Edged with white and can be grown outdoors in a mixed border, among spring bulbs or in containers as well as indoors. Plants are compact and sturdy, with attractively textured leaves. If planted in July as a spring flower, it will provide lush colour through to November. Plant in semi-shade, in fertile soil that drains well and keep the soil evenly moist, especially in hot weather. As indoor plants they need bright light, high humidity and water as soon as the top of the soil feels dry.
Veggie of the month: Here’s a great way to intrigue the kids. Let them sprout garden cress on water-soaked paper towels and then gently plant the sprouted cress in a pot or hanging basket that’s kept in a sunny sheltered area. It’s a natural and healthy way of supplying the family with vitamins A. B, C, K, and Manganese.
Kirchhoffs Garden cress (Lepidium sativum) unlike watercress, is not invasive so gardeners can grow it all year round. It’s a fast grower with a peppery tang and aroma, great for garnishing, in salads and in sandwiches.
Once the garden cress is planted out, feed with a liquid fertiliser, like Margaret Roberts Organic Supercharger, at half strength. Keep the soil moist (it must not dry out) and the cress will be ready for harvesting within 14 days. Snip off with sharp scissors. Sow a new crop every two weeks.
As a spring crop it can be grown in the garden, in fertile, well prepared rich soil. Scatter sow or in thick rows, on its own or among chives and other low growing veggies.
Indoor plant of the month: tantalise the senses with fragrant pot lavender ‘Blue Magic’. The blue flowers and aromatic silvery-grey foliage is the perfect winter pick-me-up. Pot lavender likes a warm, sunny room, or even a windowsill that receives some morning sun. Let the soil dry out slightly before watering. Why not use the leaves to make a calming lavender tea. Put a sprig in a cup, pour over boiling water and let it infuse for two or three minutes and remove. Add some honey for a sweet treat. A spray of leaves under the pillow with help you sleep at night. At the end of its flowering period, cut back and plant in full sun in the garden or in an outdoors container. www.lvgplant.co.za
Garden tasks for July
- Prune the roses from mid to end July and refresh the soil around the roses with lots of compost and a slow release fertiliser.
- Feed winter flowers and veggies with a liquid fertiliser.
- Water spring bulbs for 40 minutes once a week.
- Water the veggie garden once a week and protect frost-tender veggies with frost cloth
- Turn the compost.
- Put out food for the birds