Spring has sprung in the Southern Hemisphere, with the birds becoming active, flowers bursting forth and buds swelling.
Preventing pest and disease is a job for Spring
Yet amongst this glory, the rain prevails, creating a humidity in the air that can cause pest and disease to be present early in the spring gardens.
As most of the southern hemisphere is in lockdown, it is a prime opportunity to enjoy time in our gardens and be vigilant, checking for early rust on garlic, and black aphids on the leeks, chives and spring onions. Let’s get on top of these pests early before they infest our plants! Spray with a good organic oil and feed regularly to boost their health.
Sow only when the temperature is right!
It is time to start sowing our spring/summer seeds, but I urge you to remember that summer seeds love a constant 20+ degrees for optimal success, so start indoors or in the greenhouse. Remember to prick out when the first true leaves are formed to avoid leggy seedlings that will become problematic later on.
It is a great time to sow your flower seeds to provide food for the bees and to attract beneficial insects. Turn the compost now, ready for using on the garden when your new beds are formed, or to use as a side dressing for your establishing plants, garlic and leeks. All in all, it is prime time to give love to your garden and plan for the summer months to come.
Heading into Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere
Meanwhile, over here in the Northern Hemisphere, it has been a summer full of pest and disease and a high level of blight and fungal diseases, with torrential rain thunderstorms and then bursts of sunshine. Such a different growing season from last year!
With all this disease around, remember to spray an oil on your plants before pulling them out to help prevent the spread of fungal diseases for seasons to come. Also dispose of your plants, keeping them well away from your compost and sow a crop of mustard to help clean up your soil before autumn/winter planting.
With those of you with apple and pear trees, please pick up your fallen fruit, as disease will spread to next year’s crop and remember all those chestnuts falling on the ground right now are so delicious boiled up and sauteed with salt. They are full of many vitamins and minerals, such as copper, manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, thiamine, folate, riboflavin, and potassium. Did you know they are also a good source of fiber, with 15% of your daily dose for just 10 chestnuts?
A message to the lockdown cohort of gardeners:
For all those new gardeners that are in their second year of growing, and who may have started in lockdown last year, please realise that this is the way gardening goes… We are subject to the challenges of the weather and sometimes we might not get the crop we desire.
Never give up hope and rise to the challenge, as growing food is so important in this new world, where food shortages and price rises are appearing everywhere.
Healthy soil creates healthy plants; it grows nutrient rich food, which in turn gives us good gut health and energy, exactly what we all need right now!
Take care of yourselves, and your plants and I hope you grow inspired.