This is a wonderful time of the year to be in the garden and there are oodles of garden tasks just begging to be done. Many plants have started to show off their spring blossom and green leaves are fast returning to bare branches. With so much growth happening, it’s a good idea to think about giving your garden a feed. Don’t be confused by the many fertiliser choices on the nursery shelf. Just keep it simple and choose fertilisers that suit many plants rather than just a few. It will save you money and confusion in the long term.
Try to avoid high nitrogen fertilisers that will promote a lot of soft, sappy plant growth that can be easily attacked by pest insects or fungi. Instead choose pelletised slow-release organic fertilisers or aged animal manures (cow, sheep, etc) that can be used on all your garden beds. Chicken manure can burn young plants so use with caution. Spread the fertiliser about according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. And of course, if you have a worm farm, you have your own ready made garden fertiliser, and its free!!
To give your fruit trees the best chance of having a bumper crop this summer, in addition to a general fertiliser, give them a feed of liquid potash. This will help them to produce luscious fruit once spring flowering has finished. Again follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on the packet. Consider planting plenty of summer flowering plants (calandulas, echinaceas, alyssum, borage, etc) in your garden beds as these will attract pollinators and other beneficial insects to your garden.
Keep an eye out for peach leaf curl on your nectarines and peaches as the leaves start to unfurl. Remove any affected leaves and put in your bin, not your compost. It’s too late now to spray against this fungal disease, but hand removing of leaves does give short term control and new leaves will replace the removed ones. Spraying should be done in late autumn.
Start preparing your garden beds for your summer vegetable crops. Hold off on planting seedlings of tomatoes, capsicums, chillis and basil until at least October. These depend on warm weather to grow and putting them in too early may cause them to perform poorly. However lettuces, spring onions, zucchini, cucumbers, summer beans and sweetcorn can all be planted from seed by mid-September. Leeks can be sown in early spring for autumn harvest. And now is a great time to update your summer herb patch with seedlings of oregano, thyme, coriander, parsley, chives, lemon grass and more.
Garlic planted last autumn should be ready to harvest in early November as the tops brown off.
Check your automatic watering system for any damage and repair or replace any blocked, worn or cracked sections. Replace the batteries in your automatic tap timers and clear the leaf litter from the trap on your rainwater tank. As the weather warms up be sure to put a layer of mulch on all of your garden beds. A chunky bark mulch is best around trees and ornamental shrubs, while a straw mulch is best around fruit trees and vegetable beds.
Then kick back and enjoy the footy, the cricket and a long summer in your garden!