Sunday, 29 December 2013

Diggers Rest Gardening Tips: January’s mid-summer

Add a cute ‘cumber to your summer salad dish

Cucumbers are another salad favourite and although they can be quite reasonably priced and readily available during summer, there is nothing tastier and more satisfying than growing your own.  If planting now, seedlings are recommended however if you would like to give seeds a go, wait until next year in early spring to begin the process.
A good composted, well-drained soil in a sunny garden space is a perfect location for seedlings.  As most varieties of cucumbers grow on vines, it is wise to ensure they are sheltered from strong winds.  A stringed trellis, good mulching and a regular feed of liquid fertiliser will help produce a healthy crop.  Picking them slightly smaller than shop purchased varieties will deliver a better tasting cucumber.  If they are quite small, you could pickle them for an alternative summer taste.

Disease protection in the garden

The warmer weather and summer rains may encourage the spread of disease in the garden.  Crop rotation can help to ensure your garden is healthy and disease free.  Here are a few more tips on encouraging goodness in the garden:
  • Use drinking water rather than recycled water when irrigating newly planted seedlings.  Some grey water can contain micro-organisms that young plants may not be strong enough to cope with.
  • Keep plants healthy and strong enough to fight disease by feeding regularly, watering when necessary and weeding.
  • Allow airflow around your favourite plants by removing excessive and overcrowding plants or foliage that may have overgrown in the garden
  • When a disease is already present in your garden, avoid it spreading by cleaning and disinfecting all gardening tools after they have been used.  This may be good practice even when disease does not appear to be evident in the garden.
  • Don’t add unhealthy foliage to your compost bin, it will only reinfect your plants.

Generally out and about in the garden

A second crop of all those summer favourites you planted in late spring and early summer can now be planted again to ensure you have a continuing supply of fresh produce.
Plants in containers dry out quickly so move them into the shade and organise for them to be watered when necessary – especially when you are away enjoying your summer holidays.
Move indoor plants a little further away from large windows to avoid their sensitive foliage from being damaged by the harsh summer sun.

Extract From The Healthy Urban Habitat

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