I don't know about your garden, but Spring is promising to come early here with glorious sunny days and flowers already beginning to spring from the fruit trees in our garden! Seeds we were waiting to sow are now in their pots and many of our plants that were sleeping for the winter are already starting to poke tiny tips into the air.
So, if you haven't already started, now maybe the time to start preparing your garden for Spring. We are well underway with plenty of hard work planned in the coming 8 weeks to ensure our gardens have the best possible chance in this changing climate.
To prepare your garden, it is important to improve the soil with plenty of organic matter, manures and compost and really dig it in. This is the only time of the year in Queensland that I can do this for any length of time without risking heat stroke!
At this time of the year, the local sugar mills offer rich organic byproducts of cane crushing that can add to the nutrients and water holding ability of some soils and we use these products in the outdoor garden beds.
Many soils will benefit from the addition of dolomite, a natural product that not only adds Calcium but also Magnesium to the soil, both important nutrients. Care needs to be taken not to overdo the application as acid loving plants will not appreciate the change in pH if this product is overdone.
pH is incredibly important for some plants as they are unable to take up nutrients into their roots and produce healthy growth if the pH is out of whack! It doesn't matter how much fertiliser you throw at them, they can't access it. I have a few special plants that need a specific pH so I find it is easier to grow them in big pots where I can check and maintain the right pH. A pH kit is important for the serious gardener and can be picked up at most garden centres or hardware stores and it is super easy to use.
Once the soil is well turned, (aeration is also important) and prepared, I will give it some time to settle before any new plants go in, although I am not sure that this is necessary (but it gives me a break) :) Thick layers of cane mulch will be applied around the plants to protect the soil from blazing sun and hold moisture where it needs to be, while being careful to allow trunks or stems freedom from wet mulch.
When choosing plants it is very important to make sure you can provide shade if they require it. Some plants are particularly sensitive to strong sunlight and so must be protected. Where a large tree cannot provide that protection, various grades of shade cloth can be used to give your plants the correct light conditions. If planting in Spring consider how the Summer sun will impact upon your selected site. If you live in a cooler zone, you may find in the coming years that you may be able to grow plants from warmer zones providing you select a sheltered spot.
As many of our regular customers know, we are still building our stock after taking over Lush and relaunching the website late last year and this takes a little time. We will also only send plants that we would be delighted to receive ourselves and so wait until the time is just right before offering them to you :)
We have many new plants that will be ready for you in the next 6-8 weeks so please keep checking back as some have not been offered before.
And Happy Digging! Just think of all that wonderful exercise!