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Spring Gardening Jobs

Spring is when we uncurl ourselves from the sofa and head outdoors to feel the warmth on our face.  It’s one of the most wonderful times of the year in the garden but even though everything is looking shiny and new, there is still the realisation that the first job of spring is always to deal with the blanket of weeds that is smothering everything after the wet months of winter.

JOBS IN THE GARDEN
Spring is about controlling weeds, planting, pest control and fertilising.  It’s the time for gardeners to get busy with these jobs around the garden:

SPRING FERTILISING
Over winter, plants slow down because of the colder weather and require much fewer nutrients but in spring, everything gets going again and because the plants are growing much faster, they need to take up more nutrients from the soil.  If the soil doesn’t have anything for them to feed on, they will go hungry!

So, have a multi-pronged approach to fertilising in spring.  Mix in as much well-rotted manure or compost as you can into the topsoil of the garden, especially amongst vegies and seedlings.  This will release nutrients relatively slowly, improve soil structure and get microbial activity busy in the soil which will help the plants in the long term.

Sprinkle controlled-release fertiliser over container grown plants or those in raised garden beds which will give them food for around four months.  These can also be used on garden beds as well in conjunction with the manure and compost.

If there are any plants that are looking a bit yellow or stunted after winter, you can give them a quick boost of liquid fertiliser which will start to have an effect in just a couple of days.  It’s a quick fix and won’t solve the long term problem in the soil but is still a worthwhile step to giving a plant a kickstart.  Keep in mind though that yellow gardenias will benefit from a weak dose of epsom salts because their problem is a short-term magnesium deficiency.

Fertilise the lawn now with a slow release fertiliser.  Remember that less is more.  If you over fertilise in spring you will pay for it in summer because the fast growth will have you mowing the lawn far more than necessary.

Mid-spring is about the time to fertilise citrus because new growth is forming and it needs to be fed.  Choose a fertiliser that’s suitable for citrus and it will also work on roses and vegies too.

Lastly, and although it’s not a fertiliser, apply seaweed extract every fortnight.  It is very effective at strengthening plants so that they deal better with extreme weather conditions but more importantly at this time of year, helps them cope with the onslaught of spring pests such as aphids, mealy bug and caterpillars.

PROBLEMS IN THE GARDEN
Gardeners will be excused for thinking that spring has this name because it is the time of year when pests spring into action!  And it’s true.  Every few days, wander outside and take a close look at new flower buds that might be covered with aphids, look underneath leaves where two spotted mite hide, check out branches and trunks for scale, and watch over the lawn in case any brown patches appear.  Here are some problems to look out for:

GET PLANTING
It’s time to plant vegetables and flowering annuals now that the days are a bit warmer and longer.  A lot of people grow these from seedlings but they are also easy to grow from seeds and very economical.  Check out how on our “Growing Plants from Seed” fact sheet.

It’s also a good time to replant garden beds with hedges, perennials and trees but don’t leave it too late as the extra moisture from spring will give these plants a few months to establish before the heat of summer.  Remember to mix in lots of organic matter into the planting hole as well as treat the area with a wetting agent.  Keep the plants well watered for several months until they’ve had time to settle in.

AUTUMN PLANTING GUIDE FOR TEMPERATE AREAS (South of Carnarvon)
Vegetables:
Artichoke, Basil, beans, beetroot, cabbage, capsicums, carrot, chives, coriander, cucumbers, dill, eggplant, endive, leeks, lettuce, melons, oregano, parsley, parsnip, pumpkin, radish, rocket, rhubarb, silverbeet, spring onion, sweet corn, thyme, tomatoes, zucchini.

Flowers:
Ageratum, alyssum,  aster, Californian poppy, carnation, catmint, calendula, celosia, coleus, cornflower, cosmos, dahlia, daisies, dianthus, echinacea, everlastings, feverfew, gazania, gerbera,  Impatiens,  lavender, marigold, nasturtium, petunia, phlox, portulaca, primula, salvia, snapdragon, strawberry, sunflower, zinnia.

SPRING PLANTING GUIDE FOR TROPICAL AREAS (North of Carnarvon)
Vegetables:

Beans, beetroot, cabbage, capsicum, carrots, cucumber, eggplant, endive, herbs, lettuce, melons, mustard,  parsnips, pumpkin, radishes, rhubarb seed or crowns, silverbeet, spinach, spring onion, sweet corn, tomatoes, zucchini.

Flowers:
Ageratum, alyssum,  aster, Californian poppy, carnation, catmint, calendula, coleus, cosmos, dahlia, daisies, dianthus, echinacea, everlastings, feverfew, gazania, gerbera,  impatiens,  lavender, marigold, nasturtium, petunia, phlox, portulaca, salvia, snapdragon, sunflower, zinnia.

 

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