The shortest day is now behind us so future days can only get longer. This triggers nature back into action. Primulas, poppies and polyanthus will all want to flower. Buds on fruit trees will start to form and even birds will start to chirp with mating calls as their quest to breed begins. There is something about this midwinter moment that I love. On a cloudy day you can feel a sense of serenity that rises above the chill... a chill that is a necessity for nature to take its course. So don’t fight with it, or winter will be long and cold. Embrace it, and you will feel refreshed.

Have you ever considered installing a worm farm? They are actually very easy to manage and you will be surprised as to just how much kitchen waste they will dispose of once they are up and running. The secret is to let them settle in to their new home before adding too many kitchen scraps. Cut the fruit and vegetable leftovers into smaller pieces to make them easier to break down. Keep the worm farm out of the direct sun and follow the simple water management procedures to almost guarantee success with your worm farm.

Too make it even easier to start a worm farm, down at Gardenworld, we have dropped the prices of our Worm Café worm farm to just $55. This is pretty close to our cost price. With 1000 worms now $10 off at $39.95, you can get everything you need for under $95. The reason we have done this is that being part of a green industry, we believe in using our green waste for good, rather than just adding it to landfill. You will be surprised just how much less waste there will be in your rubbish bin.


In the vegie patch, we are preparing to plant some potatoes. It should be ok to go this early in Mordialloc as you usually don’t get the harsh frosts being so close to the seaside. Fork some manure and compost into the soil. Turn it in well so you are left with good friable soil. We sell certified seed potatoes that are guaranteed disease free. You could just throw them into shallow trenches and fill them in, but I prefer them to be “chitted” or started into growth. This involves laying tubers in an egg carton, with the uppermost end with the most buds on it facing up. Put them in a cold room, or under the back veranda and after 2 – 3 weeks, shoots will begin to sprout. To get the best crop, thin the shoots to 2 or 3 per tuber. Then plant in damp soil trenches and cover them well.

Other jobs include lots of pruning, cutting and trimming. Canna lilies can be cut almost to the ground, as can many flowering perennial plants like salvia, that are looking a bit shabby. Trimming box hedges is also a good idea, as then the new growth will be dense come spring. Along with fruit trees and roses, your secateurs will need to be sharp this month. If you haven’t got any, then checkout the Gardena range which start from under $30 and are made in Germany with absolute precision. Don’t jar your hand on those thicker stems though; go back to the shed and get the pruning saw – your hand will thank you for them.

There are just so many things happening in your local nursery right now that it is hard to mention them all. From rhubarb crowns to strawberry runners to berry canes to bulbs of giant flowering hippeastrums. I am trying to tell myself to focus and not plant them all. It’s like a kid in a lolly shop. One thing I did plant a couple of years ago that I await upon with great anticipation is my prized asparagus crowns. The ferns have turned yellow and I am about to cut them to the ground. The next movement should be upward and it should be fresh spears ready to pluck from the earth and savour within. I will continually harvest for 8 weeks whether we eat them all or not. That way the spears won’t be able to turn into ferns until we have had our feed. I’ve just got a little bit longer to wait, so wait I will.

James Wall – Gardenworld

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