We are now well into Autumn meaning so much of the garden work is about preparation for Winter.

The rain fall is well above average for this time of the year which has encouraged moss to grow on the paths and in the lawns so treat the lawns with sulphate of iron and the paths with one of the liquid moss killers.

Once the frosts have started dahlias may be lifted as well as tuberous begonias, only keep those that are sound and healthy

Complete planting Spring bulbs before the ground becomes too wet, ensuring that they will not be sitting in ground that puddles.

Pelargonium cuttings may be taken now to over-winter in readiness for planting in the Spring.

Greenhouse maintenance at the end of the growing season includes washing down the inside with a solution like one of the liquid moss killers and removing the shading from the outside. Any plants still in the greenhouse need to be checked for the presence of pest or disease and if they are unhealthy dispose of them.

Once all the leaves have fallen off fruit trees they should have a good clean up - removing  any dried up fruit still on the tree and rubbish around the base, this well help stop any disease carry over to next season

In the vegetable garden you can sow broad beans, plant garlic, and in the greenhouse grow some Winter greens (spinach and spring onions etc.).

In the Winter grass grows very slowly so needs little mowing. To keep the lawn in good condition raise the height of the mower so that a good swath of grass covers the ground so that it will not become muddy, especially at the harder wearing areas.

For colour in the garden Winter annuals planted in pots mixed with Spring bulbs placed around the patio or pathways will cheer any Winter's day, so go and plant some up today.

Good gardening, Michael Coulter

Remember: questions can be posted on HortTalk or you can email Michael directly at: coultchrys@xtra.co.nz

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