5 minute gardener: what to do in the garden this weekend
Sow capsicums, chillies, eggplants, melons, pumpkins and tomatoes in trays under shelter, ready for planting out when the last frost is well over (in most places not until well into November to be safe).
There is no advantage to planting them out too early, as any cold weather will check growth.
Set pheromone codling moth traps on apple trees. When the number of moths caught build up it is time to spray.
Baby turnips are crisp, crunchy and delicious.
Plant potatoes (if their sprouts are about 1cm long) and Jerusalem artichokes.
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Sow root crops, such as beetroot, carrot, and parsnips, directly into the garden. Be a little adventurous and add swede and turnips to your seed shopping list. Baby turnips and fresh swedes are a true delight.
Glasshouses should be prepped for the new growing season – wash all the glass with soapy water and replenish the soil with compost.
If you're planning on growing tomatoes or cucumbers then get the strings ready for them to grow up.
Even when growing tomatoes outside, a string dangling from a stake makes for easy tying up of tomatoes - simply twist it around the main stem every time it grows 12cm or so, or when this main stem looks like it needs it (use common sense).
MARION VAN DIJK
Cucumbers growing up strings in a glasshouse.
Plant summer-flowering bulbs and tubers, such as gladioli, hippeastrum, lilies, zantedeschia and dahlias.
Increase your stock of light shrubs, such as abutilon, fuchsia and tuberous begonias, among others, by cutting off new growths and inserting them in pots of sandy soil. Moisten well, and plant out in garden when a good system of roots has developed.
Sow annuals such as clarkia, cornflowers, godetia, larkspur, poppies directly into the garden. More tender annuals, such as zinnias and asters may be sown in seed trays and planted out in November.
Once autumn-sown poppies and Russell lupins start flowering, dead-head regularly to prolong flowering.
Hippeastrums flower around Christmas time and make spectacular presents.
Spring means new growth, and new plants. Keep a look out in garden centres and catalogues for some of the season's hottest newbies.
Compact plants are ideal for smaller gardens. For example these three are pictured in the gallery above.
Dwarf Snack, a most cute capsicum, growing no more than 35cm. From Egmont Seeds.
The Sweet Spot Decorator Rose is 25 years in the making. Bred to retain the intensely coloured centre of a cross based on Hulthemia persica, an ancient cousin to a rose from biblical times, this drought-tolerant rose has consistent repeat blooming from spring to autumn. Colours available include 'Calypso' (pictured), 'Peach', 'Ruby' and 'Yellow'. Available from garden centres nationwide.
Lavender 'Baby Girl' has silvery green foliage and pink and purple flowers in spring. As with other lavenders, once established it requires minimal watering, making it a great easy-care addition to any garden. Height: 50cm. Available from garden centres nationwide.
Tibouchina 'Peace Baby' is compact by nature and, once established, has low water requirements. It has large radiant white flowers with pink stamens throughout the warmer months. Well suited to pots and containers. Available from Colorworx Nursery. Image courtesy of Plants Management Australia.
Geranium marginata 'Deep Red' produces intensely coloured flowers above ruffled leaves with a distinctive dark zonal margin. Easy to germinate from seed, and easy to grow, this drought-hardy plant flowers all summer. From Egmont Seeds.
Lupinus nanus 'Snow Pixie' is an easy-to-grow, sweetly fragrant white lupin with numerous flower spikes and lush green foliage. An annual plant with a compact habit, plants grow 35cm high and mature 90 days from direct sowing. Available from Kings Seeds.
Geum chiloense 'Lady Stratheden' is a hardy perennial with golden-yellow, semi-double blooms from spring through summer. Deheading the spent blooms after the first spring flush encourages a second late summer flowering. 'Lady Stratheden' has been awarded the prestigious RHS Award of Garden Merit (AGM). Available from Kings Seeds.
The Capsicum Dwarf Snack series is well suited to containers but will grow equally well in garden beds. However, grown in containers, these capsicums can be started earlier simply by placing them in a sunny, sheltered, warm location. Height: 35cm. Available from Egmont Seeds.
Silverbeet 'Peppermint' has white petioles with pink stripes from bottom to top, creating a visual pop in the garden. It has glossy, dark green, savoy-like leaves and is bolt tolerant. Available from Egmont Seeds.
Tibouchinas are more commonly purple and spreading, but 'Peace Baby' is white and compact, reaching a metre by a metre and flowering from autumn to spring.
Look out for the new fragrant white lupin wowing gardeners. Lupinus nanus 'Snow Pixie' grows only 35cm high and matures in 90 days. From Kings Seeds.
- NZ Gardener