Time to get down on the knees and dig out pesky weeds from your lawn.
Time to get down on the knees and dig out pesky weeds from your lawn. Chad Baker/Thomas Northcut

Now's the time to say goodbye to unwanted visitors

RIGHT now my lawn is full of bindis. I've used the garden spade to remove many, but I refuse to spray with poisons for health reasons.

Garden expert Leon Coventry said that with summer here, horrid weeds that had germinated in your lawn in the early spring arrive with a vengeance.

"I guess this only means one thing - we should attack these nasty things early in the year so that the problem does not exist,” he said.

"Many people in this area have a bindi problem and, unfortunately, the only thing they can do now is dig them out and don't go around barefooted where they are.

"With those awful bindi, any spraying now with only create a worse situation as this will promote more dormant seeds to proliferate.”

Let's face it, the perfect lawn should be completely weed free, said Leon.

"Weed growth is generally the result of poor grass growth and if your lawn is strong it should literally choke out weeds,” he said.

"In our climate, blue couch and other couches are quite often grown and they don't grow well in shade or even partial shade so those shade-tolerant weeds of various kinds now become established in these conditions.

"Weeds will invade your lawn when the lawn grasses are dormant or in poor growth.”

Leon said some weed grasses were easy to deal with when small, "so get down on the knees and you should be able to dig them out whole with a handheld weeder”.

"Watch for the baby bindii coming up,” he said. "They are flattish and light green in colour.

"Large applications of fertiliser on weeds such as Mullumbimby couch or that dreaded white clover will eradicate these and with water applied later the sulphate of ammonia used will fertilise the good grasses.”

Like me, Leon does not advocate the heavy use of chemical weeders although he said sometimes we have the need to use them on persistent weeds.

"It is recommended to use hormonal herbicides that are designed to eradicate certain groups of weeds and not harm your good grasses,” he said.

"See your gardening purveyors and read the notes on the spray containers.”

Time to divide cymbidium orchids

CYMBIDIUM orchids are one of the hardiest and easiest to grow of all the orchids and make the perfect potted plant.

Over time, pots can be become overcrowded and growth and flowering will reduce. Here are some simple steps on how to divide and re-pot your cymbidium orchid during November:

> Remove the entire orchid clump from the pot by tipping the pot over and gently removing the plants, roots and all.

> Divide the clump into two or three sections. It's important not to separate into too small sections, as they will take a longer time to flower again. Try to choose parts which contain a variety of different looking bulbs (bulbs that don't have leaves, bulbs that have leaves and young bulbs). Loose clumps can be separated by hand by twisting the bulbs apart. For tightly-bound clumps, a knife may be required to cut the sections apart.

> Repot with fresh potting mix that's designed especially for orchids.

> Water the orchid well to settle the potting mix around the roots and then after a few weeks start feeding with an orchid plant food.

Source: Angie Thomas, www.yates.com.au

Nothing is quite so cooling as a slice of healthy watermelon on a hot summer's day.
Nothing is quite so cooling as a slice of healthy watermelon on a hot summer's day. nipapornnan

Fruit of the week : Wonderful watermelon

COOL, crisp, juicy slices of watermelon on a sweltering hot day are one of summer's delights.

You can grow your own watermelon at home if you have a few spare square metres in a sunny garden bed.

No room left? Try growing watermelon up a sturdy trellis or over an archway. The watermelon vines will need to be trained up the supports, using soft ties. As fruit matures it might need to be supported with slings, made easily out of pantyhose or netting.

Before planting watermelon seeds, enrich the soil with some dynamic lifter. Seeds can be sown direct into the bed. Sow 3-4 seeds in mounds of moist soil, 1m apart, and later thin to the two strongest plants.

Source: Angie Thomas, www.yates.com.au



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