Thursday afternoon edit: I have only just realised it isn't Friday! It has been one of those days.... : o)
Today I had on my list to share protecting the garden as our Friday Top Tips, and I had pests in mind. I wasn’t expecting to be mentioning snow in October! But here we are.
The good thing is snow is better than frosts as it can act as an insulator, so there is a chance for less harm than a good sharp frost, but neither are ideal. It is possibly too late for the preventative advice…
· Move container plants into a sheltered spot.
· Watering the soil before sunset can insulate the soil
· Spread a thick layer of mulch around the garden
· Put frost cloth, newspaper, sheets or a tarp over sensitive plants in the garden.
· Move plants on windowsills, in greenhouses and tunnels away from the edges.
But from now on don't prune off any frost damage until we know the bad weather is completely behind us as it can act as an insulator but also pruning promotes new growth and the last thing you need in bad weather is tender new growth. And if plants die there is plenty of time to start again.
Once we get past this polar blast there will be other things to worry about that want to eat or invade your plants.
With pests, prevention is a good place to start.
Try to keep your plants healthy and well feed as a sick plant is like a magnet for pests such as aphids. Make sure your plants are well spaced and have good airflow. And avoid planting too soon when it isn’t warm enough. Plants can be vulnerable to pests while trying to adjust to a less than ideal situation.
A good spring clean to remove hiding places for pests like slugs and snails will put a dent in their populations.
And having plants near the garden that not only encourage beneficial insects but can also lure pests away from the garden is a good idea.
A good preventative tip is to find out which are the most common vegetable pests and find out what they look like at all stages of their life cycle so you can identify them immediately. Yates has a really good pest section >HERE< on the website.
Check the garden often. Wandering about with a cup of coffee in your PJs first thing in the morning or after work with a glass of wine is a good way to become familiar with your garden so you can spot a problem straight away and it is much easy to get on top of problems sooner rather than later.
It is always good to use tried and trusted solutions, so you don’t cause further harm to your plants or the soil communities. Home remedies can be more toxic than expected and things in bottles have not only been tested and proven to work, but they have to do what they say by law. There is something for most pests from gentle organic treatments to the big guns for stubborn problems. You can check out all the Yates pest solutions >HERE<
Other things you should be thinking about (once the weather stops being nasty)
· Coddling moths - in apples and other pip fruit. Spray with something like Yates Success Ultra Insect Control once the petals drop from the blossoms.
· Prickles – October is the month to spray for a prickle free lawn. Onehunga weed can be such a pain in the lawn. Aside from checking the bottom of everyone’s shoes before getting out of the car, spraying now with Yates Prickle Weedkiller while the plant is actively growing is a good idea. You just need 2 dry days in a row – one to spray and the other for it to make good contact with the prickles.
Your biggest tool for success in the garden is vigilance. Check how things are going often and act immediately. There is an expression that says, "The best fertiliser is the gardener's shadow."
In my garden – while it isn’t freezing cold – it is windy and straight off the ocean, so it is not only fierce and cold, but its laden with salt. I will hunker down indoors and wait until it passes. There is no point getting cold and wet and exhausted when in a few more days it won’t be as bad. The garden will wait.
Happy gardening and as always – if you want to get in touch leave a comment below.
Sarah the Gardener : o)
Photo: We may not have snow or frost but there is a lot of white water in the view out of my window!