The festive season is officially here and according to Life is a Garden, seeds sowed in August will be ready to harvest, including watermelon which is fantastic to incorporate into your festive entertainment menu or you can get creative with the flowers blooming in your garden by making your own table arrangements. Take a look at a few more of their insightful tips for spending December in your garden below.
What to Sow:
Carrots are a great option to sow during December. They are fairly easy to grow and do best in deep sandy loam or loamy soils with a loose structure.
• Sow the seeds directly in the beds
• Make small furrows one fingernail (1cm) deep and about two or three hand widths (20cm to 30cm) apart
• Sow the seeds about 2cm apart in the furrows
• Water the beds well after sowing
• In hot, dry weather, cover the rows with a thin layer of grass clippings until the seeds emerge after seven to 14 days
• Remove the grass and spread thinly between the rows
What to Plant
Barberton Daisies (Gerbera jamesonii) originate in South Africa and are found in many different bright colours from hot pink to orange to white. They are best grown outside, favouring direct sunlight and sandy soil. They grow well in both pots and garden beds and should be fertilised monthly from September until March. They make excellent patio plants and also work well as an indoor plant to brighten up your living space.
Eggplant (Solanum melongena), also known as aubergine or brinjal, come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colours. The most common of these edible fruits used in our homes is the Black Beauty. Some other varieties are the White Star Eggplant – which produces shiny, white fruit that are ideal for use in Italian meals, and Mini Thai Moon Eggplant – which produces fruit similar in size to a tomato and are white in colour with a few green strips. They are the ideal accompaniment to Thai and Asian recipes. Eggplants are best grown in full sun, in fertile and well-drained soil.
What to Feed
Lawn fertilisation is essential in December due to it being a very hot month. Use a nitrogen-rich fertiliser which will encourage leaf development. Remember to water your lawn thoroughly after fertilising.
Pest and disease control: Continue with fortnightly spraying for black spot, mildew, aphids, beetles and bollworm. Keep a lookout for brown, night-active chafer beetles which chew away on leaves. Ask your local Garden Centre GCA for the correct insecticide to use.
Other tasks: Remove spent flowers and disbud hybrid teas by removing the side buds so the main bloom develops into a good quality flower. When picking roses for your home, only remove 50 per cent of the blooms; this ensures a good balance of leaves on the bush and does not put too much pressure on the roots.
Plants that deter Mosquitos
One tell-tale sign that summer is in full swing is the arrival of Mosquitos. These annoying little guys transmit diseases, buzz around your ear, suck your blood and if that’s not enough – they leave an itchy bite. A good form of natural mosquito control is to grow certain plants with strong natural fragrances. Grow or place these plants in your entertainment and living areas:
Lavender has a distinct, soothing fragrance which hinders a mosquito’s ability to smell. It endures many climates and grows beautifully in South African soil.
You’ve probably heard of or even used citronella candles before, but little did you know…it’s actually a plant! It produces a strong aroma which masks surrounding scents, preventing mosquitos to be attracted to things close by. You can either plant it in pots or in a garden bed. You can even crush the plant and put it on your skin to fend away the mosquitos.
A member of the mint family which has a strong lemon scent when leaves are crushed. Use the crushed leaves on your skin to repel mosquitos. It can also be used in teas, sauces, and desserts.
Not only used in yummy, fresh food dishes but it makes a great and easy insect repellent. Crushed or not, it gives off an aroma that mosquitos cannot bear. Keep multiple pots outside.
Marigolds contain Pyrethrum (natural insecticide) which is found in many insect repellents due to its distinctive aroma. Mosquitos and other bugs and insects find it to be repulsive.
For more gardening tips and information lifeisagarden.co.za.