Maintenance, Pruning, Winter

Pruning season

 Winter is the best time to prune your deciduous trees, and unsightly shrubs, as this is when the plant is dormant or at its slowest growth point.

Pruning can be a daunting prospect for the inexperienced, but it’s really not that difficult. Even if you make a mistake, your plants will be forgiving.

The first thing that you need to do is ensure that you have clean and sharp tools. You may use a pruning knife (suitable for smaller branches and roses), secateurs (suitable for small branches) and a pruning saw (suitable for larger branches/bigger jobs).  Make sure that you are wearing a long shirt, and a sturdy pair of garden gloves. (I recommend that you wear glasses to protect your eyes).

  1. Remove any dead branches, flowers and leaves.
  2. Remove any canes (branches), which are growing in towards the centre of the plant. (You are aiming for a vase shape – unless you are cutting a topiary).
  3. Cut back the remaining canes (branches) by up to two-thirds.
  4. Cut above a knot in the branch.
  5. Fertilise the plant if it needs it.

Happy Pruning!

Seasonal guide, Winter

Things to do in Winter

Winter is here. Yes, I know, it’s hard to believe that we are almost half way through another year.

So, what do I need to do throughout the colder months to keep the garden in good shape? Here are a few suggestions:

What to plant:
Salad Vegetables: Asian Greens, Lettuce, Endive, Salad Greens, Silver Beet, Spinach, Herbs
Legumes: Beans, Peas
Root Vegetables: Beetroot, Potatoes, Radishes, Parsnips 

Berries: Raspberry, Blackberry, Blueberry, Strawberries
Fruit Trees: Cherries, Apples, Pears, Citrus, Stone Fruits

Jobs to do:

  • Weeding
  • Clean tools
  • Clean out potting shed
  • Check use by dates on seeds and garden products
  • Work on paths, check garden edging
  • Outdoor maintenance
  • Prune fruit trees

For more information go to the Winter page of this blog and download the Winter Fact Sheet. 

Garden Photos, Garden Projects, Garden Work, gardening

Crazy Autumn Weather

The weather is just starting to turn cold here in Melbourne, and I’m taking advantage of the COVID-19 shut down to get all of my garden work under control before Winter. Now is the time to start pruning those fruit trees and planting the next round of crops. It’s also your last chance to plant flowering bulbs for the Spring. I managed to paint some of my deck furniture before the storm (with hail) descended upon us.

Preserves, preserving, Spicy tomato relish, Summer Gardening, Tomatoes

Tomato Relish

Spicy Tomato Relish

Do you have a glut of tomatoes? I always have tonnes of extra tomatoes from my summer crop. I freeze them in batches so that I can make up tomato sauces and relishes at the end of the season. This recipe is one of my favourite.

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 kg red tomatoes 
  • 500g sugar
  • 250mls white wine vinegar
  • 15g crushed garlic
  • 7g chopped green ginger
  • 30g ground sea salt
  • 15g all spice
  • 7g cayenne pepper
  • 3 finely chopped chillies
  • 7g ground cloves
  • 30g ground black pepper

Utensils

  • Food processor/Blender
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons (teaspoon & tablespoon)
  • Mixing spoon
  • Heavy based pan

Method

  • Roughly blend the tomatoes in batches
  • Place all ingredients in a heavy based pan
  • Mix well. 
  • Bring to a quick boil and reduce the heat to simmer
  • Simmer for four hours, stirring regularly (often if using a standard saucepan)
  • You will notice the mix will reduce by ½ to ¾ 
  • When it is thick it is is ready to jar up
  • Spoon the mixture into the jars, seal the lid and turn them over on to the lid to cool
  • Decorate the jars as you see fit
  • Can be consumed immediately, but best if left for a month