It’s February – only 11 months ’til Christmas

January 30, 2015

Happy Hedge Hog Day. No I didn’t make it up just because our TOP hEDGE logo is a hedge hog, well echidna really but they are so similar.

This special celebration was actually a day observed by the Romans during the Festival of Februa on 2nd February. They thought when a hibernating hedgehog emerged from its den on Hedgehog Day and saw its shadow, there was six more weeks of winter. The basis for this observation most likely comes from the statistical observation that a clear moon in early February is more common with longer winters than shorter ones. Here in Australia it means there are 6 more weeks of summer, which is great for us gardeners.

In February everything seems to be growing extra fast and lawns and weeds with a bit of rain will be trying to take over completely.

Over in the vegie garden Zucchinis are going great guns. Pick and enjoy them before they get too big and bland. If you don’t have a veggie garden get one started so this time next year you can enjoy your own homegrown produce.

One of my favorites is Cos lettuce and you can plant it and other lettuces now. Cos lettuces one big claim to fame is it’s the essential ingredient for Caesar salad. Cos grows into an upright cylinder with a tall, loose head. If you have trouble getting lettuce to germinate sow it in trays of seed raising mix and keep it moist in a cool spot until after the seeds have sprouted.

Now is a good time to plant a pile of winter and spring brassicas including Broccoli (the dwarf variety Leprechaun is small enough for a container), Cabbage (try Sugarloaf, Savoy or Eureka), Cauliflower and Brussel Sprouts The main trick is good rich soil full of compost (see last week). Mulch well and protect with Multiguard snail pellets. These are the brown ones, which doesn’t hurt pets, birds or worms.

One important job this month is to give your lemon and other citrus a feed. I prefer to use an organic based fertiliser but any citrus food will do. Mine is growing well now after that rain but after you feed them give your trees a good drink to wash it in well.

Finish summer pruning of apples, pears and other fruit trees. As your stone fruit finish give them a prune now also. Apricots particularly benefit from pruning now while they are growing so it limits disease.

If you have espaliered apples trim the side growths back to around 8cm. The shoots you pruned this way last year will have shoots of their own which should be pruned back also to about 2.5cm. Espaliers are a great way to grow fruit trees if you are limited for space. They also make really decorative features around the garden.

Hydrangeas are still flowering but if yours have any burnt bits from the heat of summer, you can prune them now to tidy them up. Otherwise wait until winter and you can enjoy the soft colours of the flowers as they fade.

Roses can use a light haircut now too and they’ll be back in bloom for a beaut autumn show in April. Whilst your secateurs are sharp cut back any of your fast growing natives by about a third. It seems harsh but that’s what happens when animals graze them and they bounce back stronger and sturdy and with more flowers.

If you put your cyclamens in pots out for a rest over summer now is the time to revive them by re-potting into fresh, good quality potting mix. Oh and get ready to plant spring flowering bulbs now too. Get weeds under control especially couch and any running weeds and dig in heaps of rich compost.

If you are looking for some beaut autumn colour plant a bunch of calendulas. Their bright orange and yellow daisy flowers go well in containers.   They’re hardy once started and the edible petals brighten up salads and soups.

At Top Hedge, our Horticulturists and Green Gardeners know all this and mulch more ways to make you garden thrive in our conditions, so if you love your garden but never have enough time give us a call on 5330 1071 or email us.