Outdoor

Easy spring gardening tips and tricks for beginners

September is officially the beginning of spring and as our gardens kick into action, so must we. Here are some easy tips to help you get started

spring-flowers

Easy spring gardening tips and tricks for beginners

+ Start with an easy task such as planting up pots, troughs or hanging baskets with pretty flowering annuals. It’s a great way to lift the garden out of its winter doldrums. Alyssum is a great bee attractant, as is calendula. Other easy-care annuals are busy lizzie (impatiens), dianthus, geranium, lobelia, nasturtium, nemesia, pansy, petunia, sweet peas and zinnia.

+ Rather than buy seedlings you can often replant self-sown seedlings that pop up in the garden, whether it’s yours or a friend’s.

+ Plants that self-seed easily include aquilegia, alyssum, cornflowers, dietes, foxgloves, helleborus, lobelia and pansies. Carefully dig them out when they’ve got a couple of sets of leaves and replant in groups to fill up bare areas.

+ School fairs and garden clubs are another good option for low-cost plant seedlings or try online plant-swap sites such as floragora.kiwi or plantrescue.co.nz.

+ If your spring bulbs have finished flowering give them one last feed to make sure they have plenty of nourishment for next year’s blooms. Move potted spring bulbs out of sight.

pansies

+ After their long winter rest most plants need a good feed in spring to set them up for all that new growth. Sprinkle compost, animal manure such as sheep pellets or seaweed along with some blood and bone around the root zone of trees, shrubs and perennials. Add a general soluble fertiliser such as Yates Thrive.

+ Treat container plants to soluble fertiliser, too. If your plant has been in its pot for a while, remove some of the top layer of potting mix (without disturbing roots) and add new mix.

+ Some plants need a specific type of food. Rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias, for instance, grow better in more acidic soils so buying a fertiliser designed for those plants is best.

+ Lawns need to be fed well in spring to ensure lush grass with few weeds. They like lots of nitrogen (as do leafy greens). Choose a specific food such as Tui Lawn fertiliser and apply in spring, early summer and autumn.

+ Kids love sunflowers and the seeds are easy for littlies to handle. At this time of year it is best to sow in containers first. Sow two seeds and take out the weakest seedling once they’ve germinated. Plant out in the garden when the seedling is 12-15cm tall.

Words by: Carol Bucknell. Images via: Getty.

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