What to do in the garden this weekend
Sowing broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, silver beet and spinach for winter to spring consumption now will mean the plants get a good start before the cold weather sets in. Water the seed bed before sowing and never let the beds dry out.
Sow beetroot and carrots; and lettuce (but make sure you keep these well-watered else they may go bitter and/or bolt.)
When the last of the potatoes have been harvested, consider growing in their patch a green manure which can be dug back into the soil to break down, improve soil structure, and feed it over winter. Kings Seeds (kingsseeds.co.nz) has a good range of green manure seeds and explanation of what the different ones do for soil.
Cut back raspberry canes after fruiting.
Lightly prune herbs after flowering.
Perennials can be cut back after blooming. If done carefully, clipping each flowering stem with secateurs, the leaves of the plants will remain attractive for several more months. Clipping with shears may be faster but tends to make a mess of the plant.
After cutting back, feed perennials to encourage good flowering next year.
Feed clematis with potash and mulch it well – and all other shallow-rooted plants (such as lemons, hydrangeas, lilacs, rhododendrons, box ) – to help the soil retain moisture. The shallower the roots, the more likely they are to dry out.
Check for lemon tree borer. This native beetle is also partial to camellia, wisteria, mahoe, manuka and others.
As the name suggest, the larvae burrow into the branches which die back. Symptons include yellowing and dead foliage. Sometimes sawdust is visible.
To treat, remove infested branches, making sure you cut well below the burrows. To kill larvae, stick a fine wire into the holes and pierce the larvae. Many plants are host to the beetle without adverse effects.
One year's seeding, seven years' weeding is an adage worth remembering. Remove weeds now before they set seed and spread themselves everywhere.
Some swear that convolvulus is easiest removed when in flower as all the energy is going to flower production and not roots. I'm not so sure, but I do recommend pulling out this bindweed whenever you see it, and know that keeping it under control is a more reasonable option than trying to eradicate it.
Some weeds do have attractive flowers and seedheads which you may be tempted to leave in till the cold depths of winter destroy their stark and faded beauty. Think teasel, fennel, achillea and grasses.
- NZ Gardener