September 7, 2007 Weekly Garden Guide

Spring is indubitably here and Tuesday may have been our last cold snap. The danger of frosts in coastal areas is pretty well over now but inland areas will still need to expect a few.

  • Warmer temperatures mean slugs and snails are back on the agenda and munching their way through fresh foliage. Mark is experimenting with flat beer which certainly attracts them but he is worried that it may in fact attract them along to eat the prized plants alongside (in this case tecophilia flowers). Slug bait is not very nice for birds, pets or hedgehogs so if you can find organic controls, so much the better.
  • Clumps of dahlias can be lifted and divided now. When tubers get too crowded, they tend to fall apart in growth which rather wrecks the display.
  • Groom grasses to remove dead foliage. If the clump is very dense, you can lift it and divide it or dig out some of the growing tips to encourage renewed vigour.
  • Spring is the peak growth season for almost all plants so it is the optimum time for applying fertiliser as you see the plants start to grow. More is not better with fertiliser as over feeding can burn the foliage.
  • In the vegetable garden, stay on top of the germinating weeds. Pretty well everything can be planted now (though it is too early still for beans). Spinach, silver beet, lettuce, onions, broccoli and peas can all be sown directly into the garden. Caulis and cabbages are generally planted out as small plants rather than from seed which ensures a better survival rate.
  • Magnolias are at their peak this week so get out to parks and gardens to admire these aristocrats of flowering trees.