With spring just around the corner, it’s almost that time to dust off garden tools and get planting and creating your perfect colourful and edible spring garden.
Adding colour - For instant colour, plant your favourite seedlings like Ageratum, Alyssum, Aster, Begonia, Chrysanthemum, Californian Poppy, Carnation, Dahlia, Everlasting Daisy, Gazania, Geranium, Gerbera, Marigold, Petunia, Nasturtium, Phlox, Queen Anne’s Lace, Salvia, Snapdragon, Sunflower, Sweet Pea and Verbena. Make sure to protect seedlings from slugs and snails. Weed and dig in compost and general garden fertiliser to prepare garden beds for spring planting.
Ready to pick in spring - Inject colour into your house by picking your favourite bunch of spring flowers like; Camellias, Daphne, Daffodils, Lavender, Tulips, Hyacinths, Freesias, Anemones, Poppy, Orchids, Stock, Aquilegia and Azaleas.
Edible vegetable garden – For those of you who would like to produce your own edible garden consider: digging in generous helpings of compost, and add Lime to improve soil structure. Sow Tomatoes, Cabbage, Celery, Spring Onion, Onions, Silverbeet, Spinach, Cucumber and Capsicum
Tomatoes – Choose your preferred variety of tomato seeds. In early spring sow indoors, eight to ten weeks before the last frost date. Re-pot when plants are 8-10cm tall, thin and harden them off. In late spring, transplant tomatoes into the garden. Plant your tomatoes in a large hole with support. Mulch and supply plants with plenty of water. Carefully tie tomato plant to a stake or wire cage for support. Tomato plants thrive when given an abundance of sun. Keep them in a warm and sheltered position. Tip: helpful partners, such as Nasturtiums, Poppies and Marigolds, attract insects that eat aphids and other pests.
Herbs – When purchasing herb seedlings, transplant them out into the garden as quickly as possible, before they become wilted. Herbs will fail to thrive in badly drained soil. Where this is a problem, create built-up beds to improve drainage. Feed leafy herbs regularly and much well to prevent the soil from drying out between watering. Slugs and snails may attack the foliage of young herb seedlings, which should be protected with a barrier such as sawdust as pests dislike its gritty texture.
Your luscious fruit garden: strawberries - In early spring, plant new strawberry plants in warm ground. The best conditions for strawberries are in moist, well drained soil. Late spring, pick berries as they ripen. Lay straw beneath each plant to prevent fruit from rotting.
Passionfruit – Attach a timber trellis, a length of chicken wire, or a suitable backing for the passionfruit vine to climb. Clear the area beside the trellis, removing rubble and digging the soil to approximately 20cm deep. Add a barrow load of compost to the area. Plant the vine in a hole at least twice the size of the root ball. Add extra compost to the soil around the plant. Use string ties to attach the vine to the support. Your passionfruit will be ready to harvest in summer.
Information obtained from: Palmers, Gardening Made Easy and Tui.