Now that spring is upon us, it’s time to coax your garden back to life with colour and variety. Lawn care is also top of the agenda. Combine a regimen of regular watering and feeding to get your grass ready for the summer heat, and urge regrowth in bare patches by top-dressing with fine compost.
SPOTLIGHT ON: ARBOUR WEEK South Africans celebrate Arbour Week in the first week of September – a perfect opportunity to come together as a community and help green our neighbourhoods. Every year we run a “buy one, get one free tree” promotion throughout the week, and on Arbour Day we give away one free sapling per family. Once you’ve picked up your little tree from your nearest Stodels Garden Centre, follow our guide on sapling care to ensure a strong and healthy start for your young tree.
ON YOUR TO-DO LIST FOR SEPTEMBER Plant & Sow
Plant an indigenous tree for Arbour Week, or sponsor a tree to be planted by an organisation, such as Greenpop or Food & Trees for Africa. Our favourites include the marula, yellowwood, leopard, liquid amber, tree wisteria, fever and riverbush willow trees.
If you want to plant a tree that gifts you with fruit and food every year, now is a good time to plant apricot, fig, nectarine, plum, olive, peach, lemon, mango, curry leaf and moringa.
Plant eggplant, tomatoes, basil, beans, carrots, radish, pepper, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, beetroot and chillies now for a summer harvest.
Plant some of spring’s glorious colourful flowers and bring the garden to life. This month is a good time for petunia, impatiens, begonia, gazania, dianthus, delphiniums, alyssum, salvia varieties and marigolds.
Use Wonder Lawn & Leaf 7:1:3 on your lawn for quick results, and remember to water three times a week or more. Alternatively, use Atlantic Fertilisers Bio Ganic Lawns (an organic fertiliser) and water once or more a week.
Feed trees with 3:1:5 fertiliser.
Fruit trees could do with some Nitrosol and 3:1:5 fertiliser.
Feed plants with Wonder Fruit & Flower 3:1:5, which has a high potassium content to help harden plants for the summer heat and encourage them to flower. Water once or twice a week after feeding. Atlantic Fertilisers Fruit & Flower is a good organic-based alternative.
Prune & Trim
Frost-damaged bedding begonias don’t need to be replaced – simply cut back to remove the parts that were damaged during winter. With a healthy dose of water-soluble fertiliser, the begonias will be back on their feet in no time.
Prune back overgrown shrubs to create better aeration in the garden and prevent disease and pest infestations.
Prune back spring-flowering shrubs as soon as they finish with their flowering.
Prune topiaries to maintain their compact shape.
Deadhead pansies and violas to keep them flowering well into November.
Any pot plants that have become root-bound can be repotted now.
New vegetable gardens will need special attention. To control insects, spray with Kirchhoff’s Ludwig’s Organic Insect Spray or Margaret Roberts Organic Insecticide. Both are Ecocert-approved for use by organic gardeners.
Roses will need protection against disease and fungus this time of year. To ensure their health, spray roses with a mix of one part Efekto Rosecare, one part Trelmix, one part Seagro Organic Plant Food, one tablespoon vinegar and one teaspoon dishwashing liquid.
Once 75% of the blossoms of any fruit trees have dropped off, you can start spraying against fruit flies. Thereafter, spray every 10–14 days with Efekto Cypermethrin.
OTHER FRESH IDEAS
Plant summer bulbs Bulb season is here again! Some summer bulb varieties to keep an eye out for include tigridia, tiger lilies, flame lilies, Watsonia and liatris. Here are some of our top tips for growing summer bulbs:
Each bulb has its own light requirements, so chat to one of our in-store garden experts for recommendations when purchasing your desired bulb.
Note that bulbs do best in well-draining soil. Prepare your beds or containers at least a week before planting by digging in a generous amount of compost, fertiliser and bonemeal.
Avoid using fresh manure or planting directly after adding fertiliser, as both may burn the bulbs.
Remember to allow the foliage of winter bulbs, such as daffodils and narcissus, to turn yellow and brown as they die down after flowering – they are busy making next year’s flower buds. Water and feed as normal during this time. Once the foliage has died down, lift the bulbs out of the soil and trim back roots and loose outer layers. Allow healthy bulbs to dry out in a cool place for 24 hours before storing in labelled paper bags or nets in a cool, dry place – ready to plant next year!