The garden diaries: South Australia in July

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The garden diaries: South Australia in July

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While it might be a little bit cool, July is a great time to get out into the garden in South Australia. The crisp, winter air is invigorating. This month it’s a great time to add a pop of colour to make the garden sing. And then there’s the lovely winter harvest to look forward to.

Plant of the month: fruit trees

In the south of the state, it’s a great time to plant fruit trees. This includes apples, pears, and family favourites, the stone fruitsapricots, plums, peaches and cherries. Fruit trees are a great asset in the garden because they provide beautiful, luscious bounty—fruit that you can just pick off the tree. They have the added bonus of pretty, showy blossom in spring, and coloured leaves in autumn.

Some fruit trees are self-fertile, which means they produce fruit even if growing on their own. Peach and nectarines are good examples. Generally, others such as apples, pears and Japanese plums need more than one tree for cross-pollination to ensure they yield. When you’re buying your fruit trees, get some in-store advice about this.

Plant fruit trees in a sunny spot and ensure they have good drainage. Allow plenty of room for them to grow. Add compost at planting time. Dig a hole that’s deeper and wider than the root system. Stake to keep the tree secure.

Once planted, mulch around the root zones and keep clear of weeds.

There’s a great range of fruit trees in store and experts can help you choose the right one for your garden. For smaller backyards, dwarf trees are ideal. Plant these in the ground or a large pot.

SA

What else to plant

July is a great time to be planting shrubs too.

Lavender, nandina, camellia and bare-rooted roses are in store. As are fuchsias with their brightly coloured flowers.

Plant winter vegies such as beans, cauliflower, spinach and rhubarb, which love to be grown in well-rotted manure and compost. Give rhubarb about a year to grow ample stems for picking and don’t eat the leaves.

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Harvest

It’s citrus time. So, lemons, limes, and oranges should be juicy and ready for picking. Avocadoes, cauliflower and cabbage should also be coming into season and ready for the table.

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Maintenance

There are a few jobs to do too. Roses should be pruned now. Don’t be scared about pruning roses. They love a good cut back. Then spray for any pests or fungal diseases.

Winter vegies and fruit trees will benefit from a good feed. And it’s a good time to get into some lawn maintenance. Look for weeds. Spot any? Then it’s time to take action and get rid of them before they go to seed.

Mulch areas with sugar cane and pea straw. This protects plant roots and breaks down to improve the soil.

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