Hero plant this month: Poinsettias
Nothing says festive like poinsettias with their striking colours. Poinsettias are a favourite with their rich, green leaves, followed by showy bracts. The flowers are pretty, but quite insignificant compared with the bracts.
In store, and looking great, poinsettias make the perfect Christmas gifts or centrepiece for your table. Keep them indoors in a spot that gets indirect sunlight, prune back and fertilise after flowering, and put them into a bigger pot, or plant them in the garden.
What else to plant
Another hero of the summer garden are hydrangeas, with their beautiful blooms in shades of pink, blue and white. What’s interesting about hydrangeas is that it’s possible to change the flower colour. Hydrangeas growing in alkaline soil tend to pink, whereas in acidic soil, the flowers are blue.
If you haven’t got them in already, put some vegies in too. Tomatoes are still good to go, just remember to stake larger growing varieties. A great tip is to plant basil near your tomatoes as they are great companions in the patch. Plant other members of the solanaceae family too. This includes eggplant and capsicums. Also put in sweet corn and cucumber.
Zucchini and pumpkin like to spread, so give them some room. Keep the water up to pumpkins for good production.
With Christmas around the corner, it’s the perfect time to keep up with maintenance and your garden in ship-shape.
This month, with the warmer weather, the focus is on watering. Check sprinklers and irrigation systems to make sure they are in good working order. Before turning on the irrigation, check with your local regulator about water restrictions in your area.
Mulch around fruit trees and other areas in the garden. It helps the soil retain moisture and protects plant roots. Use pea straw or sugar cane mulch.
Inspect fruit trees for pests. As the weather warms, pest insects like scale become more active. Spray with a white oil or eco oil but avoid doing this on a hot day as it could burn the foliage.
Select a cool day to feed lawns to encourage growth. You’ll be the envy of family and friends when you’re entertaining over Christmas.
In December, there is plenty coming into season to pick for the table. Garlic is ready when the tops die down. Beans are also ripe for picking, harvest lettuce, potatoes, leeks and sweet, juicy strawberries too. Pick herbs, as regular harvesting of the leaves encourages more growth.
There you go, relieve the stress of the week and get out into the garden. You’ll benefit from being outdoors and the plants will love the attention.
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