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From Jon Lamb Communications
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February 28, 2020
Autumn garden guide download

Autumn – a great time for gardening           

So long summer!  On Sunday it’s autumn.
For South Australians, March is one of the best gardening months of the year.
With little significant change in the weather pattern likely over the next two weeks, it’s an ideal time to re-establish the lawn, plant bulbs, propagate softwood cuttings, trim hedges and unruly shrubs, feed winter flowering plants, establish a splash or two of colour and set up the vegetable and herb garden for a productive winter harvest.
You will find more planting information in our Autumn Planting Guide »
 

Planting time – don’t delay

Right now soil temperatures are ideal for planting at 22 to 25ºC. 
But they will not remain like this for long, dropping on average 4ºC each month during autumn.
As a general guide, most warm-season plants need soil temperatures above 15ºC to maintain strong, active growth.
More on autumn planting in my Advertiser gardening column, tomorrow. 

Cool season crops

Don’t be surprised if your local garden centre already has a wide range of cool-season vegetables on display.
March and April are the preferred planting months for these crops.
They should produce rapid growth and provide a welcome early change to your garden harvest.
Winter crops planted over the next few weeks will need to be watered regularly, particularly when conditions remain warm.
 

Worth growing

Experienced vegetable growers will waste little time establishing leafy vegetables such as:
  • broccoli
  • cabbage
  • cauliflower
  • silverbeet
  • celery
  • lettuce
It is also a good time to establish peas and carrots, along with a range of quick-growing Asian vegetables.

Extreme heat distorts outlook for gardeners

A near-record total of 12 days with temperatures over 40°C during summer spoiled what should have been an ideal season for gardening.
Adelaide normally expects four days during summer when temperatures exceed 40°C.
But while it is easy to focus on the extreme heat, Bureau of Meteorology records show both maximum temperatures and rainfall in Adelaide over summer were actually very close to average.
 
Month Rainfall mm Maximum ºC Minimum  ºC
  Long-term average  
Actual
Long-term average  
Actual
Long-term average  
Actual
December 28.4 9.4 27.3 31.5 15.7 17.4
January 20.1 22.2 29.6 29.6 17.3 17.0
February 15.5 43.6 29.5 26.8 13.3 16.9
Summer 64.0 75.2 28.8 29.3 15.4 17.1
Feature plant

Mini cyclamen ready for autumn gardens

Mini cyclamen in four-cell Easy Colour packs are now available at local garden centres and are ready to make their way into your autumn garden.
Don’t be put off thinking it is too hot for cyclamen. These have been grown through the summer, so they are heat-tolerant and ready for planting in any situation protected from the afternoon sun
These little beauties elegantly unfurl their petals to reveal long-lasting blooms with gorgeous thick variegated leaves that will continue all the way through winter. 
There is a great range of colours to enhance any décor and they are very easy to recognise in their distinctive four-cell, purple packs.
Easy Colour

Mini cyclamen are at good garden centres now.
Blue Spires

Plectranthus Blue Spires

Plants that provide year-round colour in the shade are like gold.Blue Spire
One of the best, Plectranthus Blue Spires, is also one of the most versatile.
It is not only happy to grow in either full sun or full shade, it is also extremely water wise and has excellent tolerance to heat and drought.
Blue Spires has rounded felty green leaves with a creamy white edge and produces spires of pale blue to violet flowers from spring through to autumn.
This low growing plant (40 x 30 cm) has a spreading habit and is very easy to grow and manage, combining happily with both native and exotic plantings.
Proven Winners
Look for Blue Spires at your local garden centre.
More information »

Ten top fruit trees to beat the heat

Following reader requests for more lists of heat-beating trees and shrubs for SA gardens, fruit and nut specialist from McLaren Flat, Chris Perry sent through his top 10 list of heat-beating fruit trees.
 
Almonds Established trees will cope with only a few deep waterings each summer
Pistachio The hardiest of the nut trees
Mulberry Often the sole remaining trees in abandoned gardens
Grapes When established will bear well without special attention
Fig Hardy and healthy trees can cope without care or shelter
Pomegranate Productive shrub or small tree for SA landscapes
Cherry Guava Beautiful evergreen shrub, surprisingly drought-hardy
White Sapote Attractive tropical evergreen tree, very tolerant of heat
Apricot One of many stonefruits that is tolerant of heat
Jujube  Very hardy deciduous tree, thrives in hot weather
2019 was the hottest year on record for Australia, with the temperature reaching 1.52ºC above the long-term average. There’s no doubt it’s been a very tough year on plants, so now is a good time to talk about how to get them looking their best again. 
Although, there has been some rain, you still need to keep up the moisture.
It’s also important to give them a gentle feed.
Unfortunately, many people think they should feed a struggling plant heavily at this time of the year, simply because it looks a little sick, has burnt leaves or has dried out due to a lack of moisture.
Heavy fertilising encourages a lot of rapid new growth (particularly if the nitrogen level is high), and this leads to a large increase in leaf area.
This new growth may not be hardy enough to survive another hot weather event, and as the plant is already stressed, the roots may not be able to support the new growth. 
This is because a plant can only carry as many leaves as the root system is capable of providing nutrients and moisture for.

More information »

Your roses will flower on cue

During autumn rose bushes can be encouraged to produce their display on cue.
As an example roses stimulated over the next two weeks will produce their best blooms 48 - 52 days later, during mid to late April.
For rose enthusiasts this coincides with the dates for local rose shows.
 

Feed and trim roses lightly

Start by fertilising, soaking and if needed, mulching your bushes.
Next trim all spent blooms and all those that are past their best, but leave buds that have not yet opened. If possible aim at trimming at least 50% of all new-season branches.
This should result in a good display of blooms over the next 3 to 4 weeks and an excellent display during April.
Lawn Care – Stefan Palm
Black beetles in lawn

What’s eating your lawn?

March is one of two times in the year when black beetle larvae a can cause problems in your lawn.
It is also a prime-time to control them so they don’t damage your lawn.
In this week’s lawn blog turf consultant Stefan Palm points out it is the black beetle larvae (pictured left) rather than the beetles (right) that causes most of the damage.
Stefan explains how you can tell if you have a lawn beetle problem and provides an excellent guide to controlling both the black lawn beetle and, in particular, the black beetle larvae.
If you have experienced problems with black beetles in your lawn or their larvae you may care to leave Stefan a comment.

More information »
Paul Munns Instant Lawn

Fruit trees still need feeding after harvest

Deciduous fruit trees don’t stop growing simply because their crops have been harvested. 
Energy used to produce this season’s crop must be replaced. 
Over the next few weeks the trees will activate their roots in a search for nutrients.  These will be converted into sugars and starches and stored in and around dormant fruit and leaf buds in readiness for next season.
However, after such a heavy crop, nutrient levels remaining in the soil are likely to be lower than normal. 
Unless these are replaced, the size and quality of next season’s crop will be affected.
The quickest and easiest way to remedy the situation is to spread a small quantity of garden fertiliser under the trees and use a sprinkler to soak the material into the topsoil.

Safe, organic answer to common diseases

eco-fungicideUse eco-fungicide to protect your plants from common diseases like rust, powdery mildew and black spot on flowering plants and in the veggie patch.
For best results spray thoroughly at the first sign of disease.
eco-fungicide is certified organic and has no withholding period, so you can spray and harvest the same day.
It's also safe for bees and other beneficial insects. 

Available from Bunnings, other hardware stores, nurseries and online at www.ecoorganicgarden.com.au
              
More information on eco-fungicide »

Learn more about these disease profiles: 

Container plant soil may need attention

Container plants that have been watered constantly through summer will benefit with a little attention in the next few weeks. 
If the soil looks washed out and plant growth is slow, try re-potting with fresh soil.
Otherwise, incorporate slow release fertiliser into the topsoil.   Plants that have been growing vigorously may benefit from a light trimming.
Trimmings can often be used to make cuttings for further plants.
 

When to harvest pumpkins   

Pumpkins can be picked for eating at any stage of their growth.
However, for long storage wait until the vine that is attached to the pumpkin's thick stem starts to go dry.
This will ensure that both the stem and the pumpkin have had enough time to mature and harden.
Retain the stem when harvesting.

Please keep your questions for Talkback Gardening

Good Gardening  is unable to answer individual reader's questions via email.
If you're looking for specific gardening advice please give me a call on ABC Radio Adelaide's Saturday morning Talkback Gardening  or speak to the experts at your local garden centre.

Talkback Gardening tomorrow

ABC Radio Adelaide Talkback Gardening this Saturday, 8.30 am to 10 am – phone me and Deb Tribe on 1300 222 891 and have your own gardening question answered.
Guest
Darren Ray, consulting climatologist. Why summer was both hot and cold. Plus a three-month weather outlook for gardeners.
Weekend gardening weather

Coming soon

Saturday & Sunday, March 21 & 22
Bromeliad Society Annual  Show and Sales Extravaganza
Maltese Cultural Centre, 6 Jeanes St, Beverley. Sat 9 am - 3 pm, Sun10 am - 3 pm. Free entry both days. EFTPOS available.

Wednesday to Sunday, March 25 - 29
Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show
Carlton Gardens, Melbourne. More information » 

Saturday, April 4
ABC Gardeners' Market
ABC car park, 85 North East Road, Collinswood.

Saturday & Sunday, April 4 & 5

National Rose Trial Garden ‘People’s Choice Rose Judging’ weekend
Cast your vote for your favourite roses and view those new roses most likely to be released in the coming seasons.  In the Adelaide Botanic Garden, near the Hackney Road entrance, 10 am - 4 pm both days. More information »

Barossa Rose & Flower Show
Competition and displays for roses, dahlias, cut flowers, floral art and children’s section.
BBQ and other refreshments available. Free entry. Sat 12 noon - 5.30 pm, Sun 9 am - 5 pm. Barossa Nursery, Barossa Valley Way, Nuriootpa. email for more information »

Cactus and Succulent Society of SA Autumn Show and Sale
Purchase plants from 26 different growers/sellers, books and other gardening craft. Advice on growing cactus and succulents, water-wise planting advice.
Payneham Library and Community Centre, corner of Turner Street and O.G. Road, Felixstow. 10 am - 4 pm both days. Admission $3
More information »

Enfield Horticultural Society autumn show
Klemzig Community Hall, 242 North East Rd Klemzig. Sat 12 noon - 4 pm, Sun10 am - 4 pm. Admission $3 includes cup of tea or coffee.

Saturday April 18
Fern Society of SA annual sale
9 am - 2pm, Adelaide High School, West Tce, Adelaide.

Saturday & Sunday, April 18 &19
Autumn Rose Show, Rose Society of South Australia
Burnside Community Centre, cnr Portrush and Greenhill Roads, Tusmore. Sat 12 noon - 5 pm, Sun10 am - 4 pm. More information »

SA Autumn Garden Festival
Clare Showgrounds. More information »

Regular events
Woodville Academy of Floral Design
Meeting alternate Wednesdays at Kilkenny Community Centre, corner Wilpena Tce & Tarcowie St, Kilkenny. Visitors welcome. Details »

Regular garden attractions

Adelaide Botanic Gardens – free guided walks
Friends of the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide guided walks for the public at Adelaide, Mount Lofty and Wittunga Botanic Gardens, and Botanic Park.
More information »

Carrick Hill

Heritage house museum and garden, the former home of Sir Edward and Lady Ursula Hayward. Open weekends & public holidays. Free admission into garden and grounds. 46 Carrick Hill Drive, Springfield.
More information »

Cummins Historic House and gardens
23 Sheoak Ave, Novar Gardens. Gardens open and plant sales on 1st & 3rd Sundays of each month (except Dec & Jan) 2 pm - 4.30 pm. Plant sales also available every Friday morning 9 am to noon. More information »

Heysen - The Cedars
The historic home of two of Australia’s most noted artists, Sir Hans Heysen and his daughter Nora. This unique 60-hectare heritage estate features the original family home, two artists’ studios and the celebrated cottage-style garden, planted chiefly with exotics, including the massive Himalayan cedar trees.
Heysen Road, Hahndorf. Open 10 am - 4.30 pm, Tuesday to Sunday, and also open on public holiday Mondays. Ticketed entry, including guided tours at 11am, 1pm and 3pm.
More information »

Urrbrae House historic precinct gardens
At the end of Walter Young Avenue, off Fullarton Road, Urrbrae, or from the Urrbrae House gate, Claremont Avenue, Netherby.
Open from dawn until dusk every day. Free entry.
More information »

Waite Arboretum, Fullarton Road, Urrbrae
Open free to the public every day of the year from dawn to dusk, except on fire ban days. Free guided walks on the first Sunday of every month, 11 am to 12.30 pm.
Meet at the West lawn (Croquet Lawn) of Urrbrae House. Bookings not necessary.
More information »

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Disclaimer: Although all reasonable care is taken in preparing information contained in this email, neither Jon Lamb Communications (JLC) nor its officers, staff or suppliers involved in the editing and production of this email accept any liability resulting from the interpretation or use of the information set out in this document. Information contained in this document is subject to change without notice and is of a general nature and should not take the place of professional personal advice. No responsibility is accepted by Jon Lamb Communications for the accuracy of information contained in web sites linked from this email. Publication of an advertisement does not constitute endorsement by JLC of any product or service, or warrant its suitability.

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