General garden tasks
- Container-grown plants can be planted out at any time. Circling or balled roots should be unravelled and trimmed to encourage them to grow outwards.
- This is the main month for sowing seeds of hardy annuals for planting out 4 – 6 weeks later. If you do this when the plants are small, the transplant will be more successful.
- Tie sweet peas to supports.
- Dahlia clumps left in the ground can be divided before new growth commences.
- Finish planting of summer bulbs.
- Begonia tubers can be taken out of winter storage and placed in small pots to start growth in a frost-free area, such as a glass or shade house.
- Pot on any cuttings and divisions taken in autumn.
- Plant out new perennials.
- Winter-flowering sasanqua camellias can be pruned after flowering.
- Obtain seed of summer and autumn annuals for planting next month.
- Feed camellias, azaleas, rhododendrons, daphne, Pieris, Erica and other shallow-rooted plants with a generous helping of old animal manure such as sheep or cow.
The Kitchen Garden
- Small sowings of asparagus, cabbage, carrot, leek, melons, parsley, silver beet, spinach and turnip seeds may be done now, but leave main plantings for later.
- Tomato seedlings will be available but it’s risky to plant in the open garden until late October/mid-November. If you don’t want to miss out on special cultivars, buy them but grow them on in pots where they can enjoy a little warmth and plant them when the soil warms.
- Onion seedlings may still be transplanted.
- Citrus trees should be planted in a warm position. Prune damage from established trees at the end of September and give them a feed. Keep your citrus trees well-watered and mulched as the weather warms.
- As warmer weather approaches and growth is lush, insect pests will be out and about. Be on the lookout and squash caterpillars, aphids and other insects before their numbers increase dramatically.
- Eco Oil is useful for smothering scale and their eggs, and bronze orange bugs can be knocked from your citrus tree into a bucket of soapy water if you catch them before their numbers increase.
- Use beer traps, copper strips, heaped coffee grounds or sawdust to counteract slugs and snails.
The Ornamental Garden
- Weather can be unpredictable, so go out in the garden when you can and do some planning at other times. The spring garden can be one of life’s great delights.
- Plant or repair lawn areas. If bindii is a problem, spray with a specific herbicide before the bindii flowers set seed. Once that seed is set, it is too late to do anything.
- Water early in the morning where possible. Spring-flowering bulbs require consistent watering, especially if grown in pots.
- Keep paths and lawns clear of fallen flower petals as they can become very slippery in shaded areas.
- Mulch to retain moisture in soil.
- With new plantings of trees and shrubs, good preparation is essential. If the soil is dry, then copious amounts of water will be necessary to ensure the plant settles in. After planting, the soil around your new plants should be regularly moistened for at least 12 months.