Gardening Tips For Spring
Now is the best time to get out for a spot of spring gardening. The winter chill has gone, the days are getting longer and your garden is about to burst into life. Whether it be to plant flowers, grow vegetables or get rid of those nasty weeds from winter, a dose of sunshine, nature and gardening may also be good for your soul.
However small your plot, or your budget, you can always enhance or adapt your outdoor room, and even small twists can make an enormous difference in terms of productivity, visual appeal or use.
Here are some handy gardening hints for the season.
Clean out the garden
Just like spring cleaning your home, your garden also needs a spring clean. Remove all the debris such as leaves, dropped flowers and fallen sticks or branches. Get rid of weeds, making sure that you get the roots so they won’t grow back. This is also a good time to sharpen your garden tools, if needed, because you’re going to require them for plant maintenance and soil care.
Revitalise the soil
“We might say that the earth has the spirit of growth; that its flesh is the soil.” – Leonardo da Vinci. Workable, healthy soil is important for planting. Add organic material like compost or manure. You might need to test the soil to see what nutrients it needs, so you give it the right mixture. You may also need to add more fertiliser during your next gardening venture to increase the health of the soil and increase the life of your plants.
Get your watering in order
Check irrigation systems and re-program timers in preparation for rising temperatures and water restrictions.
Trim old plants
Plants that survived the winter will need to be pruned so they’ll grow anew in the spring. Blooming plants should be pruned right after they bloom to avoid cutting off future flowers. Summer plants should be pruned in early spring.
Feed your plants and lawn
Plants need feeding as they burst into growth. Apply organic-based general fertilisers to garden beds but for pots, use liquid feeds or slow-release products. Lawns need specialised, high-nitrogen fertilisers.
In addition to fertilisers and organic materials, you should think about adding mulch to your flower beds and garden. A layer of mulch helps to prevent weeds and diseases. It also keeps the moisture in the garden and maintains the temperature. The gardening rule of thumb is to keep the mulch a few centimetres from the plant stems to prevent roots from rotting.
Take care of your potted plants.
Top up potting mix and re-pot overgrown plants into larger containers. Houseplants need TLC, so trim and tidy, flush the soil thoroughly with water (or re-pot), then fertilise and spray with pest oil.
Focus on new plants
Once you’ve gotten the garden in shape and handled all of the old plants, it’s time to turn your attention to new plants.
You should lean towards planting more perennials rather than annuals, because annuals have to be replaced every year. This means you’re making an investment in plants that will die every year and require replacement. Perennials, on the other hand, last for two to three years and usually survive winter frosts.
Add some quick colour
Having said that, you can add instant colour with pots of annuals, such as cineraria, pansy, polyanthus or flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. Also plan ahead for flowers later in the year. Buy punnets of late spring and summer flowers including petunia, phlox and impatiens (a good choice for shade). Seedlings can be planted in garden beds or popped into large pots for strategic bursts of colour.
Spring also heralds the welcome return of bearded iris, clematis and wisteria. In the native garden, look out for kangaroo paws, waratahs and flannel flowers.
Plant an edible garden
Early spring is also a rewarding time to plant vegetables, whether you’re starting a new garden or popping some herbs in a sunny window box. Weekly doses of seaweed and liquid fertiliser will help them all grow strong and fast. Cover seedlings overnight if late frosts are forecast.
Vegies and herbs to plant now include summer salad veggies such as;
- Sweet potatoes, ginger and galangal also do well in warmer areas.
What about water features?
Top up water features and clean out ponds by removing accumulated leaves and rubbish that’s blown in over winter. Remove dead stalks from pond plants and scoop out algae. Re-pot water plants such as waterlilies before returning them to ponds.
Don’t worry about small spaces
Many people believe that you can’t do much with a small garden. Actually, according to many design experts, the opposite is true.
Large gardens tend to visually need large areas of open empty space so that they don’t look too cluttered. Intricate design details tend to get lost in large open areas. In a small garden though, you can often put in a lot more design details because everything is so small and close at hand. It is important to create shapes that link the entire garden together in a way that makes it look and feel larger and more interesting.
Clean and mend
Warmer weather means more time spent outside eating, relaxing and entertaining. Check outdoor furniture and outdoor sitting areas in preparation for convivial times ahead. Wooden furniture may need to be repainted or re-oiled. Nuts and bolts should be checked and tightened. Canvas chairs may need to be cleaned or re-covered. Also, clean the barbecue and replenish gas bottles. Paving and other hard surfaces benefit from a vigorous sweep to remove accumulated leaves and dirt. Mossy or slippery paths can be cleaned and treated with a once-a-year product.
The health benefits you will gain from a dose of sunshine and some exercise, is also good motivation to get out into your garden and shake off the winter cobwebs – from your body, not just the corners of your garden.