With Michael Coulter

Overall, temperatures for winter 2013 are likely to be above average, with warmer temperatures in Canterbury.   However, don’t be fooled, as frosts, cold snaps and even snow conditions should be expected in many areas from time to time.  That’s just typical of winter.  We have had a lot of rain, but the way I look at it is ‘its water in the bank for next year.

[framed_box bgColor=”#F5FFDF” rounded=”true”]Continue with your winter cleanup.
Avoid walking on the wet ground as this compacts the soil and ruins the soils growing structure.
I always walk on wooden boards when harvesting my winter vegetables. [/framed_box]

It is time to consider garden hygiene and the maintenance of tools and plants.   For example, your hosta plants.  It is best to plant in groups.  Some are expensive to buy. This is the time of year to divide your clumps.  I use two forks to lift it, and then wash all the soil off.  I noticed little white dots all over the roots.  They are slug eggs.

The word ‘slug’ is a common name for an apparently shell-less terrestrial gastropod mollusc.  You stroll around your garden and find your hostas riddled with holes. The few intact areas are covered by silvery, slimy trails.   Slugs live and lay their eggs in warm, wet, dark places.  Go out at night when they are most active and drown them in a container of soapy water.  Slugs love the yeast in beer and they throw themselves into beer traps, although it is only effective within a rather small radius.

[framed_box bgColor=”#F5FFDF” rounded=”true”]Aspidistras are slug attractors as they flower at ground level.   I found signs of white fly in the glasshouse where I grow my tomatoes and cucumbers. Keep vigilant and on top.
Pruning time and time to cut out all the dead wood and infected areas.  Spray with a copper oil.
Camellias attract mealy bug and scale and should be sprayed with Conqueror oil at the winter rate.
With a spell of warm weather you should get copper sprays onto your stone fruit.[/framed_box]

Remember, spring will soon be here, so cheer up and get ready for the busy months ahead.