Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Curse the Rabbits!

Even though I thought I had taken all the dead plants to be mulched I found a dead grevillea on the weekend. Don’t think that because I am a 'qualified' gardener that no plants die in my garden – they die allright!! And I make mistakes all the time. I try to learn from my mistakes but am not always successful. For instance I have planted three punnets of rainbow chard over the last month. Something was eating them and I couldn’t work out what it was. I sprinkled snail pellets – the damage continued. I set up an earwig trap – it remained empty (google sga earwig trap). I covered the seedlings with bird net – no improvement. Finally I sprayed them with Yates Success (caterpillar killer) and my fingers are crossed. I HAVE NEVER HAD PROBLEMS WITH CHARD BEFORE! What on earth was going on!?! Was it too wet, too dry? Maybe it’s a bit too early. I don’t usually plant any seedlings in Feb/March because it’s usually too hot. But with the mild weather and frequent rain I thought I’d be ok. But then last night I saw a rabbit - maybe he was the culprit! I've never had rabbits in the garden before. I feel a bit like Mr McGregor!

The BATH pulled out the big yellow hedge in the secret garden last weekend. It was Coprosma ‘Beaton’s Gold’ and originally planted as a divider between the yellow/blue area and the pastel area. But as the ‘bookends’ of the hedge had gone (the cyprus hedge at one end and the paulownia at the other); it looked a little odd. Not to mention the fact that the BATH hated trimming it because “you plant everything too close to it!” Its removal has opened up a large area for new plants – which are gradually accumulating in my little nursery area.

Now is a good time to fertilise your lawn. I know lawns have been a pain this year and have required cutting long after we normally stop (Christmas). But strengthening them with a dose of lawn food now will help them to cope with whatever Mother Nature throws at them over autumn and winter. I am aimed to get to that job last weekend: after everyone had been to inspect my vegetable garden for the Local Food Fair. But a migraine intervened. Also its important to always water fertiliser in – whether its lawns, fruit trees, pot plants, vegetables etc… so I may now wait for some rain. I am finding it a challenge to stay on top of the weeds. As soon as I finish one bed its like the Sydney Harbour Bridge and I have to go straight back to the beginning! Still it’s been good for the compost heap. I wish I had mulched in November – not to lock moisture in for once but to suppress weeds! Another job that never got done because it was always raining!

Did you ‘Put a Plant on Your Desk’ as urged by the nursery and garden industry on March the 2nd? Apparently 5000 indoor plants were given away that day in Fed Square Melbourne to lots of happy office workers. It’s been fun watching the posts on Facebook from delighted people as they ‘dress up’ their indoor plant. Check them out at ‘Improve Your Plant/Life Balance’. My indoor plants continue to do well – thriving on neglect for 18 months now. Really they need so little attention and yet do so well. And they're absorbing all the VOCs in my house. Indoor plants are generally killed through kindness – too much water! There is this little thing on the end of your hand called a finger that is a great indicator of whether the soil is wet or dry. Use it before watering!!!

So for the next month I will be planting (hopefully), fertilising (probably), weeding (most definitely) and picking the last of the cucumbers, tomatoes, beans, lettuces and parsnips. And anxiously watching the asparagus peas begin to produce their maroon flowers and set fruit. What’s an asparagus pea I hear you say? Look it up!

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