By Rebecca Sprosen-Bailey
Hi all you green thumbs out there. I am not the expert in all fields but if I can give you just one little bit of advice that will help make your life easier in the garden, then I have achieved what I am trying to do.
If you are increasing your orchard or just putting 1-2 fruit trees in, now is the time to do it. Bare rooted trees are available from now through to about August. The earlier you get in the better choice of tree. With the aid of nursery staff, you are looking for a nice shaped tree with the open saucer shaped branches to allow good circulation of aeration. Any branches that cross need to be pruned to avoid rubbing. Before planting, recut the roots to have a nice clean cut, this ensures less chance of disease and bacteria entering. These roots are the anchor roots – the fine white roots you see growing closer to spring are the ones that take all the nutrients in. Soak the root ball in a solution of diluted liquid seaweed to rehydrate. Dig a hole 2-3 times the size of the root ball, mix some compost into the excavated soil and create a mound in the centre of the hole. Spread the roots over the mound, backfill and stake where necessary. Water well and spread a mulch around the base ensuring it’s not too thick to impinge on water penetration, but thick enough to reduce weed growth, also do not have mulch against the trunk as this can cause collar rot. The same rules apply to ornamental trees. Winter is the time when a lot of the native plants come into their element with flowers, check your local nursery to find out what is available.
If you are not one for vegetable growing through winter then weed your vegetable patch or raised bed and fill with rich animal manure, lucerne hay, leaf mulch and compost, then your patch will be ready in spring for planting your summer crops. Alternatively plant a green manure crop to add essential nutrients back into the soil.
Winter vegetable seedlings for planting now: Asparagus crowns, Brassicas including cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, Baby bunching broccoli, Mustards. Broad Beans, Garlic, Perpetual Beet, Mustards, Onions, Spring Onions, Parsnips, Peas, Radish, Silver beet.
Winter Herb seedlings: Coriander best grown now through to spring including winter, heat makes it bolt to seed in summer. Most other herbs will continue growing albeit slowly through winter.