It’s wet and cold and hard to motivate yourself to get out in the garden, but work undertaken now will benefit you in the long run. If it gets to wet you can always retreat to the shed and spend some time pay attention to your tools.
Clean and sharpen all your cutting tools, use a steelo to remove any sap build up, oil all moving parts
Clean up the blades on your spade; sharpen the edge to give you a better cut.
Rub down all wooden handle with Linseed oil to extend their life.
Clean your sprayer – remove the spray nozzle, wash under the tap this will remove any debris that gets caught there. Wash out the bowl with soapy water and run the clean water through the lance. Check and clean the filter.
Broad beans can still be sown. Once they are growing and showing a lot of flowers, pinch out the growing tip this will encourage the plant to bush out giving you a more productive plant.
If you have grown a green manure crop like Lupins and they are at a height of around 15 -20cm tall they can be now dug in to the soil. Dig it up and roughly chop it with your spade, sprinkle with some lime to aid decomposition and dig it just under the soil. Leave the soil rough and the weather and frost will take care of it. Dig and prepare the soil prior to planting.
Garlic can still be planted. Click here to read our guide to Growing Garlic.
If you are lucky enough to suffer no frost then potatoes can be planted all year round in Northland. Shallots can still be planted.
Continue planting cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach and silver beet.
Onion can be planted, dig compost and lime through the soil before planting. They love the sun and well drained soil. Onions are happy in the same ground year after year.
Protect seedlings with Slug and Snail bait, the wet weather brings them out in force.
Finish pruning passion fruit, blueberries, all fruit trees and grapes.
Apply winter clean up spray to all pruned fruit trees. Copper Oxychloride and Spraying Oil – these sprays can be mixed together – control Fungus disease, insects and any eggs they have laid. Lichen Spray – Removes all lichen and moss growth, will clean up any fungus disease and insects. Cover yourself well, as it stains clothing plus it’s very smelly, don’t mix with any other spray.
New season fruit trees including citrus can be planted, dig compost in to the soil and stake as you plant to minimise root damage.
Plant new roses and all pruning of established plants should be completed.
New stocks of deciduous trees are in store, plant now for the coming spring.
Finish pruning and dividing any perennials.
Feed your camellias and rhododendron once they have finished flowering, use an acid fertiliser, and water it in once applied.
Winter annuals provide that important winter colour, for a big bold display slightly over plant. Roughly a hand span apart will achieve this and keep the weeds down by leaving no empty spaces. Add a pinch of blood and bone to the soil as you plant each seedling. Remove the very first flower for a longer better display.
Hydrangeas – If your hydrangeas have put on a bit of a poor show this year, treat them to some food. Aluminium Sulphate to brighten the blue flowers or Lime to sweeten the soil for your pink blooms – be patience it may take a few season for the colour to show through. Pruning of your bushes can take place now, start by cutting back to the base any branches that are weak or spindly. Cut the remaining branches back about half way, making the cut just above a strong bud.
Daphne bushes come in to store now. They like a semi shady position with a slightly acid soil. If your plants start showing sign of yellowing leaves – this is more than the ordinary replacement of leaves, then they are probably showing a nutrient deficiency and the plant will respond to a side dressing of Camellia, Rhododendron and Azalea fertiliser. If you are short of space Daphne’s do very well in pots, this will give them better drainage as they don’t like wet feet and think carefully if you ever want to transplant your Daphne they usually don’t like to be moved. Always cut flowers stems with secateurs to prevent tearing and exposing the stems to infection.