Your guide to growing a smart garden in July
Welcome to your monthly guide to growing a productive, resilient and smart garden in Melbourne!
This newsletter is an initiative of My Smart Garden, a free program that will help you grow food, prepare your home and garden for a changing climate, create homes for local wildlife, use water wisely and recycle waste.
My Smart Garden is a proud collaboration between the cities of Hobsons Bay, Moonee Valley, Maribyrnong, Brimbank, Wyndham, Stonnington, Moreland and Yarra.
Smart Gardening in July
Our resident smart gardener, permaculture designer and educator Kat Lavers, shares her tips and advice for July in your patch.
Winter fruit tree pruning and shaping
- Winter is a great time to prune and shape your deciduous fruit trees and vines (with the exception of apricots). This encourages strong growth and helps form the structure of young trees. Mature trees prefer to be pruned in summer after harvesting the fruit. This controls growth and allows cuts to heal more quickly.
- Shape young trees by tying or spreading branches of while they’re young and flexible to create the desired form (eg. vase, espalier, umbrella). Shaping is great for small gardens as it encourages more fruiting wood at a height that is easy to reach. It also keeps branches from blocking pathways or shading other garden beds. Shaping of deciduous trees is easiest in winter when the structure of the tree is more visible.
- Check out these notes from our recent pruning workshops
What to plant in winter
- Deciduous fruit trees and vines are best planted now while they are dormant and are cheaply available as bare-rooted plants.
- Check the websites of our local experts at the Werribee Park Heritage Orchard or Heritage Fruits Society to get your hands on rare heirloom varieties. Make sure you check pollination requirements and use multi-planting or multi-grafting to increase diversity and extend your harvest season.
Fruit tree care
- Did your peaches and nectarines suffered from a bad case of peach leaf curl last summer? Now is the time to spray with a copper or sulphur-based fungicide. This treatment needs to be applied during the dormant period – it’s too late by the time you see damaged leaves!
- Take a preventative approach by making sure your tree is well watered and fed with compost and mulch to encourage strong growth.
- Now is the time to take hardwood cuttings from many deciduous fruit trees and vines. Mulberry, pomegranate, grape, currants and fig grow so easily that sometimes you can simply poke prunings directly in the ground where you want the tree to grow. Keep the moisture up and protect from sun during heatwaves.