Hot tips for a Spring garden
The weather's warming up so it's time to start getting your spring garden ready. Here are five tips to prep your garden for spring.
By Mike Wells, Leading Vocational Teacher, Horticulture
Tip 1 - Vegetables
Prepare your vegetable garden for spring planting by digging in good quality composts and well-rotted manure. If you don’t think you’ll get any more frosts this year then now's the time to get planting!
Spring vegetables that are easy to grow from seed include dwarf and climbing beans, squash, zucchini, pumpkins, cucumbers, and radishes. Carrots are best grown from seed, but you must plant them in well-prepared soil (i.e. a fine tilth) and keep them cool and moist for a good germination rate.
Other vegetables best purchased as seedlings (a punnet of six is best value) include tomatoes, capsicum, chillies, lettuce, and herbs such as parsley, basil, coriander, oregano, and chives.
Tip 2 - Pruning
Don’t prune your frost damaged flowers or ornamentals until you’re convinced that the frosts are done for the year. It’s best to prune flowering plants just after their blooms have finished — unless they’re fruiting plants.
Tip 3 - Wet Soil
Spring is a great time to apply soil-wetting granules to your entire garden and lawn areas. With a dry winter behind us the soil will need all the moisture it can absorb in the coming months and these granules help reduce run-off due to dry conditions. Remember, if we don’t get rain your plants will need the occasional deep watering to supplement any natural rainfall.
Tip 4 - Mulch
As the days get warmer and (hopefully) wetter, you might consider topping up your mulch to help reduce evaporation and weed growth. A chunky mulch (e.g. pine bark and hardwood chips) is best for ornamental gardens. Keep it around 50mm (2 inches) deep. On vegetable gardens use a softer mulch such as sugar cane, or lucerne (chopped or off the bale) to a depth of around 25-37mm (1 to 1.5 inches).
Tip 5 - Fertiliser
Spring is the perfect time to apply a general fertiliser (N-P-K around 10-2-8 plus trace elements) to most garden plants. For best results, push away any mulch first and “tickle” the fertiliser into the top 50mm of soil. Citrus trees will thrive with the addition of pelletised chicken manure fertilisers as well as a good mulching.