JUNE-What you should be doing in your Garden this month

Thursday, June 08, 2017 | Regina Downes | Comments (0)

Start by pruning your tall leggy Cordyline and Dracaenas plants now, yes we should probably wait until the end of the dry to do this but I can’t bear the sight of a Cordyline growing horizontal and looking like it’s on its way to Alice! Just chop its head off and replant its top into the ground or into a pot of potting mix and it will regrow-keep it well watered. (I will try and make a short video on how exactly to do this, it’s pretty easy!)   Check out my youtube channel -it has lots of how to prune, propagate and maintain your Top end plants

Other shrubs that require a prune now: (cut off any brown old foliage, cut back any old stems in regards to Gingers and Heliconia’s)

  • Acalyphas
  • Calathea’s
  • Gingers
  • Crinums
  • Heliconias
  • Radermacheras


Cut off any lower side shoots that your tree has (these are also called suckers or water shoots) especially if it’s a young tree and has a double stem. A Tree is classed as one single stem growing from the root ball –not multi stemmed like a shrub. Never buy a tree with multi stems growing from the root ball. If your tree at home throws up a second stem from the root ball just cut it off (you will see this often in 'pot bound plants ) it's a sure sign they have being in the pot way too long and its also visible on trees that have being cut back hard. If you must cut off one stem, keep the stronger more dominant stem as the main trunk.



You will have noticed our native Cycad, Cycas armstrongii loose its leaves recently this is normal, this Cycad has being known to defoliate 3-4 times a year in some instances.
The Cycads listed below can be pruned by either pruning off all the lower underneath foliage only, this gives the Cycad a nice feature look and even makes it appear bigger or removing the entire foliage from the crown of the Cycad (only recommended if the foliage is looking diseased and or deformed)

  • C. thoursaii
  • C. revoluta (sago palm)
  • C. taitungensis

As we are in burn off season in the top end, our native cycads will get burned to a crisp in the bush fires but has the amazing ability to regrow and reshoot after it. It’s a beautiful sight to see the bush burned off and masses of new growth from the native cycads dotted through the black ash and soil throughout the bushland landscape.



These guys love having there roots wet and kept moist. They do not like to dry out. In the dry season it’s important to keep your bamboo well mulched. Mulching will help retain any moisture from the irrigation it’s receiving. If your bamboo is stressed from lack of water it will drop all its leaves. It’s best not to plant Bamboo near a pool area as it does drop a lot of leave littler in general and this may end up in your pool. Most Bamboos for sale in local plant nurseries are clumping and non-invasive bamboo species. Always plant bamboo away from any mains or pipes



In the Veggie Patch

Now is a good time to start planting:

Melon, Beans, Mint, Sweetcorn, Pumpkin, lettuce, Ginger, Garlic, Bok choy and Corriander
As I have mentioned in our newsletter this month, now is a good time to plant your pumpkin seeds to ensure they will be ready to harvest in time for Halloween.

Fertilize your herbs and veggie

Use a liquid feed to fertilize your herbs, this can be in the form of Seasol, thrive or similar. Liquid feed (fertilizer) is a tonic- this means you need to give it to your plants regularly to make a difference. Usually once a week is enough. With your veggie patch, if your soil medium is lacking in fertilizer and you want to give your plants a boost use an organic fertilizer such as dynamic lifter or well rotted animal manure.


Mulch, mulch and mulch some more!

Mulching is extremely important especially in the dry season, as the soil here in the Top End drys out quickly due to our beautiful tropical weather. Mulching not only keeps the weeds at bay and the moisture in but it also keeps the soil from drying out quickly. You will have noticed any soil that is not covered by mulch or another medium is usually rock hard, this is not good for the plants, planted in this soil. Mulch also breaks down over time and adds nutrients back into the soil, so it's a win win for the plants. Use a well broken down mulch-fresh mulch is not good for plants it actually sucks the nitrogen from the soil and your plants will usually turn a bit yellow if this is the case. (unless its Mahogany wood chip-as its a very 'hard wood' and is slow to breakdown).
People always ask me about using weed mat under mulch or stone. I would not recommend it, it is a waste of money, if weeds are going to grow, they will grow on your mulch or in between the stones and if required hand weed the odd ones that appear. Weed mat is not only time consuming to lay but is also expensive, so save your money and use it elsewhere in the garden!

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 Month’s gardening Blog July-What you should be doing in your Top End Garden this Month



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