- Asparagus is a fantastic plant to get in the ground now. You will need to be patient for a decent crop, but you will be rewarded next year with delicious, fresh spears to add to spring meals. For quicker rewards in the vegetable department, plant up some peas, best eaten straight off the bush!
- A range of pretty bulbs can also be planted now for spring displays. Try Agapanthus, Alstroemenia, Crinum, Carnation, Delphinium, Cyclamen, Hippeastrum, Iris, Kniphofia, Lilium, Nerine, or Zephrantes. Seedlings of Delphinium, Dianthus, Gypsophila, Pansy and Statice can also go in the ground now.
- Seek out and plant bare-rooted stock. Your local garden centre will have plenty in now, so take some time out one weekend and have a browse. Seek out the on-site horticulturalist or garden enthusiast for advice on the local area and the best plants for your garden vision.
- Heavy winter rains can quickly saturate the soil, potentially waterlooging your precious plants. Open up the soil in preparation with some digging, tilling and hoeing to allow the soil to absorb much more water, prevent clogging and reduce runoff. In heavy clay soil, apply some gypsum at 2kg per square metre to further open it up.
- It’s time to prune those roses. Don’t be scared, even a little trim is beneficial. Generally speaking, cut the bush back to about half and shape it how you would like it to grow. Many other trees can be pruned now too, including ornamentals, citrus and other fruit trees. To reduce fungal infection, aim to do your pruning on clear, sunny days to allow the cuts to dry out and heal quickly. For more on pruning, see Bonnie-Marie Hibbs’ article here.
- Keep turf a little longer during winter. Running grasses such as couch, buffalo and kikuyu are slow-growing at this time of year, so bare patches will quickly fill up with weeds. High traffic areas may become compacted and not take in water adequately; use a garden fork to loosen the ground and add some gypsum to get it back in shape.
- Soursob is in full force invading your garden beds now. These weeds are produced by long, thin bulbs and multiply quickly. Removing them by hand will help, but you will still have the same problem next year. For a more permanent solution, spray with glyphosate (Round Up) when the soursobs are in flower. Choose a calm day and place a cardboard or plastic barrier between the weeds and the plants you want to keep.
- Citrus fruit is at its peak now, sweet, juicy and packed full of immune-boosting vitamin C. Seek out local oranges, grapefruit, tangerines and lemons. Likewise, kiwi fruit is in season and another very healthy winter fruit to help keep illness at bay.
- Daikon, fennel and horseradish are also in season and each give a unique flavour to warming winter dishes. Try this fish bouquet garni to add a new dimension to your seafood.
FISH BOUQUET GARNI
- 1 small sprig fennel leaves
- 2 sprigs Italian flat-leaf parsley
- 1 sprig French tarragon leaves
- 2 leaves of lemon balm
Using a piece of cotton, tie the leaves together ina bundle and place in court bullion (cooking liquid) for all fish and crustacean dishes. Remove before serving.
Recipe courtesty of Delish – From Garden to Table, available here.