Gardening – Spring ready

Photo, Lorry McCarthy

Spring is finally here. Let’s hope the soil has retained a lot of that rain to support our gardens to flourish through what is predicted to be a dry summer. 

Now is a good time to get your garden ready for spring planting, by top dressing with compost on all your beds and perhaps adding some blood and bone or seaweed mix.

You can make your own, by keeping seaweed and water in a bucket for a couple of weeks then diluting it to the colour of “tea” to add to the garden. 

You may also want go out after dark and hunt down some of the slugs and snails who have been flourishing in all this wet weather – this will keep their numbers down ahead of the spring planting season. 

I can see it’s Spring because my almond tree, pictured, has started to flower, always a lovely sight at the end of winter.

Don’t be fooled by the sunny days as the nights are still getting quite cold. Don’t get over excited to plant out your lovingly grown seedlings just yet – they will probably die off if you plant out too early. That said, there is still time to get some of the hardier crops in the ground. Remember you can plant lettuce, silverbeet and potatoes pretty much all year round here on the Coast. I also planted out some more cabbage, broccoli, carrots, beetroot, spinach and silverbeet recently.

If you want to get sowing indoors in the greenhouse or a windowsill, you can start now with chilli, capsicum, courgette, coriander, cucumber, eggplant, tomatoes, sweetcorn and spring onions. 

In the community garden, we have been having some challenges with cauliflower and broccoli going to seed too soon (also known as “bolting”). This is because of the unfavourable weather of late, causing the plants to be stressed. You can still eat the flowers and stems, but they are not as nice and taste a bit woody. If this is happening to yours, you have a couple of options: let them flower, as the bees will love them, or cut them back and wait for smaller shoots to emerge (broccolini) which can be harvested. 

Cauliflower don’t seem to be putting out shoots, so the plant is spent. We are putting these through our compost.

We have permission to extend the community gardens so will be making some new garden beds. If you want to see how we set them up, follow our Facebook page, Ōrewa Community Garden Volunteer Group 

Or come down to the garden on Saturdays, 9.30am to 11am. 

Happy spring planting.