Winter is upon us, and for those who love to garden there is much to be done. Aside from the well-known winter jobs such as pruning and planting of bare rooted roses and deciduous trees and shrubs, there is still the soil to consider.
In most areas of Australia there’s not much happening above ground in your garden during the winter months, but there’s still plenty happening below ground. Even soil microbes – bacteria and fungi that live in the soil year round – can be active in winter months. As the soil temperature drops bacterial and fungal activity decreases but it doesn’t stop.
According to Neutrog’s Microbiologist and R&D Manager, Dr. Uwe Stroeher, “For every 10⁰C degree drop in temperature there is about a 2 to 3 fold reduction in the rate at which microbes work (much like your plants slowing down during winter), although the microbes will still break down organic matter and multiply in the soil. In addition, during the colder months, plants produce less sugars, so they can’t afford to feed the soil microbes to the same degree, so everything in your soil slows down. Even so, the microbes still need a source of nitrogen and carbon, which is where Seamungus comes into its own. Without applying some level of these nutrients and with the bacteria and fungi in the soil removing nutrients (especially nitrogen) over winter, these nutrients can become scarce for plants coming into spring. So giving a gentle feed via a soil conditioner like Seamungus helps to ensure that when spring does arrive, your soil’s nutrient balance is ready for your plants”.
Years ago it was common to only fertilise in spring, but apart from feeding microbes, there are other numerous benefits of applying Seamungus at this time of the year. Seamungus contains natural plant growth hormones which encourage strong root development (resulting in a greater root surface area for plants to take up nutrients), it encourages beneficial bacteria to populate and stimulate activity in the soil, and the seaweed component helps plants to cope with winter stress – particularly frost.
Additionally, by applying Seamungus to your entire garden now, the soil will be taking in all of that seaweed and chicken poo goodness, but what does that mean in real terms for your garden? It means that as soon as winter slows down and we move into spring, everything in the garden is ready to flourish as there’s an instant level of nutrition that the plants will be able to use. The results are that impressive! It’s incredibly beneficial to soak any bare-rooted plant in a Seamungus solution for 24-48 hours before planting – particularly bare rooted roses. “Doing this allows the plant to re-hydrate and stimulate the roots into growth” says Gavin Woods, Past President of the Rose Society of South Australia and the National Rose Society of Australia.
By applying a certified organic fertiliser or soil conditioner such as Seamungus to your garden at this time of the year is far better than applying a chemical fertiliser, as the wet weather will increase the chance of chemicals being leached into waterways, which is harmful to local wildlife.
Seamungus is also ideal for any new plantings. Make sure the hole is at least twice the size of the root ball. Throw some pellets into the hole and mix them through the soil, and when you’ve finished planting, spread a handful on top of the soil before watering in with GOGO Juice. Once you’ve pruned your roses, give them their winter feed of Seamungus and a beneficial layer of Whoflungdung. Don’t forget if you’re planting new or re-positioned roses to put some Seamungus in the hole as well.
Located in Malvern in South Australia, Barrow and Bench Mitre 10 is an award winning family-owned hardware store and garden centre, and you can tell that the proprietors Paul and Amanda Stewart are both passionate about what they do. Whilst the store is a showcase of quality plants and DIY goods, their own home is a showcase for gardening.
Paul and Amanda have lived on a 10-acre property in the beautiful Adelaide Hills for over 20 years, and with Amanda’s great passion for green-living and the outdoors combined with her garden design and horticultural qualifications, the property has become an oasis for people and for nature, as well as a fabulous testing spot for plants they sell in store.
“I think our garden in the Adelaide Hills is a great testament to Neutrog products, particularly given that we garden without mains water, and with extreme frosts expected between April and November, with temperatures as low as minus 7 at times. Since we’ve been using Seamungus as part of our winter garden care regime, the soil has improved and I’ve particularly noticed that plants are better able to withstand the onslaught of our hot dry summers and minimal supplementary water. And while the harshest of frosts still cause damage to some plants, they seem to bounce back quite well as the weather warms.” – Amanda Stewart.
In the absence of Seamungus, our other ACO certified organic products are recommended instead, such as Rapid Raiser, Rooster Booster, Bounce Back or Cock-a-Doodle-Doo.