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April Garden Notes

April 2022 Garden Newsletter Feature.jpg

Hello and welcome to our April Garden Notes. We’re on the run into Easter, traditionally one of the busiest gardening weekends of the year.

Although we can travel without restriction again, if you are home the four-day break, Easter is the ideal time to tackle some of those larger projects in and around the home. In the garden, autumn is by far the best time for establishing new plantings, especially natives. There is plenty of time for plants to get settled before the winter cold sets in, meaning they are ready to take off in spring and will have a more established root system to help them cope with next summer’s heat.

Garden Centres Ready To Go

Our garden centres are jammed packed with a great range of plants that are ready to go. Trees, shrubs, groundcovers, grasses, fruit trees and of course winter vegetables and flowers all are looking for a home this autumn. It is still staying dry so when you plant, don’t forget to incorporate some compost into the soil, water in with a seaweed solution, and mulch. Weeds however are starting to appear in greater numbers. Control these by hand pulling, if too many arise, use a spray. There are a couple you can use that are “kinder” to the environment, namely Slasher, which is a fast-acting non-toxic spray that comes ready to use or in concentrate form.

Opportunity To Make Compost

Another great thing about autumn is the opportunity to make compost. Leaves are starting to fall from deciduous trees and it is almost a crime to put them into your green bin and not turn them into compost for your garden. A compost bin or bins, two or more is best, don’t take up that much room and will reward you with beautiful rich homemade compost for your garden. Having two bins means that while you are using one lot of compost, the next batch is being created, keeping an ongoing, regular supply. You can make your own compost bin from materials like netting or mesh, about 1metre x 1metre x 1metre is a good size, or purchase one of the many different styles of plastic, ready to use units. There are bins that sit directly onto the soil or tumbler versions, use whichever fits into your space better.                                     

Below is a couple of Do’s and Don’ts that will help you with your composting:

  • Do use plenty of “Dry” matter (about 2/3 total mass). This can be shredded paper, dry leaves etc. “Wet” materials are things like lawn clippings with high moisture content.
  • Don’t make the compost heap too wet, it should be just moist, this may mean that you will need to cover your heap in winter to keep rain out,
  • Do turn your compost regularly, this aerates it and speeds up the composting process.                                                                                    

Adding Neutrog Go Go Juice to your compost is also very beneficial, it acts as a “compost starter” activating all the microbes and enzymes in your compost heap. This helps to really get things going.

Remember that you can always ask one of our staff for more information and tips on composting.

Planting Winter Vegetables

As mentioned above, planting of winter vegetables is in full swing now. If possible, you should get them in while the soil is still warm and the days are still sunny, they’ll take off and be well established before the cold hits. Garlic is in stores now ready to plant too, available as plants or bulbs which can be broken up into individual cloves. It’s as easy as just planting the largest one and using the small ones for cooking! Although a bit of a long-term project, it’s very easy to grow, harvest for garlic planted now is late October / November. Choose a sunny spot with well-drained soil that is enriched with organic matter; plant the cloves about 10cm apart and try not to overwater them as they may rot before they get going.  Once sprouted, water your garlic regularly during the growing season, especially in spring. You can also fertilise it with a well-balanced fertiliser. When the foliage begins to brown off, cut back on the water and fertiliser, this usually happens from November onwards.

Last Chance To Plant Citrus

We’re in the final run for planting citrus so don’t delay too long, you need to get them in before the soil gets too cold. Keep an eye out for leaf miner damage on new growth, this looks like a squiggly line on the leaf just under the surface. If you see signs of leaf minor, a spray with white oil or eco oil is the way to go. Keep up you regular fertilising of citrus too, they really appreciate a light feed monthly throughout the year.

Time To Show The Lawn Some Love

Lawns will be looking for a bit of love now before winter arrives. Most of our lawns are summer grasses; kikuyu, couch and buffalo, which tend to go dormant during the colder months. All of these will benefit from an autumn feed before we get into winter, use a fertiliser with good levels of phosphorous and potassium more so than high nitrogen. Both of these essential elements increase root health and will help your lawn to retain good colour further into the season. Regular mowing is important; I’m still doing mine weekly, but raise the height up one notch. Keeping a longer leaf will help to ensure a thicker canopy that is better able to block out weeds. This is all while being able to absorb more sunshine, which means the plant can retain colour longer.

There is a lot to do at this time of the year and still good enough weather to get out and really enjoy your garden. We’d love to see you in store to help you with any of your garden projects, remember we’re open all Easter weekend apart from Good Friday. Happy gardening!