September is officially the beginning of spring! Time to recite the old verse "Spring has sprung, the grass has riz; I wonder where the birdies is".
Well, the grass is certainly starting to grow again, and things, including the birds, are definitely stirring in the garden, but rest assured there will be colder weather and some more frosts before tomatoes or capsicum can be planted out into the vegie garden!
Instead, sow seeds for your summer vegies into trays or punnets so you can get a head start on them and maybe even have some before Christmas.
More gardening with Dar:
Seeds best sown in punnets are those which need a longer growing season and so are best started early under protection, such as beans, zucchini, squash, melons, pumpkin, cucumber, eggplant, capsicum, melons and tomatoes.
In our New England climate many of these need a good 4-5 months from seed sowing until they are ready to harvest. You can purchase seedlings grown for you from your local nursery, but you have a much wider selection of varieties if growing from seed.
Stay alert for signs of snail or slug damage, especially during wet or humid conditions.
You can go stomping around with a torch after dark, but the mature eggs of squashed snails may still hatch. If you hate squashing snails, you can collect them in a container and put that in the freezer which will send them into dormancy first and then they die.
Other options are to drop them into a bucket of soapy water, sprinkle salt over them or copy the French and eat them (don't invite me for dinner, though!).
Copper tape will deter them by giving them a bit of a zap, coffee grounds, oatmeal or sawdust can be used as barriers or you can put out beer traps and drown them in drunken oblivion.
Place a container in the garden and dig it in so it is level with the top of the soil. Add some stale beer, which is irresistible to snails - they love the yeast. If you can't bear the thought of letting perfectly good beer go stale so you can use it in the garden, try a Vegemite and water mixture.
The best weapons in any anti-snail arsenal are blue-tongue lizards. Should you be lucky enough to have these creatures, it is best to completely avoid chemical pellets.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content: