Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year!!

It is 2023.  Really?  My, how time flies!

January is usually a busy time in your garden.  Everything needs a little sprucing up after the festive season’s laziness.  The extreme heat of summer and hopefully lots of rain, create extra chores in the garden, even for the keen gardeners who have been diligent in maintaining the garden throughout the festive season!

So, how do you take your garden from drab to fab?

Firstly, to keep you motivated, do not garden in the heat of the midsummer sun.  Rather do the chores in the early morning or late afternoon – and don’t forget your garden hat and suntan lotion!

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Flower beds

Why are flower beds a must? 

“For bees, the flower is the fountain of life.  For flowers, the bee is the messenger of love” – Kahlil Gibran

Honeybees and butterflies love flower gardens. Flowers are a main source of nectar which these insects use for food. In the process of retrieving the nectar, they inadvertently pollinate plants. 

A well-manicured flower garden is an easy and cheap way to beautify your home and garden and it is great for the environment.  The plants’ roots stabilise the soil and help reduce soil erosion.  During photosynthesis, plants absorb carbon dioxide from the air and release oxygen. And of course, gardening is good for your health as it is a great means of exercising while doing what you love! 

In January, start sowing cool-season annuals and biannuals for winter and spring colour. Sow foxgloves, aquilegias, delphiniums, pansies and Primula malacoides in seed trays, as they take time to become strong seedlings for planting.

To ensure your flowering shrubs and seedlings keep bearing flowers into early autumn, remove dead flowers from the plants by giving them a light pruning.  If there are casualties, replace dead plants with new seedlings which can endure the heat. 

Feed your flowers in beds, containers and baskets regularly with organic based NutriGreen Flower Power or Rose and Flower Fertiliser 8:1:5.  Guanoflo liquid fertiliser is 100 % organic and virtually provides almost instant results. Remember it is good practice to alternate between granular and organic fertiliser. 

Lily borers are rife in summer and the leaves and bulbs of amaryllis, agapanthus and clivias are very vulnerable to this pest. Apply Knox Worm or Kemprin (cyphermethrin) every two weeks to keep them at bay.

Fruit and shafer beetle populations reach a peak during the summer and can cause serious damage to flowers and fruit.  Treat these pests with Knox Worm or Kemprin and alternate with Aviguard Mercaptothion.

Ornamentals can be severely damaged by slugs and snails if left uncontrolled. Protek’s Scatterkill for Snails is an amazingly effective product to prevent slugs and snails from taking over and causing damage to plants.  The unique formulation which has a bran base and a pet repellent, is attractive to slugs and snails and will eradicate them virtually overnight.

Rose shrubs

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, make sure your roses are in an immaculate condition, especially the red ones!  To be Valentines ready, you must perform these tasks in January. 

You can do corrective pruning on your roses by cutting out all the dead or dying branches.

Substandard performance can mean that roots are too dry.  Water your plants deeply 3 times a week unless it rains sufficiently.  Preferably, do not water with a sprinkler system as you want to avoid water on the leaves which can lead to fungal diseases like black spot.

If the leaves are bleak, it means that your plants must be fertilised.  Feed your roses every 4 weeks with Rose & Flower Fertilizer 8:1:5 and NutriGreen Flower Power.  For quick results, apply Guanoflo as a foliar application every two weeks.  And specially for the lazy daisy, choose the easy option by feeding your roses with one or two Guanosol tablets providing up to 3 months nutrition for your plants.

Roses are susceptible to attacks by insects and fungal diseases.  To protect them from aphids, apply Complete as a soil drench.  Complete is a systemic insecticide that provides seasonal protection.  For preventive protection against black spot and powdery mildew, apply Mycoguard or Copper-Flow-Plus contact fungicides.  Copper-Flow-Plus has an added advantage – it will also protect your roses against bacterial diseases.  Tenazole is a systemic fungicide which provides preventative as well as corrective treatment.  Rose Guard provides 3-in-1 protection – it is a.systemic and contact fungicide and a contact insecticide.  Rose Guard also protects against red spider mite.  

The green-green grass of home

OK, the meaning behind the lyrics of the famous Tom Jones song is about a man who comes home after spending time in prison, but would you not like to come home to a green green grass, especially after returning from your holiday.  

There are a few things to keep in mind to get your lawn in pristine condition. 

Do not cut your lawn too short, but rather cut regularly.  Keeping the blades slightly longer will protect the roots against heat and dry winds.

Water early in the morning to avoid evaporation.  

Fertilise your lawn regularly to encourage healthy green growth.  Apply a fertiliser with a high nitrogen content such as Lawn and Foliage Fertilizer 7:1:3 – and for a greener option, NutriGreen Gro Green.  Apply this every six weeks and alternate between the granular and organic fertiliser.  Always follow instructions as too much Nitrogen can burn the lawn, so, remember to water well after application.  Keep in mind, lawn in shady spots, like underneath trees, require more nutrition as the lawn must compete with the trees and shrubs for food.

Check your lawn for army worm and lawn caterpillar infestations and apply Knox Worm or Kemprin (cypermethrin) for effective control of these. 

Scatterkill for Insects is ready to use and very easy to apply.  It controls a wide variety of insects on your lawn like ants, crickets, caterpillars and harvester termites. 

Keep an eye out for mole crickets and apply systemic Imidor for fast control.

Brown Spot and Dollar Spot are fungi that thrive under humid conditions on lawns.  Brown Spot cause large brown patches on your lawn and can be up to several meters in diameter, while Dollar Spot is about the size of a R5 coin. Fairy ring causes dark green circles on lawn which are sometimes surrounded by mushrooms.  To prevent and eradicate fungal infections, a systemic fungicide such as Protek’s Tenzole can be applied.  Mycoguard or Copper-Flow-Plus can be applied as a preventative treatment.    

Remember to water your lawn early in the morning to prevent fungus infestations.

Food gardening

Kate Moss once said that “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”, but we agree with the food writer Karen Ingenthron who said “nothing tastes as good as healthy feels”, and to feel healthy, you need your 5 a day.   Evidence shows there are significant health benefits to getting at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day. 

There is also no comparison between the taste of garden fresh vegetables and grocery store bought vegetables !   

When you grow your own food, you can decide which varieties to plant and how to fertilise and protect your garden, you therefor control what you eat.

It can be extremely hot in January and your vegetables and herbs can take strain in the heat of the day.  Protect sun sensitive plants like brinjals, peppers, lettuce, and herbs by growing them under a 40 % to 50 % shade cloth.

Keep your vegetables well-watered.  To conserve water, water during the cooler times of the day.

Vegetables that are susceptible to bolting, like broccoli, cauliflower and spinach, can benefit from being grown in partial sun.

Harvest your vegetables regularly to promote production.

If necessary, thin out the fruit on citrus trees to encourage a healthier yield.

Feed plants regularly (every fortnight) with Guanoflo, a 100% organic fertiliser.  Guanoflo not only consists of macro elements, Nitrogen, Phosphate and Potassium (N:P:K), but also the essential micro elements for vigorous growth.  Remember, a strong and healthy plant, will resist insects and other diseases more effectively.

Aphids can infest crops and suck the plant’s sap, weakening it and spreading viruses. They can be controlled with an insecticide such as Knox Worm, Kemprin or AviGard.  These have short withholding periods between application and harvest, with little negative impact on the environment. 

White fly is a sap-sucking insect that is often found in thick crowds on the undersides of leaves. When infested plants are disturbed, great clouds of the winged adults fly into the air.  To get rid of white fly, treat your tomato plants by soil drenching with Complete at the drip area.

Slugs and snails destroy seedlings and fresh new growth year round. To control them, distribute ready to use, easy to apply Scatterkill for Snails.

Cutworms are soil dwelling caterpillars that feed on the roots and stem bases of many crops, causing sudden wilt and death. Destroy cutworms by sprinkling Cutworm Bait around your seedlings and plants after dark when these worms are active in your garden.

Leaf spot may occur on older leaves and cause round, brown spots and the affected leaf tissue may disintegrate to leave bare holes. The disease worsens when crops are overcrowded, so thin out and do not replant the same crop in the same place the following year. Treat with a systemic fungicide like Tenazole.

Fruit flies and codling moths lay their eggs in fruit and can ruin the entire crop.  When fruit reach the size of a marble, treat with Kemprin or Knox Worm (cypermethrin) every 2 weeks and alternate with Avigard Mercaptothion.

Treat your citrus trees against psylla with Complete, but make sure that you first remove the fruit from the tree.  As lemon trees bare fruit all year round, it is important to pick the ripe as well as unripe lemons from the tree when treating with Complete. 

In the words of Alfred Austin: The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.

Happy gardening!

All Protek products now available in our store at Garden World!