Spring has now arrived and in my garden plants are really moving into growth. The weather has been on the dry side with only 4mm of rain at the time of writing, for August we would expect 40mm so it is dry. The Spring bulbs will need to have some water if this dry spell continues so that they can grow well and be in good condition to produce flowers next year.

The apricot, peach and nectarine are in full flower now which is about 2 weeks earlier than usual so hopefully there will not be any hard frosts that can damage the flowers. The soil is now dry enough to dig over and work up to make a good friable soil ready for seed sowing or the transplanting of seedlings.

Winter flowering camellias should be pruned as they finish flowering to keep them in shape and in good condition to make next years flower buds on the new growth that they will make in the spring, this also applies to any other Winter flowering shrubs like Daphne etc.

Later in the month citrus can have a citrus fertiliser dressing around the drip line just before they start to grow, also a mulch should now be renewed or added around the drip line. Seed sowing of Summer vegetables and bedding plants may be started in the greenhouse to be ready for planting outside when the warmer weather arrives. Many perennials are starting to grow and cuttings can be taken now or plants can be lifted and divided to give new more healthy plants. Begonias will be starting to shoot away, place them in a warm place where they will get good light to develop strong shoots that can be used for cuttings.

Repot any plants in outside containers that have been in the pots for more than 2 or 3 years using a shrub and tub potting mix, before they start to grow this will keep them fresh and healthy.

The lawns are growing and will benefit from regular mowing. Fertilising and weed control are now important for the grass to grow well and form a good swarth ready for the warmer Summer temperatures. Any area of the lawn that has been compacted during the Winter would benefit from aeration by fork or coring, Sand in the cores will help to prevent this compaction.

As plants move into growth, pest and diseases will also begin to appear. It is important that these are controlled early before they become a problem.

Tomatoes may be planted in a warm green house to get some early fruit but it's better to wait until November if planting outside. Early potatoes that have been chitted can be planted but be prepared to protect them from any frosts once they have emerged from the ground.

Spring is a very busy time in the garden and much of what we do now will determine the results in the coming season. As they say, "well begun is half done" 

Enjoy your garden
Michael Coulter

We want your problems!

Have a gritty garden problem you can’t solve — or just need some general advice? Email your questions to info@chsgardens.co.nz by end of day Sunday and we will post them in our weekly newsletter (during COVID-19 shutdown). Oconsult our online facebook group