It is always recommended to take advantage of the warm weather and spend as much time as you can outdoors. Celebrating World Habitat Day, revamp your veranda to make the most of the warmer weather, save space with a vertical veggie garden and plant summer color now.
Hope for habitats
World Habitat Day is celebrated on 7 October and focuses on the conservation of natural habitats and the bird, animal and plant life they sustain. There are many ways to support this initiative:
• Create green areas in inner cities.
• Plant trees as windbreaks and to prevent soil erosion.
• Build walls in your garden with horizontal logs and hollow bricks as homes for insects.
• Plant flowers, fruit and non-invasive grasses for birds.
• Reduce your water usage with the help of a grey-water system. It works in such a way that household water from bathrooms, kitchens can be re-used to water vegetables and flowers.
• Pay attention to a shredder which is helpful for converting all the garden waste into mulch for plants. It is possible to conserve moisture, suppress weeds, limit evaporation and also improve soil fertility.
Perk up patios
Turn a dull patio into an attractive area by organizing the space:
• Attach shelves on walls for displaying pots and collectibles.
• Choose seating that has storage space.
• Paint pots to match your chair covers or cushions.
• Add large containers of tall plants such as palms, ficus or citrus trees for privacy.
TIP Pots can be moved to enjoy more sun or shade by attaching wheels to the base.
• Add a small water feature or fountain that provides a relaxing background sound to a summer evening spent outdoors.
• If you enjoy dining al fresco style, then plants such as scented pelargoniums and fragrant herbs in pots are a good choice. Light up the patio with solar products, low- energy bulbs, and candles.
Vertical gardening promotes healthy plants as it ensures good air circulation, plenty of sunlight and easy harvesting. Even in the restricted space of a balcony, a townhouse or rural garden, a tower garden can become a source of food. On patios and balconies, large pots can hold a wire cone or a wigwam made from sturdy sticks for tomatoes, peas, and climbing beans. In the garden, there are other ways of growing vegetables vertically: on trellises, on wire fences, and in stacked old tires.
• Water lawns regularly in those parts of the country where there is little or no rain.
• Raise the cutting level of lawnmowers to avoid the sun burning the roots.
• When you decide to apply a granular fertilizer, water the lawn before and directly afterward, as fertilizer can lodge between leaf blades and burn the grass.
• Water container plants regularly. Give them a fortnightly foliar feed to encourage healthy growth and flowering.
• New season roses, fruit trees, and shrubs are available at garden centers. Give each plant a good start by digging a large hole and enriching the soil with compost and a handful of superphosphate.
• Replace early spring annuals with summer-flowering healthy seedlings. Transplant during the coolest part of the day, or on an overcast day. Plant seedlings of amaranthus, bedding dahlia, begonia, celosia, lavatera, marigold, nicotiana, nierembergia, salvia, vinca and zinnia in prepared soil in a sunny position. Impatiens, the wishbone flower (torenia) and coleus prefer a semi or filtered shade.
Tip of the month
In October, roses are the queen of the garden and rose shows, held in many different regions, offer gardeners a wonderful opportunity to admire blooms that would suit their gardens.
Beware of weed eaters!
Be careful when using a weed eater near your roses. The best protection is to place three short stakes around each bush or small tree.
Rose care for October
• Water roses deeply at least twice a week or in smaller amounts daily, as long as the total amount is about 20 liters per bush.
• A layer of organic mulch of 5-10cm is essential to keep the roots cool and prevent weed germination, and it’s your best form of water conservation.
• Fertilize towards the middle of October so that the rose can start building up towards its next flush. REMEMBER Over-fertilising does not result in better performance, but rather has the opposite effect. It is also not good for the soil.
• Protect roses from thrips, aphids, and bollworm by spraying fortnightly with Ludwig’s Insect Spray. Add Chronos to prevent an outbreak of powdery mildew and black spot.
• Gardeners who are keen to pick blooms for the vase or even for a rose competition need to disbud by removing the side buds beneath the terminal bud.