Gardening

Hi Gardeners,

Hope you have been enjoying your gardens whilst getting stuck into all those spring jobs. As we gardeners all have different styles and tastes in plants I thought I would mix it up a bit and make this article a bit eclectic.

CITRUS

With citrus now available in nurseries, I thought I would write about rootstock and citrus trees, so you will understand why they take a lot of looking after before they are sent to retail nurseries for your purchase.

The most successful and productive part of the citrus plant is the rootstock which may be unseen and not very often considered by the average home gardener. With the correct rootstock your tree will develop a strong and healthy root system lasting decades. For centuries growers have developed the large juicy varieties of citrus that we enjoy today by using two plants.

One is the rootstock that provides the root system and the other is the tree above the rootstock that provides the fruit. In Australia there are over a dozen different types of citrus rootstock in use. Each rootstock is suited to certain varieties of citrus and holds different characteristics.

Most production nurseries use between three to five different varieties to provide the best possible results to grow healthy plants. It would be impossible and very expensive to attempt to use all the different types of rootstocks.

A lot goes into providing good citrus plants for your home garden enjoyment. Remember, if you see growth coming from the graft it should be removed immediately. Most citrus should be fed in March, July and November with a Citrus and Fruit Tree Fertilizer. If you only have one (1) citrus tree a Rose Food can be used.

As one of the young workers here Reilly said to me the other day ‘Citrus are really cool’. Yes, Reilly they are.

GRAPE VINES

Grapes have been available now for a little while. It is best to plant them approximately 3 metres apart on a two-wire trellis, fence or pergola. All varieties are self-pollinating. They will tolerate most soil conditions, but do not like heavy clay soils or wet feet. The soil must be well prepared and include a dressing of Blood and Bone. Fertilise in late winter or spring, however they don’t like a fertiliser with a high nitrogen content. When pruning cut back the strongest cane on the plant to two (2) buds. Then train their growth in two directions along the bottom wire of the trellis. Next winter prune back to sturdy wood leaving three (3) buds on each. The next winter prune back these six secondary arms leaving two (2) buds at the base. Continuing to do this process each year. The fruit buds appear on the 1-year-old wood which arise from 2-year-old wood.

HIPPEASTRUMS

Beautifully flowering like a dream in most gardens at the moment. Hippeastrums are dormant during May, June and July. Careful not to fertilise or over water your bulbs. Apply a slow-release fertiliser in August along with some Sulphate of Potash and water at least once a week. You should then re-apply the Sulphate of Potash in September or October as your Hippeastrums will be starting to flower. Snails are currently active so beware. Slow-release fertiliser can be re-applied in November or December. In the January, February, March or April every 3 - 5 years lift and divide your bulbs.

For those gardeners who want to have that lovely red and white theme for Christmas, now is the time to start looking at planting those seedlings with Petunias, Dianthus and Begonias all coming in red and white. Remember, you are only limited by your imagination.

Happy Gardening

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