Your November Gardening Guide
Spring has taken us on a wild rollercoaster ride through all sorts of weather, except some much needed rain! Gardens are still looking good and bursting with new growth and colour, but we will have to be very clever and economic in our watering until the rains arrive. Prevention, although a bit inconvenient, is far better, easier and more comfortable than cure.
Wisen up on Watering
- Level 2 water restrictions are in place in Johannesburg, which prohibits watering of gardens between 06H00 and 18h00 from 1 September to 31 March. This encourages us to water early morning or early evening when evaporation is low. The restrictions also disallow the filling of swimming pools and washing of cars, paving and driveways with a hosepipe.
- Check sprinkler systems to ensure that they are only watering planted up areas and not hard landscaping areas.
- Watch your plants and get to know their watering needs. Some plants can last longer than you think without watering. If watering by hand, use a watering can or a hose sprayer with a stop valve.
- Spread a thick layer of mulch in all beds to retain moisture, keep soil temperature down and save water.
- Add water retention granules, peat, vermiculite, perlite or clay aggregate to baskets, containers and beds to reduce watering needs.
- Weed the garden to eliminate unnecessary competition for water.
- Invest in a rainwater tank or any suitable containers to harvest precious rain water for the garden. Investigate the harvesting and use of grey water.
- Shower with a bucket, especially if you’re in the habit of running the shower until the water heats up. You’ll be surprised at how much clean water you can collect this way to use on your plants. Keep showers as short as possible.
Let’s stick together in this – if you have any clever water saving hacks for the garden please share them with us.
Planting and Garden Care
Plant Hydrangeas now in beds and containers for a Christmas show. Mulch, keep them moist and feed regularly. They are perfect cut flowers for your Christmas table.
Get ready for the festive season and add instant colour to pots, baskets and beds around the garden and entertainment area with the wide range of summer annuals available now.
Agapanthus will start flowering now and what a wonderful selection we have available! Choose from new varieties, old favourites, dwarf Agapanthus and large, stunning variegated hybrids and new flower variations, to add to your beds and borders.
Water rose bushes deeply 3 times per week (approximately 15L per week) unless it rains sufficiently. Fertilise once a month with 3:1:5 or a balanced rose fertilizer. Remove all spent flowers.
Water summer-flowering bulbs deeply twice a week and feed once a month with a balanced bulb food or 3:1: 5 fertilizer. Resist cutting back the green leaves of bulbs that have finished flowering. Rather allow them to die back naturally as they still provide energy to the bulb, which is stored for next season’s blooms.
Fynbos-type plants can be pruned now to stimulate new growth and promote abundant flowering next season.
Keep an eye open for lily borer (a black caterpillar with yellow stripes) on lily-like plants such as Clivia, Agapanthus, Arums and Hemerocallis. Treat immediately.
Mow lawns weekly and feed once a month with 8:1:5 or a special lawn fertiliser. Water well in the early morning if it hasn’t rained. If possible, reduce your lawn space for a more water wise garden.
Remember to mulch, mulch and mulch!
In the Food Garden
Continue with successive plantings, in small quantities at three week intervals, of fast growing vegetables that you use often like lettuce, radish, Swiss chard, beans and cherry tomatoes. The same goes for annual herbs you love and use all the time like basil, coriander and parsley.
Regularly check plants for aphids, fungus and snails and treat with an appropriate organic pesticide if needed. Click |HERE| for your guide to pests and common diseases.
Check citrus trees for aphids, especially on the new growth. Spray fortnightly with an organic insecticide or aphicide.
Top up the mulch around vegetables and water early in the morning before it gets too hot. Feed monthly with a slow release organic fertilizer.
Don’t throw away leaves and peels of vegetables if you are not using them in your cooking. Add them to your bokashi bin or compost bin/heap.
Enjoy harvesting the first of your summer veg and continue to harvest to stimulate new production.
Now is the time to start planting berries to harvest in late summer or autumn. We have a range of mouth-watering berry plants to choose from in the nursery at the moment.
Mulch and feed strawberries with an organic 3:1:5 fertiliser.
Continue treating deciduous fruit trees against fruit fly and codling moth. Harvest fruit regularly. Continue watering during dry spells.
Take a Walk on the Wild Side
Birds will enjoy a little splash in a shallow birdbath during the heat of the day. It is also a source of drinking water for them. Keep it clean and filled up with fresh water. Continue feeding our feathered friends. Lifestyle Home Garden has a large section dedicated to birdfeeders, birdbaths and food of all kinds. Click |HERE| to read our blog all about making bird feeders with the kids.
Provide shelter for beneficial insects and animals by installing a bug, bee, butterfly or bat hotel – or all of the above! – also available in our bird section. We even stock portable bee hives if you would like to try your hand at bee keeping. Don’t discard of your broken clay pots – if turned upside down and placed amongst your plants, it might just become home to a frog or two.
Consider investing in plants that will provide food for and attract more wildlife to your garden. Good options available at the moment are:
Polygala myrtifolia (September Bush)
Coleonema pulchrum (Confetti Bush)
Carissa macrocarpa (Big Num-num)
Tecomaria capensis (Cape Honeysuckle)
Buddleia varieties (Butterfly Bush)
Leonotis leonorus (Wild Dagga)
Halleria lucida (Wild Fuchsia)
Dais cotinifolia (Pompon Tree)