No matter how much success or otherwise you have had in the garden over the last year, don’t forget about that added gardening benefit that is fitness, health and a happy life. Amongst all the daily challenges and distractions, it is easy to forget that gardening improves endurance and strength, reduces stress levels, promotes relaxation and provides a moderate cardiovascular exercise. So, it is not only about creating a healthy and happy environment for the plants, but for you also.
To help both, this early in the year, this week I will be looking to prune the berry fruit plants, which is best to do now, once the picking is complete. Simply just cut all the canes which bore fruit to the ground and then take all the cut pieces away for burning or proper disposal. Pruning at this time helps control diseases and makes the plant lighter. Once done, mulch around the plants with straw and matured animal manure, water in and wait for another great crop next season.
And while you have your pruning tools out, have a look at any trees and shrubs that are becoming too big and unwieldy.
I will also share some love with the citrus trees, which just manage to live up here. Caring for the citrus trees during summer means you need to attend to their moisture and food needs, to keep them healthy and disease free. Water is the main thing they need, as the leaves give off more vapour. So, for the new year, give them a good soaking each week for the next few and then feed them with blood and bone or like and water in. Prune off any dead of weak, twiggy growth.
Newly planted citrus trees should be kept fruit free for the first 2 or so years. So, if they are trying to, cut off the fruits and blossoms, to keep their energy focused on the structure of the tree, so they can bear better fruit in later years.
Maybe a slow start, but still a good way to get back and working again.