”

Keen gardener Mary Seelis from Berry said she had also noticed the gardens throwing early blooms this year and some have even flowered twice.

“It’s like we’ve have two seasons in one. The end result, though, is that the gardens looked brilliant in October for the garden festivals and then again for Christmas,” Ms Seelis said.

“The agapanthus especially I noticed bloomed early this year and it is the time for roses which are looking beautiful with a second flush for some.

“There is a lot of new growth due to the rain and it just seems that there is something in the rain water you just can’t get out of a tap,” she said.

It’s the month for:

Mulching – add a nice thick layer of mulch to your garden beds between 75-100 millimetres. This will promote the health of your plants and reduce weeds.

Removing finished flower heads and giving shrubs and trees a light prune.

General tidying up in the garden. It is not a good idea to give your plants a hard prune in the mid-summer season.

Fungal problems. With the high humidity we have experienced in the last month, fungal problems are at an all-time high. It is important to spray prone plants with a preventative fungicide, particularly citrus trees.

Roses, but with the high humidity it is also the time of year for black spot. 

Fruit, your trees should be laden with fruit which is nearly ready to pick, so it is also the time for the pesky fruit fly. Keep on top of infestations by removing affected fruit and disposing of it. There are also certain sprays you can use to deter the fly.

Keeping weeds under control. With moist and sunny conditions, weeds are thriving so it is important to remove them before they mature and set seed.

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