26 Aug 2016
The weather is warming up so here are our horticulture teachers’ top five tips for getting your garden ready for spring.
Tip 1 – Veggies
Prepare your veggie garden for Spring planting by digging in good quality composts and well-rotted manure. If you don’t think you’ll get any more frosts, get planting!
Spring veggies that are easy to grow from seed are dwarf and climbing beans, squash, zucchini, pumpkins, cucumbers and radishes. Carrots are best grown from seed, but you must plant them in well-prepared soil (a fine tilth) and keep them cool and moist for a good germination rate.
Other veggies best purchased as seedlings (a punnet of six is best value) are tomatoes, capsicum, chillies, lettuce, and of course your herbs such as parsley, basil, coriander, oregano and chives.
Tip 2 – Pruning
Don’t prune your frost damaged ornamentals until you’re convinced that the frosts are done. It’s best to prune flowering plants just after their blooms have finished (unless they’re fruiting plants!).
Tip 3 – Wet Soil
Spring is a beaut time to apply soil-wetting granules to your entire garden and lawn areas. With a relatively dry winter behind us, the soil will need all the moisture it can absorb in the coming months, and these granules help reduce run-off due to dry, hydrophobic conditions. Remember, if we don’t get rain your plants will need a good, deep supplementary watering occasionally.
Tip 4 – Mulch
As the days get warmer (and maybe wetter!), you might consider topping up your mulch to help reduce evaporation and weed growth. A chunky mulch (pine bark, hardwood chips) is best for ornamental gardens. Keep it around 50mm (2 inches) deep only. On productive gardens use a softer mulch such as sugar cane, or lucerne (chopped or off the bale) to a depth of around 25-37mm (1 to 1.5 inches).
Tip 5 – Fertiliser
A general fertiliser (N-P-K around 10-2-8 plus trace elements) can be applied to most of your garden plants about now. Push away mulch first and “tickle” the fertiliser into the top 50mm of soil for best results. Citrus trees will delight in the addition of pelletised chicken manure fertilisers as well as a good mulching too.
For more information about horticulture courses available at TAFE Queensland visit www.tafeqld.edu.au.
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