Did somebody say Spring!
All the pollinators, birds, bees and butterflies are hovering around (like myself of course), in anticipation for the magnificent spectacle from our spring flowering plants, as their buds burst into life with colourful blooms while providing life-giving nectar and pollen, with the promise of warmer days ahead. Best time of the year to work in the garden (a pleasure to some- like myself) but there is no time like the present, to get any tired or neglected plants, lawns and gardens pruned, cleaned and fertilised in preparation for this fresh new season’s growth spurt. Especially good time now to trim any dead or diseased branches off citrus after the fruits have been harvested and also the general maintenance, thinning out or dead heading the old spent blooms off Roses, Camellia, Hibiscus and Grevillea to help promote more flowering, and also to command a better shape before the spring growth flush. Also important to attend to, is weed control in your gardens before they go to seed and also enriching your veggie patch with applications of compost and composted manures in readiness for seed germination or planting out some seedlings this month. The veggies will benefit immensely with applications of composted manures and liquid feeds of seaweed and best to irrigate the lot to nourish the root zone, for optimum results.
Herbs, herbs and more herbs. Time to get them in, basil and Thai basil, oregano and dill, mint, chives and thyme to name a few. They are fast growers and if your planting soil is right and enough sunlight for their needs, you will be starting to harvest as required in no time at all. Veggies to plant or sow now are, beans, beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, capsicum, carrot, chicory, Chinese cabbage, cucumber, eggplant, lettuce, melons, mustard, onion, parsnip, potato, pumpkin, radish, rosella, silver beet, squash, sweet corn, sweet potato, tomato and watermelon.
Short of space? No problems, you can plant out herbs and most veggies in pots and place them in a sunny area if possible or you could build or perhaps purchase a readymade- raised garden bed. Some come with protective bird proof mesh if you want, and it’s easy to attach a trellis for climbing beans and cucumbers too. A good quality planting soil is essential and adding some compost is best for moisture retention which also contains that rich nutrient- dense humus. After planting, I cover the beds with a feeder mulch of sugar cane or lucerne, this will keep the soil cool and protect the roots of delicate plants or seedlings. It’s best to be careful when irrigating some herbs and veggie plants by not overwatering the foliage of capsicum, tomato, basil and grape or zucchini, as this can create fungal problems down the track (such as powdery mildew) when the humidity increases. I always alternate a diluted seaweed or fish emulsion treatment from foliar to soil in the mornings only, to minimise diseases. Now your soil is prepared, mulched and improved with organic fertiliser and planted out, it’s time to enjoy the warmth of spring with our pleasant, coastal weather finally, just like our Eastern Water Dragon- in the image above! The local, Happy Horticulturist.