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Sustaining soil moisture is a constant chore. File Photo: PIXABAY

Water gardens in evenings

Midsummer is a demanding time in the garden. Dry soils create many problems for growing plants.
Sustaining soil moisture is a constant chore. The most effective time for garden irrigation is in the evening when dried up soil can soak up the water. Many fruit trees need attention with harvesting, irrigating, spraying and summer pruning.
Beans – Continue summer sowings of dwarf and climbing beans for extended harvest. Continue with further summer sowings of beetroot. Main season sowings of carrots made in November and December will be growing rapidly. Thin the small finger-sized seedlings and use. This will encourage growth of those left behind. Midsummer is a time when carrot rust fly attacks. Protect crops with Organic Insect Control Pyrethrum or similar.
Harvest outer stalks of celery so plants can continue to grow through summer. Plant out further seedlings. Garlic – Nearly harvest time. Even though still green and growing vigorously, should be dug up and left to dry on the surface of the garden.

Seedlings of cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli can be planted out, but it is advisable to cover and protect from white butterfly caterpillars. Cucumbers and zucchini planted in October, November will be ready for harvest. Watch the zucchini as they require daily picking. Early season pumpkins and squash will be ready for harvest.
Eggplants and capsicum – should be ready for harvest later in the month. Kumaras – Encourage vigorous growth. Keep the bed weed free.
Time to plant out leek seedlings in preparation for winter crops. Prepare soils with compost, sheep pellets and blood and bone. Continue three-weekly sowings of lettuces seedlings. Take advantage of any gaps in flower gardens also.
Potatoes – Continue harvesting once flowering is complete and the plants have died down. October/November sowings of early maturing varieties of sweet corn will be ready for harvest by the third or fourth week of the month. Harvest once the tassels have begun to shrivel and dry.
Tomatoes – Harvest fruit as soon as they begin to colour. Trim off bottom leaves as the fruit ripens progressively up the vine. This improves air circulation. Trim off laterals for the same reason.
Flowers: Summer flower borders including marigolds, petunias, zinnias and salvia are in full bloom. Little attention is needed at this stage. Dead heading and keeping beds weed free is important so you don’t waste water on weeds. Early morning watering is preferable to evenings. Also in full bloom will be gladioli, carnations, chrysanthemums. Dahlias, canna and calla lilies should be in full bloom.
Fruits: Main season harvesting commences on stone fruits, peaches, nectarines, plums and late season apricots. Early season apples start to ripen later in the month. Citrus will need constant irrigation if possible.
Summer prune early season stone fruit trees. This replaces winter pruning and helps prevent silver leaf disease.
Continue to harvest available fruits, apples, citrus, berries and grapes enjoy the fruits of your labour.
Lawns – Don’t cut too short.
Compost Heap – Turn frequently.
Stay safe and well.
– Ngatea Garden Circle