With spring in Hobart just three weeks away, we asked some of our GlobalNet Horticulture course instructors for their top 5 things to do now to get the most out of your garden in Spring.
Learning and Community Engagement Manager at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens.
- Now is a great time to build your no-dig garden beds, hay is readily available and the weed growth is slow and easily manageable. The beds will be perfect for planting in early spring.
- Start removing dead and diseased material left behind in the garden from the winter months. Either hot composting it or putting it in the bin are the best alternatives.
- Although traditionally we start digging our soil beds for spring in late winter, try and resist the temptation until the weather warms a bit more. Soil organisms are critical to assist plant growth and help with the breakdown of organic additives and therefore the availability of nutrient elements to plants. Their abundance can be set back through cultivation too early in the season. Additionally, when cultivating, resist the urge to dig too deeply and vigorously, particularly with machine cultivators. The best methods of cultivation often only disturb the first 200mm of soil at the most.
- Try to avoid heavy fertilisation of your soils while the weather is still cold. Even large additions of manures and blood ‘n’ bone can be nutritionally ‘wasteful’ when applied in the cooler months.
Head gardener at Government House, Tasmania
Whether it’s a suburban back yard or a few acres in the country I would have to say maintenance, maintenance, and more maintenance! This includes…
- Tools and machinery – Get the mower/brushcutter/chainsaw serviced now and not when when they break down in December. Sharpen secateurs and shears. Check handles on tools. Pump up the wheelbarrow tyre (it’s amazing how much easier they are to push when properly inflated!)
- Irrigation/watering systems. Check operation and clean out filters. Make sure timers work and replace batteries.
- Empty the trailer that’s been sitting up the back full of rubbish since the end of last season! Make sure it’s roadworthy – lights etc.
- Keep a close eye on fruit trees to ensure you aren’t too late with Bordeaux/Burgundy treatments
- Get your compost area cleaned up and ready to go for the new season
- Get in before the rush! You can purchase most seed varieties, potatoes, etc now for planting/sowing when appropriate. In fact a lot of the more tender plants can be germinated now in anticipation of planting out in 6-8 weeks or so.
I haven’t mentioned plants/seed sowing, etc in any great detail. There are hundreds of planting guides available but make sure they are relevant to your micro climate. It’s amazing what a difference a few km can make. eg Glenorchy can have much later frosts than Hobart. Hobart near the river can be markedly different to the outskirts up past South Hobart.
Instructor in Horticulture at GlobalNet Academy with decades of experience in the horticulture and nursery industries.
5 things that I do in the garden this time of year include:
- Order vegetable seed for the year from New Gippsland seed farm online, some great tomato, pumpkin, broccoli,carrot and cabbage varieties!
- Prune berry fruit including raspberries, currants, gooseberries and brambles.
- Apply dolomite to fruiting plants and vegetable garden if necessary.
- Buy manure for the year sheep, chicken and mushroom compost.
- Sow Eggplants and capsicum latter in the month for planting outside in early November.
Instructor in Horticulture at GlobalNet Academy with decades of experience growing the finest, tastiest produce we have ever encountered!
My top 5 at this time of the year would be:
- Keep any small “weeds” under control by just turning them over with a hoe or hand weed them as a last ressort. With this first “attack” on the dooorstep you are laying the foundation for a relaxed gardening or an epic battle for the upcoming season.
- Chop down any brassica plant leftovers and leave them on the ground as mulch. They are a good nitrogen source and turn into fertilizer for the next crop.
- Replant any former brassica patches that were harvested through winter immediately with new seedlings (lettuce, spuds etc.) to avoid “weed squatters”.
- Bed preparation for different vegetable seeds that go straight into the ground. Best, deep mineral soil beds for carrots.
- Its a good time for the final pruning of herbaceous shrubs including herbs (Rosemary, Sage, etc.)
So there you have it, from our horticultural experts to your garden! Now it’s time to get busy. Let us know if you have any top 5 “must do’s” in your garden in the lead up to spring. Like us on our facebook page and share your sucess’ and failures!