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Winter gardening tips

Australian native Eucalyptus Ficifolia with green foilage and a striking orange floral displayPlanting in June

Even though it’s cooling down, there is still plenty to enjoy in a Melbourne winter garden.  This is the time of year when our Australian native plants are at their best.  Why not plant one or more of the showy Australian wattles this winter?  Consider the unique and very graceful Cinnamon Wattle (Acacia leprosa) ‘Scarlet Blaze’. Its red flowers and cinnamon scented leaves are sure to be a talking point.  It prefers full sun and is very drought tolerant when established.  If you live on clay soil, grow it in an elevated spot so that it doesn’t get ‘wet feet’.

Another Australian native that really packs a punch in a winter garden is the climber Hardenbergia violacea or Native Sarsparilla.  Its deep blue pea-like flowers brighten up any garden trellis. Plant it near one or more of the many Correa cultivars that are available from your local nursery now and you will have winter-long colour.

fruit treeJuly fruiting
If you plan to grow any new fruit trees this coming summer, consider planting some old and heritage varieties in July.  They are easily sourced as bare rooted stock from specialist growers. Or visit the grafting and tree sales day at Werribee Park Heritage Orchard on 21 July 2013 where you can learn to propagate your own heritage fruit trees.

Other unusual fruits such as Persimmons, Medlars, Quinces and Tamarillos are easily grown in a Melbourne garden and can be planted this month.

When planting a fruit tree choose a sunny, well drained spot.  Prepare the hole by digging in some home made compost.  Water the newly planted tree well with some diluted seaweed solution or worm leachate. Do not add any other fertilisers until spring.

SpudsSpuds in August
August brings potato planting season and there are dozens of wonderful varieties to choose from. Certified disease free seed spuds can be purchased to start off your potato patch.

Potatoes grow well in tubs, potato sacks and in garden beds but they do need plenty of organic compost and aged animal manures added prior to planting.  As the potato leaves start to appear above the ground, continue to mound up the soil until the depth of the pot or bed is about 50cm.  This allows for maximum root expansion and lots of potatoes to harvest. For further information on growing potatoes visit www.sgaonline.org.au

All tips provided by Sustainable Gardening Australia.