April-What you should be doing in your Top End garden this month

Wednesday, April 19, 2017 | Regina Downes | Comments (0)

Its mid April and the Top End rains are becoming a little scattered and a little less more frequent, the dry weather will be here shortly and the ground will get hard again, so it's time to get the gloves on and to stop thinking about what you want to do in the garden this dry and GET GOING!

Check your irrigation
As we are coming into our DRY season here in the Northern Territory they will be, or should be little or no rain, even now you should start to see your plants leaves turning brown, if you have not switched back on your irrigation, this is because the rains are getting more scattered- the ground will get harder and any areas not getting irrigated in your Top End lawn will start to turn brown. It is important to check your irrigation and ensure it has no leaks and is working efficiently. Living Water in the Northern Territory (A Power and Water Scheme) are offering a $200 leak and find rebate after the end of April 2017, this is a great initiative if you think you may have a leak in your irrigation at your home and or in your garden. These guys will come out and help (click this link for more info) .They also have a video on how to find leaks in the home & garden so try and check it out if you get a chance (click here for the link on how to find leaks in your home or garden). Leaky irrigation not only costs you money but is a big waste of water.


Get Weeding!

(I always hear people saying to spray weed killer in the heat of the day when the plants are most stressed!) A little plant biology here for you, when plants get too hot they close their stomata holes (tiny little holes on their leaves), this means they stop/slow down transpiring (its kinda like a safeguard so they don't lose too much water). You may kill some of the weeds but you will get better coverage when they are transpiring and absorbing the weed killer naturally as they would when absorbing water-early in morning or late afternoon.

The weedkiller label usually and should not lie! Example- if the labels instructions say to use 10 ml of weed killer to 5ltr of water, then that is what you are to use. If you think Oh I'll just use 20ml of chemical to get a really good kill then you are literally wasting your money. You will get the same damage/kill/burn ratio as using 10ml as to using 20ml. Read the label carefully and follow all safety precautions.

Always, Always check the weather- you will need a few hours of dry weather for the plant to absorb the weedkiller for it to have any effect. If you spray and we get a shower of rain right after, then sorry mate your money just washed away down the easement. Use the BOM site or listen to the weather updates on the radio. Wind! Make sure you are not spraying into the wind or hubbys favourite desert rose plant is going to get makeover and it won't be the good kind. If I have weeds close by any of my plants that I don't wish to damage I just hand weed for fear I may accidently spray them.

If there is some plants/weeds that are difficult to kill either by pulling up by hand or spraying, try cutting them back as much as you can, covering the area with weed mat and then pegging it tightly to the ground. The idea is the block any sun light getting to the plant and the matt to restrict the growth of the plant. If possible cut off any water supply to the plant. I usually use this method to kill mother in laws tongue and pesky heliconia plants that wont die. And if this doesn't work, then my friend its time to bring out the big guns and get the bobcat in and dig them out.


Get Planting those Herb and Veggie seeds!

Here in Darwin and across the Northern Territory we have a short growing season for some herbs and veggies, so the sooner you start growing your own fresh herbs and veggies the better!

Here are some tips I always like share with beginner gardeners here in the Top End
-Only grow Herbs and Veggies that you or your family will eat
-When building or buying your veggie patch or container ensure it's the right size for your family
-Don't even think about using the excuse that you live in a unit and can't even consider growing herbs or veggies! That's just not true! I will show you how to build a container herb garden in one of my up coming gardening blogs.

Before you rush off and buy lots of different delicious herbs and veggie seeds from our online plant shop, use the helpful growing calendar we have on our website in the download section or alternatively click on this link This will give you an idea when to start growing certain herbs & veggies and how long before you can normally harvest them once you have sown the seeds, this is great for Darwin and Katherine regions.

If you would like to make your own little veggie patch that involves no digging! then check out my easy to follow guide on  How to build a veggie patch in 30mins! The guide is also located on our download section of our online website

If you are unsure on how to start growing your herb and veggie seeds, I've made a short video showing you step by step on how to get your seeds growing its easy to follow and you can use it as a guide to get you started! This month we will be sowing a whole range of herbs and veggies including: Basil, Mint, Squashes, Cucumber, Eggplant, Tomatoes, Corn, Parsley, Pumpkin, Chilis, Bok Choy, climbing Beans, peas and water melons!


Feel free to share any comments below if you have any helpful tips or advice when growing herbs and veggies here in the Top End, we would love to read your comments!

Watch out for next Months gardening Blog     May-What you should be doing in your Top End Garden this Month



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