Happy New Year and a very warm welcome back to the garden!
January in the Tropics is a time to enjoy the vibrant green hues of our fast growing gardens, thriving in the humid weather.
Garden jobs for January:
Keep an eye on your gardens and pot plants for fungal problems that can be associated with the humid weather. To reduce the chances of fungal problems:
- Avoid watering plant foliage. Water early in the day so leaves have a chance to dry out. Water settling on leaves overnight can have a significant impact on your plant, so avoid where possible. Even though we are in our wet season, check your soil and pots for moisture. Depending on the amount of rainfall, water doesn’t always penetrate the soil down to the roots, so a top up watering is sometimes required.
- Check the base of your plants for collar rot. This can be caused by mulch being placed directly around the stems of plants. Collar rot can stop the flow of sap to the outer branches of your plants and cause plant death if not treated quickly. Ask our friendly staff about effective control.
- Spray roses with Trifend once a fortnight to prevent black spot or fungal issues, and pick up any fallen leaves around your roses to avoid spread.
Treat gardens, pots and hanging baskets with Triple Boost Fruit & Veg. This will strengthen your plants to help them cope with extreme summer conditions.
Harvest edibles such as eggplants regularly so they’ll continue produce more crops.
Fertilise fruit trees with an all round fertiliser to support healthy new growth. Varieties of citrus such as lemons and limes will be ready for harvest, and will continue to produce throughout the season with regular fertiliser.
Top up your gardens with mulch, it looks great and helps with water retention. Fertilising with Organic Xtra while mulching will keep a continuous supply of nutrients to your plants.
Watch out for unwanted pests such as aphids, scale, mealy bug and caterpillars. Ask about safe methods of control for your plants.
Sprinkle Dolomite on your lawn to raise the pH of your soil and reduce weeds. Weeds prefer an acidic soil and will grow quickly in the humid weather, so sweetening your soil with 1 cup per square metre of Dolomite will help keep your weeds at bay. Time your application just before a good downpour to take care of watering the dolomite in for you.
- Keep an eye out for lawn grubs that can decimate lawns after heavy rains. There are a number of environmentally friendly products that can keep these at bay without harming your soil biology.
What to grow in January:
Traditionally not our common edibles season, there are many tasty plants to grow that will continue to thrive and provide us with healthy, fresh produce for our homes.
- Sow a green manure crop to recharge your vegetable patch for the growing season ahead. Green manures are fast growing crops designed to be dug back into the soil before they mature to add organic matter and improve your soil structure. Green manure crops will draw goodness out of the soil and store it in plant cells and root nodules. When your crop is dug back into the soil, the plants rot down and gradually release nutrients in a form that’s readily available to your plants. Regular green manure crops will help improve your soil over time by increasing organic matter content, which helps retain nutrients and water within your soil.
- Buckwheat, beans, millet or marigolds are ideal for our warmer climate planting.
- Spices such as Ginger, Turmeric and Galangal are in full vegetative growth. While the main harvest will occur when foliage browns and dies off, you can harvest small amounts of the rhizomes for use in the kitchen. Feed with Organic Xtra to encourage growth and development of large, healthy rhizomes.
- Crops such as sweetcorn and snake beans can be planted from seed and will mature quickly. Add a layer of good organic mulch, such as sugar cane, to maintain ideal growth conditions.
- Eggplants will thrive in the warm weather. Pick ripe eggplants while young with a pair of secateurs. Feed monthly to maintain plant health.
- Capsicums and Chillis will continue to fruit and can still be planted as mature seedlings. Chillis love a sunny spot with some afternoon shade. Keep an eye out for pest insects such as scale and mealy bug.
- All year greens will keep you harvesting in between the seasons of growing our more traditional favourites.
- Brazilian spinach, Mushroom plants, Sweet leaf, Kang kong, Tropical Ginseng and Aibika will stay fresh throughout the wet without bolting to seed, and are a good substitute for traditional lettuce and spinach varieties.
- While the weather is getting too warm for common herbs, Winter Tarragon, Perennial Coriander, Pineapple Sage and Mint can continue to be harvested. These will benefit from a light prune and liquid fertiliser to keep them looking fresh and healthy.
- Sweet potatoes will be producing an abundance of foliage in the humid weather. Leaves can be picked and eaten raw or cooked and are a highly nutritious substitute for traditional greens. Sweet potatoes are also highly useful for supressing weeds during this fast growth period.
- Plant fruit trees such as citrus, avocado and paw paw to establish during the wet, rainy season. It’s a good opportunity to check how well your soil drains during wet periods to ensure your trees have sufficient drainage.