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Gardening diary: August

Gardening diary: August

What can you plant when the weather’s cold and wet? David Haynes explains.

August temperatures vary nationwide, and the results from this month’s planting will vary depending on your microclimate.

Over the last month, your vege plot may have sprouted weeds so these need to be removed, ideally by grasping them as far down toward the roots as possible and pulling up the whole plant, roots and all. Smaller weeds can be raked or hoed out.

Garlic planted late in August will mature around February. Choose the fattest outermost cloves from a bulb and push these in holes so they are 2-3cm below the surface and cover with soil. Make sure the sharp end is pointing upwards!

Hardy savoy cabbage seedlings will grow slowly and be ready for harvest in late spring. These are planted so the stem is buried 2cm or so beneath the surface, with soil firmed down around the roots. Both these actions help the plant to form a good head.

Silver beet seedlings planted now will be ready in spring. These are simply planted in holes the same size as the pot they came in.

Red onions do well in frost-free winter gardens and will mature mid-spring. Seedlings are often grown in clumps and so need to be separated out before planting. Soak the pot in water for an hour and then tip the contents carefully into a bowl of water. By carefully washing the roots in the water it is possible to pull out individual onion seedlings.

To plant these, make a hole 8-10cm deep with a dibber, pencil or chopstick, dangle the roots over the hole and lower roots in while pouring a little water in the hole at the same time. The water helps push the roots and some soil gently into the hole.

Pea seedlings can be planted as a bunch as they are difficult to separate out. Once planted they will need training up a support frame. I use a bit of chicken wire and canes to tie the stems to the frame and encourage them to grow upwards.

Q. Winter comes and my edible herb garden vanishes. Can you please help me discover which herbs are grown successfully in winter?

Yvette, Hamilton

A. Herbs are basically categorised as annuals or perennials – they grow for one or more than one year, respectively. Annual and perennial plants are further divided into hardy, half hardy or tender varieties. As the name implies, hardy perennials can withstand frost, half-hardy very light frosts and tender; no frost.

Thus your winter choice of herbs will be hardy or half-hardy annuals and perennials. Providing your area is free of frost you can also grow tender perennials, such as bay trees.

Perennial
hardy
Perennial
half-hardy
Annual
hardy
Annual
half-hardy
bergamot
chives
sage
salad burnet
sweet cicely
lemon balm
oregano
sweet marjoram
mint
French tarragon
lemon verbena
thyme 
dill
chervil
caraway
borage
coriander 
parsley
summer savory 

 




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