And just like that spring has made a welcome arrival. Your garden will be starting to wake up and come alive again. This is a busy season in the garden with a lot to do!
As the soil temperature warms up, start planning your summer vegetable gardens. Traditionally vegetable plants go in the ground on Labour weekend but that is a rule of thumb, not a rule of law.
Depending on where you are located, wait until you are certain the cold season is well and truly over before planting tender heat loving plants outside like tomatoes, eggplants and capsicums. Sow beans, peas, root crops and leafy greens.
Tips to get your plants successfully underway
Some general preparation tips include:
- Make sure your ground is well prepped with compost, sheep pellets, blood and bone (if that’s your thing), granulated or slow release fertiliser
- Mix up a seaweed solution in a bucket and soak your plants before planting, it can help to reduce transplant shock and speed root growth
- Apply a thick layer of pea straw beneath plants to prevent the fruit rotting by coming into contact with the soil. This will also reduce moisture evaporation
- Cover fruit like strawberries and blueberries to protect against predators.
For fruit trees
Poor growth, erratic watering and drought can cause premature fruit drop of your setting crops. A boost now will assist growth and development. Keep areas around fruit trees weed free so they don’t compete for water. Sprinkle the wetting agent Saturaid on the soil to the dripline to help the soil retain water, and apply a good layer of mulch, keeping it away from the main trunk.
Shape your structural plants now. As new growth hardens on clipped hedges, topiaries and mounds, get out your shears or clippers and get them in shape.
Bee friendly gardens
Create a bee friendly garden by planting lavender, oregano, salvia and catmint, and shrubs like roses, grevillea and abutilons. Keep an eye out for sucking insects like aphids and scale which succumb to oil based sprays, but please don’t spray when bees are active. Get your neem granules out to help deter beetles that attack the new buds of roses and perennials, and the new growth on trees and shrubs.
Get your pots ready
Replenish your old pots with fresh new potting mix and add water crystals if the potting mix doesn’t already contain a wetting agent.
Stake your perennials at planting to avoid crisis and damage later on from wind and rain. Deadhead your plants to promote new flower buds, feed your gardenias with Epsom salts if yellow, and harvest your hellebore seeds and remember it is always best to sow them fresh. Seedlings will bloom in two years.
Feed your lawn now before we head into the summer months. Nothing sets off a flower’s boarder like a luscious green lawn.
Get ready for garden colour and outdoor BBQs
Visit your local garden centre, as lots of colour will be starting to come through from spring onwards. And don’t forget to dust off those barbeques, enjoy evening meals outdoors, surround yourself with people that bring you joy and happiness, and continue creating wonderful memories. Happy spring gardening!
This article was provided by Leanne McLeod, Owner of Mercury Bay Garden Centre and Landscape Supplies.