I have been pruning fruit trees this week and the blossoms on the plums were just about to burst and the sap is starting to rise. So if you have any trees that need pruning: now is the time. The trees are coming out of their dormant period and soon will be spring back into life, covering themselves in pink and white blossoms or vibrant green leaves. A beautiful reminder that the warmer weather and longer days are almost here.

There is also still time to put down garlic if you didn’t put it down on the shortest day. If you get it in before the end of the month you should be fine. Early potatoes can be put down now if you are in a frost free area. I find the easiest way to grow potatoes is in old tyres. Plant into the first tyre and as the shoots grow up, add another tyre and fill it in with soil with the shoots poking just out the top about 5cm above the soil. When it is time for harvesting, all you need to do is to push the tyres over and you can pick out all your new season potatoes. No digging through the ground to get them out. If anybody in Auckland wants any tyres, I have heaps so just let me know. Places which sell tyres will often let you go and take your pick of their old tyres for free.

It is also a good time for re-potting any plants. A bit of food, new soil and a bigger pot will do wonders for any plants that are looking a bit lifeless. Most plants will always benefit from being put in the ground though and with the ground warming up and still being quite moist the plants will rocket away.

Blood and bone, seaweed, sheep pellets, cow manure and chicken manure (if composted down or diluted) are all good organic ways of putting more nutrients into your soil right now. Making your soil nutritious to start with means your plants will grow strong as well as having more defence against pests and disease.

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Naturescapes has been designing, creating and maintaining gardens across Auckland for over 15 years. Throughout this time, we have continued to sustain our relationships with our clients while working on a variety of garden and landscape projects – contributing positively to soil systems, the environment and the well-being of the people living within.