In a few days it will officially be winter.

In a few days it will officially be winter. However, this is not the time to become all depressed and get the winter blues, because our lovely invigorating sub-tropical winters are among the very best times for gardening. In fact the lovely mild to warm days are perfect to get stuck into any of the larger structural jobs and major makeovers in your garden. Its a good time to do garden tool and lawn mower maintenance too.

Other jobs to do now: Prune abelias and dead head grevilleas ensuring that you leave the next little flower bud under the dead one. Mulch any of your garden that hasnt yet been done. Pick up fallen fruit and dispose of thoughtfully.

What to plant now

Flowers: Roses, spring flowering bulbs, alyssum, ageratum, amaranthus, aster, bedding begonia, candytuft, Canterbury bells, carnation, cineraria, cornflower, dahlia, dianthus, everlasting daisy, gypsophila, hollyhock, honesty, impatiens, linaria, marigold, nigella, petunia, California poppy, Iceland poppy, snapdragon, statice.

Vegies: Asparagus crowns, beetroot, broad beans, broccoli, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, leek, onion, parsnip, peas, potato, radish, rhubarb, shallots, silverbeet, spinach, tomato.

Generally in winter we do very little fertilising because the cooler weather slows up growth of plants and they cannot use the fertiliser. The main exception being your small seedlings which respond well to half-strength soluble fertiliser. To keep your plants healthy and help them resist the cold do a three weekly foliage application of seaweed tonic such as Seasol. Potted plants require less water and no fertiliser and orchids and bromeliads require no additional water other than rain and no fertiliser.

The Lismore Garden Club meets on the second Thursday of every month at 1pm at the Lismore Workers Club. Visitors are most welcome. The club June social outing will be a country garden visit and morning tea in the garden of Rosemary Dalton at Rock Valley on Tuesday, June 3. We will travel in a car convoy and meet in Casino Street, South Lismore, opposite Rural Buying at 8.30am. For information phone me on 6624 7422. This week we want to say a big thank you to our sponsors Greg and Terry at Youngberrys Nursery, South Lismore.

Finally: Salad greens can be grown in a styrafoam box on a sunny porch, as Cut and come again. Place 10cm of premium potting mix in the box and cover this with 2cm of seed raising mix. Sow thickly a mixture of beetroot, oakleaf lettuce and silver beet. Water with a watering can with tepid water and Seasol. Upon germination fertilise with half- strength soluble fertiliser weekly.

Happy gardening

Ron Burns

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