Well it’s been a relatively less severe winter than what we are usually used to, mind you it’s not over just yet but we are looking pretty good! If you live in a frost free area you could actually jump the gun and start planting summer annuals and vegetables – you should be pretty safe!
FERTILSER: If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to get the fertilizer out – be generous and use a good organic fertiliser. Fertilise those well established trees and shrubs – our soils are generally pretty poor on this continent. Particularly focus on those deciduous trees which feed all the way out to the leaf line, water in well and you will see the results with fresh healthy new growth this spring. Plants like Citrus, Gardenias and even some natives such as Banksias are often deficient in iron (the leaves lack that deep green colour and in extreme cases look yellow). Use Yates Chelated Iron but do not overdo it. Follow the instructions on the packet closely – too much can damage the plants.
ANNUALS: If you are looking for summer and Christmas colour with annuals, with this mild winter you could consider planting now and they will be a fantastic show by Christmas. You can’t beat those old favourites such as Petunias. The old ones like Colour Parade give a mass of colour but do keep your eye out for new releases – the “Grandaflora” petunias have very large and showy flowers.
LAWNS: If you don’t get rid of bindii burs they are a real pain, literally. Do it now, the bindii burs will not have formed yet.
TREES AND SHRUBS: It is time to shape (light prune) those deciduous trees and shrubs if they are not the flowering kind; the flowering ones should be shaped after they have finished flowering
IN THE VEGETABLE PATCH: The list is never ending! You can plant just about any veg at this time of the year – Tomatoes, Peas and Beans for example – just protect them from frost or wait a little longer.
IN THE HERB GARDEN: Trim those woody and sprawling herbs such as Sage, Rosemary, Oregano and Thyme. Pull them back into shape and with the warmer weather coming, they’ll shoot out and provide a rich harvest.
A close up look at Chives
HISTORY: The name ‘chives’ is derived from the Latin word, cepa, meaning onion. Chives are a member of the onion family and are used as a herb or vegetable depending on the region. Chives are a very popular herb in French and Chinese cooking. Chives are native to Scandinavia, Germany Britain, China and South East Asia.
AROMA: Chives have a slightly garlicky and delicate onion-like aroma.
FLAVOUR: The bulbs of chives have a delicate onion like flavour with a hint of garlic.
HEALTH BENEFITS: Chives can be used to help lower blood pressure and aid digestion. Chives stimulate the appetite and possess some antiseptic properties. Chives are also rich in vitamin A and C and contain small amounts of sulphur, and are rich in calcium and iron.
COOKING & FOOD PAIRING: Chives are a popular ingredient in cooking because of their delicate flavour. Chives can be added to dishes such as stir-fried vegetables, fried noodles, fried rices, grilled meats, fish dishes and dumpling sauces. Chives pair well with lemon and tarragon, parsley, sesame oil, vinegar, garlic, soy sauce, ginger, potatoes and chillies.