Spring seems to be sneaking up on us this year, and if you haven’t thought about getting your garden ready for blossoming season yet, then it is time to take some careful steps of preparation!
Typically in WA we are categorised as a warm area. With Perth barely dropping below eight degrees Celsius throughout winter and spring months – we are hardly considered ‘cold’. With just the occasional frost experienced overnight, these tips are perfect for our climate.
As winter comes to a close, it is likely your garden bed is overworked and lacking life. Consider adding a green manure crop to the bed for a new lease of life! We recommend wheat, lablab or chickpea, which will help to improve soil standard and likelihood for a successful spring season. It is also important to top up mulch on your veggie patches, herb gardens and ornamental beds. Choose a sustainable, low environmental impact mulch, one that will enrich your soil as it breaks down is ideal.
Now, speaking of veggie patches, those of you who are interested in growing your own vegetable garden (or perhaps you already have one) this time of year is best for planting the following veg: rocket, silverbeet, spring onions, Chinese cabbage, mizuni, lettuce, parsley, zucchini, pumpkin, leeks and parsnip.
If you are thinking about growing some tomatoes next season, it’s time to prepare your garden bed now. Try adding some organic compost, pelletised chicken poop, some water and applying a straw mulch. This combination will work a treat in prepping your garden for tomato season.
If you are looking for some flowering plants to include in your garden, now is the time to get planting to ensure their roots are established before the hotter weather arrives. Why not try some plants like nasturtium, petunias, marigolds (French) and celosia. Whilst these will bring life and colour to your garden, they will also assist in attracting pollinators and beneficial insects to your patch. You could even go as far as to get some summer flowers planted like zinnia, marigold and dahlias.
Furthermore, this time of year encourages weeding and pruning. This necessary pruning is done to improve shape and help to develop the plant’s structure and character. It also assists in improving health and growth habits for the upcoming season.
Now is the time to hunt down and remove hibernating pests to save you some trouble come spring and summer. Take a closer look at your plants and you may find slugs, snails and aphid colonies sheltering for the winter. These pests usually live in compost, on the underside of plants and feed off leaves and plant roots. Destroy any you find and be prepared to treat with parasitic nematodes or chemical drenches.
If you have any poorly placed shrubs around your garden, well now is the time to move it whilst it is still dormant. Take note of these hints to help you:
Choose a still day to ensure the roots don’t dry out
Dig a wide berth when removing the shrub to take as much of the root ball as possible for the quickest establishment in its new location.
When planting shrubs in their new position, place them at the same level they were previously in the soil, and remember to water them well afterwards.
Now is a great time to give all your tools a clean and sharpen! Caring for your garden tools not only gives them a longer life but it saves you money in the long run and helps prevent the spread of disease throughout your garden. Dirty shears can potentially introduce bacteria and fungi to freshly pruned plants. Sharpening your tools will also improve their performance, they will be easier to work with and will give cleaner pruning cuts.