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Eastern Suburbs Melbourne – Lawn Mowing & Gardening- Jim's Mowing
05 May 2019

How to Plant a Wall of Fruit

Don’t have the space for trees? You can make the most of vertical spaces by creating a fruiting wall. All you have to do is follow these simple tips.

1. Cover Your Fence with a Fruiting Climber Tree

A sunny fence line can be transformed into a fruiting wall with a quick growing vine. Passionfruit vines planted in early summer will begin to fruit around 18 months. Promote side branching through pinching out the growing tip and train the new laterals along a wire support or trellis. Passionfruit vines will fruit for as long as 5-6 years. Pruning off some of the old, tired wood every year promotes healthy new fruit growth.

2. Plant a Fruiting Hedge

Citrus fruits are perfect hedges with lovely foliage year-round, and the smell of oranges blossoming in summer is serene. For a smaller citrus hedge try limequats or mandarins. Blueberries produce a beautiful informal hedge up to 2m tall. There a great variety of plants to suit certain climates. Feijoas are perfect for screen and windbreak. For optimal fruiting, plant a named variety, but not seedlings. Guava and olive trees are also beautiful hedges.

3. Espalier-Style Fruit Trees

The tried and tested craft of training fruit trees flat against a wall or fence is a highly attractive, and high yielding, option. Many varieties of fruit trees are suitable, including plums, apples, quince, pears, olives and citrus. It is important to ensure your support structure is strong. The weight increases dramatically when the plants begin to fruit.

4. Ballerina Apple Trees

This slender fruit tree is perfect for people who have limited garden space but don’t want to prune. They be planted along a row, ‘espalier style’ across a wall, as an attractive vertical accent in the veggie garden or as a divider between plants.

The Basics of Fruit Growing

  • It is imperative to thoroughly prepare the soil. At planting time dig in plenty of slow release fertisilier and compost.
  • If the soil drains poorly, plant in containers or raised beds.
  • Select species that suit your climate.
  • Maintain consistent watering for young plants.
  • Understand which growth your tree produces fruit on and, as a result, when you should prune these plants.

Growing a Meyer Lemon Tree Espalier Style

  1. Select a sunny, well-aired location containing well-drained soil. Mix slow release fertiliser and compost into the soil prior to planting. A planter box or large pot is a good alternative if the soil is poorly drained.
  2. Attach a solid peace of wooden trellis (at least 1x1m) to a reliable support, such as a fence post.
  3. Choose a healthy young tree containing wide arching branches.
  4. Before planting, view your tree from all angles. You want to plant it so that the majority of horizontal branches align with the wall and its flattest side is lined against the trellis.
  5. Lightly spread the branches against the trellis and tie loosely with plastic ties or twine.
  6. Continue spreading and tying as they grow. Check for loosening ties.
  7. Remove fruit in its first year to promote vigorous growth.
  8. Regularly water the plant, especially in summer. Feed plant with citrus fertiliser in autumn and spring. Citrus also thrives on the liquid produced by a worm farm.
  9. Keep secateurs at the ready. Trim often and little to maintain the flat horizontal shape. Always maintain new fruiting wood.
02 May 2019

Amazing Autumn

Autumn is a greatly rewarding time for veggie garden. There is both new planting and harvesting to enjoy. Cucumbers, tomatoes and zucchinis (that haven’t faltered from powdery mildew) are still cruising along nicely. Capsicums, eggplants and pumpkins are all ready for harvest. Chillies have stored all the heat from summer and there are usually too many to consume. However, they can be dried, preserved, put in jars for jam or frozen for future consumption.

The challenge of autumn is finding the space to plant winter crops whilst still harvesting summer’s goodies. There is plenty of time to plant broccoli and cabbages but in cooler regions brassicas have to go in early to make the most of the warmer roots before winter. Broad beans and brussels sprouts are cool-climate delights well worth growing if you have a frosty winter, but get them in before, too. In warmer climates you can still plant batches of summer beans.

The optimal way to sow beans is directly into well-prepared soil. Other vegetables to sow in March are root vegetables, rocket and radish. Beetroot is able to be sown in any climate and you can consume the tasty leaves as well as the roots. Parsnips and carrots are able to be sown leading up to winter. In colder Australian climates wait until August or September for these root vegetables.

If you are awaiting summer crops to finish before you have the space for winter crops, you can start with winter salad greens or brassicas from seed for transplanting later. You may also want to plant some salad veggies and herbs in containers for a fast autumn crop, but these require plenty of watering, especially if it remains dry leading up to winter. Continue to plant lettuce every few weeks to maintain regular supply.

Autumn is the perfect planting time for onions, and there are also lots of wonderful leek varieties available. Multiplying onions, spring onions and shallots are worth growing. Garlic can be planted from April onwards.

Projects for Autumn

Build a compost heap: Once the leaves start to fall and the lawn has its autumn growth spurt you will have the perfect ingredients for an ultimate compost.

Squirrel a winter supply: Don’t waste any goodness. Pick and preserve tomatoes in any way you can – dry, bottle or freeze.

Create a raised bed: Raising your soil level is an awesome way to make gardening easier on your back whilst enhancing soil drainage. This encourages quicker, healthier veggie growth, especially in winter if you have heavy clay soil.

Citrus Planting: If you already have citrus in your garden, think about planting another variety with a varied fruiting time. You can have the fruit all year in a warmer climate.

Build a cloche cover: If birds are a problem or your plants require protection from the cold, convenient crop covers are the ideal solution.

Revamp your irrigation: With the deficiencies and leaks of the past few months kept in mind.

Autumn truly is a great time of year to produce some absolutely lovely goodies. Also, the above projects are best undertaken at this time to prepare you for later in the year. Enjoy this change in season and all the goodness it produces.

02 May 2019

How to Make Compost

A reliable composting system will consume all of your food scraps and garden debris, providing you with one of nature’s most trustworthy allies. Compost feeds your garden’s soil, in turn feeding your plants.

Your compost will be more nutritious when you utilise a more diverse mix of materials. The most imperative factor is ensuring you have the right balance between green (wet and nitrogenous) and brown (dry and carboniferous) materials. Overusing brown material will result in a dry mix that won’t brea down. Conversely, too much green material will result in wet, stinky sludge.

The ideal matter ratio is 10:1, carbon (dry): nitrogen (wet). Carboniferous matter soaks up any excess moisture from nitrogenous matter. Nitrogenous matter heats up the compost, aiding its breakdown.

Compost does much more than simply provide nutrient. It plays a vital role in building and maintaining the soil’s structure. Poorly structured soils, such as sand and clay, will drain too quickly or not at all. By regularly adding compost you will gradually transform uncooperative soils into friable loam with the capability of storing moisture. It will also allow a free passage of air, nutrients and water. Once the soils begin to improve, helpful soil organisms will start to repopulate the garden, enhancing the soil’s chemistry to produce a more balanced composition with the ability of containing a greater variety of plants.

Composting is a simple, cost-efficient way to improve your garden. All you require is space for a bin – a simple plastic bin for smaller gardens or larger, three-compartment wooden structures for large gardens.

Tips for Composting

  • Don’t add: Weed seeds, faeces, fish, meat, dairy products, oil or fat products, large bones, diseased plant material, hard to kill weeds (e.g. onion weed, wandering Willie) or disposable nappies.
  • Do add: Green material including animal manure, grass clippings, green garden prunings, food waste, weeds. Brown matter including wheat, straw, paper, wood chips, sawdust, dry leaves, stalks and branches.
  • Utilise compost activator and regularly turn the heap to quicken its process.
  • Add dry ingredients (egg cartons or shredded newspaper) if the compost moistens and becomes smelly.
  • Spread kitchen waste across the entire heap to allow moisture to escape the mix.

Rake and Save Your Leaves

The leaf litter from your garden will rot down and enhance the soil, the same as it will in nature. However, thick layers of rotting leaves are bad for lawns and defeat the purpose of driveways, patios and paths. Rake up any fallen leaves to maintain lawn health. It is also important to remove leaves from succulents and ground covers (leaf blowers are great for this).

Decaying leaves are perfect for your compost heap. If you don’t have a compost heap, simply bag your leaves and allow them to break down into a nutrient-dense organic matter (“leaf mould”) for your garden. Another great way to hold leaves is to create bins from chicken wire wrapped around a circle of solid stakes. You can also shred them with your lawnmower for mulch around shrubs and trees.

The 5 Simple Steps of Composting

  1. Lay coarse, loose twigs or small branches on the soil.
  2. Add a 15 – 20cm deep layer of green material.
  3. Add a 50cm deep layer of brown matter.
  4. Sprinkle over blood and bone or compost activator.
  5. Repeat these steps until your bin is full and turn frequently to allow aeration.
02 May 2019

Grow Root Vegetables at Home

Once you have enjoyed the earthy goodness of carrots and parsnips sourced from your own garden, it becomes pretty difficult to return to the store-bought version. Nutritious root vegetables can be grown throughout most of the year. Even when winter’s chill hinders their growth they survive in the soil until you want them. In fact, the cold works as an outdoor refrigerator that keeps them crisp and nutrient-dense.

So, get sowing and prepare your root veggies for a year’s worth of harvest.

The Basics

Seed: Although it is possible to transplant seedlings, the best option is to grow root vegetables from the seed.

Soil: Whether you buy bags of growing mix or dig your own, soil is imperative. It should have a loose, even texture and drain well. Although deformed carrots have a quirky look and still taste fine, to have a clean, neat specimen that is easy to peel, take out lumps of compacted soil and stones that allow young taproots to grow outwards whichever way they choose.

Nitrogen: Go easy on the fertiliser, especially nitrogen, as this will warp your harvest. The idea soil for root vegetables is where a crop of well-fertilised leafy greens once grew. Otherwise, apply a side dressing of liquid feed or balanced general garden fertiliser once the carrots start to grow.

Thinning: When the seedlings are 3-5cm tall it’s time to give up a few seedlings to allow room for others to sprout. Leave 2-3cm between each seedling, and thin the plants more once they begin to grow. Eat the thinning growth.

Water: Water moistens the soil, especially during the summer months.

Root Veggies from the Seed

  • In a sunny spot, create a bed of fine crumbly soil, at least 30cm deep, or fill a container with planting mix. Gently water with a water can.
  • Lightly tap the seeds out of their packet and evenly apply over the soil surface.
  • Sprinkle over a thin (3mm) layer of planting mix or loose soil.
  • If it’s not raining, use a watering can or soft spray hose to moisten the soil without flooding. Carrot seedlings will begin to germinate after two or three weeks of planting.

Carrot Tips

  • Sow carrots every 3-4 weeks for continuous supply. For year-round supply, especially when frost is coming, sow your last batch 2-3 months before the heavy frost sets in. Carrots can survive light frost.
  • Sow carrot and radish seed mixed together. The radishes will grow faster than the carrots.
  • Mix coffee grounds with carrot seeds before sowing. This will help you repel pests and space the seeds.
  • A thin layer of organic mulch, such as pea straw will help prevent a dry surface crust, which blocks germination.
  • In the summer months, carrot rust flies lay eggs in the mix’s soil. Their larvae munch holes in the carrots. Discourage them by planting carrots in different locations every year. Select quick-growing varieties, sow them in early spring and consume them when small. This makes them wholesome before the worst damage can be done. When thinning, push the soil back to stop the tops from going green and repel carrot rust flies.

Container Carrots

Containers, or raised beds, are perfect for growing carrots. You can control the quality of your soil with containers, but they require more attention and watering then carrots that grow in the open garden. Feed with liquid fertiliser ever 2 to 3 weeks to keep them happy and healthy.

Varieties

Carrots come in a range of colours, shapes and sizes. Some are interesting heritage varieties. For heavier soils and containers quick maturing baby carrots are the most ideal option. Ask your garden centre staff what the best option is for your garden.

02 May 2019

4 Mistakes that are Killing Your Grass

Incorrect lawn maintenance can lead to dry, scruffy and even dying grass. Here are four common lawn mistakes that home gardeners should avoid at all costs.

1. Incorrect Mowing Techniques

Most people assume that lawn maintenance simply revolves around mowing. Whilst it is an important aspect, it is possible to go wrong in various ways, depending on your mowing techniques. Regularly mowing the grass too short will impede the grass’s growth habit. It won’t be able to become dense like it should. This problems usually allows weeds to thrive. This problem will also result in the grass looking scruffy, even unsightly, when it regrows.

2. Blunt Blades

Mowing your grass with blunt blades can have a similar effect as using incorrect mowing techniques. Blunt blades will hinder the growth of the grass, bruising it and allowing disease, insects and weeds to thrive.

Once your lawn begins to hold weeds it takes a lot of hard work to eliminate them. Blunt blades also give the lawn an unsightly look as some of the longer grass is left half cut off and torn off. Sharpened blades give the lawn an even, clean cut.

3. Incorrect Watering

Over or under-watering your lawn can cause problems. For people serious about the state of their lawns, it is important to keep an eye on the weather. If there is rain forecast in the next few days, consider holding off on watering the lawn.

Lawns require more water in the warmer months of the year. However, try to water earlier in the day, as watering at night can increase the chances mould, mildew and other diseases due to a growth in humidity.

Early morning or early afternoon are the ideal times to water, as this allows the grass to dry before nightfall. Watering just prior to mowing is a mistake, too. This is because mower tracks become imprinted on the lawn and soil when it is wet. Furthermore, the damp grass becomes more difficult to cut and builds up underneath the mower. You will find yourself stopping regularly to clean it out.

4. Incorrect Fertilising

People who care about their lawn will usually fertilise it. However, many people don’t bother, believing the grass will grow on its own. Many people also hold the belief that the more they fertilise, the more often they will have to mow. Lawn maintenance should involve fertilising, and you should ensure you use the right fertiliser for your lawn.

Contact Our Experts for Proper Lawn Maintenance

If you are time short and simply cannot commit to regular lawn maintenance, feel free to call the experts at Jim’s Mowing. We are Australia’s most trusted name in garden and lawn maintenance, and will be happy to set up a regular schedule for your property.

Give us a call on 131 546 or head to our contact page to set up a regular lawn maintenance service with the experts at Jim’s Mowing.

30 Apr 2019

The Fundamentals of Hedge Trimming

Established hedges require regular trimming to keep them compact and dense. The more formal the hedge, the more regular the need for trimming. Jim’s Mowing, as Australia’s most trusted name in home gardening services, has a team of expert hedge trimmers on hand to service your property.

Read more about the fundamentals of hedge trimming and when the time is right to call in our experts.

When To Have Your Hedges Pruned

New hedges require formative trimming throughout their first couple of years as a plant. Formative pruning is usually performed during spring or the winter months. Once this phase has been completed, maintenance trimming is required. This is done once a year for informal hedges and twice a year for for formal hedges. Certain formal hedges may require three trims a year. The maintenance trimming phase is usually performed in spring and summer.

Trimming Techniques

Hand-held hedge shears are perfect for smaller hedges. For larger hedges, it is best to use electric or petrol hedge trimmers. Of course, the experts at Jim’s Mowing have this equipment and the skills to use it if you don’t feel confident/don’t have access to a hedge trimmer. The equipment has to be sharp and well lubricated. Safety is imperative when using a powered hedge trimmer, and safety goggles and sturdy gloves are necessary for cutting.

Before commencing, remove any debris or obstacles on the ground. Do not use powered tools above shoulder height and use platforms or sturdy step ladders, ensuring they are stable for climbing. If your hedges are regularly trimmed, there is no need for their width to exceed 60cm (2ft). Formal hedges should be cut so that light can reach the bottom of the hedge and that the base is wider than the top.

For Ensuring an Even, Symmetrical Hedge

Cutting crisp, straight edges by eye can prove difficult. You want to use a taut horizontal string which has been tied between two stout canes to work as a guide to cut the top of the hedge level. Stakes or canes pushed into the ground assist with vertical lines.

To shape the top of the hedge (e.g. to an arch), cut out a template of the shape required from plywood or cardboard. Position the template against the hedge and cut along the line of the template, moving it along the hedge as you continue.

When using hedge shears, make sure the top of the hedge is flat and level by keeping the blades of the shears parallel along the line of the hedge.

Informal Hedges

You want to remove misplaced shoots and cut the hedge back to its necessary size. Use loppers or secateurs when necessary. Do this especially if the hedge has large evergreen leafs, as this will avoid unsightly leaf damage.

Of course, not everyone wants to take on the task of hedge trimming, so feel free to call the professionals at Jim’s Mowing on 131 546 to book our expert hedge trimming service.

27 Apr 2019

5 Common Mistakes People Make When Recycling

Although Australia is moving in the right direction when it comes to recycling, we still make easy, common mistakes when it comes to knowing what exactly to recycle. It is important that we continue to educate ourselves to help avoid contamination. Contamination can force a whole recycle bin to landfill because there are some of the wrong items in the bin.

Jim’s Mowing provides one of Australia’s most trusted waste removal services. We have a passion for recycling, and would like to share some of the things we regularly find in a bin that shouldn’t be there.

Here are five common recycling mistakes and how you can avoid them.

1. Down with Plastic Bags

Plastic bags, unless marked recyclable, are simply not recyclable. Even those that are can cause serious problems for recyclers. They often get stuck in cogs and machinery, slowing down processes and even damaging the machinery. When this occurs the machinery needs to be repaired, creating further downtime for the processing facility.

Try to avoid using plastic bags for tying up your rubbish, as sorters simply don’t have the time to untie every bag and sift through them. Our supermarkets are taking initiatives to stem this problem, including that of discontinuing plastic shopping bags, but it’s also up to us to avoid using them where possible.

Handy Hint: To cut back on plastic bag use for rubbish, try using newspaper or purchasing biodegradable bin liners. Also, reducing the amount of plastic-wrapped products you purchase is a good way to cut back on overall plastic usage.

2. Nappies Cannot Be Recycled

Regardless of how natural and organic your nappy brands appear to be, there are still limitations on its recyclability. If it’s a disposable nappy, it can only go in general waste. Furthermore, it should go in a nappy bag to avoid smells and splits that would be very unpleasant for your local waste collection staff.

If you feel you are sending too many nappies to landfill, consider seeking out more reusable and permanent options.

3. Food Waste

People often believe that because food breaks down, it must be fine to go into the recycling bin. However, if there is too much food stuck to recyclable items, it will contaminate the process. Furthermore, certain items placed in the bin can render the whole lot un-recyclable.

You can help by washing out jars and pots where possible, as well as taking lids off used containers to help with processing.

4. Polystyrene and Recycling Don’t Get Along

Whilst polystyrene often ends up in our recycling bin, it simply shouldn’t be there. However, take away packaging, meat trays and meat wrappers need to head to landfill. You can help out by making the switch to a deli or butcher for your meat. Here, products are usually wrapped in paper, avoiding the unnecessary use of polystyrene.

With a little bit of practice and ongoing consciousness you can help with the ongoing need to recycle properly.

24 Apr 2019

Your Guide to Growing and Maintaining Your Lawn

Have you ever looked at someone’s lush, green grass and thought to yourself, “I wish my lawn looked like that’? Or maybe you’ve planted your own grass with the best intentions, only to find that it was harder to maintain than you thought?

In order to grow healthy, beautiful grass, you must first understand the fundamentals of lawn maintenance and care. Here at Jim’s Mowing, we have been Australia’s leading lawn experts for years – so today, we’re going to reveal what you need to know to create a bed of grass so beautiful that you’re the envy of everyone in your street.

What you need to know about growing and maintaining a beautiful lawn…

How often should I mow my lawn?

Letting your grass get overgrown and messy doesn’t just look bad, but it can do serious damage to its overall health. This is why sticking to a regular mowing schedule is key to growing a healthy, lush lawn. The ideal frequency will vary depending on the season, rainfall and the amount of sunshine your lawn is getting, so it’s important to keep an eye on your grass to know when it needs a mow.

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You can use these seasonal timeframes as a general guide:

  • Summer: Once every fortnight.
  • Autumn/Winter: Once every two-five weeks.
  • Spring: Once every two-four weeks.

What height should my grass be?

The ideal height of your grass will vary depending on its variety, the season and the conditions it’s growing in. When buying your seed or turf, be sure to ask your supplier what the ideal conditions are for its kind.

As a general rule, you shouldn’t cut more than 1/3 of the grass blade off with each mow, as this can strip the grass of its nutrients and stop it from growing. On the other hand, letting your grass grow too long can stop sunshine and water from reaching the bottom layers. This causes the foundation to become dry and dead and can make it the perfect hiding place for insects and rodents. In short, finding that perfect height is essential for a healthy, luscious lawn!

How often should I water my lawn?

Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t always necessary to water your lawn every day in order to keep it in great condition. Throughout the warmer months, giving your lawn a deep watering twice a week is usually sufficient. If you’re experiencing quite a dry summer, you might want to add an additional water in every now and then to stop the grass from drying out.

In the winter, intense watering is often not needed unless it has been quite a dry season. You don’t want to over-water your lawn as this can lead to disease, so you should only water when necessary.

Regardless of the season, paying attention to the look and feel of your lawn is key to ensuring it is getting enough water. If you notice it looking a little dry or too wet, alter your watering routine to suit.

When is the best time to water?

The ideal time to water your lawn is in the early morning or in the evening when the sun isn’t too hot. This ensures that you minimise the amount of water lost through evaporation and treats your lawn to a deep hydration to help it grow.

What type of grass do I have?

In order to care for your lawn in the best way possible, you must first understand which variety of grass you have. Whether you buy your grass as seeds or turf, you should ask the supplier for more information about the variety, the ideal height and its watering needs to ensure it grows into a lush, beautiful lawn. There is also a huge variety of helpful information online that can help you understand more about your variety, so be sure to use the power of Google to your advantage!

When should I plant new grass?

If you’re thinking about planting seeds for new grass, it’s important to do it at the right time of year. In Australia, Spring time is usually considered optimal grass-growing season as the weather is neither too hot nor too cold. This give your grass seeds enough time to grow without being interrupted by harsh weather patterns, such as the dry Summer heat or an abundance of rain in Winter.

Is fertiliser important?

Fertiliser is super important to achieving a healthy, beautiful lawn. The reason for this is simple; just like us humans, grass requires a delicate balance of nutrients in order to thrive. The right fertiliser will contain the ideal amount of these nutrients for your particular grass variety, providing a pick-me-up when your lawn might be lacking what it needs to grow.

When is the best time to fertilise?

While fertiliser can be used any time of year as needed, it is particularly great to use at the end of Autumn and the start of Spring. As the inclement weather experienced during the Winter months can be harsh on your lawn, treating it to some quality fertiliser either side of this season can help it to flourish and replenish the nutrients it may have lost along the way.

In addition to this, you can use fertiliser as a ‘pick-me-up’ for your grass when it’s looking less healthy than you like. However, it’s important to rule out any other potential issues such as pests or lawn disease first, as fertiliser won’t fix these issues long-term.

Should I use mulch?

Mulch is another great way to provide extra nutrients to your lawn. The best part? It’s easy and very affordable! In fact, you can simply use your own lawn clippings as mulch, as they contain a host of great organic nutrients that can really benefit your grass.

Most modern lawn mowers can be modified to include a mulching component, which essentially helps to cut down your grass clippings and redistribute them onto your lawn. They are then re-absorbed by your soil, providing your grass with a range of amazing nutrients that will help it grow.

How do I control weeds?

No one wants their beautiful garden littered with weeds. Fortunately, however, it is possible to ward off these unruly visitors with the right approach. Here are a few simple tips to help you keep the weeds away:

  • Mulching your garden regularly will deprive weeds of the light they need to thrive. Mulch can also be a great home for tiny, helpful insects who love to feast on weed seeds before they get the chance to grow.
  • Remove weeds from the root to give them as little chance of growing back as possible! It’s best to do this using a tool that allows you to twist the weeds up and out of the ground, such as a sharp gardening tool or even an old fork!
  • Try not to water the weeds! Like any other plant, weeds require water and sunlight to grow. By dodging them when you’re doing the watering rounds, you will be depriving them of a vital nutrient.

How do I spot lawn diseases?

Did you know that your lawn is susceptible to disease just like any other plant? There are various common lawn diseases in Australia, but if you spot them early enough you can treat the problems before it wreaks too much havoc on your grass.

Here are a few common lawn diseases and their symptoms:

  • Athracnose – Patches of reddish-brown and yellow grass.
  • Fusarium Patch – Patches of warm brown grass.
  • Brown Patch ­– Brown, circular patches of grass.
  • Fairy Ring – Circular patches of dead or wilted grass or mushrooms.
  • Powdery Mildew – Grass covered with a white powder.

If you notice any of these problems with your lawn – or anything else that seems unusual – speak to a professional who can help you determine the appropriate treatment as soon as possible.

Do I need pest control?

If left untreated, bugs and pests can do serious damage to your lawn over time. Identifying the issue and treating it as quickly as possible is important to minimising any damage.

These common symptoms might indicate that your grass is home to unwanted pests or bugs:

  • It’s natural for birds to forage on a healthy lawn – but if they are digging at your grass so often that it becomes a problem, it could be a sign that bugs are lurking underneath. Birds will dig at your lawn to feed on pests, so be sure to investigate the issue further if you find that this becomes an all-too-common occurrence.
  • Certain bugs will eat away at the roots of your grass, leaving these patches to slowly die. If you notice that your otherwise healthy lawn starts developing dead patches, this could be a sign of pests underneath.
  • Raised mounds of soil can indicate that you have ant nests living on your lawn. Not only can they stop healthy growth, but they can cause nasty bites when you’re trying to relax on your lawn.

Are pesticides dangerous?

Pesticides are designed to exterminate any bugs or pests that might be damaging your lawn. While there are a wide range of options on the market, most are made with chemicals that can be toxic, particularly to children and pets.

If you’re thinking of using pesticides to treat your lawn, be sure to do your research and understand how long you should steer clear of the area to avoid any harmful side effects.

Should I invest in organic lawn care?

Organic lawn care optimises the soil conditions of your lawn to produce healthy, luscious grass. This approach has long been used by professional farmers to improve their crops and is now being used in household gardens as an alternative to chemical pesticides.

Organic lawn care offers various benefits, including:

  • A healthier lawn with the right nutrients that allows it to naturally ward off pests and disease.
  • A healthier environment, as organic lawn care doesn’t use any toxic chemicals or pesticides that can harm humans or pets or run off into waterways.
  • The ability to save time and money by providing your lawn with what it needs to stay healthy. Rather than having to treat your lawn to pesticides and disease control, organic lawn care helps it to stave off these issues on their own.

Do I need to test my soil?

As we mentioned earlier, different varieties of grass require different levels of nutrients to thrive. For this reason, testing your soil is a great way to understand the type of fertiliser or organic lawn care you will need to apply in order to grow a luscious, healthy lawn.

Testing your soil can be done in a number of ways. You can choose to have a professional visit your home to do it, or you can buy an at-home testing kit from a trusted gardening or soil store.

We’re here for all your lawn maintenance needs!

Jim’s Mowing has been Australia’s trusted garden and lawn experts for many years. Our wide range of services makes it easier than ever to grow and maintain a beautiful, healthy lawn.

Get in touch with your local Jim’s Mowing franchise today to enquire about our services!

28 Feb 2019

Growing Green Without the Dirt

There is absolutely nothing better than eating fresh home grown fruit and vegetables. Anyone can do it, even if there’s no dirt to dig. If you have a small outdoor or temporary space growing fruit and veg in pots is your best option.

When the weather is miserable it’s convenient to keep veg growing a few steps away from the kitchen. The plants are happy as well – they grow quicker in well-drained, sun-warmed container mix than they do in wet, soggy ground. They will suffer less from the wind and frost in a sunny, sheltered location, as well as absorbing any added warmth from the concrete paving. Furthermore, container gardens near the living are less likely to be forgotten about. Feeding and watering becomes a simple part of the household routine. Slugs, snail and weeds become less of a problem. To add warmth during winter and early spring, use a cloche or build a cold frame from an old window.

You can use any container, so long as they contain holes for drainage and space for their growing medium and roots. Garden centres provide a great range of containers, including grow bags and UV-resistant plastic pots. Easy raised beds come in kit set varieties, and these are fully-transportable.

Resourceful gardeners produce edibles in all types of found objects, including baths, basins, old furniture, plastic fish bins, derelict wheelbarrows and feed sacks with the tops rolled down. Wine barrels are perfect for vegetable gardens, and they also look great. Fruit and vegetable plants require plenty of sunlight. Put your containers in a sunny, well-sheltered spot.

If gardening is a new hobby, start small. Try just a few wine barrels or a one metre box you can grow enough fruit and veg to feed the family.

Year-Round Container Crops

Loose Leaf Lettuce is perfect for all kinds of containers. Choose small varieties for pots, such as “Tom Thumb” and “Little Gem”. Pluck the outside leaves when you need them, but allow the plant its ability to carry on growing. For a sweeter taste, regular feed and water.

Microgreens are leaves consumed during the tiny seedling stage, two leaves from their sprout, a week or two after germination. During this early stage of growth they hold high fibre concentrations as well as nutrients and flavour. The leaves of any herb or veg plant can be consumed as a microgreen, including celery, carrot, peas, beetroot, fennel, nasturtium, radishes and peas. They can all be easily grown from their seen in trays or bowls. Sow a complete tray of one style or a variety of plants. Seek out premixed seeds or even create your own.

Herbs that thrive in dry Mediterranean climates, including sage, oregano and thyme will also thrive in pots. The various types of mint are also perfect for pots and will grow in semi-shade. They perform best in cooler weather.

Beetroot begins with seeds or seedlings. The juvenile leaves are delicious eaten raw or steamed and are highly nutritious. However, you don’t want to pick too many if you want the crop to continue to thrive.

Silverbeet is a beautiful container plant, especially if you’re growing the vibrant “Rainbow” variety. Harvest the outer leaves and the plant will continue to grow new leaves. A single plant can fill a 30cm diameter pot or 5L bucket. Otherwise, you can grow two or three plants in a wine barrel or large tub edged with pretty viola flowers or green lettuces.

Rocket thrives in cool weather and is simple from the seed. The nutritious green leaves provide a spicy tang to a salad or sandwich.

Radicchio Is one of the more beautiful winter vegetables with its colourful red leaves. The crunchy vegetable can be consumed raw or cooked. It is delicious when grilled with olive oil.

Chinese cabbage is great for growth in containers and best eaten young. Sow the seeds every few weeks to promote continuous supply.

Broccoli doesn’t seem like a container plant, but you don’t have garden soil there is no reason to not grow broccoli in containers or pots. One plants fills a 5L pot. Seek out the sprouting types so that you have side shoots to eat once the main head is picked.

24 Feb 2019

The Joys of Rose Growing

The most romantic bloom needs a spot in every garden. New rose plants are being stocked at garden centres in time for the winter bloom. Regardless of whether you want them to run the show, or keep them for picking, there is always place in the garden for roses.

Using Space to Grow More Roses

Layer

Typical roses provide instant accent and height. Unlike trees, they don’t continue to grow. They can be planted underneath with low growing herbs, flowers and even vegetables.

Border Blending

Roses don’t require their own formal space. You can combine them with other plants in a mixed planting space.

Vertical Growth

Every sunny fence, pergola, post or wall provides an opportunity to grow roses. Roses can even grow up trees. Train a climbing rose or tall shrub up a post or build your own rose obelisk. When winter comes, the obelisk becomes a garden feature itself, providing vertical accent without taking up too much garden space.

Container Roses

Various types of roses are specifically bred for pots and tubs. Typically known as patio roses, these styles are compact and repeat flowing with a great abundance of bloom the belies their size. Roses grown in containers require regular watering and feeding. The bigger the pot, the less likely it is too loose food or water too quickly.

Prioritise

With the endless amounts of roses species to choose from an new varieties cropping up every year, there is simply not the space for every style in the one garden. Saying goodbye to  struggling crop can really free up the space for a winter bloom. You have to be selective when it comes to roses and choose the plant varieties that are most suitable for your needs. Roses that are disease resistant minimise the need for spraying. Certain rose varieties produce more flowers and can flower for longer than other varieties. Some are even more potent in perfume than others.

Tip: when replacing a weak or sick rose, remove a wheelbarrow load of soil and replace it with fresh soil from a different section of the garden and mix it with compost.

The Basics of Rose Growing

You are ready to plant, prune and take precautionary measures against diseases and pests. Paying close attention to roses throughout winter can thoroughly improve their performance come summer and spring.

Where to Plant

Roses thrive with plenty of sun. They require an amount of air movement to minimise disease and pests. The optimal soil for roses contains plenty of nutrients and moisture, this means a clay-based soil is best. Soil that is too heavy (clay) or too light (sandy) can be enhanced with compost.

Planting

Many roses sold in the winter months are called ‘bare-root’ roses. This means they have been grown in an open garden and dug up in time for winter planting. The roots are then planted in pots or wrapped with protective packing once they get to the garden centre.

When you plant bare-root roses in the winter, ensure that you remove the wrapping as well as any packaging materials around the roots. Soak the roots in water at least an hour before planting. When planting pot roses in spring ensure that you carefully remove the container, leaving the new root growth as in tact as physically possible.

Dig a decent planting hole that is big enough to fit roots without forcing them in. Add sheep pellets or controlled-release rose fertiliser to the hole. Place the plant in the hole that the roots grow downwards and the bud union or crown sits about ground level. Fill the hole with soil before treading firmly. Water the plant thoroughly.

Pruning

July is the best time to prune most rose bushes, but wait until the weather is coldest. Use a sharp, clean pair of secateurs and remove any decaying or dead wood first. Remove old unnecessary wood, branches crossing over the other or crowding the middle of the bush. Mae cuts about 5mm above a bud that is slanting away from the bud. The new growth will sprout here in the spring. Remember this when selecting your rose buds.