Don't plant tomatoes now! - Aug 09, 2013

Dear garden club members,

It's freezing cold here today so I hope you have found somewhere warm. I had a customer on Saturday who was after tomato seedlings. When I told him we don't have them yet he thought I was crazy because he had just been to Flower Power and Bunnings and they had heaps. I explained to the customer that these plants have been grown in a glasshouse and if you plant them in your garden now they will get killed by the first frost. We still have 3 weeks of winter and last year we got the worst frosts in August. We are real gardeners down here and none of us would dream about planting tomatoes in winter. I had one plant grow all by itself under my olive tree and I noticed it had turned black and died last week.

I get cranky when I see these chain stores selling plants that are out of season. There are many new gardeners that are growing vegetables for the first time and when they see the plants on the shelf they just assume that it must be time to plant them. There is no hurry to plant your vegetables early. I have found if you do plant them early they either die or just sit there and sulk. Vegetables like cucumbers and zucchinis are very frost sensitive so don't plant these until well into September. We often get people asking us for basil plants. These will also be glasshouse grown and if you do plant them now they will turn black overnight and shrivel up. Petunia plants are super sensitive to frost damage too.

We are getting all our staff back next week from holidays so if you need help planning your spring planting come and talk to our horticulturists.

We have been getting lots of phone calls about spotted and yellow leaves. This is a natural response from plants that don't like the cold. Don't fertilise these plants now or you will just make them sick. When spring comes cut them back and then fertilise with our Tim's Fast Food. Hibiscus are really sensitive to the cold weather.

Still getting lots people wanting to fertilise their lawns now. Your grass is yellow because grasses like Kikuyu and Buffalo are tropical species. When it gets cold the grass stops growing, turns yellow and sulks. If you fertilise the lawn now the grass won't use it and it will just wash into our rivers causing pollution. The best time to fertilise your grass is when it turns green. The fertiliser will make it turn even greener!

I got home from work yesterday to discover the Cockies and eaten my potted pansy plants off at ground level. One of our club members had the same thing happen to her potted pansies too. There is nothing you can do to prevent this from happening and hopefully the pansies will shoot back out again and get more flowers. I think Cockies are like bikies. They turn up looking for trouble. Wouldn't it be great if we could train them to prune the roses?

They do have seceteurs for a mouth. I do love cockies so it is hard for me to get cranky. Have you noticed Cockies damaging your garden?

We have started topdressing all our potted plants with Greengold Planting Compost. Jesse is out in the beds today putting a handful around each plant. The planting compost contains a wetting agent, an organic fertiliser and compost. We topdress all our stock every spring and autumn. It's amazing how this product gives even tired stock a new lease of life. It does this because the finer particles wash down into the old potting mix and block up all the cracks. This slows the water down and allows your plants to get more. The wetting agent rewets the old potting mix making it hold more water too. The organic fertiliser releases slowly over spring to give the plants a burst of new growth. We are doing this job now because we will be too busy during spring. But if you have pot plants topdress them all with Greengold Planting Compost at the start of spring and watch your plants grow like crazy.

Gardening is all about maths. The more water your plants get the better they will grow. If you have bigger pots put 2 or 3 handfuls around the base as mulch. Try not to put it up against the trunk.

We had more vandalism in our garden overnight. Instead of tip toeing through the tulips they tip toed through the poppies! Karyn has cut back all the damaged leaves and the plants are looking sensational again. I know some people who have given up gardening because someone stole a shrub. Here at Tim's we don't let the barstards beat us.

Have you got a shady spot where nothing seems to grow? We have the perfect shade loving plant for you. Hellebores are old fashioned death proof plants that thrive in those shady positions. We have a new variety called PENNY"S PINK. This one has beautiful dark pink flowers with yellow stamens. I love the spotted green foliage too. They are covered in flowers now and looking sensational. Plants cost $27.95 less your garden club discount. These would make a great flowering gift. Come and check them out.

I made Aunty Una's Lemon cake during the week. Noreen and Ryan didn't like the Lemon topping; they thought it was too sour!  Well it was a Lemon Cake after all. I did cut some of the sugar out of the recipe because sugar makes you fat. Yvonne loved the cake with her cup of coffee at morning tea. I loved it too but I did bake it. We still have some fresh home grown lemons here at the nursery if you want to give it a try.

The Scarecrow making work shop is at Tim's this Saturday at 10 am. We still have room for you! Costs $10.00 and this gets donated to Cancer research. Bring your old clothes and learn how to make a Scarecrow for your vegetable garden. Straw and tomato stakes will be provided. It should be a lot of fun.

We have eaten a lot of cake this week! Karyn had her birthday on Tuesday so we had mud cake. A photo of Karyn is very rare - she is one of those quiet achievers.

Happy gardening.