Spring gardening tips

Date posted: 01 September 2017

Hello, spring! What a truly wonderful time to be in the garden. If you're pulling your hair out wondering how you're going to transform the Garden this season, never fear - we've picked the brains of our curators to bring you their spring gardening tips.

Also don’t forget – if you need help making your garden shine, the Botanic Gardens offers a range of Masterclasses on a variety of topics.

Fertilise

Now’s the time to fertilise because everything starts to grow again after the winter slow-down. A lot of garden plants start their main growing period in spring, so by fertilising now you’ll encourage vigorous new growth, better flower blossoms, stronger pest and disease resistance and generally much healthier plants! Don't forget about your pot plants. Spring's a good time to fertilise and add water retaining agents to help these plants in summer too. Lawns also need feeding in spring, so choose a high nitrogen slow-release fertiliser to green up your tired winter lawns. If you’re a rose fiend, Sudden Impact for Roses is a handy choice – once you’ve applied it should be watered in well.

Weed and mulch

It’s time to mulch all you garden beds before the sun starts to evaporate moisture in the soil. Not only does mulching conserve soil moisture, it insulates the soil against the summer heat, helps suppress weeds and can also aid in providing nutrients to your soil if you use an organic mulch. But arguably the most rewarding reason to mulch is how great your beds look when you’ve finished! Keep an eye out for weeds springing up in the warmer weather too.

The veggie patch

Spring’s the time to get your summer crops in, but it’s good to wait until the frost lifts (particularly if you’re in the Adelaide Hills). Planting in October can be a good idea because the soil has started to heat up a bit. Pumpkin, zucchini, corn, beans and cucumbers are among the summer vegies you can sow. Spring’s also a good time to start a new herb patch!

Advice from Diggers

We thought we'd also pick the brains of the experts from The Diggers Shop on the Schomburgk Pavilion and here's what they had to say: "Now's an excellent time for those on the Adelaide Plains to direct sow the following varieties to attract beneficial insects to the garden and ensure bountiful summer crops of tomatoes, cucumber, chilli, eggplant, carrots etc. The following plants also double as edible flowers (hold off a bit longer for those in cooler parts of South Australia): Calendula ‘Green Heart Orange’, Borage, Nasturtium, Marigolds and Dill. Bring a bit of summer into your day by sowing greens for fresh and tasty salads including: Asian Greens, Baby leaf gourmet mix, heirloom Silverbeet 5 colour mix and Lettuce heirloom mix. And always remember - grow what you love to eat! Vegies love sun, water and healthy soil with lots of organic matter and nutrients. Pop into The Diggers Garden Shop when you're next in the Garden for friendly advice and heirloom seeds.

Pest watch

Spring’s also the time to check for pesky pests on new growth. Aphids start to get active around now, feeding on all your lovely new shoots so keep an eye on the little buggers. Don’t jump straight for the pesticides. Be patient and the lady bird larvae and parasitic wasps will keep them under control. While you’re waiting for the numbers of predators to build up, you can manually remove them with a bit of a shake of the bush or a steady water stream from you hose. Going straight for pesticides will kill the beneficial predators as well as the aphids, which will mean you’ll need to be continually spraying.

High maintenance

It’s time to tidy up bits of the garden that haven’t coped well during the winter months. A good pruning can bring back some vigour to your neglected plants. It’s time to cut down/dead head all flowering winter plants. Give your unruly hedges a prune. Divide your herbaceous clump-forming plants as new growth resumes and spread to new parts of the garden.