Home Gardening Gardening Tips

- March 2017 -

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IN THE VEGGIE GARDEN
Vegetables to be harvested in March include beans, beetroot, cabbage, carrots, celery, corn, cucumbers, eggplants, jerusalem artichokes, lettuce, melons, onions, potatoes, pumpkins, radish, silverbeet, tomatoes and yams.

Prepare areas for your winter vegetable garden by thorough digging, adding fresh Daltons Compost and ensuring there is adequate drainage. Winter veggies you can plant up now (either seed or young seedlings) include; beetroot, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, lettuce, onions, radish, silverbeet, spinach, swedes and turnip.

Always try and stagger your plantings to encourage continuous harvesting throughout the season, rather than having all the vegetables mature at the same time. Use our planting guide to help.

Autumn temperatures can drop suddenly (especially in the later months) and wipe out sensitive young plants. A forecast of 4 degrees or lower means you should protect against a frost. Use a garden cloche or throw a frost cloth (even old net curtains) over the garden. You can also use flower pots, or jars and put them upside down over individual plants. Just remember to remove coverings in the morning.

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FLOWER GARDENS

Summer flowering annuals are nearing the end of their flowering season. Time to remove old plants and prepare the areas for your winter displays. Winter flowering annuals to plant now include; alyssum, calendulas, cineraria, cornflower, lobelia, nemesia, pansy, primulas, snapdragons, stock and wallflowers. Winter flowering annuals are an excellent means of brightening up dull parts of the garden, either planted in containers or especially in rose gardens where planted roses appear very bare. For example, a mass planting of Primula malacoides looks amazing in the winter garden.

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BULBS

If you haven’t started your bulb planting yet, then it’s time to get it underway. In some colder parts of New Zealand, we are nearing the end of bulb planting season. As with all plants, thorough preparation of the soil prior to planting the bulbs will produce a better display in spring. Add Daltons Premium Bulb Mix to existing soil or use in pots.

Bulbs to plant in March include anemone, daffodil, hyacinth, ixia, lachenalia, freesia, ranunculus, sparaxis, tritonia, tulip and watsonias.

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FRUIT TREES

The last of the peaches, golden queen mature in March. Numerous apple and pear varieties are now ripening and eating grapes are now at their sweetest. Cover with netting if birds are a problem. In warmer parts of New Zealand passionfruit will be ripening. Harvest as they ripen on the vine or collect fallen fruit.

Peach and nectarine trees that have already cropped can now be pruned removing old wood and retaining enough new seasons growth for next season's fruit. It’s always a good idea to maintain tree height at two to three metres to allow for easier picking and for netting if birds become a problem next season.

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LAWNS

When autumn rains arrive in your region, the renovation of existing lawns or the laying of new lawns can begin. When preparing your site for a new lawn, it’s advisable to have a slight slope to allow water to run off, thereby avoiding puddling. A handy tip is to sow a mixture of grass seed as this provides a better all-year-round lawn.

With existing lawns, Daltons Premium Lawn Fertiliser can be applied and watered in well. When irrigating your lawn, carry out this in the cooler part of the day to maximise water usage.

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CONTAINER GARDENS

Container gardens are a very simple and effective approach to adding colour and interest to your property throughout the year. Containers can be replanted at regular intervals with flowering annuals. In larger containers, bulbs can be planted to emerge through flowering annuals in spring for maximum impact.

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GREEN MANURE and COVER CROPS

If you are not planting out in your garden over winter, don’t leave the beds empty. Sow a “green manure or cover crop” to add nutrients into the soil and protect beds. Kings Seeds have a great range you can try. Sow common “Green Crops” such as lupin and mustard directly; once grown dig them back into the soil and leave to break down for 6-8 weeks before planting. Alternatively, “blanket cover” beds by applying a thick layer of mulch, such as Daltons Mulch and Grow or other forms of mulch like manure, autumn leaves, or wood chip.

For more gardening advice, read our How to Grow guides here, or visit us on Facebook

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- December 2016 -

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We hope you are enjoying the warmer weather. It can make for a lovely day in the garden.  Here are our top tips for summer gardening:


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GENERAL GARDEN CARE
With the warmer weather and sunshine, it’s a pleasure to be outside in the garden. Your summer vegetables and flowers will require regular watering, weeding and side dressings of fertiliser to ensure their growth is strong and continuous.

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GROWING VEGETABLES

Do small succession plantings of fast growing summer vegetables like dwarf beans, lettuce and radish so you do not have them all cropping at once. For example, plant a couple of lettuce every 2-3 weeks so you have a regular supply.  Climbing beans and tomatoes will require training on stakes or trellis sections as they continue to grow.

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POTS AND CONTAINERS

Don’t forget about plants in pots or containers, keep them well watered and remove any weeds. Being in a confined space potted plants can deplete the soil more quickly of nutrients and dry out quickly. Apply side dressings of Daltons incredible edibles Vegetable Fertiliser for potted vegetables and water in well.

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FLOWERS

For all summer annuals and perennials, apply side dressings of Daltons Premium Rose and Flower Fertiliser. To ensure continuity of flowering, it is worth deadheading your flowers regularly throughout the growing season. With some annuals, cut plants back once or twice during the growing season to encourage healthy new growth and flowering.

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LAWNS

Lawns can really suffer in summer, especially if you live in a hotter region. Irrigate at night to reduce the loss of water on hot summer days.

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PEST CONTROL

Keep checking plants regularly for insects such as whitefly and aphids as they can quickly sneak into the garden! If they are on plants, spray them with good quality horticultural oil.

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MULCHING

Regular mulching is absolutely imperative to help keep your garden lush and healthy during summer. The best mulch is a form of organic matter that is applied as a layer on top of your soil in your garden, around plants, trees, and especially in your pots, to help protect them against the elements and retain moisture. You can purchase bulk or bagged mulch from your local garden centre, like Daltons Mulch and Grow, which is ready to apply straight onto your garden.

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WATERING

Water water water! We’ve put together some top watering tips for summer:
  • Regularly check irrigation systems if you have them and make sure all sprinkler heads are operating well and the timer has been set to suit the summer weather.

  • Be regular when watering your garden, little and often is best, avoiding the hottest part of the day when plants are heat stressed. Once a day in the early morning or evening up to three times a week should be plenty.

  • Use Daltons Coir Fibre Briquettes around the root zone of your plants to improve moisture retention.

  • Some plants such as roses do require deep watering to encourage deep root development. So apply extra water to those plant types in the early part of the day.

  • Water until it begins to puddle on top of the soil which means the soil has reached its water holding capacity.

  • Avoid getting foliage wet as this can promote the spread of disease on plants like tomatoes and roses. Aim for the root zone instead.

  • Don’t over water – too much of anything is not good. If there has been plenty of rainfall you will not need to water as regularly.

  • With many plants (trees and shrubs particularly), if they are not watered well and regularly over the hotter summer months, they will stop growing.

  • Don’t forget about your indoor plants. Increase watering and if necessary reposition plants, avoiding placing them too close to sunny windows.

  • If you maintain a consistent watering regime then you can expect excellent results with continued growth through the hot summer months. This is critical when establishing a new garden as you want plants to grow to maturity as soon as possible.

For more gardening advice, read our How to Grow guides here.

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- December 2016 -

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Gardening gloves are an essential tool for any gardener. Our friends at Omni Products are gurus when it comes to gardening gloves. Below they share some top tips on what to look for when purchasing gloves for the garden and how to look after them.

Bare hands in warm, moist soil may be one of gardening's primal pleasures, but the result is often scraped, chapped, and blistered skin. The more you garden, the more you need gloves. And by making various tasks even slightly easier or more comfortable, you'll be able to spend more time gardening.

Gloves are a perennially undervalued gardening tool. What other tool offers such big returns of improved safety and comfort for such a small investment? Even if you think of gloves as an optional luxury for everyday tasks, consider using specialised ones for chores such as heavy weeding, pruning roses and brambles, trimming hedges, or operating power equipment.

Which Glove Is Right for You?

The type of gloves you buy depends on how you garden. For example, gloves used for general gardening chores -- raking, weeding, and digging -- differ from specialised gloves tailored for pruning thorny brambles, refilling a lawnmower with gasoline, or using a chainsaw. Some gloves, such as those made of leather, are perfectly suitable for most gardening tasks, but even durable leather gloves are inadequate when you work with water or chemicals.

The Perfect Fit Glove sizes aren't consistent among manufacturers, styles, and models. Many so-called unisex gloves are cut for men's hands, which are usually broader and thicker than women's. Oversized gloves may bunch or slip off, tight gloves can cause muscle aches and cramps, and ill-fitting gloves often cause blistering and chafing. That’s why OMNI Gloves stock a full range of sizes – to ensure the perfect fit. To get the best fit, try the gloves on both hands and make a tight fist. You shouldn't feel any pinching or tightness. Try picking up small objects such as seeds or thin roots to determine the gloves' flexibility and comfort. If possible, try simulating the motions used with garden tools (rakes, hoes, or spades) to feel the glove at work. Testing the gloves with a tool may help you identify the best glove for you.

In our Glove Selection Guide below we list a selection of the most commonly available gardening gloves. We've organised them according to intended use, though these categories are only guides and can vary to suit your needs. Be sure to check the washing instructions for the gloves you buy. If your gloves are able to be washed, keep the temperature below 30ºC, use a mild detergent if necessary and air dry where possible. Do not leave in the direct sun.


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Puncture-Resistant (General Gardening)

The new generation of glove has made life in the garden so much easier. While some still prefer leather gloves, the modern gardener (both male and female) is changing to the new nitrile or latex gloves with a knit liner and open back. Each of these gloves makes it easier for you to hold onto a tool, reducing your fatigue and improving safety. This seamless style open-knit cotton glove is dipped in crinkled rubber or smooth nitrile, while the back is undipped for breathability. Because it's moulded to fit a hand at rest, dexterity is excellent. They feel so good you won't want to take them off. Ask to see these styles – the OMNI ‘Red Backs’, ‘Omni Green Glove’, ‘Gardening & Pruning’ and ‘HandsOn’.


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Puncture-Resistant (Rose Gardening)

Heavy leather was the traditional choice here, but nitrile is surprisingly effective and offers more protection. The textured nitrile-dipped cotton glove (OMNI Rose Lovers Glove) stops rose and bramble thorns, but the short cuff leaves forearm unprotected. So use the OMNI Long Rose Lovers Glove with the extra protection up to the elbow.


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General-Purpose: Cotton

Cotton and Cotton-Polyester provide minimal to average protection at low cost. Washable cotton-polyester gloves handle many light chores. These often include dotted palms that enhance grip, or reinforced fingers for weeding.


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General-Purpose: Leather

Leather provides good protection. It comes in both grain (smooth) and split (suede like). Grain leather is more comfortable and generally has more durability.


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Waterproof PVC Gloves Used when you do not want your hands to get wet while in the garden pond or spraying. A bulky fit glove means you may need to use a poly cotton glove as a liner to ensure a comfortable fit. Avoid contact of PVC with hydrocarbons (gasoline, kerosene) and organic solvents (acetone) as this will destroy the gloves.

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Chemical-Resistant Gloves

If you work with oils, acids, herbicides, pesticides, or other caustic or petroleum-based chemicals, use either neoprene or nitrile-coated gloves. Neoprene is oil-resistant. Nitrile resists a broader range of oils and solvents including kerosene, naphtha, and turpentine; it also resists cuts and abrasions and offers some puncture protection. Use OMNI Rose Lovers or Solvent gloves for these jobs, but watch that you do not contaminate any knitted cuffs.

For more information visit www.omniproducts.co.nz

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- September 2016 -

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Preparation is the secret to a blooming spring and summer garden - the better prepared you are, the better the rewards.  As the weather warms up it is a good time to get a head start and prepare your beds, plan your planting, and sow seeds indoors.  Here are our top tips for spring:


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SOIL
Prepare garden beds now ready to plant straight into once soil temperatures increase.  It’s best to start off with a nice clean slate and garden hygiene plays an important part.  First tidy up from winter and remove any dead or old plants and weeds from your garden beds. Soil will need a boost, so evenly apply a generous layer of organic matter such as compost, use approx 40L per 2 square metersb and work it in thoroughly. This aerates and improves the organic matter, nutrient content, and microbial activity of the soil, and will give your seeds and seedlings the best start.

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SEED TRAYS OR DIRECT SOWING?

Get in early and start sowing your favourite spring and summer crops indoors in seed trays ready for planting out later. If you live in warmer sheltered parts of the country, in early spring you can plant out seedlings of tomatoes, and some salad greens such as the favourite mesclun mix. Leave sowing seeds directly into the garden until temperatures increase - then you can directly sow summer radishes, sweet corn, peppers, courgettes, beans etc. Remember where you live dictates when you can plant directly into the garden, and seasons can vary depending on the region. Usually Labour weekend is the time when soil temperatures have warmed enough, but it’s a good idea to check with your local garden centre for advice.

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SOWING SEEDS

When sowing seeds, as a rule of thumb, plant the seed as deep as the size of the seed, so a 1cm size seed should be planted 1cm deep. Seedlings grown indoors need to be “hardened off” before being transplanted into the garden. It’s an important step and if not done correctly can result in wilting or death from the sudden change of conditions. To do this put seedlings trays or pots outside in a warm spot in the sun, starting with an hour a day and extending by one hour each day for 10-14 days. Always bring them inside at night.

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ROSES

Spring is the time roses and flowers come into their own. Feed roses regularly with rose fertiliser starting in mid-October and repeat every 4-6 weeks. Protect new buds and leaves with an application of Copper compound such as Copper Oxychloride. Plant wildflower seeds now to add a burst of colour to your garden and attract beneficial insects.

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SUMMER ANNUALS

5. When winter flowers such as violas and pansies come to an end it’s time to plant summer annuals such as cosmos, petunias, and marigolds. Soil preparation is key so dig in lots of good quality compost and Daltons Premium Flower Bed Mix into your flower bed. Many people grow annuals in pots - for best results toss out last season’s worn-out soil and replace with fresh new container mix.

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HERBS

Spring is a perfect time to renew your herbs. They are relatively inexpensive to buy so start afresh in October/November and plant directly into containers or out in the garden. Alternatively grow them from seed – check the seed packet for guidance. Many herbs prefer free-draining, hot, sunny positions. If planting into containers use Daltons Container Mix, which has a good mix of nutrients and provides good drainage.

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LAWN LOVERS

For lawn lovers spring is the classic time to get outside and fertilise the lawn as it comes into growth from Mid October onwards. The secret to lush green lawns the neighbours will envy, is fertilising it regularly and adequately with lawn fertiliser. Fertiliser lowers the PH of the soil which means the grass will grow better than the weeds! If there are bare patches or you need to make repairs, use Daltons Premium Lawn Patching Gold and give a light watering.

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TREES AND SHRUBS

Don’t forget your trees and shrubs during this important growing season. As the soil warms dig in compost and apply Tree and Shrub fertiliser around plants at 6 weekly intervals till Christmas. If the soil has been too wet over winter to plant trees, then spring is the perfect time to do it.

For more gardening advice, read our How to Grow guides here.

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- June 2016 -

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Just because winter is here doesn’t mean you should pack away your gardening gloves. There is still plenty to do so pop on your gumboots and head out into the garden.

Check out our tips for gardening in the winter months...


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iN THE VEGE PATCH

 

By now, your winter veggie gardens should be planted to take advantage of the remaining higher soil temperatures that will help quickly establish your main winter crops. Delaying planting will mean your harvesting time will be pushed backwards considerably. If you have not planted out yet, purchase seedlings from you local garden centre and get them into the garden this weekend!

 

 


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ROSES

June or July are the ideal months to plant, relocate and prune roses. When the final leaves fall you can begin pruning bush and climbing roses. For more information on pruning, check out Daltons How to Grow Roses guide on their website. Most cities also provide demonstrations on how to prune roses at a local botanic garden or even your local garden centre.

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TREES

Early winter is of course the best time for planting your deciduous trees; for example, cherries (ornamental) and fruit trees like apples, pears, plums, peaches and apricots. It’s this time of the year when healthy new season fruit trees are available from garden centres, and the plants will be in their best state.

When choosing your tree, it’s important to select vigorous young trees, avoiding any older ones that look root bound or may have been in a planter bag or pot for some time. It is very important to choose fruit tree varieties that will grow and fruit the best in your climate. For instance, some varieties such as citrus are frost sensitive, and others like stone fruit need winter chilling for fruit to set.

For existing deciduous fruit trees, you can begin pruning once their leaves have dropped. Always ensure that your secateurs are clean before you start pruning. Try to keep the tree height under three metres to allow for easier harvesting and netting of trees where birds are a problem.

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CHECK YOUR DRAINAGE

A common cause of plant death during winter months is excessive moisture in the root zone. When planting traditional trees, shrubs, bulbs or veggies, ensure that plants are raised above areas that may be prone to flooding. Ensure there is enough drainage so plants will not be bogged down by the impending rain that winter brings.

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GARDEN PLANNING

Winter is an excellent time to plan new gardens in your property in preparation for spring planting. It is a good idea to monitor future garden areas for cold winds and excessive moisture, as both conditions will influence what you can plant in that area.

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PROVIDE SHELTER

Plant new shelter belts and/or hedges where they are required. These can radically change how you can use parts of your garden, removing or at least reducing cold winds. It is possible to create an edible hedge using feijoas, guavas and bay trees which provide food and function.

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LOOK AFTER EMPTY BEDS

Protect empty garden beds by sowing green manure crops eg lupins. They protect the top soil from wind and water erosion, and add organic matter back to the soil when dug in. Wait till they are about 15-20cm high then chop up with a spade as you dig them back into the soil. Alternatively “blanket cover” beds by applying a thick layer of mulch, such as Daltons Garden Mulch and Grow or other forms of mulch like manure, autumn leaves, or wood chip.

For more gardening advice, read our How to Grow guides here.

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- May 2016 -

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Winter Vegetables - Planting Guide

Although the months are colder, there are still plenty of vegetables you can grow over winter to keep your family stocked up. We’ve put together a planting guide to help you with what to plant, when and where.

If space is an issue many can be grown in pots or containers. You can sow your own seeds into seed trays indoors or directly into the garden, depending on the vegetable. As a rule of thumb, plant the seed as deep as the size of the seed, so a 1cm size seed should be planted 1cm deep. If you are planting tiny seeds such as carrots or radish, just sprinkle the seeds in a line and cover lightly with Daltons Seed Raising Mix. Alternatively you can purchase seedlings from your local gardening centre and plant them out as detailed in our Winter Vegetables Planting Guide.

View the Planting Guide here

For more gardening advice, read our How to Grow Winter Vegetables guide here.

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- March 2016 -

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Preparing for the cooler months...

Start with a clean slate by doing a general garden tidy up and removing any remains of old summer crops. Soil is absolutely critical to the success of any garden. Dig over your tired soil from last season and work in plenty of Daltons Compost. This will revitalise the soil by improving organic matter, nutrient content and microbial activity. For best results do this about 1-2 weeks before planting.
You can either grow your winter vegetables indoors from seed in trays and plant out later, or buy the seedlings you want from your local garden centre and plant them directly into the garden. Choose cold loving brassica vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and other winter favourites like beetroot, silverbeet and spinach. A rule of thumb when sowing and germinating winter veg is to plant the seed as deep as the size of the seed, e.g. a 1cm size seed should be planted 1cm deep. Various seeds take different lengths of time and conditions to germinate and it’s important to plant them at the correct time of year – check seed packets for guidance.
After the hot months of summer, your lawn may need a little TLC. Fertilise, tackle any brown patches or even sow a new lawn while the soil is still warm. Your hard work now means a lush, healthy lawn come spring. Apply lawn fertiliser every 4-5 weeks from now until late April and oversow any bare or brown patches in the lawn with Daltons Premium Lawn Patching Gold.
The best time to plant new bulbs or re-plant existing ones is in autumn. Make sure you choose a nice, sunny, well drained site. There is a huge array of spring bulbs to choose from, like tulips, freesias, anemomes, hyacinths and of course, daffodils.
If you are planning on planting trees, autumn/early winter is ideal as they have time to establish a good root system before summer. If you want to grow fruit trees but don’t have a lot of space, there are many dwarf varieties you can grow in pots. Always select varieties that suit your climate.
Citrus trees are gross feeders so to ensure healthy crops, apply Daltons incredible edible Citrus Fertiliser now to trees in the garden or in containers through to mid-April. Always make sure whenever applying fertiliser that you follow the quantities on the packet, apply it out to the tree drip line and water it in well.
For rose lovers, it’s also a good time to browse catalogues and plan ahead. Assess your garden, replace any existing roses that have not flowered well or have been prone to diseases during the season. Remove old flowers to encourage new flowering growth and enjoy a final autumn display. Do not over fertilise existing plants during this period, and remember to mulch.

For more gardening advice, check out Daltons range of How To Guides.

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- February 2016 -

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Here are some other fantastic summer gardening tips you've shared with us that are too good to keep to ourselves!

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Fill the saucers of potted plants with sand and keep the sand moist so the roots stay cool and are not sitting in water. Apply mulch, water in the early morning or evening, and water the ground not the leaves. – Carol Hastings

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Keeping ahead of the weeds- every time you walk around your garden, if you see a weed, pull it out. You enjoy weeding this way rather than half a days weeding or longer. – Shirley Johnson

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When running a tap to get hot/cold water run the waste water into a jug and use it for your garden. – Laura Neilson

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We are on tank water so we use the water from the last rinse cycle on the washing machine for our plants.  Annie Mansfield

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Mixing taller veges eg corn, and flowers, eg lilies, with younger or smaller ones as provide shade and shelter from winds. – Mary Ann Lamont

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Stand potted plants in trays of water if your going to be away for more than a couple of days. – Gillian Hooper

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Rather than watering a little bit but often (e.g. a few minutes a day), water less often but for much longer (e.g 1 -2 hours once or twice a week). The water doesn't evaporate as much and sinks into the soil to where plants can access it, and encourages deeper root growth. – Lisa Bennett

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To stop your peppers, tomatoes, young beans, etc ripening too quickly with the intensity of the sun you can cool things down with cloth shade covers. – Sarah Blair

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Any water my children use at this time of year or paddling pool, gets reused to water the veg garden. Applied by the children themselves who love transporting the water to the garden. – Tania Pearson

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Care for your garden like you would your children. Check it every day. Water regularly, automatic irrigation helps, and keep picking before fruit and veg are overgrown. – Deboarah Grace

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Pop some headphones on and listen to music whilst watering the garden and weeding as you go. Plus mulch mulch mulch! – Candice Harris

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Keeping all plants removed of deadheads to renew and replenish itself to keep flowering for the beautiful display and to look after our special bees doing a wonderful job. – Cheryl Finn

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I have found that if I insert plastic milk bottles into the garden close to crops and fill them with water instead of directly onto the plant it helps eliminates diseases while giving them a deep watering where they need it - in the roots. – Carol Heena

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Free water! We bought another water tank and connected it to the house down-pipe. Our other one is out the back by the vege garden and rainwater from the garage is collected in this. The second tank is out of sight, at the back of the house, but close to garden pots. We water just before sun-down and don't need to walk too far to re-fill the watering can. Best of all, it's free water and taps can be turned off during heavy rainfall. – Olga Baker

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- January 2016 -

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Summer Vegetable - Planting Guide

Spring and summer offer a myriad of delicious vegetables you can easily grow in your garden. We’ve put together a planting guide to help you with what to plant, when and where.

You can sow your own seeds into seed trays indoors or directly into the garden, depending on the vegetable. As a rule of thumb, plant the seed as deep as the size of the seed, so a 1cm size seed should be planted 1cm deep. If you are planting tiny seeds such as lettuce or radish, just sprinkle the seeds in a line and cover lightly with Daltons Premium Seed Mix. Alternatively you can purchase seedlings from your local gardening centre.

View the Planting Guide here

For more gardening advice, read our How to Grow Summer Vegetables guide here.

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- December 2015 -

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Summer Gardening - Mulching is your mantra!

Check out some of our top easy summer care tips to help you look after your garden this summer:

For those with irrigation systems; do a maintenance check and make sure all sprinkler heads are operating well and the timer has been set to suit the summer weather. Ideally it is better to have the system operating in the cooler part of the day. For those without irrigation, it is worth having a plan and asking family members or neighbours now about watering and checking the garden while you are away.

Don’t forget about your indoor plants as they can suffer as temperatures inside intensify. Increase watering and if necessary, reposition your plants – avoiding placing them too close to sunny windows.

In your veggie garden keep staking and training cucumber, beans and tomatoes. Continue succession plantings of quick maturing vegetables, lettuce, dwarf beans and radishes. Check plants regularly for insects, especially caterpillars. Flower gardens should be well established by now. Keep up the dead heading to encourage further flowering – this also applies to roses. For fruit trees, apply a final application of Daltons incredible edibles® Citrus Fertiliser for the year and water it in well. Berries should be coming into fruiting, so pick them daily when they are in peak condition. Many annual herbs run to seed very quickly in mid-summer so trim plants regularly and make repeat plantings of your favourite varieties.

Don’t let your lawns dry out in the early part of summer, especially if it is dry in your area. Irrigate at night to reduce the loss of water in hot summer days.

For potted plants, choose plants that thrive in hot, dry conditions e.g. Portulacas. Keep all potted plants watered well so they do not become stressed, especially those that require lots of water. Ensure they have a good layer of Daltons Mulch and Feed on top to help with water loss.

For more gardening advice, check out our range of How To guides here.

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- December 2015 -

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Our Top Ten Reasons to Get Gardening...

You can do it anywhere! These days you don’t need large spaces to create a beautiful or edible garden. Container/potted gardens, vertical gardens and even roof gardens provide many opportunities to turn the areas you have into functional spaces. There are also many dwarf or mini-varieties of vegetables, citrus and fruit trees available to grow that are perfect for those who are short on space.
Gardening is inexpensive. Growing your own means you can cut down your weekly food bill – especially if you grow from seed.
Gardening is a great excuse to get outside! You get a little exercise and enjoy the fresh air whilst watching your garden change throughout the seasons. It also provides opportunities for fun family time creating memories in the garden together.
Gardening builds soil. Gardening helps us understand more about our soil and what it needs. Even the simple task of adding Daltons Nutrient Enriched Compost helps add nutrients, improves soil structure and promotes microbial activity.
Gardening is good for your health. It improves your diet because you are more inclined to eat a range of fruit and vegetables if you have grown them yourself; especially if you expand the varieties you grow. Plus food out of your own garden is fresher and tastes better!
Gardens are beautiful. From the stunning colours of autumn leaves to fragrant spring blossoms, each plant offers its own beauty to admire throughout the seasons.
Children and gardening go together. Children love to watch the wonder of sprouting seeds and young seedlings as they grow into plants they can enjoy and eat. They learn the process of how fruit and vegetables develop, ripen and end up on their plate. Plus they learn gardening skills they can use for life.
Gardening is a wonderful skill to pass on. Sharing our gardening knowledge means helping the next generation of gardeners, which in turn they then pass on.
Gardening brightens up indoors as well. If you grow a variety of plants in your garden, there will always be something to pop into a vase and bring a little of the outdoors indoors each season.
Gardening helps your community. Gardening helps bring people together and strengthens a community. Sharing excess veggies or fruit harvests with people over the fence, down the road or at your local church or community centre encourages communication and friendships with others. It’s also a great opportunity to swap gardening tips and advice. Unused space in a community can be utilised to start a community garden. This encourages others to garden and fosters a sense of belonging.

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- September 2015 -

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A little Spring preparation goes a long way

The better prepared your garden is for Spring, the better the rewards. Daltons top tasks will help get your garden ready:

1. Reflect on the overall landscape of your garden. Think about the winter conditions which may have caused problems, such as cold south westerly winds or especially damp or boggy parts of your garden or lawn. Tackle these problems now; for example, install additional drainage to ensure that the garden does not become boggy next winter, or plant shelter shrubs or small trees on your south western boundary to help filter out those cold damaging winter winds.

2. Remove dead or old winter plants and weeds from your garden beds and recondition the soil by applying a generous layer of organic matter, such as Daltons Compost - work it into the existing soil. This will give your seeds and seedlings the best start.

3. Start sowing your favourite spring and summer crops in seed trays indoors, ready for planting out later. Leave sowing seeds directly into the garden until temperatures reach around 16 degrees, then sow tomatoes, cucumber, radishes, sweet corn, peppers, courgettes, beans etc.

4. Always choose a fertiliser best suited to the group of plants in your garden e.g. roses need fertilisers higher in pot ash like Daltons Premium Rose and Flower Fertiliser to encourage strong flowering and intensity of flower colour, rather than masses of vegetative growth. Also feed trees, fruit trees, shrubs as well as your new vegetables and annuals.

5. For plants growing in containers, replace old soil with fresh Daltons Premium Tub Mix and apply side dressings of fertiliser throughout the growing period.

6. Renew your herbs - they prefer free-draining, hot, sunny positions and popular summer varieties to grow are basil, sage, marjoram, parsley, thyme, coriander and rosemary. Herbs are inexpensive to buy so start afresh in October/November and plant directly into containers with fresh container mix, or out in the garden. Grow them close to the kitchen so you are more inclined to use them.

7. For lawn care, check for problem areas in your lawn eg: areas too wet, an infestation of weeds or brown patches. As soil temperatures increase you can patch small problem areas with the all in one Daltons Premium Lawn Patching Gold. In larger areas, lay top soil to a depth of 5-8cm before sowing fresh grass seed. Where lawns are in reasonable condition, apply Daltons Premium Lawn Fertiliser every 4-5 weeks through until mid December to ensure strong grass growth and therefore an attractive, durable lawn for Summer.

Use Spring to make your home garden more hospitable and therefore more successful for the season to come.

For more gardening advice, check out our range of How To guides here.

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