Although it has been cold the last few weeks, we have had a relatively mild winter in Auckland. We have not had the severe frosts that we have had the last couple of years, which means some Roses are still flowering and have their leaves. Buds are swelling though and the daffodils are out which means it is time to start preparing for the spring blossoms of the fruit trees and the new leafy growth of roses and most other plants.

Pruning for other specialty plants is good right now too as the sap is low and most of the bugs and fungus are being held at bay with the cold weather. This especially goes for bugs like the Lemonwood Borer, which attacks a wide variety of trees and can smell a freshly sawn cut for miles. These borer start laying their eggs from the end of September to January, so it is good to get pruning done and sealed up before then. It is also good to get the pruning done before the plants start shooting away so they can focus their energy into the places that you want them to sprout from. It is amazing how giving a tree a prune and a feed before it shoots away in spring can make for a much more disease resistant plant that looks healthy and fruits prolifically.

It is a good time to prepare vegetable patches for their spring plantings by adding compost and turning over green manures that may have been planted over this winter. There are lots of vegetables that can be put in this month, such as broad beans, spinach, onions, shallots, cabbage and peas. If you had a Autumn garden put down you will be enjoying vegetables from the Brassica family such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and kale as well as leeks, spinach, sweeds and turnips. Strawberry plants and their runners should be divided and planted to get a nice tasty summer crop of sweet berries.

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All plants enjoy a feed before spring to boost them into their growth period. Organic foods such as seaweed and animal manures are great to increase the vitality and life within the soil. Don’t try and germinate seed in soil that has freshly rotted seaweed or manure in it as it can be too high in nutrients, but applying seaweed as a mulch to already established plants is fine. Chicken manure has very high nitrogen content which is good for leaf growth but is best using it it once it has decomposed a little. Seaweed is high in potassium, which is good for flower and fruit, as well as 70 other nutrients. It is good to add both seaweed and manure to your compost to help the compost break down; activate soil bacteria as well as adding hummus and vital nutrients. Liquid from worm farms and seaweed or manure liquid brews are all great ways to enrich the soil and help with soil activity. Always remember if in doubt, dilute the mixtures to 10:1 or to the colour of weak tea. Organic fertiliser can still burn or have a stunting effect if used in a too stronger solution.

If you would like any further advice or need any help with any of the above tasks over the coming months I can help you to prepare your garden so you can enjoy it to its fullest over the coming spring and summer seasons.

Quality Gardening & Maintenance Services

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.