Tuesday, 2 August 2016

August Garden Ramblings

Purple Tiger Roses

This is the time of year that I really start to hear from fellow gardeners.... but is generally never with good news.

Baskets not flowering, or gardens looked peaked, roses all spotty, wonky weird veggies, but most of all.. bugs, bugs, bugs.

 Aphids on roses

How to deal with pests in an organic garden? 

Aphid control is all about perseverance. Spray the plant with a strong jet of water each and every time you are watering in the area. This will blow them off or blast them to smithereens.
If heavier artillery is needed, spray the plant, top and bottom, with insecticidal soap or End All, an oil and soap mix. I like to spray the plant down with water first, then use the soap, then spray off again after 10 or 15 minutes. This cleans off the dead bugs, removes the soap from the leaves, and helps get rid of any lingerers. Do this once a week for three weeks in a row to catch the aphids at each stage.

Cabbage Loopers are best squished and caterpillars, too. Squishing is the easiest way with any wormy type critters like this. They are sneaky, will generally hide on the underside of the leaf, along the rib.

Drowning is the best way to deal with stink bugs and earwigs.
For earwigs, make traps from small cans, oil and soy sauce. Place can at soil level in the garden bed, add some oil to can so they get coated with it and thus cannot climb out again, and soy sauce is the lure to draw them in. If you want, partially cover the trap with a rock or something that gives them the illusion of darkness and safety.    
Stink bugs are best picked and tossed into a pail of soapy water. Shake plant to make them fall, pick and drown.  

Baskets and planters starting to look a bit tired? 

Tips for how to keep your flowering containers going all summer.  

Watering daily or even twice daily is crucial to keep blooms blooming. Some annuals, such as Bacopa, will stop blooming for several weeks if they dry out. Water and feed diligently for two to three weeks to get them going again. Lobelia looks lanky and not flowering? Pinch back, water and feed for a few weeks and they will be good as new again.  

We all enjoy a good shower! 

How to water most effectively?
- Start by watering in the centre of your baskets till it is running from the bottom.
- Then give it a good shower. This helps to re-hydrate the plants, soaks the moss (if it is a moss basket) and washes off any pests trying to make your basket into either home or dinner.
- Water in the centre again, move the hose around so it is getting to all the sides, and continue till water is pouring out from the bottom. Shower again.
- Repeat this process several times till you are sure your basket is well soaked.

 Re-hydrate a dried out basket by placing it into a pail or basin of water 

- If the soaking and spraying is not working, take down the basket and place into a pail or basin of water to re-hydrate for 12 to 24 hours. 

Feed annuals weekly to keep them blooming.
- Baskets and planters will have depleted all the nutrients from the soil by now, even if you applied a slow release feed early in the season.

Give them a boost with a water soluble fertiliser, they work well and are easy to apply. A balanced 20-20-20 will keep all plants in baskets and planters happy and healthy and thriving, while a fertiliser with a larger middle number, like a 15-30-15, promotes more flowering.

Perennials (like roses in pots) will benefit from a top-dressing of manure or compost, plus a tablespoon or two of Epsom Salt on top.

Don not forget about deadheading and pinching everything... annuals, perennials, roses. The more you deadhead and pinch back, the more they bloom.

Feeding the garden 

This is also a great time to top dress and side dress your garden beds. Add compost or manure around flowers and veggies for a mid-season boost.

Add a tablespoon or two of Epsom salts around roses, tomatoes, and peppers.

Need more oomph? Feed with manure tea or compost tea. For 'tea recipes' and other garden feeding tips, see HERE!

Climbing mini-rose

Roses benefit from extra water this time of year, especially after that cool and fungal June that we had. Your roses should just about be coming out of their slump now, putting on new buds, blooms and foliage.

Water deeply twice a week but do not wet the foliage unless it is in the morning and you are spraying off bugs.

Roses are heavy feeders, see the above link for tips on how to make teas.

Deadhead spent blooms to keep them flowering, and remove any spotted or yellowing foliage.

Keep birdbaths and fountains topped up with fresh and clean water! 

Don't forget to dead head calendulas, marigolds, zinnias, and nasturtiums, 
to promote all season blooming and prevent self seeding everywhere!
For free flowers next year, allow just a few flowers to go to seed.  

Gorgeous Purple Russian tomatoes! 


Tomatoes will benefit from an extra boost at this time of year. Side dress with manure or compost, water with a tea, or spray foliage with liquid seaweed. 

Having tomato issues? Funny looking fruits? Rotten ends? Cracking? For all kinds of tomato information, please see HERE!

Plant your fall and winter veggies now! This month! 

Not only will it be too late to start anything from seed or starter next month, but you will be super busy with back to work, back to school, and life in general in September. Plant now and check that task off your list!

 What can you grow from seed now? 

- beets (hurry)
- broccoli raab, sprouting broccoli
- bush beans (50 day)
- cabbage (get seeds for the 50 to 60 day varieties)
- greens of all kinds, Pak Choi and other Oriental greens, mustards, arugula, etc.
- kale (hurry)
- lettuce
- onions and scallions
- peas
- radishes
- rutabagas (hurry)
- spinach
- turnips

* hurry means plant before mid month in order to have success. Root crops need this time to size up enough before winter.

What can you plant now from starter plants? Pretty much anything!

- broccoli, broccoli raab, broccolini, sprouting broccoli
- cauliflower
- cabbage
- chard
- greens of all kinds
- lettuces
- rutabagas
- spinach
... and so much more!

 From indulgy.com - garden-journal-page-by-art-by-kim

Don't forget to journal

Take notes on what worked, what didn't, earliest tomatoes, best tasting tomatoes, peppers, carrots, eggplants, cucumbers... When you harvested, when you planted so you know if that needs to be bumped back or forwards next year by a week or two.

Take photos or draw pictures of basket or planter combinations that you love and want to re-create next year.

Happy gardening and harvesting! 

Moving Thyme

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