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The Garden

# 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 and also add sheep pellets and compost. It will then be ready for planting into in October.

# Dahlia tubers, Gladioli corms and Tuberous Begonia tubers are all available from garden centres during the month of August, so keep an eye out for these.

# Purchase a few early seed potatoes e.g Rocket or Jersey Benne. Allow them to sprout [lie out in well light place, but not direct sun], then plant in a warm spot where you can cover when foliage appears.

# Continue to prune roses. Spray with spraying oil if you have noticed “scale” on the stems. This is often very white and rubs off. The oil will smother the scale insects and may have to be applied several times.

# Green tip on stone fruit is approaching and you will need to spray with Liquid Copper, often to prevent leaf curl, brown rot and bladder plum.

#  July could be considered the beginning of the gardening year as we begin to plan what we are going to grow, creating new beds and enriching the soil in existing ones.

# Purchase new roses now. Dig a good size hole, make a mound in bottom, spreading roots over it[ cut back any damaged roots]. Add good compost too hole and firm down. Water well. Make sure the budded union is at ground level and not buried. Stake standards at planting and tie well.

# Rose pruning can be started now, maybe start with climbers, standards and those in sheltered positions. Remove dead and spindly growth, opening centre of plant, leaving any that look new, usually green and maybe burgundy-like, cut back by a third. These are very basic rules so look at each bush as an individual before you start cutting[ you can't put it back on!!!] Any problems e-mail me on halfords@greenworld.co.nz

# If you need new strawberry plants they are available in garden centres now. Plants generally need replacing after 3 years or you can use the runners.

Many studies have shown that regular physical gardening activity reduces the risk of depression, high blood pressure and strokes. Gardening also improves strength, stamina and flexibility. The Vitamin D your skin absorbs while you are outside is essential for your immune system and good health. Now on too what needs to be done in May.

• Mothers Day….Give Mum a plant. Most mums love plants. A flowering cyclamen, a lily bulb [Christmas lilies are in], or voucher if you want her too choose something.

• Plant a feijoa. Why pay $7 a kilo when you could grow your own. They are easy!

Continue raking up leaves or collect when mowing the lawn and spread under shrubs and trees. Piling these on bare areas stops weeds growing and encourages worm activity and when rotted, they can be spread around to boost soil organic matter.

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