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Things to do in Spring

This is a great time to start a vegetable garden, establish new garden beds, plant just about anything, renovate your lawn, spruce up neglected areas and give the garden its once-a-year feed of fertiliser.

One of the most rewarding jobs to do right now is to get rid of the weeds before they start growing with renewed vigour. Hand weed or hoe out new and emerging weeds. Target persistent weeds such as oxalis and onion weed with spot herbicide treatments, particularly while plants are in flower.

 

Prep your soil as much as possible.

Follow these steps when preparing your soil:

Dig deep.

Most plants are content with 15 to 20cm of good ground for their roots to grow in.

If you're planning to grow substantial root crops (potatoes, say, or carrots), go deeper still — up to 30cm or more (yes, you can use a technique called hilling, where you mound up good soil around crops like potatoes, but this method doesn't excuse your making a shallow vegetable garden).

Fill 'er up.

Add lots and lots of organic matter! Try using compost, dehydrated cow manure, shredded leaves. If your garden happens to be blessed with fertile soil, adding organic matter is less crucial, but most soils can stand the improvement. Mix it with the native soil, 50-50, or even more liberally.

Maybe your area's soil is notoriously acidic, or very sandy, or quite obviously lousy for plant growth. The good news is that organic matter can be like a magic bullet in that it helps improve whatever you add it to. You have to replenish the organic matter at the start of every growing season or maybe even more often. (If the soil stubbornly resists improvement, resort to setting raised beds on top and filling these bottomless boxes with excellent, organically rich soil.)



 

How to Grow Perfect Tomatoes

 

 

 

Always wanted to grow your own tomatoes? Tomatoes take about three months to grow from seed to salad bowl and produce kilos of fruit per plant, making it one of the highest yielding crops to grow.

 

They can be grown in pots, in the ground, in hanging baskets and even directly into a bag of potting mix, so adapt well for home gardeners, both novice and expert.

 

Tomato plants are very cold sensitive, so wait till the soil is 20 degrees and all chances of frost has gone before planting.

 

The key to success is to have lots of sun – at least six hours, more if possible

 

Try some of the heirloom types with their striped skins and colour combinations.

 

Feed them with regular applications of liquid fertiliser and don’t let them dry out.

 


 

Luscious Lawn for the Summer Season

 

 

 

As the weather begins to warm up, it is important to ensure your lawn receives the right amount of care and support.

 

If you haven’t begun preparing your lawn for the warmer months, now is the time to start. Prepping your lawn now will make sure, come spring and summer, your grass will always be greener
Check your lawn and remove any sticks. Rake up any leftover autumn leaves so that your lawn is receiving maximum sunlight.

 

Ask yourself do I have hard and compacted soil under my lawn? If yes, aerating your lawn will reduce soil compaction and increase air circulation by making holes in the soil. A well aerated lawn will become more efficient in catching rain and irrigation water instead of it just running off.

 

Testing your lawns pH levels will let you know if your soil is too acidic (Less than 5.5), or too alkaline (above 7.0). A lawn likes it ideally between 6.2 - 6.5, which is just slightly acidic, but a little either side can still be OK especially when fertilised well utilising a good slow release fertiliser. If your lawn is above 7 apply iron sulphate. If your lawn is below 5.5 apply lime or dolomite. Clay soils need more lime than sandy soils for this to work. Use 150 to 250 grams per square metre.

 

Weeds! Before you decide to do any of the above, if you have a big infestation of broadleaf weeds, spray them out first, and then two weeks down the track apply your spring maintenance. As different types of lawns need different chemicals.

 

Top dressing is a great way to fix pot holes and depressions located within your lawn; this is the perfect time to sow some new seed for spring. Spread a top dressing mix, preferably with reasonable sand or sandy loam content on top of the lawn, with a bit more left in the depressions. Employ the back of a rake or a level lawn to get it even. Ensure a little of the leaf is showing. Never do this on Fescue, Rye grass, or Kentucky Blue Grass. This works well for Buffalo, Zoysia, Couch, and Kikuyu.

 

Fertilise your lawn now. Make sure you use a good slow release fertiliser. A follow up fertilise in early summer with a summer blend is also a good idea.

 

In shady areas, raise your mower's height. If you've got dense overhanging trees think about pruning them to allow the lawn more light.

 

Fix the drainage around wet areas. Wet regions of turf are not just tough to mow, but as the climate warms up, the lawn might get more disease.

 

You’ll probably find that coming into the warmer months that your lawn may be a bit patchy and growing better in some spots than others. Until spring really starts to kick in, keep your cutting height high and begin evening the length out. Make sure that you don’t cut your lawn more than one third of its height, as this may expose your lawn to disease and the lingering weather extremes of winter.

 

Grass clippings are a form of organic fertiliser and are a great way to keep you lawn healthy all by itself. By using a mulching mower and returning the grass clippings to your lawn you are essentially retuning 15% more nutrients back into your soil just by mowing your lawn!