Gardening jobs for the cold season
Posted Thursday, July 5 2012 at 19:13
The three cold months of June, July and August are upon us providing us with very different gardening weather to what we are use to for the rest of the year – especially in the Nairobi area.
For these three months, Nairobi is traditionally blanketed under grey skies with perhaps some weak sun rays breaking through in the late afternoon.
Occasionally, the nights may have a clear sky and when this happens, the temperature can drop to as low as seven degrees, or even lower at the higher altitudes.
Normal cold season temperatures in Nairobi are around 16 degrees during the day and 12 degrees or so at night. Rainfall at this time of the year is normally very low and can be completely dry.
We are very fortunate that living on the Equator at altitudes less than 2,000 metres, frosts never occur. Above this altitude, especially above 2,500 metres, frost is likely to occur and, of course, this presents problems for plants that cannot tolerate such cold conditions.
Having said all that, there are , however, occasional years when the general rules are not obeyed and the Nairobi area can have warm, sunny days and the odd thunderstorm.
This is what has been happening over the past few days so who knows how the rest of the “cold” season will perform.
Although these three months can be quite chilly by our standards, plants will continue to grow and seeds will continue to germinate albeit less quickly than when the weather is warmer.
Vegetable seed, in particular, will germinate so keep sowing cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, sukuma wiki, carrots, beetroot, spinach, spring onions and other seeds that you like.
The small seedlings, when ready, can be planted out in the vegetable garden keeping them weeded and watered as necessary.
Seeds requiring a germination temperature of 23 degrees or higher should be left until the warm month of October.
Some cuttings will root in the cool weather particularly begonias, fuchsias, salvias, chrysanthemums and similar types of plants.
So now is a good time to multiply your stock so that the plants are ready for the next rains in November.
Because of the cooler temperatures, evaporation is much lower, therefore watering of plants can be less frequent.
You’ll also need to be careful not to over water potted plants as the interval of any watering can be twice what you have been used to in the warmer weather.