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It’s an ideal time to weed, dig in compost and nutrients for soil health. Photo: PIXABAY

Get your garden ready for winter’s embrace

The last month of Autumn is looming and the perfect time to do some winter weather preparation. Continued warm weather and some welcome rainfall has prolonged the growth of plants. It is an ideal time to weed, dig in compost and nutrients for soil health before the ground becomes too heavy and cold.
Follow with a good layer of mulch which provides a blanket to keep the soil warm and suppress weed growth.
In the flower garden
As gaps appear in spots around the garden, sprinkle annual seeds of poppies, calendula, cornflower, marigold, stocks or alyssum. Before planting, dig in compost and sheep pellets. Cover seed with a fine sprinkling of seed raising mix if you have some.
Autumn is the best time for planting new shrubs and trees so they can get established over the cooler winter months. Plant new season’s daphne, camellias and rhododendron to add welcome colour to the garden in winter and early spring.
May is the last opportunity to get spring bulbs such as daffodils, freesia, hyacinth and tulip in the ground. You still have time to plant lilies, which are easy to grow and can be planted anytime between May and September. Dig in bulb food before planting and cover with 100mm of soil.
Once dahlia stop flowering, the tubers and gladioli corms can be lifted and stored in a dry place ready for replanting in spring. They need to be lifted every couple of years because, left any longer, dahlia tubers quickly grow into heavy clumps.

Plan for the addition of new roses by preparing the soil by adding compost. New roses should be coming into garden centres next month. Existing roses can have a light tidy up (not pruned yet) and spray with copper.
Fruits & Vegetables
Continue harvesting autumn treats of feijoa, guavas and persimmon as they ripen.
Apples and pears, continue late season harvesting. Once harvest is over and leaf fall is complete, these can be pruned and sprayed. Plum trees can be pruned once harvest is completed. Fertilise citrus around the base around the drip line.
Prepare strawberry beds for sowing young plants from June to November.
Continue harvesting your late summer crops of beetroot, cabbage, spinach and lettuce. The ground is still warm enough to be planting more lettuces, spinach and brassicas.
The last of the tomatoes will still ripen on the plants albeit a bit slower due to shorter daylight hours. If you have planted leeks at the end of summer as they grow, pile up the soil around the stems to provide support and keep the stems white. Add new herbs of thyme, coriander, parsley, rosemary and mint.
The compost heap will benefit from the addition of the autumn leaf fall. Many tree leaves are a particularly rich source of plant nutrients and make a valuable contribution to soil fertility. Turn compost heaps over regularly.
Lawns will need aeration and fertilising this month.
Enjoy your garden.
– Ngatea Garden Circle