Winter To Do

Winter Gardening - Winter To Do

Pruning

Winter is the time for pruning fruit trees and grape vines. Avoid pruning in Autumn or early winter, as this is when fruit tree’s branch growth is at a minimum. The tree won’t have the energy to heal any wounds caused by pruning.

Pruning in late winter is ideal, as the tree’s are about to rev up again for spring growth, so will recover more quickly than at the start of the cooler months.

agriculture apple blur 257840 - Winter To Do

Mulching

Mulch is organic material that covers your soil to stifle weed growth, while retaining nutrients and moisture in the soil. It promotes biological activity, such as worms and good microbes, which promotes growth. Late winter is a good time to mulch, before the onset of spring and summer weeds.

Recycled Garden Mulch

Mulch can be made from organic matter from your garden and kitchen and there are various ways to use mulch in your garden.

Compost is wonderful for your vegetable garden, decaying quickly, providing trace elements and nutrients to your plants and soil.

Garden Prunings are one of the easiest ways to add mulch to your garden if you have a garden shredder.

Grass clippings high in nitrogen they rot down quickly and are very beneficial to seedlings.

Lawn Clippings feed and insulate and can be used for mulching around vegetable gardens. 

Leaves are a free mulch which provide fibrous organic materials to the soil.

Newspaper can be used as an alternative to commercial mulch.

Seaweed is a beneficial mulch because it doesn’t transfer plant disease, is high in minerals and is free of seeds.

Straw can be used as a mulch around vegetable gardens and seedlings.

Soil Alkalinity

test written on chalkboard 300x217 - Winter To DoWinter is a good time to check the alkalinity of soil, ready for Spring and Summer growth.

If your soil is too acidic or too alkaline your plants won’t be able to get all the nutrients they need, no matter how much fertiliser you add. Ph testing kits are widely available from nurseries and hardware stores. Test your soil pH to ensure your soil is between 6 and 7.

Too Acidic? – if your soil test indicates that your soil pH is too low or too acidic (which applies to most Australian soils) the solution is to add agricultural lime or dolomite. You can also use poultry manure.

Too Alkaline? – if your soil is alkaline, it means it has a high pH. You can increase the acidity of your soil by adding things like compost and manures, leaf litter and mulch. Iron chelates work too. In extreme situations, you can use powdered sulphur – one handful per square metre, once a year. Sulphur works very slowly and you won’t notice a change in your pH for about 6 months.

Natural Weed Killer

dandelion close up 300x225 - Winter To Do4 Litres of Vinegar

2 Cups of Epsom Salts

1/4 Cup of Detergent

Mix the Vinegar, Epsom Salts and Dishwashing liquid together. Combine 1 part of the syrup to 10 parts of water. Spray weeds liberally.

Seeds

Seed companies selling open pollinated seeds.

(less prone to pests and diseases)

www.theseedcollection.com.au

www.thelostseed.com.au

www.edenseeds.com.au

www.4seasonsseeds.com.au

www.diggers.com.au

www.newgipps.com.au

(New Gippsland Seeds also carries bare rooted fruit trees, berries etc)

Lemon Shaker Pie Recipe

Ingredients

2 Meyer lemons
2 cups (440g) caster sugar
3 eggs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled Thickened cream to serve

Shortcrust pastry 
100g unsalted butter, chopped, chilled 55g (1⁄3 cup) icing sugar, sifted
185g (1 1⁄4 cups) plain flour, sifted
1 egg yolk

LemonShakerPie - Winter To Do
 

Ingredients
2 Meyer lemons
2 cups (440g) caster sugar
3 eggs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled Thickened cream to serve

Shortcrust pastry –
100g unsalted butter, chopped, chilled 55g (1⁄3 cup) icing sugar, sifted
185g (1 1⁄4 cups) plain flour, sifted
1 egg yolk

Instructions
Place lemons in the freezer for 3 hours or until very firm. Using a mandoline, carefully slice into very thin rounds, removing seeds. Place in a bowl, add sugar and toss gently to combine. Cover and set aside at room temperature to macerate overnight/

To make the pastry, process butter, sugar, flour and a pinch of salt in a food processor until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add egg yolk and 2-3 tbsp iced water and process until mixture just comes together. Turn out onto clean work surface and shape dough into a disc. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Roll out pastry on a lightly floured work surface to a 26cm round, then use to line the base and side of a lightly greased 22cm fluted tart pan with removable base. Trim the edges and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 180C. Line pastry with baking paper and fill with pastry weights or rice. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove weights and paper and bake for a further 10 minutes or until pastry is dry and golden. Cool slightly.

Reduce oven temperature to 160C. Place tart pan on an oven tray. Whisk together eggs and butter, then gently combine with the slice lemon mixture. Pour into the tart shell and bake for 25 minutes or until just set. Cool completely and serve with Cream.

NOTE – Meyer lemons are the best variety to use for this recipe as the skin is thinner and less bitter than Lisbon and Eureka varieties.