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.
Why not put in a bird bath?
This time of enforced social distancing/isolation presents us all with the time and opportunity to do a little work around the garden. My garden looks like Triffids have taken over, so I will be doing a little bit each day to get things under control.
Having said that, my first thought is to avoid any actual hard work. If you want a quick and easy garden project, which provides on-going rewards for you and the environment consider putting in a bird bath.
- Select a receptacle. It doesn’t have to be fancy. I use an old ceramic salad bowl, but you can use practically anything that holds water. Try and pick something that’s at least 15cm in diametre (doesn’t have to be round) and at least 8cm deep.
- Find a place to put it. Choose something that’s off the ground and preferably in a shady (or partly shaded) area.
- Fill the dish. I clean mine out and refill it once a day. You may need to do this more often in Summer – less often when it’s raining.
- Wait for the birds.
Don’t worry about attracting birds, they will find it, and faster than you think. You may attract a wide variety of birds, or you may get a few faithful local visitors. Yes, the cat/dog will drink the water too, and yes the birds will use this to drink and bathe in. They can be very grubby indeed.
This is something the whole family can participate in.
THINGS TO DO IN SUMMER
- Set up Christmas garden lights and decorations
- Fertilise plants
- Dead head flowers
- Prune and shape hedge plants
- Tidy old bulbs (do not cut off dead growth – it feeds the bulbs – just tie it up or hide amongst other plants)
SOW AND GROW
- Salad Vegetables: Asian Greens, Lettuce, Endive, Salad Greens, Silver Beet
- Root Vegetables: Beetroot, Carrots, Parsnips
- Brassicas: Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Mustard
- Mediterranean Vegetables: Capsicum, Chilli, Tomatoes, Eggplants
- Gourds and assorted: Pumpkins, Squash, Zucchini, Corn, Cucumber
- Asian Greens
- Stone Fruit
Tools! No I’m not making a statement about government official again. I’m talking about garden tools – those used for digging. During the winter months I make time to clean out my garden shed, and go through and repair and clean my garden tools.So what kind of digging tools do I have hidden in the shed, and what do they do?
A garden fork(also known as a spading forkor graip) is a long-handled tool with four (sometimes three or five) flat, thick metal prongs. Forks are used to loosen soil, break up clods and clay, and dig up stones and rocks.
This is a smaller version of a garden fork. It is also known as a boarder fork or a ladies fork. These forks generally have three prongs set close together. Hand forks are used for wedding around plants, and to assist with lifting out root vegetables.
A rake is best described as a broom used for the outdoors. It is a long-handled tool with a (usually metal, sometimes plastic) toothed bar fixed to the handle. It us used like a broom, to scrape together leaves, grass and garden debris.
A shovel is a long-handled tool with a blade fixed to the end. The blade is usually made of metal and appears to have a seam in the centre. This creates a bucket-like shape. Shovels are used for digging, lifting and moving material around your garden.
A spade is like a shovel in that it is used for digging. It is also a long-handled tool but the blade at the end is narrower and less curved than a shovel (they’re often quite flat). The flat blade makes a spade a good choice for digging, chopping up roots and breaking up soil.
A garden trowel is like a hand-held shovel. It has a pointed, scoop-shaped blade and is used for breaking up soil, digging small holes (for planting), weeding, and scooping fertilisers into the soil. This is a ‘must have’ garden tool. You can get ones with metal or plastic scoops.
This weekend I’m planting out my winter vegetable crops. I ordered the special Digger’s Club members’ pack and am very happy with the selection.
This year I’m planting:
I’m really looking forward to watching this lot grow over the next few months.
I’m also doing some garden maintenance stuff too. I have to assemble and set up a new garden arch, and I’m hoping that I get to do some more paving down the side of the house. A busy but rewarding weekend of work.