New England gardening: Preparing your summer garden

Get ready: Late November is a good time to plant seedlings out for summer colour including zinnias.
Get ready: Late November is a good time to plant seedlings out for summer colour including zinnias.

New projects are likely to be high on local gardening agendas with plenty of inspiration available recently around the district.

I hope you were able to visit some of the fabulous open gardens in Armidale, Guyra and Kentucky over the past three weekends. Thank you to those garden owners who clearly put a lot of effort into presenting their garden.

Jobs for late November

In the vegie garden, try to water often enough to keep soil moisture fairly constant. If plants go dry, then wet – then dry, it will cause them to grow in stops and starts and they may wilt, drop their blossoms or leaves, or the fruits may not form properly. In extreme cases, the plant might die. Under-watered vegetables can taste bitter or be woody, while overwatered ones can be just plain tasteless.

Stake tomatoes and thin out side shoots. Continue to prune and feed shrubs that have finished flowering, such as rhododendrons, camellias, daphne, wisteria and philadelphus (mock orange).

Deadhead flowers that have finished, especially roses, to encourage further flowering. Plant out seedlings of summer annuals such as asters, marigolds, nasturtiums, petunias, phlox, portulaca, coleus, verbena, gaillardia, rudbeckia, cockscomb, gazanias, cosmos, amaranthus, zinnias, etc.

Watch for aphids on peaches and nectarines and treat. Set baits for snails and slugs and maintain vigilance throughout the warmer months, especially during wet or humid conditions.

Dense clumps of daffodils, etc, should be lifted and divided every two or three years or flower quality and quantity will deteriorate. Bulbs can be replanted straight away or stored in a cool airy place until autumn. Discard bulbs showing signs of disease. Feed indoor plants and mist foliage regularly.

The Armidale Garden Club’s final meeting for 2017, including the Christmas barbecue and raffle will be held in the grounds of the Uniting Church Hall on Thursday, November 23, starting at 6.30pm. RSVPs to Ray Cantrell (phone 6772 2993 or email – you can let him know on Thursday.