Rockvale Stone & Garden

So much rain and mud here in North Otago!! I guess it’s moisture just when new roots are in need – BUT we Gardeners are in need of the perfect breeze and sunny days to be enthused enough to get gardens ready for the Spring explosion. . So much rain and mud here in North Otago!! I guess it’s moisture just when new roots are in need – BUT we Gardeners are in need of the perfect breeze and sunny days to be enthused enough to get gardens ready for the Spring explosion. . We are doing the final winter clean up here – pruning, mulching and planting out. Finish pruning Roses and supply food around the drip line, to give them the best start to keeping them healthy. Remove all old Hellebore leaves – they harbour Greenfly over Winter.  Trim old leaves from Peony Roses – destroy and remove mulch cover to let sun onto new shoots. Prune Hydrangeas spent flower branches back to the second bud from the bottom and feed manure enriched compost. A dressing of lime for pink, alum sulphate  for blue – or coffee grounds / epsom salts. White do best in shade.Trim Catmint edging back to new growth and feed. If you have not trimmed back ornamental grasses yet – do it now. Cut the old seeded ends well back and clean out the dead thatch around the base – it’s amazing how much you will need to cart away after this hair cut, but they will grow back to their soft wafting shape in no time. Use what you have cut off as mulch around the garden, a cover for the compost or in the chook or calf pen.  I imagine the weeds have started at your place as they have at mine! – mostly chickweed. With the soil being so soft, hand and hoe weeding is really easy – get them out before they take off and seed everywhere, or dig them in before they seed. Lawns: Best to stay off sodden lawns to avoid compaction. Moisture brings worms up, so they will be working away below the surface helping to aerate, but lawns can be fed now, – pick a day when rain is expected to wash powdered fertilizer into waiting roots. Vegetables: Here on the coast, get Spring planting off to an early start – use cloches if you have them for colder gardens. Inland, the soil will need thawing, but I am sure seed sowing will be happening, clear polythene could be stretched out to warm and dry the soil for an earlier planting of Potatoes and seedlings. Asparagus is a vegetable that repays planting over many years. To prepare beds, cultivate deeply and add generous amounts of compost. Existing Asparagus beds should be cultivated carefully to avoid damaging the crowns that lie just below the surface. Add a new layer of mulch.  Seed Potatoes should be sprouting and early varieties like Rocket, Cliffs Kidney, Swift and Jersey Benne, may already be planted with protection from frosts, in warm well drained sites. Rocket, Swift, Cliffs Kidney, Maris Anchor, Jersey Benne, Agria and Ilam Hardy, are all good for container growing.Fruit: I was pleased to hear a few Bees out during the warmer days we have had – lets hope for sun filled days when Fruit blossom is needing those busy Bees. Remember they are about if the sprayer comes out… Cheers, Linda

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