THINGS TO DO IN SPRING
- Gather as many lemons and limes as possible and juice them while still plentiful. Freeze juice in icecube trays then store in bags in the freezer for January/February when citrus is thin on the ground. Literally.
- Turn on your reticulation and check for blockages.
- Feed all plants with slow release fertiliser like GrowSafe Home Gardener or Eco Prime or screened compost or worm casts dug into soil.
- Feed natives sparingly with slow release fertiliser (see above).
- Feed lawn with Eco Growth's Eco Emerald Lawn. This stuff worked so fast on my lawn I thought it had artifical chemicals added to it. It doesn't.
- Apply iron chelate to citrus, camellias, hydrangeas (blue ones), blueberries, azaleas, gardenias, port-wine magnolias, proteas, leucospermums/ leucodendrons & eastern states grevilleas if looking iron deficient.
- Weeds are in abundance with the rain and sun being perfect conditions for explosive growth. Slasher and Bioweed are both certified organic alternatives to Glyphosate.
- LAWNS - Gradually lower the height of turf to 8-12mm by first removing 1/3, then another 1/3, then another 1/3 in one sitting (or should we say.... one mowing). Rake grass to remove clippings then apply If your lawn is a bit non wetting, fork in (unless you have sub surface reticulation..) some Grosorb wetting agent then water in with your hose nozzle on jet or similar to soak through. Now apply either EcoEmerald Lawn or Neutrog Blade Runner. If your lawn needs evening out, top dress with a quality lawn mix. Garden Deva recommends Greenlife Soil's Lawn Dress.
- Fruit fly programs should be well under way by now. If you haven't started your regime yet, use nets, bags or spray with Eco Natralure and traps of guava drink, vegemite and vanilla essence - yum!
- Feed citrus and avocados with slow release fertiliser. Water well before and after.
- Why not learn how to graft? You can have many varieties of fruit on one tree = magic! This is particularly good for those with limited space. Spring is THE time to graft fruit trees. Many videos on Youtube will show you how.
- Plant and liquid feed vegies (and annuals + spring bulbs + blueberries) every 2-3 weeks. Continue this as long as you grow vegies. Steve Wood suggests every week but this may be a bit of a stretch for most people.
- Caterpillars, both green and black, are prolific at the moment. Squash them or feed to magpies or spray plant with Dipel, Success or Nature's Way. Derris Dust or Diotomaceous Earth (horticultural grade not the pool stuff!) also work well but need to be reapplied after rain.
- Feed and prune passionfruit vines by 1/3. Feed every 2 months to get a bumper crop of fruit. We prune to allow bees in to pollinate and to encourage fruiting laterals.
- Spray new citrus leaves (those about 4-5cm) every 10 -14 days with Eco Oil to prevent leaf miner laying eggs & disfiguring your trees. Don’t spray more than 8 x per season. CLM Traps are also good.
- Mulch pots (use coco peat) & entire garden. Use a chunky mulch like recycled tree prunings or pine bark (for acid lovers: blueberry, camellia, gardenia, azalea etc).
- Lightly feed indoor plants. Re-pot if necessary. Keep plants moist but not wet.
- Hard prune summer flowering plants like plumbago and salvia, Trim winter flowering natives and exotics, passionfruit + hibiscus by 1/3.
- Liquid feed dying winter bulb leaves every 2 wks till brown. Dig up or leave in situ (freesias, jonquils, snowflakes, bluebells).
- Consider joining Diggers Club www.diggers.com.au. This club sends heirloom and unusual seeds, plants, hardware and books from Victoria and you are bound to find some rare treasures unavailable elsewhere.
- Grow raspberries! For coastal dwellers, there are autumn fruiting varieties which need NO CHILLING HOURS! Available from Diggers Club. They are delicious and grow beautifully in a 30L pot in semi shade.
- Keep planting your vegies and herbs - this is perfect growing weather and they will be prolific if given some TLC.
- Thin out fruit trees to encourage tasty large fruit and to discourage biennial bearing (excess fruit one year, none or very little the next). Aim for no fruit touching another.
- Iron chelate gardenias if not done in Sept. In early Oct, sprinkle 1 tsp epsom salts around base then water in with seaweed liquid. Liquid feed regularly for lots of flowers.
- Use Grosorb wetting agent – fork it in, water well, then top up mulch. Treat plants in non wetting soil to some Cassie's Clay or Soil Solver & compost mixed around roots.
- If you haven't already got one, consider planting a passion fruit vine. Sunshine Special is WA bred, long fruiting and delicious. Plant at least 2m away from existing fruit trees or shrubs and avoid disturbing roots once established.
- Listen to www.allthedirt.com.au podcast with Deryn Thorpe and Steve Wood. This podcast has won many National Media awards due to its entertaining and educational nature.
- Visit and support your local garden centre which is probably just hanging in there. If we don't support the small businesses, all we will have are the big hardware chains and our gardens will start to all look the same.
- Check mulch. Before mulching, ensure water is penetrating right through to roots before applying. Leave a mulch free space of about 5cm around stems/trunks.
- Keep thinning out fruit as per October.
- Watch for aphids, thrips & spider mite (likes dry conditions). If you must spray, try Nature's Way or EcoNeem. Avoid spraying near bees, wait till they’ve gone to bed, at dusk.
- Feed citrus and avocados again (late Nov). These subtropical trees are gross feeders and need to be fed 3 - 4 x per year for best results, every 6-8 weeks if potted. They love an annual compost application under their chunky mulch. Mature plants don't tend to need as much feeding. We've all seen the abandoned lemon tree which is rudely abundant but treat them well and your efforts will be rewarded wih copious fruit.