Spring is nearly here! Yes – finally Winter is thawing out and so are we. All you Green Thumbs can leave your hibernation and get back into the garden where you belong! Not that Winter gardening isn’t fun… but, well, it really isn’t the same without the warmth, is it? The start of Spring means it’s time to plant so that come Summer, your garden is ready for harvesting! Many of our favourite veggies (and hopefully yours too) are planted this time of the year. But, before you can start throwing seeds around, it might pay to have a look over our list of tips and tricks to make sure you get the most out of your garden this season.
Follow Sculptural Landscapes’ 3 P’s steps to get your garden going this Spring.
Prepare. Plant. Protect.
Getting your garden started again after winter will require some admin. Before you get lost staring at the never-ending rows of seeds in the garden store, make sure your soil is ready for them. Begin your prep by removing any leftover mulch from winter – let your soil defrost in the Spring sun! Just like us, soil will perform it’s best when it’s given proper nutrients. The best ingredients for growth are manure and compost (and lots of water, of course).
Decomposed organic matter, AKA compost, has many great characteristics. It improves soil structure by letting it aerate - this way water can reach the seeds easily. Don’t worry if you’ve not got your own compost (which we highly recommend) as your local garden centre will have a selection of great quality options.
Manure is fantastic for your soil, despite how unappealing it sounds. It creates the perfect conditions for new growth as well as inviting helpful earthworms. When selecting what manure to use, first make sure whatever you end up choosing has been set aside to rot (warning: fresh manure does the opposite of helping!). Work your manure into the soil by turning it over to make sure it is mixed nicely.
Now that your soil is ready to go, it’s time to put it to the test. Here in Christchurch, our climate is described as cool temperate as we are further south so planting conditions are little different to more northern locations in New Zealand. Sculptural Landscapes have done the hard work for you and developed a list of plants that are best for the Canterbury region to plant this time of the year. We’ve provided a long list of everything from veggies to herbs and even fruit to make sure we’ve got your tastes covered!
Pansy & Viola
Mulch is the final layer of your garden that works as a defence to fight the weeds back from the surface. This layer blocks works by stopping light from getting to any weed seeds. This barrier that is mulch can come in many forms, so we’ve described some common ones we recommend. Deciding which mulch is best for your garden really comes down to which one suits what type of gardener you are – some require more effort and maintenance, whereas others only need you to install it so you can sit back and let it do its thing. The following options are listed in order of least to most involvement:
Bark is a pretty common type of mulch for good reasons. It’s super effective at blocking sun from getting to the weed seeds, plus it’s long-lasting! If gardening isn't your top priority or time isn’t on your side, we suggest using bark. That is unless you are moving or transplanting your plants often, then bark isn’t ideal for you because it makes it difficult to do so without interrupting the dirt.
STRAW AND HAY
Straw and hay are a great for both adding organic matter and retaining moisture in your soil. Make sure you know exactly what you’re using otherwise you could be making more problems than you’re solving. Be careful you source weed-free hay or straw. Lay no more than about 8cm thick over your soil as mulch – too much will invite slugs and rodents.
This method is great if you have a lawn as it’s a sustainable way to put your grass clippings to use. Spread a layer over your garden to suppress the growth of weeds. Due to the water content in the clippings they will decompose pretty quickly (so if you’re not prepared to regularly top it up then this method may not be your first choice!). Note that you shouldn’t use clippings if your grass was treated with herbicides or chemical fertilisers.
If it’s outside, we can do it!
If you’re in need of some landscaping help beyond this gardening guide, don’t hesitate to contact Sculptural Landscapes. We have a heap of creative solutions for a wide range of landscaping needs – be it lawns, planting, paving & pathways, decking, retaining walls, fencing, stonework and maintenance.