3 months ago

Selwyn Times: August 30, 2016

22 Tuesday

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SELWYN TIMES Tuesday August 30 2016 23 Gardening Fresh ideas with the anticipation of spring Rachel Vogan says with spring due next week there’s a fresh set of things to do in the garden. SPRING IS nearly here. This change of season often oozes more excitement, energy and vitality than any other. With the warmer months and longer days comes more time in the garden, you can get your hands as dirty as you want to. If you are a seed sower, as opposed to the seedling planter, you will Lawns Hard-working lawns can do with a spruce up now. Sprinkle lawn fertiliser generously all over the lawn. Avoid mowing for a few days to allow fertiliser time to sink into the soil and ensure it doesn’t end up in the catcher of the mower. Spray for weeds as well, as nipping them in the bud now, before they take over, will save you time and energy later on. New lawns can be laid any time in September, October and November. Prepare the area well in advance by removing weeds, cultivating the soil to a fine crumb and adding lawn food. Most lawn seed germinates in a couple of weeks and takes a good three months before it can be lightly mown and walked on. Root crops The likes of beetroot, carrots, radish and parsnip can all be sown now. The preparation is the same for all; they require a well dug-over soil or vegetable mix to grow in and full sun is vital. Sowing in rows makes it easier to manage weeding and remember where the seeds are. Radish seedlings appear in a week or so, whereas the others can take up to a month. Beetroot and carrots take three to four months to mature, while parsnips take five to six months. Once the seedlings are up, leafy crops such as lettuce, spinach and pak choy can be planted in between the rows, as they will be ready to harvest before the root crops. This is a great way to maximise growing space. be busy with seed mixes, plant labels and seeds. The sense of satisfaction when seeds germinate doesn’t dissipate, no matter how long you have been doing it. For those new to it, remember not to sow seeds too thickly, and label and date what they are. If using a mini propagator, or some other sort of miniature glass house that limits air flow, always make sure young seedlings are still able to get plenty of air. Seedling planters, you still have time on your hands to get the soil ready and to stock up on garden gloves, stakes, fertilisers and tools, ready for action in a few weeks. ‘Genie’ In flower now Magnolias and michelia are in full flurry now, laden with delicate-looking waxy blooms that are a lot more durable than you would think. Both of these species cope easily with frost, wind and rain. These are real statement trees and shrubs, and ideal choices to plant in areas where you want a focal point. Soil-wise they cope with just about anything but pure sand or thick clay. As long as they can anchor themselves into some heavy ground they seem to thrive. Pruning is best done after flowering and only if required. Give them a sidedressing of general garden fertiliser this month and mulch the root zones to keep the roots cool over summer. Citrus These hard-working fruit trees need some TLC. In warmer regions, fertilise with specific citrus food/fertiliser. Sprinkle it around the drip line of the plant as this is the area where most of the feeder roots are. At the same time, drench the bush with Seasol to trigger the plant into active growth. Pruning can be done over the next two months as well. Remove any dead or diseased growth and thin out the branches to allow more light into the centre of the plant. This helps prevent black sooty mould and other pest and disease issues. In colder areas, hold off doing these tasks until October. Vegetables For those of you who like to germinate your own seed, roll up your sleeves. A number of the cold-sensitive crops can be sown now, ready for planting out in October and November when the warmer months arrive in earnest. The main ones to get underway are the crops that take the longest to germinate and establish as seedlings. These are tomatoes, capsicums, chillies, tomatillos, cucumbers and eggplants. Sow these in trays of seed-raising mix and place somewhere warm indoors, where the sun will reach them for at least half of the day. Keep the soil moist, but not wet. Delphinium ‘Pacific Giants’ Flower garden Plant out dormant summer stalwarts such as lilies, gladiolus and dahlias. Existing clumps of delphiniums can be split up, if the new shoots have not started appearing in earnest. Sprinkle slug bait around to deter slimeballs. Sweet peas can either be sown now or seedlings can be planted out. These seedlings cope with cold weather, and the earlier they are planted the earlier you will be enjoying the blooms. Pinch out the tips at planting time to encourage more side branches. now bigger than ever The magazine for gardeners who like to get their hands dirty SubScribe from $43. 50* *6 issues/6 months SUBSCRIPTIONS FREEPHONE 0800 77 77 10 www.gaRdeNER.kiwI growing with you SprIng Is here – It’S Sow Time how to get the best results from seeds and seedlings 100% NatIve In The capItal Unravelling the secrets of Otari-wilton Bush The New Zealand landscape awards The people behind the projects $7.90 incl. GST Save our roSeS How a rose register is protecting our heritage September 2016 | 100% It’s time to grow! New look and more content than ever! MeeT LeSTer Brice A Garden coach auckland Botanic GardenS Why we love our public grounds ISSN 2423-0219