With Michael Coulter

The good news for today……we actually get into double figures, with a predicted 10 degrees.  As gardeners we never stop. Michael said Southhort compost at $6.50 for a 40 litre bag was very good buying. To buy now ready for the mulching in the spring and summer was a good idea.  He said we had all heard stories about the snow and frost damage from different areas. ‘A friend of mine had his brass hose double adaptor on the tap actually split with the frost’ he said.  It is a good idea to remove tap and hose fittings for the winter rather than come to spring when we need them only to find they have sprung leaks everywhere. Nothing worse than expecting to hose a plant only to find you get an unexpected shower instead. Hoses actually freeze and split if left to over-winter outside.

Things are a bit of a trial at this time of year.  It’s too damn cold.  Michael reckons it’s the coldest he’s felt and was quick to point out it was nothing to do with getting older.


Winter Warning!
Michael reminded us all to be very careful in winter. A member recently slipped on the wet grass and tore ligaments in his leg.  He pointed out the danger of moss on pathways.

Always be vigilant and on the lookout for potential hazards.  We need to look after ourselves.  Michael said the bad weather kept him inside and he found it was a good time to catch up with reading. ‘ I’ve been reading a book on Sciatica’ he said.  Interesting tips included warm-up exercises before going outside to garden.


Looking around the city  –  ‘All the plants look cold’ he said.  All have gone completely dormant.  This can work to our advantage.  We don’t have to rush to do our pruning. We must remember not to prune on cold wet days.  It is also a good time to get a spray onto our fruit trees.  Copper oxychloride, Bordeaux mixture and Conqueror spraying oil.  When the flowering on your fruit trees is more condense you will get better pollination from the bees.

Michael said there had been a change in plan for the importation of tomato seeds. It will be more restrictive from now on.  Reason being is that we have had one or two viruses coming into the country.  Some heirloom varieties will be harder to get  in.  You may have to save your own seeds.   The introduction recently of the potato and tomato psyllid has drastically affected commercial growers.

Michael continued to plant out his broad beans in containers for transplanting later.


Q.         Have found these funny little things jumping around in my garden.  What are


A:          Springtails.  They are tiny, soft-bodied, wingless about 1 – 3 mm long.

widespread in damp soil and common in leaf litter.  They feed on micro-

organisms  – fungi, algae, bacteria and lichens  Most have a forked

jumping tail enabling them to spring away from danger.  Put the garden hose

on them.

Q:        My roses still have leaves on them and many are still flowering ?

A:        Nothing to worry about.  You can prune your roses soon and apply a dormant

season lime sulphur spray.

Q:        My hydrangeas are covered with a white spot ?

A:        It’s scale.  Specific to hydrangeas.  Spray with oil.

Late sowing of broad beans can still be made, remember mine are in pots.  Many seedlings can be raised in containers under shelter in colder districts.  Continue sowings of spinach, cabbages, cauliflowers and broccoli.

Spring will soon arrive so cheer up and be ready for the busy months ahead.