This month, the wild, warm weather might have you avoiding the garden, but you don't have to. There are plenty of plants and veggies to grow that will thrive in this December weather.
Angie Thomas, Horticulture Consultant to Yates says, “As we gear up for summer, there are still lots of plants to include and enjoy in your garden and things to do to help prepare your garden for summer extremes of heat and drought."
The key is to be more water-wise and adapt your gardening planting and methods to the climate. Here's what to plant:
NSW Christmas Bush
This Australian native produces a beautiful colour, which will give your garden a festive touch this Christmas period.
"These plants grow to around three to five metres tall with the variety ‘Johanna’s Christmas’ growing to three metres in a large pot. NSW Christmas bush prefers a well-drained soil and will benefit from being fed each Spring and Autumn with a certified organic plant fertiliser," says Angie.
As barbecue season fires up, the demand for side salads also increases. Lettuce is the base for many of these creations, so why not grow your own?
"Grow lettuce in a sunny veggie patch or in a pot positioned on a sunny deck or courtyard. Water lettuce regularly and apply a liquid plant food each week. To encourage them to grow more fresh leaves throughout the summer, harvest individual lettuce leaves regularly and keep an eye out for common lettuce pests such as snails, caterpillars and aphids, which can eat and damage the leaves," says Angie.
Here's what to harvest this month:
Speaking of side dishes, potatoes are a great accompaniment for the summer barbecue season.
"It takes around four months for potatoes to fully mature however can be harvested a little earlier for some tender baby potatoes," says Angie.
"Tomatoes taste better when left to ripen on the vine, however, during summer, the hot weather can scorch and even start to cook the tomatoes while they’re still on the plant," advises Angie.
To avoid this, harvest the tomatoes as soon as a blush of colour appears and then ripen up the tomato indoors. Put your fruit in a paper bag along with a banana, or on a bright windowsill.
Caring for a summer garden
"Applying a soil wetting agent over soil and potting mix can help break down the waxy, water-repellent layer that can develop and promote deeper penetration of moisture down into the plant’s root zone," says Angie.
"Deep and thorough watering a few times a week is also much better for plants rather than daily light watering," she recommends.