Author: Kevin Burness Date Posted:17 September 2021
It's spring and it's time to get out in the garden and start your lawn and gardening to-do list.
Let’s jump into spring! Let’s raid the shops for new plants, seedlings and fertilisers. For all us green thumbs, it's the start of the gardening season, or is it?
With such a vast country and an amazing and diverse climate in Australia, it’s difficult to generalise but September is the slow awakening after the long winter sleep. And interestingly, it’s not the ‘launch pad’ month many envisage.
It’s not wise to get too confident in the forecast, but it’s a great idea to follow the patterns and climate to try and plan our gardening activities. With the coming of spring, many get excited for warm days, but to gauge our gardening goals we should really focus on the overnight temperatures.
For me, a Gympie local, I want to see the nights getting fairly consistently into the low teens before starting any major garden overhauls. This would be the case for most regions in Australia, but as a general rule, we want the nights to be getting steadily warmer. The temperature provides us with an indication of how our soils will be warming up and not losing drastic amounts of heat on frosty nights.
Look at your plants for new growth and even be on the lookout for a few more bugs and wildlife around. Every year is different, but it’s normally the second or third week of September before my patch of soil and plants are ready to become a spring garden. Try observing overnight temperatures and hold off the majority of your big garden jobs until your local conditions are looking like spring and not just a date on the calendar.
Now it’s time to start your gardening to-do list.
With the warmer days it’s important to start watering more. Deep, infrequent watering and only as necessary is my approach. In the bigger plants and spaces like lawns, look for signs of stress in the plants, including wilting and curling leaves before giving your garden a good drink. This is a good practice for many plants, train them for drought hardiness while being mindful of the more delicate plants.
Even when using a sprinkler or irrigation system, have a walk around the garden and check on your plants and soil. You might find things like plants have overgrown, blocking the watering system or sprinkler. Also check plants are getting good, even water intake or for soil hydrophobic issues, which is when water beads or runs off instead of evenly soaking into the soil.
Try giving the lawn and garden a good hit of Nature’s Soil Wetter, this will help ensure water is being used efficiently and effectively. It’s also ideal to use when planting gardens and new plants. However, try avoiding generous application over mulched areas, this can open up the mulch to soaking up moisture and stealing water from the soil, which is where we want it!
Pots love a good soaking with Nature’s Soil Wetter. You can bring a lot of sad and spent looking potting mixes back to life with a good drenching of this wetting agent. Include or follow up with some Activ8mate and Seaweed Secrets, then a pinch of Power Pellets for a boost. With the warmer days, pots will dry out incredibly fast and they will need extra attention in times of change.
Early spring is garden and lawn renovation time!
While this might look like demolition gardening to some, it’s a necessary part of keeping your gardens and lawns lush. Nearly all plants outgrow a garden and early spring is a great time for a good clean up. Many of us lawn fanatics go really crazy and scalp lawns, top dress and more. It’s also time to give many of the robust plants, like Alpinia gingers, a cut back, right to the ground every second year, to ensure fresh new growth. While this can look brutal, once they come back, they look all the better for it!
It’s amazing how much dead plant matter can accumulate in the garden and stay hidden in plants. I’ll be posting images on my Simple Gardening Facebook page of this process later in the season and it would surprise most people how much plant matter is in a garden and how awesome it is to clean it up. My bamboos, shrubs and trees generally need to be tidied up every couple of years, but if you're not sure, look up your plants and make sure you’re on the right path.
Time to fertilise!
Ideally, try keeping up a decent amount of Plant Doctor liquid fertilisers and amendments over the winter, this way you’ve spoon fed the soil and plants. But once the season changes, it’s time for a kick start!
Before all the garden and lawn reno work, increase the frequency of your Plant Doctor liquids, this will get the soil and plants fired up and full of nutrients and fuel. Spring is a great time to add bulk compost and quality fertiliser. I use a fine composted manure or mushroom compost along with Champion granular fertiliser.
New gardens and particularly poor soil in some gardens, call for plenty of compost and a dressing of slow-release Champion helps meet all the nutrient needs. Generally, everything in the garden gets a treat with Champion fertiliser, especially mixed up with compost at a 50/50 ratio and applied onto all the gardens and lawns.
This blend helps to feed the soil and boost the nutrients. A fine compost will get past the mulch and into the soil, and a good watering helps the compost and fertiliser to get washed and watered into the soil.
I'm just an experienced and awesome gardener sharing my own personal opinions. These are all my personal approaches and processes I use in my gardens. I’d like to help guide others to better gardening practices through my experience and encourage more successful gardening in our communities.
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