Garden tips for April
The fruit and vegetable garden
Continue successive plantings of brassicas such as broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower. Now is an excellent time to put in silverbeet.
An autumn crop of rocket can be sown directly. Rocket makes a good salad stalwart going into winter and is delicious stirred through a roast vegetable salad.
Empty beds? Sow a green crop: blue lupin and mustard seed can be sown in autumn. Cutting the foliage down when the crop is at knee height and leaving it to decompose on the soil adds nitrogen.
Plant broad beans
In New Zealand sowing of broad beans traditionally happens around ANZAC Day. Broad beans are cold tolerant and germinate where they are directly sown, however slugs and snails tend to like the leaves.
Autumn harvest: feijoas, passionfruit and pears are ready now. Feijoas usually fall to the ground when ripe. Pears are best stored in a cool area for around two weeks before they’re ready to eat.
Citrus trees are appearing in garden centres now. The Auckland climate is excellent for growing citrus – just ensure they’re planted in a sheltered, sunny spot.
The rest of the garden
Early flowering (sasanqua) camellias make excellent hedges and are available for planting. They begin flowering now, through to the end of June. Pruning and shaping should wait until late August.
Loving these bright summer flowers? They’re zinnias and besides being easy to grow, they are excellent cut flowers.
If you have a windy, clay site try planting some of the tougher shrubs. Australian westringias, coleonemas and raphiolepis (Indian Hawthorn) are very hard to kill!
Rose flowering season is tailing off and roses can be left until pruning in July. If they have developed scale on the stems, spray with Conqueror Oil.
After a heavy season of rain, it’s good to fertilise the lawn with ProLawn Lawn Booster. Sowing new lawns or over sowing bare patches is best done
Sow poppy and sweet pea seeds – get them in now for great spring flower displays.
Project for April
Wooden sleepers make the garden stand out!
Macrocarpa sleeper raised garden beds
Macrocarpa or copper treated pine sleepers make great raised garden beds. Plants grow more quickly because the soil is elevated. Sleepers can also be used for garden walls, steps and garden edging. Fill sleeper edged steps with white lime chip or Waikato Fleck decorative pebbles.