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In the springtime

Local horticulturist and author Sally-Anne Fowles, of Spirited Gardening, shares her top tips for creating a thriving garden.

Spirited Gardening

Now that the introspective nature of winter has passed, eager gardeners are feeling the rise of energy, just like the plants waking up from their dormancy. It’s quite amazing how quickly the seasons spin, so I always take time to appreciate and recognise the natural ebbs and flows of the seasons within and without.

Spring has well and truly arrived so here are a few helpful tips to ensure your garden is as healthy and beautiful as you envisage, and a few fun tips too:

Local horticulturist and author Sally-Anne Fowles, of Spirited Gardening.

Love your soil
Being one of the most fertile times to plant, ensure that when you plant you improve your soil with processed compost or manures. This essentially feeds your soil. In turn the wonderful, unseen microbiome (that is micro and macro-organisms including worms) will convert the organics into usable nutrients making for happy, healthy plants.

Love your lawn
For lawn lovers, the ultimate time to re-invigorate your lawns is now. When the temperatures are just right, your lawns will take up nutrients from, ideally, a good quality organic-based fertilizer. When feeding your lawn, remember to apply it according to the recommended rates on the bag. Top-dressing with organic loam or re-seeding may be required. And for those who have Kikuyu, couch or buffalo lawns – de-thatching or scarifying may be the trick.

Weeds
Did you know the dictionary definition of a weed is “a wild plant growing where it is not wanted and in competition with cultivated plants”. You may be surprised that many “so-called” weeds have therapeutic properties – think dandelion and cleavers. There are so many ways to minimise the plants that you don’t want in your garden without the use of chemicals. Organic mulch is great to help with suppression of germination. You can also suppress these plants with bio-degradable newspaper or cardboard, then a top dressing of bark chips or pea straw will make your beds pleasing to your eye. And there are lots of great organic herbicides on the market too. The key is to eradicate the ‘so-called’ weed is before it gets too big, the root system becomes established, and the plant goes to seed.

Sprouting seeds
From your ornamental garden to your vegetable garden, to your apothecary garden, planting from seed is fun and cost-effective. Pop into your local nursery to find so many more varieties of seeds that you simply won’t find as seedlings. Don’t overcomplicate this type of planting as Mother Nature will simply allow the seeds to germinate when the soil and air temperatures are just right. Some seeds that are super simple to sow directly in your garden are pumpkins, zucchinis, cucumbers, peas, beans, lettuce, and nasturtiums. Ensure you place a marker, for example a paddle pop stick next to your seed for ease of recognition when it emerges. Otherwise, a little greenhouse and propagating into pots or trays can move the process along quicker for transplanting into your beds when the time is right.

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