Category: Understanding Your Climate

30 Days To Grow a Better Garden

30 Days to Grow a Better Garden

Welcome to September, or as it will be called at 'So You Want A Better Garden?' month. This month I will be focusing on helping you step forward to meet your gardening goals. I realise though that for many people the task of improving your garden seems monumental.

Don't fret! One of the keys things I'll be helping you do this month is break the task down into manageable, bite sized pieces with my series '30 Days to Grow a Better Garden'.

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Coastal Gardens

Living near the ocean is something most Australians dream about, with around 85% of us living within 50km of the coast. The obvious charms that draw people there are great, but what about for the humble gardener? Coastal areas are notoriously tough places to successfully grow a backyard garden. The strong salty winds and poor quality sandy soils can make even the simplest gardening tasks a nightmare.

But don’t throw away your coastal garden paradise dreams just yet! Here are our top tips for coastal gardening. Read more

Sustainable Gardening Tips 

Many gardeners have sustainability in mind. Growing the food you eat, after all, is a big step to living a sustainable way of life. Compared to non-organic methods, organic methods are definitely more sustainable, not only for human health, but also for wildlife, the water, and the soil. Sustainable gardening, however, goes beyond the use of organic techniques. From energy and water conservation to the reduction of waste, there are so many ways to make our gardening practices more sustainable.

There are so many sustainable gardening tips you can follow, and below are just a few of them. Read more

Can I lay turf in winter?

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Note from Jim: Thanks to High Quality Turf for the following post. Let’s jump straight into it!

The answer is ‘yes, you can’. In Australia, turf can be laid all year around, provided you take some seasonal precautions.

In winter, the key thing to remember is that turf will take longer to establish – around four weeks, compared to about a fortnight in the warmer summer months. But that shouldn’t be a deterrent for anyone wanting to lay new turf. The most important things are good ground preparation and initial maintenance – both are essential to achieving a great lawn. Read more

Nasturtiums – Friend of Foe?

Right now, right across the climates, Australia is starting to experience milder weather. Whether it be a relent from the striking suns of summer in cooler and temperate zones or whether it be a drier period in the tropics, mild weather brings its own challenges in the garden. One of the big challenges is the proliferation of weeds but this is not the only problem. This is also the time that so called ‘nuisance plants’, which are not technically weeds but not always appreciated, really can start to take hold of your garden.

One such plant is known as a Nasturtium, from the Tropaeolum genus (and NOT the genus ‘Nasturtium…which is VERY confusing). Right now in gardens throughout Australia you may be facing a decision, even if you are not aware of it! What decision is that? Well…it is whether or not to let any Nasturtium’s that might pop up in your garden take hold.

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Understanding your Climate – Part 3

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As I said in Part 1, which covered Tropical Gardening, and Part 2, which covered Temperate gardening, when it comes to gardening one of the most important things that you need to know and understand is what climate that you live in. Australia has 3 (or 4) main climate zones, tropical (and sub tropical), temperate and cool(or cold) climates. In Part 3 I am going to discuss the third and final climate zone, Cold (or cool) climates.

Though I have not technically lived in a ‘cold’ climate, the country town that I grew up in would be right on the border or temperate and cold, if it weren’t right on the coast (and therefore not needing a border line) with its climate regularly being compared to Tasmania, a cold climate. As such, I have a pretty good grasp on how the cooler temperate location I grew up in would correspond to an actual cold Australian climate.

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Understanding your Climate – Part 2

As I said in Part 1, which covered Tropical Gardening, when it comes to gardening one of the most important things that you need to know and understand is what climate that you live in. Australia has 3 (or 4) main climate zones, tropical (and sub tropical), temperate and cool(or cold) climates. In Part 2 I am going to discuss the climate that I know best, Temperate. This is because, technically, I have spent my 26 years living in temperate zones.

I say technically because I have spent my time in two very different places, one of which could just about be defined as a ‘cold’ climate (it would be on the border) and the other which is definitely very temperate.

What makes it temperate?
Temperate regions generally exist between the tropical regions (which exist between the tropics) and the colder regions, which are generally either close to or are influenced by the poles (or other things such as mountain ranges). Another word for temperate is moderate and this is a fairly good description of a temperate zone. Generally speaking, temperate zones don’t get really, really hot (he says as Perth exits a huge heat wave!) or really, really cold. They exist in the middle. Again, this is very general.

Characteristics of a Temperate Climate in Australia

  • Hot, dry summers
  • Cool, wet winters
  • Generally 4 relatively distinct seasons, though the range in change may be small.
  • Limited to no frost

What you experience in a temperate zone may differ from this, however as a general rule this can be followed with good success.

What is the effect on gardening?
One of the major affects this has on gardening in temperate zones is the necessity of getting your garden ready for summer. Most temperate zones in Australia experience a hot, dry summer and this can really take its toll on plants. Being able to provide some make-shift summer shade may be very important for your gardens survival. It also makes mulching your garden all the more important.

One of the big upsides, from my experience with Temperate gardening, is that you can actually get most things to grow. Yes, there will be some native tropical plants that won’t do amazingly well outside of the humid conditions of the tropics, but even then they will often grow a little.

The four relatively distinct seasons of summer, autumn, winter and spring have a definite effect on gardening as well. Depending on the seasonal conditions, various plants will flower at different times. Spring is a very common season in Australia for wildflowers to bloom. They pick up the warming weather as winter ends and start to bloom. These different seasons also provide conditions for fairly different vegetable crops. To get broccoli to grow well, for example, you really have to plant them in autumn for a winter harvest. Planting them in spring will usually see them keel over when the summer sun starts to heat up.

As long as you choose your plants well, take note of how much sun they will get in summer, provide the appropriate shade and water, gardening in temperate zones is quite easy and fun!

All my best articles have been collected into what I’m calling the ultimate gardening toolkit – make sure you take a look, there’s a heap of great gardening advice available. I’ve also published a series of gardening ebooks that you might be interested in. Good luck!