SUMMER GARDENS: Christmas Bush.
SUMMER GARDENS: Christmas Bush. Angie Thomas

Top summer gardening tips

GET your garden ready for warmer than average days and dry conditions this summer.

Yates horticulturalist Angie Thomas has some great tips to help you harvest perfectly ripe veggies, use water wisely and keep the kitchen stocked with tasty, healthy treats.

What to Plant

  • NSW Christmas bush - this native plant is perfect to grow due to the festive colour it produces throughout the Christmas period. They grow to around 3 to 5 metres tall with the variety Johanna's Christmas growing to 3 metres in a large pot. NSW Christmas bush prefer a well-drained soil and will benefit from being fed each Spring and Autumn with a certified organic plant fertiliser.
  • Lettuce - it's a salad essential and it's easy to grow at home. Grow lettuce in a sunny vegie patch or in a pot positioned on a sunny deck or courtyard. Water lettuce regularly and apply a liquid plant food each week. To encourage them to grow more fresh leaves throughout the summer, harvest individual lettuce leaves regularly and keep an eye out for common lettuce pests such as snails, caterpillars and aphids which can eat and damage the leaves.
SUMMER GARDENS: Cherry tomatoes
SUMMER GARDENS: Cherry tomatoes Angie Thomas

What to harvest

  • Potatoes - these veggies can be grown in a veggie patch and even in pots. They are a great addition to salads during summer BBQs. It takes about four months for potatoes to fully mature. However, they can be harvested a little earlier for some tender baby potatoes.
  • Tomatoes - they are a great addition to summer recipes and easy to grow in the backyard. Tomatoes taste better when left to ripen on the vine. However, during summer, the hot weather can scorch and even start to cook the tomatoes while they're still on the plant. To avoid this, harvest the them as soon as a blush of colour appears and further ripen the fruit indoors. Simply put your ripening tomatoes in a paper bag along with a banana or place them on a bright windowsill.

Coping with summer temperatures

  • Watering - applying a soil wetting agent over soil and potting mix can help break down the waxy, water repellent layer that can develop and promote deeper penetration of moisture down into the plant's root zone. Deep and thorough watering a few times a week is also much better for plants rather than daily light watering.
  • Foliage protection - foliage can be vulnerable to wilting during the summer heat. Spraying an anti-transpirant over leaves can help reduce moisture loss from foliage and reduce the risk of sunburn.

For more great gardening ideas, go to

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