Well, we are well into winter and before we know it spring will soon be on its way. Even the weeds stop growing this time of the year in most parts of Australia. Most insects slow right down in winter so they do not cause a lot of trouble – but be on the lookout for snails and slugs as they are still out there looking for a feed!
FERTILSER: Not much needs fertilising in the middle of winter so hold off till the weather starts to warm up.
ANNUALS: It’s not yet time to plant those spring seedlings in the colder parts of this country however it’s not too late to plant seedling like Primulas, Poppies, Pansies and Cinerarias if they are protected from the frost.
BULBS: By now your bulbs will be coming up, some will even be flowering, but watch out for snails and slugs. You can start feeding the flowering bulbs with liquid fertilizer to punch them along a bit.
LAWNS: There’s still not much to do. If you have just a few weeds in your lawn you should consider painting them with Roundup using a paint brush.
TREES AND SHRUBS: Deciduous trees are now available at your local nursery and it is the time to plant them. It’s also a good time to see what is in flower, for example Camellias, which will brighten up your winter garden.
CITRUS: It’s time to give the citrus specimens a good feed, ready for the ripening fruit. Dynamic Lifter is good and it will add a bit of organic matter to the soil. Keep your eye out for Leaf Miner larvae. It lives in the leaf tissue and deforms new growth. You will need to use a systemic insecticide to get it under control.
IN THE VEGETABLE PATCH: Leafy Asian greens are some of the easiest vegetables to cook. They’re also high in fibre and a great source of vitamins.
PAK CHOI (Brassica rapa, Chinensis group) / CHINESE WHITE CABBAGE, BOK CHOY: This Asian vegetable has now made its way into mainstream supermarkets. Vigorous and robust, Pak Choi is the perfect candidate for the home garden. There are pale green white‑stemmed varieties with thick crisp stalks and a shorter variety. There is little difference in flavour between the two, so the choice may simply come down to the look you like.
Harvest Notes: Pak Choi is a fast‑growing annual and is ready to harvest in as little as 40 days from sowing. You can pick vegetable when it is small ‑ with only 10 leaves.
How to use it: Leafy and juicy, with a delicate flavour, stems and leaves of Pak Choi are used in stir‑fry recipes, soups and salads.
TAT SOI (erassica rapa, Chinensis group) / CHINESE FLAT CABBAGE: This cabbage variety has dark green, glossy, spoon‑shaped leaves and white stems that lie almost flat on the ground.
Harvest Notes: This annual vegetable matures within six to eight weeks of sowing.
How to use it: The stems and leaves of Tat Soi have a more intense flavour than Pak Choi, but they are used in much the same way to spice up Asian dishes and soups. The young leaves can be eaten raw.
IN THE HERB GARDEN:
CORIANDER is the classic Asian herb. By growing your own, and it is easy, it is always on hand for tossing into salads and Asian meals.