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The Garden

# When the soil dries out, continue to prune roses. Spray with a mix of spraying oil and Copper. This seals the cuts and smoothes scale and fungi.

# Plant new roses, trees and berries.

# Think about where you could plant some vegetables as we are approaching spring. Even if it’s only a couple of lettuce and silver beet plants. It always tastes better when you have grown it yourself.

# Fertilise roses, citrus and fruit trees. Take care to keep fertilizer away from the trunk, and water in well.

# Green tip or early bud movement, begins in stone fruits, soon. Spray with copper to protect from leaf curl and bladder plum.

# Wood ash can be sprinkle sparingly on gardens and raked in, but NOT near camellias, rhodos. and other acid loving plants.

# Rake up leaves so they don’t kill your lawn grasses. Piling these on bare soil in the garden beds. Stops weeds growing and encourages worm activity and when rotted, they help boast your soils organic matter. Can also fill plastic rubbish bags, moisten, tie the top and leave behind the garden shed until spring. Turn bag every now and then.# Move cymbidiums orchids into more sun, but out of frosts and watch flowers unfold.

# New season roses are in garden centres in early June. Be in quick for those old favourites. Don’t prune roses until July.

# Plant and transplant lily bulbs. They do well in containers as they require good drainage. Plant Christmas Lilies now.

# Sow a green manure crop of lupins or mustard in  vegetable ground, that is spare over winter.

# With moist weather seedling weeds will appear, so hoe or fork out and allow to die in the sun.

# Cut down tops of asparagus and give good dressing of general fertiliser.

#Plant spring maturing cabbage, cauli, silver beet, spinach, Kale and broccoli seedlings. Continue to liquid feed leeks, they love worm wee.

# Sow lupin or mustard seed, in vacant areas, digging plants into the soil in early spring to boost fertility.

#  Prepare ground for onion seedlings and garlic, digging in compost and sheep pellets.

#May is the last month to plant spring flowering bulbs, before the soil gets too cold.

#Get ready to put frost cloth over frost tender plants or move pots to a sheltered position.

#Collect fallen leaves and add to compost or use as mulch on the garden.

# Lily bulbs will be available in garden centre in May.

#  Harvesting, tidying and thinking winter are the main things.

#  You can still plant carrots, parsnip, turnips and broad bean seeds. Plant brassicas again now as the white butterfly are not such a problem as the temperatures cool down. But caterpillars will still be hatching and eating, so spray with pyrethrum or target. Pyrethrum is a good natural spray for caterpillars but must be applied in the evening as it breaks down with the UV rays.

#  Plant leeks, lettuce[during the cold they grow OK but are a little coarse as they are growing slower but still good to plant and pick a leak or 2 as required. Mizuna and Coriander are good to grow during the winter and   can spice up a winter salad. Kale, Bok Choy and Spinach   are good quick growing greens for the cooler times.

#  Keep up the watering. Remember to water early in the morning if possible and give a good soak rather than a light sprinkle.  We can help with installing a fixed irrigation system if this would make watering easier for you.

 # Remove spent blooms from your flowering plants e.g. roses, petunias and geraniums. This will encourage them to continue too flower and give them more fertilizer.

# It is time too plant leeks and Brussels sprout plants for winter eating.

# Lightly trim the dead flowers from lavenders and hebes. This will help to stop them becoming leggy.

# Watch for white butterfly caterpillars on your cabbage, broccoli etc. either spray with Mavrik, dust with Derris Dust or squeeze them with fingers.

# Cut down to the ground,  canes of raspberries that fruited, leaving new growth which will fruit  next year.

# A typical Hawke’s Bay summer is hot and dry. Water conservation is very important.
 I find the raised beds for my vegetables great, but they do dry out quickly. So every 2 days give them a good soaking, NOT a sprinkle with the hose every night, and use a good compost when replanting.

# Beans will be very plentiful from now on. Keep them well watered and continue picking every couple of days, as this will keep them flowering and cropping. If you have space, sow some more seed. Climbing beans up a ring of bamboo stakes is a good idea. Vertical cropping!

#  Protect newly planted seedlings from the wind and the hot sun, using windbreak cloth or shade cloth. Only water in the evening, then the plants has all night to absorb the moisture. Never water during the heat of the day, as you can burn the leaves and give garden a good soaking regularly, rather than a light sprinkle.

#  Keep garden free of weeds and give plants a light dressing of general fertilizer.

# Tie up tomatoes, and remember to take out the laterals if you want nice tidy plants.

# Look at zucchinis daily, so you don’t end up with marrows.

# Potatoes planted in September, or earlier, can be dug and I bet they will be delicious with a little butter and mint sauce {bring to the boil, then turn element down very low]

•    Continue doing the jobs that never got done in October, or are ongoing.
•    It’s not too late to plant tomato, cucumber, pepper and kumara plants.
•    To keep the Psyllids off potato and tomato plants, there have been great results from covering them with Insect Mesh.
•    Over the summer months, remove excessive leaf growth off grapes, cutting back to a bunch of grapes.
•    Cover berry fruits with bird netting. Keep well watered and apply fertiliser high in potash.
•    As roses flower and dead heads appear, remove them and this keeps bushes flowering through Christmas. Apply more rose fertiliser and water deeply once a week if no rain.
•    Sow bean and sweet corn seed. Continue planting lettuce plants, at intervals to have a steady supply over summer.


•    Prune fuchsia and hydrangea; apply aluminium sulphate to the ground around blue hydrangea varieties to keep them blue.
•    Plant lobelia and petunia, in pots and baskets, for quick summer colour. Remember to use a good potting mix.
•    Watch for slugs and snails eating new growth on delphiniums, hosta, dahlias and gypsophila. Also newly planted seedlings, both flower and vegetable, they love them all.
•    Rake out dead moss from lawns where you have killed the moss with Iron Sulphate in solution, then fertilise with lawn fertiliser, to encourage grass growth.
•    Plant early varieties of seed potatoes and continue to mound up as the foliage emerges.
•    Sow seed of cucumber, zucchini, melons and pumpkin in small peat pots and then plant out after fear of frost are over, and also then have minimum root disturbance.

# Early spring can be frustrating for us gardeners. We are keen to get planting but we have to remember how changeable the temperatures can be. Later in the month you can begin to sow seeds of tender plants such as cucumbers, pumpkins, cucumbers and tomato seeds in containers in a greenhouse or somewhere warm and protected from frosts. These can then be planted out mid October, depending on the weather. But don't forget  to harden them off before planting out into the elements. Be weary of frosts to avoid disappointment!!!!

# Top up veggie bins with compost and sheep pellets. Dig in cover crops that have been cut down. It will then be ready for planting into in October.

# Continue to prune your roses. Renew the ties on climbers and standards, using soft stretchy cotton strips of fabric. Follow with spray of spraying oil.

# Later in the month fertilise roses with a specific rose food and apply a layer of mulch/ pea hay/ compost.

# Add groups of colour by planting potted colour flowering won't be long before summer flowering annuals are available. Keep off very wet gardens.

# Keep planting fruit trees, berries, roses, and ornamental trees. Cut runners from strawberry plants and use as new plants. Replace plants if more than 3 years old.
# Clean out greenhouses/glasshouses in preparation of new season tomato and cucumber plants. Replace soil if needed as you don't want too plant tomatoes in the same soil as last year. Replace with good quality vegetable mix.

  • Enjoy the winter fragrance of daphne and winter sweet. Plants available now.
  • Plant new strawberry plants now, in hanging baskets, troughs or even in the flower garden.
  • Plant garlic cloves. Put them in the ground [about 5cm under the surface] with the pointed tips poking upwards. Important to keep water up to them in spring.
  • Sharpen, clean, oil, repair and replace worn out or broken tools. Clean out your garden shed before spring.
  • Complete pruning of trees, bushes and vines as soon as possible.
  • Plant new fruit trees…plums, peaches, apples and pears etc.
  • Plant new roses and begin pruning towards the end of the month.
  • You can still plant a flowering polyanthus or two in any drap pots or corners and they will continue too flower until it is really hot again.