Garden Diary

The annual gardening calendar is a handy summary of gardening reminders for a full 12 months. Click on the month you are interested in, or browse at your leisure…


January

  • Summer-prune roses, then feed with Hortico Organic plant food.
  • This is optimum growth time. Fertilise all garden beds with Dynamic Lifter.
  • Move hanging baskets into spots that are shaded in the afternoon.
  • Encourage summer lettuce to grow quickly by watering each week with Aquasol. This prevents lettuce going to seed.
  • Water the garden in the morning while it’s still cool. Plants can absorb maximum moisture at this time of day.
  • In fruit fly-prone areas pick up and destroy fallen fruit every three days.
  • Take cuttings of shrubs such as box, azaleas, geraniums and grevilleas.
  • Cut back rampant growth on climbing plants like wisteria, potato creeper and passionfruit.
  • Mist indoor plants with water to increase humidity and deter mites and insect pests.
  • Use The Zero Weeding Brush, which lets you get rid of weeds without bending.
  • SEEDS TO SOW: Dwarf Marigold, Stock, Poppies, Violas, Forget Me Not, Herbs, Dwarf Beans, Radishes, Zucchinis

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February

  • Mulch all garden beds to conserve precious moisture. It’s best to use organic material like old manure, lucerne hay or mushroom compost.
  • Apply Hortico ready-to-use Rose Spray regularly to control pest and disease problems on roses.
  • Keep white fly numbers under control by regularly spraying with pyrethrum.
  • Check citrus trees for scale and leaf miner. Spray with PestOil.
  • Buy spring bulbs while the greatest choice is available.
  • Azalea leaf discolouration is most often caused by azalea lace bug. Control with Confidor.
  • Replace mulch that’s been washed away by heavy summer rains. Hortico Termite resistant mulch smothers weeds and retains moisture.
  • Feed citrus trees with citrus food or Hortico Organic Fertiliser.
  • Put tulip and hyacinth bulbs into the crisper section of the fridge for a pre-planting chill.
  • Lawns can suffer badly from fungal diseases at this time of year. Regular fertilising with Hortico Lawn Fertiliser will improve grass vigour.
  • Re-pot container plants into fresh Hortico Premium Potting Mix.
  • SEEDS TO SOW: Snapdragon, Pansy, Primula, Leeks, Silverbeet, Celery, Lettuce.

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March

  • Autumn is the best time of the year for planting trees and shrubs. They have time to establish before the cold weather really hits.
  • Check cherry, pear and hawthorn trees for the slimy black caterpillars called pear and cherry slugs. Spray with Success or dust with wood ash.
  • In areas with acid soil, prepare sweet pea beds with lime or dolomite.
  • Pick pumpkins (leaving a small amount of stalk attached) after stalk browns, then store in a cool, shady, dry place.
  • Prune hydrangeas either this month, or wait until mid-winter.
  • Oversow lawns with Hortico Tough & Hardy Lawn Seed.
  • Dollar spot is a fungal disease that leaves small, even, round (silver dollar-sized) patches. Treat with Bayleton.
  • Plant aquilegias, cinerarias, cyclamen, polyanthus, primulas, pansies and violas in semi shaded garden spots.
  • Choose freesias, babianas, ixias, Spanish bluebells and ornithogalums for gardens in warmer areas.
  • SEEDS TO SOW: Cineraria, Nemesia, Sweet Peas, Virginian Stock, Peas, Carrots, Broccoli, Beetroot, Lettuce, Turnips

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April

  • Check chrysanthemums for aphid attack. Spray with pyrethrum or Confidor.
  • Prepare beds for new roses and deciduous trees by digging in organic compost.
  • This is a good time to cut back perennials that have finished flowering, and divide established clumps.
  • Finish sweet pea planting.
  • Spray annual weeds with Hortico Weedkiller before they go to seed. Cut off existing seed heads and put them in a plastic bag in the bin.
  • Look for some of the new miniature spring bulbs – they’re great in pots.
  • Lift strawberry plants, refresh soil with old organic matter, and replant runners.
  • Feed lawns with Hortico Lawn Fertiliser.
  • Patient gardeners can create their own standardised plants by careful trimming and training. Use azaleas, bay trees, duranta, citrus and climbers.
  • Whole, unblemished tomatoes will keep well in a jar if the ripe fruit is covered with olive oil.
  • SEEDS TO SOW: Forget Me Not, Calendula, Lobelia, Delphinium, Leeks, Spinach, Cabbages.

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May

  • A big pot filled with garden “goodies” makes a wonderful Mother’s Day gift.
  • Pot up basil to grow on an indoor windowsill. In most areas it will die of with winter’s arrival.
  • May’s the last chance to finish planting spring bulbs.
  • In warm, frost-free districts, cut back tibouchinas immediately after they’ve finished flowering.
  • As soon as possible after purchasing lilium bulbs, plant them into humus-rich soil.
  • When mowing, leave lawns a little longer than usual. They will cope better with the cooler conditions.
  • Plant out all winter/spring flower and vegetable seedlings.
  • Cut back and lift dahlia tubers as plants die down.
  • In cold areas, build structures that will support frost protection (such as shadecloth or plastic covering).
  • Indoor chrysanthemums will last for weeks in a well-lit indoor position. They can then be planted out in the garden.
  • As weather cools reduce watering of indoor plants and use tepid (rather than cold) water.
  • SEEDS TO SOW: Primula, Wallflower, Scabiosa, Broad Beans, Chinese Cabbage, Onions.

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June

  • Plant asparagus crowns in the base of a 20cm deep trench. As the shoots grow, fill the trench with organically rich soil to which a little lime has been added.
  • Look out for summer-flowering perennials and bulbs. There are some interesting varieties available at this time of year.
  • Take hardwood cuttings of deciduous plants such as grapevines.
  • Buy and plant bare-rooted roses.
  • As azalea buds show colour, begin spraying with Mancozeb. This protects against the fungal disease, petal blight.
  • If camellia buds don’t open properly, it may that the plant is in the wrong position. This is a good time of year to move camellia plants to a more sheltered spot.
  • Feed growing bulbs with Aquasol.
  • Cut back sasanqua camellias after they’ve finished flowering.
  • Leave cyclamens in unheated rooms at night.
  • Pick silver beet by pulling off the outside leaves as they’re needed. This prolongs the harvest period.
  • SEEDS TO SOW: Gypsophila, Dianthus, Candytuft, Linaria, Statice, Delphiniums, Peas, Broad Beans, Cabbages

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July

  • In cold districts, seeds can be raised indoors on a warm windowsill, or by covering seed tray with a sheet of plastic.
  • Prune roses in temperate areas and give a follow-up spray with Lime Sulphur.
  • Prune most deciduous fruit trees.
  • Spray citrus with a weak white oil solution to control the very young nymphal stages of bronze orange bug.
  • Don’t forget to fertilise winter growing vegetables with Aquasol.
  • Spray stone fruit at pink bud stage with Leaf Curl spray to control rot and leaf curl.
  • In warm districts, take frangipani cuttings. Leave to dry for a week before planting.
  • Buy and start a mushroom farm.
  • Leave frost-damaged sections of plants in place until the last frosts are over. This will provide protection for other parts.
  • Don’t be in too much of a hurry to harvest asparagus. It should be at least three years old before it’s cut, but it will go on producing for many years.
  • Reduce frost injury by gently hosing over plant material first thing in the morning.
  • SEEDS TO SOW: Alyssum, Dianthus, Delphinium, Statice, Senposai, Kohlrabi, Silver Beet
  • Winter Planting: Rhubarb Crowns, Raspberry Canes, Amaryllis, Tuberoses, Waterlilies.

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August

  • In frost-free areas, cut back impatiens, begonias and summer flowering shrubs like gardenias, hibiscus and fuchsias.
  • Use Weed ‘n’ Feed or bindii killer to control broadleafed weeds in lawns.
  • Fertilise citrus with citrus food or Hortico organic plant food.
  • Complete all major landscaping projects before warm weather arrives.
  • Weed regularly around annuals and vegetables. This will reduce competition for water and nutrients.
  • Clean paths and garden furniture to prepare for summer entertaining.
  • Seed potatoes can be planted this month.
  • A clean-up spray with copper fungicide before leaves emerge will prevent many fungal problems on deciduous fruit trees and ornamentals.
  • Sprinkle calendula petals into salads or use them to decorate serving dishes.
  • Moss in lawns can be controlled by watering with a solution of 30g of iron sulphate dissolved in four litres of water.
  • Taste-test citrus before harvesting. Some varieties colour well early in the season but it can be months before they are sweet enough to enjoy.
  • Prune roses in cold climates.
  • SEEDS TO SOW: Nasturtium, Petunia, Cleome, Carnation, Lettuce, Parsnips, Endive, Beetroot, Herbs, Radishes, Cabbages, Chinese Cabbages

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September

  • Be patient with broad beans. They may begin flowering but won’t set fruit until temperatures are reasonably warm.
  • When cyclamen have finished flowering they can go outside into a sheltered, fairly dry spot.
  • Lettuce grows most easily during spring or autumn. It can go rapidly to seed in warm weather.
  • Aphids build up quickly on new rose shoots. Control with Hortico Rose Spray.
  • Sow new lawns with Hortico Tough & Hardy lawn seed and mend bare patches.
  • Renovate established lawns by raking out old dead plant material.
  • Plant warm season vegetables such as beans, tomatoes, cucurbits and eggplant.
  • Spread organic mulch over all garden beds.
  • Gain inspiration by visiting open gardens in your area.
  • Sheets of newspaper are wonderful for smothering weeds. Water well, spread newspaper to exclude the light, and then cover with Hortico Termite Resistant Mulch.
  • Seeds to Sow : Coleus, Californian Poppy, Sunflower, Alyssum, Beans, Tomatoes, Eggplants
  • Download September Hortico Garden Diary

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October

  • Plant perennial petunias for long lasting garden colour.
  • Yellowing of older gardenia leaves is a sign of short-term magnesium deficiency. Water with a weak solution of epsom salts.
  • Spread snail bait amongst vulnerable plants, especially during damp weather.
  • Sow sunflower seeds for cheerful summer blooms.
  • Sow corn into warm (more than 20 C) soil.
  • Lift bulbs after foliage has died down.
  • As spring-flowering annuals finish, clean up beds, fertilise, and build up soil for summer plantings.
  • Divide and re-pot cymbidium orchids into good quality orchis mix..
  • When planting out tomatoes, choose a spot that has not grown tomatoes for at least five years.
  • Feed potted plants with Hortico Organic Plant Food.
  • Apply Hortico Soil Wetter around established plants and shrubs.
  • Seeds to Sow: Phlox, Ageratum, Dahlia, Impatiens, Capsicums, Cucumbers, Tomatoes

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November

  • Prune spring-flowering roses as they finish blooming.
  • Look out for plague thrips, tiny sap-sucking insects. They love to infest light-coloured flowers. Spray with Baythroid, Confidor or Yates Pyrethrum.
  • Fertilise every plant in the garden.
  • Dig gypsum and organic matter into clay soils to improve drainage.
  • Sow radishes in the same bed as carrots to improve carrot germination.
  • Lightly cut back natives as they finish flowering.
  • Pinch back chrysanthemums to promote bushy growth.
  • Plan and plant Christmas colour.
  • Fruit fly is a problem in some districts. As fruit develops, begin a control program.
  • Dig in Hortico Water Crystals when making new plantings.
  • SEEDS TO SOW: Celosia, Zinnia, Gerbera, Cosmos, Zucchinis, Sweet Corn, Pumpkins

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December

  • During summer, black beetles emerge from holes in the lawn. Treat with Baythroid Lawn Grub & Garden Insecticide.
  • Hydrangeas are wonderful for indoor decoration. Crush ends of stems and scorch over a flame, then stand in deep water for 2 hours.
  • Add Hortico water-storing crystals to pots before going on holidays.
  • Make arrangements for your garden to survive the holiday period. Potted plants are the most vulnerable.
  • Sow basil at the same time as tomatoes. As well as tasting wonderful together, basil is said to keep pests away from the tomatoes.
  • Scale insects breed at this time of year. Inspect plants carefully, especially susceptible varieties such as gardenias, lillypillies and citrus.
  • Prune bottlebrush as they finish blooming.
  • Improve pollination of sweet corn by shaking pollen from the tassels at the top of the plant.
  • Trap earwigs by filling plant pots with crumpled newspaper and laying them on their sides in garden beds. Check each morning and destroy pests.
  • Two spotted mite (also known as red spider) can be kept in check by regularly mist-watering over leaves. Hortico Rose Spray also helps with their control on roses and ornamentals.
  • SEEDS TO SOW: Aster, Rudbeckia, Salvia, Swan River Daisy, Squash, Beans, Cauliflowers, Beetroots
  • Download December Hortico Garden Diary

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