We are now well into spring and the weather has been typically varied from warm to cold to windy. The longer days mean that the plant growth will be rapid but so will the weeds.

Preparation for the main planting/sowing for the summer must be well under way. The soil is now in a good condition to dig over and worked up to a good tilth ready for plants and seeds.

Green house crops of tomatoes, peppers, chillies and cucumbers may be planted. Buying a bigger grade of plants will give a good head start.

It is still too early to sow or plant the warmer loving crops outside. I have been busy taking cuttings of my chrysanthemums but there is still plenty of time to take them and many other plants as they come into growth. As flowering plants finish flowering they should be pruned, along with the dead heading of spring bulbs (daffodils, tulips, freesias etc.). Give plenty of water if dry to build up the bulbs and shrubs for next season's flowers.

Fruit trees are in flower so watch out for any late frosts and be careful about spraying on time and also not spraying when the bees are about! I will be repotting many plants into larger pots before they begin to grow to get the most benefit from the fresh potting mix. There are still plenty of good quality fruit trees available, and it is still OK to plant them now.

The grass is growing well now but I have started to give some irrigation as the top few centimetres of soil are dry, even though there seems to be plenty of moisture lower down. Weed control and fertilisers can now be applied for maximum benefit to the lawn. Regular mowing and catching the grass is also important to keep the grass healthy early in the season.

The fresh young growth on roses, fuchsias and many other plants can be infested with aphids. These usually appear more towards the end of the month so keep a good watch for them before they get too many causing a lot of damage.

Spring is the very busiest time in the garden because so much of what we do will effect the results we will get through out the growing season. Any problems put them on our HortTalk page to get an answer.

Enjoy the spring good gardening, Michael Coulter

Remember: questions can be posted on HortTalk or you can email Michael directly at coultchrys@xtra.co.nz