By GEOFF MIERS
Temperature (C): Mean Max 36.6, Mean Min 22.2, Day High 46.7, Day Low 10.0.
Days Above 40 – 09, Days Above 30 – 27, Days Below 08 – 00, Days Below 00 – 00.
Rainfall (mm) Average 34, Rainy Days 04, Highest 241, Lowest 00.
Other Features: Dust Storms 03, Mist/Haze 11, Cloudy Days 05, Clear Days 12.
Thunder Days 03, Sunlight Hours 10.2.
Evaporation Rates: Daily mean (mm) 12.7, Monthly mean 393.7.
Vegetables to Plant : Beetroot, cabbages, capsicums, carrots, cucumbers, late plantings of melons, parsley, radish, silver beet, spinach, squash and zucchini. Optimum time for sweetcorn and tomatoes.
Flowering annuals to Plant.
Full sun: gazanias, marigolds, petunias, seaside daisies, vincas and portulaca. Lightly shady/shady areas: impatiens, begonias and coleus.
Major Pest Problems:
Lawn grub, a variety of leaf eating caterpillars and grubs, locusts, grasshoppers, scale insects, mealy bug, nematodes, inland fruit fly, white cedar moth caterpillar and red spider mite.
Regularly mow lawns, watch for lawn grubs, check drip irrigation systems, increase water to hanging baskets and pots, watch for outbreak of plagues of pests.
Tips for January:
Shade newly planted seedlings for at least a week. Fruit fly infested fruit should be gathered and disposed of by soaking in a bin of water or by sealing in a plastic bag placed in the sun for two weeks.
A sack or strips of material placed around the white cedar tree’s trunk will see the caterpillars gathering under it daily. They can be removed by knocking into a bucket of water or by dislodging them and then spraying.
To keep nematodes in check plant marigolds extensively throughout the vegetable garden, compost and mulch heavily. Spray scale insects with white oil only in the evenings and then wash off in early morning as leaf burn or scorching can occur.
To control two spotted or red spider mite try spraying with a mix 1 cup of milk, 2 teaspoons of flour and 1 litre of water shade tomatoes to assist fruit set.
Tomatoes, zucchini, pumpkin and melons may all need to be physically cross pollinated with a fine hair brush.
Windy weather can result in tree limbs breaking. Trim wounds, spray with a fungicide and seal with a water based paint.
PHOTO: Silver Witchetty in full bloom at an Alice Springs rural block after the recent rains.
For the complete series of gardening columns by Geoff Miers, starting in Spring 2020, go to the Features button on the home page menu bar.