It might seem as if we are still enjoying the few days of summer, but your garden is already slowing down for winter. Now is the time to prune, clean up and prepare for the new season’s growth to deter pests and keep weeds in control. During spring your garden will experience a growth spurt. The first seeds that germinate after winter are normally quick-growing and quick-seeding weeds, eager to take advantage of the warmer weather. Weed and maintain your garden well during winter, and this won’t be a problem.
Here are some steps that you can take right now, during the winter months, to keep your garden weed and pest-free come the new growing season.
- Educate yourself by reading blogs or your favourite local gardening magazine. There are many natural DIY options available for pest control, but be sure to keep it local, as our drier climate has specific requirements.
- Keep things tidy A neglected winter garden will become unmanageable and overgrown during spring’s growth spurt, and as insects and bugs hatch, they will quickly take advantage of the chaos and food supply.
- Monitor your plants When you first see signs of diseased leaves, pluck them off. This will stop them from contaminating the entire plant. Also regularly do a physical check for insects and aphids. Prevention is better than cure.
- Plant with diversity in mind If you plant the same crop in the same place each year, the specific garden bugs that attack that crop will remain in the area, waiting for the next spring planting. Rotating crops also helps keep vital soil nutrients from being depleted.
- Companion planting. Practice companion planting and combine plants that benefit each other, or help to repel pests. For example, garlic planted with roses helps repel aphids, and marigolds deter nematodes and a variety of other undesirable insects.
- Attract good insects to work in your favour. Insects like ladybugs eat aphids, mites, and the eggs and larvae of many destructive insects.
- Keep insecticides organic. Not only is this good for the environment, but it’s safe for pets and children who might be using your garden. Kitchen gardeners are also advised to use organic pesticides, as it might be unsafe to eat herbs and veggies that have been chemically treated. There are many options available, but we recommend Biogrow and Margaret Roberts as trusted options. Find them at your local hardware or gardening store.
Caterpillars can wreak havoc on your flowering plants, so be proactive in managing these garden pests.
Now is the time to plan your winter strategy to make sure that you have a healthy, pest and weed-free garden to enjoy in the spring. Shop for your favourite organic, pet- and child-friendly pest management products at your nearest hardware store, gardening store, or at selected Woolworths or Clicks stores.