Use of green manure crops

Expert advice on what to do for your garden this week.

Vegetable garden
Onions sown this month will withstand the winter, then mature into good-sized tubers for harvesting next summer.

Prepare soil with lime, wood ash and garden compost. Space cleared of early potatoes or peas is ideal for onions.

Cabbage, silverbeet and prickly spinach can be sown as early winter or spring crops.
Second-crop potatoes may be lifted now.

Leave the ground vacant, or sow in a green manure crop, such as mustard, oats or blue lupins.

Tomatoes grown in a hothouse should have yellow and dead leaves removed. Pinch out young shoots, give plenty of ventilation and reduce watering as fruits stop swelling and begin to ripen.

Flower garden
Oriental poppies, aubretia, shasta daisies, lupins, delphiniums, pyrethrums, doronicum and other early flowering herbaceous plants should be trimmed now.

Doing it immediately after flowering will encourage some to flower again in autumn.

Summer chrysanthemums should be selectively disbudded to provide good-sized blooms for house arrangements.

Home orchard
Strawberries may still be layered, choosing the first new plant on each runner and pinching off the rest.

Placing compost around the runners will help roots develop quickly.

Transfer the new plants to their permanent place in about three weeks.

Dig out and dispose of all strawberry plants that have borne fruit for two or more years.

Because they can carry disease and take a long time to decay, keep strawberry plants out of the compost heap.

For younger strawberry plants, trim off old leaves, clear away any weeds and give them a mulch of garden compost mixed with blood and bone and superphosphate.

That prepares them for growth in autumn.

Old raspberry canes should be cut out and destroyed. Stake or wire selected young canes, removing any weak, spindly or misshapen ones.

Six to nine canes per plant is a good number to supply next summer's crop.

Blackcurrants can have all old wood removed once fruiting has finished.

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