This year’s winter has been wet and dreary but many hardworking gardeners are already preparing to welcome spring a few weeks early. It’s the perfect time to get ideas and create a checklist of plants (vegetables, herbs, flowers, natives) that interest you. Plan for your garden maintenance. This includes fertilising your lawns, turning over your soil, adding compost, replacing older plants, etc. Plan your plant orders and consider the timing of deliveries.
- Plan your spring flower garden.
- Pick natives that bloom in spring.
- Feed your soil. Apply lawn fertiliser.
- Keep weeding.
- Prune your roses.
- Trim your hedges.
It’s a good time to plant onions (California red onion, spring onions). They grow best in friable soil and they are perfect companions to spinach. You may want to try planting onions in containers too, if you have limited garden space. Onions need to be planted 10cm apart and if you are planting them in rows, make the rows 20cm apart.
Garlic seedlings can still be planted at this time. If you are planting potatoes, you may want to plant garlic around your potato bed. Garlic has a pungent smell that can help ward off garden pests. Chit your seed potatoes to give them a good head start. Chitting means allowing the seed potatoes to sprout by placing them in a cool (frost-free), dark place (away from direct sunlight). This process is also called green sprouting. Plant the seed potatoes once the sprouts are 10-15cm.
Add more flavour and colour to your meals with beetroot, broccolini and peas. These vegetables are generally cold-hardy.
Strawberries are extremely popular this season. Many gardeners are adjusting their garden landscapes and coming up with brilliant, low-cost ideas to find more spaces for their strawberry plants. We’ve seen old tires, pots & containers, vertical hanging planters, hanging baskets currently being used for strawberries. It’s such a fun plant to grow with kids as well. If you’re planting enough strawberries to feed a family of 5, you may want to consider planting 4-5 plants per person. Currently, Awapuni Nurseries has Mega strawberry plant bundles which are affordable options for larger scale planting.
A quick reminder: Try to avoid planting crops in the same place as last year. It’s important to consider crop rotation.
Take this time to think about your flower garden landscape. Have a plan to attract pollinators. More flowers present whilst your vegetable plants are flowering will help set the scene for more fruiting. Cornflowers, peonies, pansies, stock flowers – plant a mixture of flowers to encourage bees and beneficial insects to visit your garden. You may want to consider adding some curled parsley in your flower baskets.
You may now also plant more herbs all throughout your garden: oregano, parsley, sage, thyme and coriander. At the moment, frost-hardy creeping thyme is becoming a popular choice for ground cover.
Planting natives gives you flexibility because they are highly adaptable to the NZ environment. Ake ake green, manuka, kanuka and kowhai are flowering natives that are highly attractive to local birds and bees. Awapuni Nurseries has now released a collection of bulk native flax seedlings for large landscaping projects and mass planting initiatives.
For more: www.awapuni.co.nz