Friday, February 29, 2008

Avacado Pear Trees

An Avocado Tree in your garden will provide you with fruit year after year.

The tree can be started from a seed which is sprouted or a seedling can be bought from a nursery.

The trees prefer phosphates and potash - but a good organic compost will do just as well.
Cropping ususally occures in the third or fourth year after planting. but can take up to seven years!

Avocados like well drained loamy soils and do not do so well in clay or heavy soils.
Root rot can start even after ten years if the soil conditions are not liked by your tree. This is shown by the dying back of branches.

When plating make sure your hole is at least 120 cm square by 120 cm deep. Fill with goodd garden soil and compost. Water every three or four days until established and then water weekly.

Cover in mid may against possible frost in September or october the tree will start to grow very rapidly.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Orchids in Zimbabwe

There are indigenous orchids in Zimbabwe and some of them in this web album are indigenous - some are not. They are however magnificent and I wanted to share them with you.
Orchids in Bloom in Harare

Roses do grow in Zimbabwe!

Even an almost indigenous garden needs some roses! I would be lost without mine - almost always in flower and blooms available for cutting. I always find that home grown roses last longer when cut than the bought ones!

During February one should water the roses as necessary - even if we have had above normal rainfall this year once the rain stops the roses need their moisture!

A thick mulch of well decayed animal manure ( your home made compost will do ) should be applied. Keep away from the plant stems.

This is the time to spray or dust, if you must, against blackspot.

Lightly dig in any old mulch if it has been compacted by the heavy rain.

Cut off any dead heads or dead wood to encourage new growth - happy rose growing!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Organic Gardening

Organic or not organic? How difficult is to make your garden an organic one? Not that difficult.

We started organic gardening some years ago and produce a mass of vegetables and garden plants with no fertilizers or insect sprays.

As long as one uses every bit of organic matter at hand from vegetable peelings to grass cuttings and other garden waste one can build up a compost pile in very little time - helped out by horse and other animal manures a rich natural substance is produced that can be forked around your plants. The taste of your vegetables and their size will reward you for all your efforts. By using your kitchen waste on the compost heap you do not have masses of smelly rubbish each week and you are using every bit of your vegetables by plowing back the parts you do not eat into the soil.

I will talk about companion planting to get rid of garden pests in another post.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Stapelias in Our Garden

Stapelias are small perennial leafless succulents. They are know commonly as the Carrion Plant due to the bad smelling flowers. They aattract blue bottles and can be seem buzzing around the open flowers. Gigantea - shown here - is the largest of the species and one of the largest flowers in the plant kingdom.

Despite the smell of the flowers this is an ideal rockery plant as they spread quickly and give colour in January and February in what can otherwise be a colourless season. Although not known to like water - we never water ours during the dry season - they seem to have taken to our heavy rains this year - so much so that we are having to thin them out!
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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Barberton Daisies

Think of Barberton Daisies in Zimbabwe and think of Brian Terry whose magnificent plants have given pleasure to many Zimbabwean gardeners. His new varieties have always been colourful and hardy.

This is an easily grown, easily cultivated and prolific flower. Gerbera Jamesonii were originally all one shade - terracotta or bright brick. Today they have been breed and can be found as doubles and singles and are in many tones and colours from yellow to wine and even white. There are bi-colours and multi-colours.

They like a loose, open, gritty soil which should be well drained.

They can be grown from seed but the best and easiest method of propagation is root division.

It is wise to break them up every 18 months or so as the clumps become unmanageable and take too much out of the soil.

The leaves should be pinched off and a dressing of well rotted manure should be forked around the plants. Nip of any spent blooms to keep the plants healthy and flowering.

Space given in your garden to this hardy perennial will give you pleasure from the wonderful blooms that they produce.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Flame Lilies

The Flame lily or Gloriosa Superba and Gloriosa Virescens is the national flower of Zimbabwe. It is a brilliant addition to our gardens and comes in a variety of colours - there being over 52 classified varieties.

It muliplies slowly in its natural state and propigation is quite tricky. Now the last of the blooms will have died off and one must know how to look after the plants so that the plants will multiply and ensure blooms in the coming year.

Do not over water the plants! This is the best way to destroy them!

Flame Lilies can be propigated from seed but although this will produce a large number of plants it is a slow process.

Propigation by tuber is the best method as one tuber will produce one stem and two tubers per year.

The plants like partial shade. It will tolerate early morning and late afternoon sun. Filtered sunlight will produce good blooms and string stem structure.

If strong plants are required - water no more than once a week.
Once the plant has died down apply compost and continue to apply water once a week until the leaves and stems turn brown. Transplant between end July and beginning of November. Dig a hole 23 cm deep and place the tuber flat on the bottom of the hole. Add bone meal to the soil from the hole and fill the whole with this (75gr of bone meal should be enough). Level the soil.

Water once a week during the dry period. When a shoot appears as compost and work into the soil and then water once every three or four days until the plant appears to be well established.

Tubers may be left in the ground for up to eight years. Then lift and thin out or re position. New plants tend to come up each year about 30cm from the original planting position.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Plant for Winter


February is the latest for planting new citrus trees. What garden and household does not benifit from a lemon, orange or grapefruit tree? Citrus provides a valuable source of vitamin C and lemon and orange juice can be made easily at home from the fresh fruit.

Roses should also be planted at this time - again really the last month that is acceptable to enable them to flourish.

This is the time to plant potatoes and strawberries and that new avocado tree you want to put in the garden.

Dahlias will start to bloom and should be fed and staked.

If you are lucky enough to have bulbs to plant this is the time to do it.

hope you winter planting is a success!
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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Flowers to Plant in February


A show of colourful flowers is always appreciated. If one does not have an indigenous garden then flowers from other parts of the world will probably be suitable. the following are suitable to plant in February:
Alyssum, Anemone, Antirrhinum, Browallia,Calendula, Campanula, Candytuft, canna, Cineraria, Clarkia, Coreopsis, Cornflower, Delphinium, Dianthus, Eschscholtzia, Fozglove, Fushia, Gaillardia, Geum, Gypsophila, Helichrysum, hunnemannia, Larkspur, Leptosyne, Lupin, Matricaria, Michaelmas daisey, Mignonette, Mina Lobata, Myosotis, Nemophila, Pansy, Pentstemon, Phlox, Polyanthus, Poppy, Pyrethrum, Ranunculus, Scabious, Schizanthus, Statice, Stocvks, Sweet pea, Sweet Sultan, Viola, Violet, Wallflower.

Happy planting!
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Thursday, February 7, 2008

Vegetables in February - or how to beat the supermarket blues!

Planting Vegetables in February

With so little produce on the shelves we need to think about a vegetable garden to feed our family with good fresh produce throughout the year.

The following vegetables should be planted in february:
Asparagus, Broad Beans, Dwarf Beans, Runner Beans, Beetroot, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Clery, Cress, Endive, Kale or Spinach, Leeks, Lettuce, Mustard, Onions, Parsley, Parnip, Peas, Potatoes, Radish, Salsify, Shallots, Tomatoes.

Remember if you cannot get fertiliser - use compost - we only use compost and never chemicals on our vegetables.

All you need to do is to collect all your organic waste and set aside a place in the garden to make your compost with it. Anything from grass cuttings to vegetable peel will do. in no time at all your will be producing your own compost and growing an organic garden!

Till next time.
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