SPRING GARDENING TIPS FROM GROUNDS’ HORTICULTURALIST, ERIN.
As spring blooms around us, gardeners are putting their gloves on and getting busy. With so many jobs to complete before the weather really heats up it can sometimes be a little overwhelming to work out where to begin first and how best to tackle your garden.
Here are my top 5 tips to help you focus in the right direction:
1. Introduce beneficial insects into your garden.
Often in spring you find yourself gardening away and before you know it there are aphids and scale everywhere – they can break out as quickly as within a week!
You can help your integrated pest management by putting in certain plants that attract beneficial insects or even introducing the eggs from an insect breeder (yes, they do exist).
2. Feed, feed, feed!
As your plants spring back to life they require lots of food to push this new growth. Since nitrogen (leafy growth) moves through the soil, I advise fertilising with an organic pellet for a slow release and a regular feed with liquid fertiliser. At The Grounds we use 10L a fortnight of an organic liquid fertiliser to keep our gardens looking lush in spring.
3. Plant out your summer crops right after the last frost.
I like to mix tomatoes, carrots and basil in a single garden bed.
- Tomatoes can be planted up to their first seed leaves to give them an extra boost.
- Basil should be started in punnets and then planted out as they can be quite slow to germinate and tend to get grown over if planted as seed in the garden.
- Carrots should be mixed with sand and seeded straight into the garden, if you plant from punnets you’re likely to have miss shaped and mutant carrots.
If you’re mulching your veggie bed, use a pea straw mulch as it releases nitrogen into the soil as it breaks down. If your mulching ornamental pots and gardens my personal preference is a mix of chunky pine bark and cypress mulch (pine bark because it takes a while to break down and cypress to discourage too many ants taking up residence in your garden). Mulch should be applied at a rate of 50-100mm.
5. Aerate your soil to encourage good root growth.
More roots = more growth and nutrients for the upper levels of your plants.
If any of your plants are pot bound this is the time to repot and root prune. After a root prune give them a feed with a root tonic to help them recover.
So there you have it, my top tips to help you whip your garden into shape and have it looking its best over the warmer months. Embrace the sunshine and happy gardening!