101 Spring Tips
1. Creative succulents
Create stunning containers by mixing succulents with different textures, colours, and shapes. These fleshy plants are tough and like a sunny spot with minimum watering. Shallow pots like bonsai pots make useful containers for succulents. Display these in the garden or on the patio.
2. Indoor leaf décor
Bring natural décor indoors with striking plants with bold leaves. Calatheas fit the bill in spades. These beauties will thrive in bright indirect sunlight and will even take a bit of low light. Water every 1 – 2 weeks, depending on the position in the home, and allow to dry out just a little between watering. They like high humidity, so mist regularly in drier areas.
3. Sow strawberries
Brand new! MayFord Seeds brings you a first in South Africa – strawberry seeds! And not just any strawberry: this is a high-quality, world-class strawberry variety you could expect to be served at Wimbledon, accompanied of course by delicious whipped cream and Pimm’s! MayFord Strawberry ‘Florian’ forms a compact plant of just 35cm with bright pink flowers and is a delicious Japanese-style full-aromatic flavour strawberry. Sow in spring and harvest the delicious fruits from early summer right through until autumn. www.mayford.co.za
Tell us how many punnets of strawberries are used at Wimbledon in a normal year, and the first 10 people with the closest correct answer win 4 x packets of MayFord Strawberry ‘Florian’ (enough for 50 plants and an endless supply of strawberries), a can of whipped cream and a bottle of Pimm’s. Visit @TheGardenerMag Facebook page to enter.
4. Mole free bulbs
If you have moles, plant bulbs in a plastic pot and then ‘plant’ the pot. The moles will not be able to get to your bulbs if you do this.
5. Make your own seed germination mix
Some seed is so small that it requires a special mix to avoid the tiny roots dying off in air pockets in soil like seedling mix. You can make your own by combining 1/3 part vermicompost, 1/3 part palm peat and 1/3 part vermiculite.
6. Air plant dunk
Dunk air plants in water once a week for a good 15-minute soak.
7. Clean up
To prevent dirt from collecting under your fingernails, press your nails into a bar of soap before gardening. When you’re done, you can just wash your hands.
8. Get water to the roots
Make your own little irrigation systems that get water where it’s needed most – to the roots of your favourite plants – by using 2-litre cool drink bottles with several holes poked in them. These are great buried in containers that need daily watering.
9. Any birds for tea?
Charming teacup bird feeders are fun to make and will lift a sheltered corner of the garden with a fun element. Sprinkle wild bird seed in the saucer, fill the cup with water and watch out for chirpy birds.
10. Mirror a meadow
A successful meadow or wildflower garden consists of a combination of flowering perennials, grasses and annuals that will flower throughout the year, including some that will self-seed. Throwing a packet of wildflower seeds over a rocky patch is not going to do it. Meadows also need good soil, water, feeding and maintenance, like deadheading regularly, to keep them looking good. Choose a sunny position and prepare the soil well before planting. As the year’s go along, a natural ecosystem will make the meadow sustainable and it will require less maintenance.
11. Activate your organisms
Compost Activator from Makhro Home and Garden is 100% natural and biodegradable, containing 29 species of live microorganisms. Adding these micro-organisms to your compost heap will give it the much-needed boost of good microbes needed to assist in breaking down organic waste more quickly. Just 500ml of Compost Activator concentrate is needed for the healthy bacteria to break down up to 2 tons of compost, and even reduce smells while it does so – it’s a win-win addition to your compost making. www.makhro.co.za
12. Grow a tree from seed
It may take a while, but it’s worthwhile growing trees from seed. Trees from your local area will grow the best in your climate and soil conditions.
13. Pretty in Pink
Add some pops of colour in shady areas with these three pink perennials:
Astilbe – Plumes of fluffy pink in summer, planted in semi-shade to sun. Prefers rich soil.
Bergenia cordifolia – A hardy perennial with large, deep green leaves and rich pink flowers in spring.
Hypoestes phyllostachya – Plant for its pink foliage in shady areas, and even indoors.
14. Indoor succulent success
Although succulents prefer the outdoors, they can be grown successfully indoors by following some rules:
- Choose succulents that are green in colour like gasterias and haworthias.
- Place in the brightest position you can find, near a window, with at least 6 hours of sunlight a day.
- Don’t water every day like you would for other houseplants. Water and drain, leave until they have been dry for a few days and then water again.
15. Make your own newspaper pots
A sheet of newspaper can make several seedling pots that can be planted straight into the ground once your seedlings are ready. Learn how to fold paper into a pot here.
16. Hot and spicy herb sauce
Chimichurri sauce is the perfect blend of herbs and spices to create a fresh vibrant flavour for grilled steak, chicken, fish and vegetables. It’s also quick and easy to make from the products of your herb garden. Find a Chimichurri recipe here.
17. Chemical clean-up
Clean up the garden’s first-aid kit. Discard expired pesticides in a safe manner and stock up on organic insecticides. Warmer days, especially in summer-rainfall areas, are prone to pests and diseases, particularly in young plants.
18. Keep your artificial lawn fresh
Artificial lawn has many benefits: it’s green all year round, doesn’t need water or fertiliser and it is low maintenance. But, if you have dogs, they will treat it like any other lawn, and urine smells may become a problem. Makhro Home and Garden has a product, Smellaway Artificial Grass, that breaks down pet urine in artificial grass and eliminates the odour. Easy application after removing the animal waste: mix the concentrate with water, apply the mixture thoroughly to the affected area and wash it in with water for the microbes to reach the accumulated animal waste underneath. www.makhro.co.za
19. Quick dry
Dry herbs more quickly by setting the microwave on high for 30 second intervals until the herbs are crisp and dry. Place herbs between 2 pieces of roller towel first.
20. Spring refresh
Refresh verandas and garden furniture, as the warmer days will beg you to spend time outdoors.
21. Get more calendula
There are so many good points about calendulas that they should be in every garden. In the veggie garden, they will deter aphids from surrounding plants, and will also repel mosquitoes. Plus, they have the prettiest yellow flowers, which are edible, medicinal and great for skin care.
22. Save seed in balls
Make paper seed reels or balls to preserve excess seed, and then plant when the season is right. Learn how to make seed bombs here.
23. Pickled pods
Make your own pickled nasturtium seed pods for your next platter of cheeses using the following recipe: 1 cup firm green nasturtium seed pods to a mixture of 1 cup white wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon sugar, and 5 – 8 peppercorns, crushed. Heat the vinegar mixture until boiling and pour over cleaned seed pods in a sterilised jar. Leave in the fridge for 3 months and then enjoy.
24. Starter greenhouse
Make you own starter greenhouse by cutting a 2-litre cool drink bottle in half. Add a damp soil mix to the bottom part and sow your seed, then tape the top half back onto the base. Cover the top with cling film and stab a few air-holes in the plastic. Keep the bottles in a warm spot in filtered sunlight. There should be no need to water the seedlings as there should be enough moisture in the greenhouse. Watch your seedlings grow and then transplant them when they are big enough.
25. Treat the birds
Make your own wild bird treats with just a few items. You will need a pine cone, string, peanut butter and wild bird seed. Use a butter knife to fill the cavities in the pine cone with peanut butter, then roll it in wild bird seed to coat. Attach a piece of string and hang outside in a sheltered spot for the birds to enjoy.
26. Attract ladybirds
Pretty little ladybirds are not as ladylike to common garden pests like aphids, mites and scale, and will devour them in numbers. To keep these helpful creatures in your garden they need insects and pollen in abundance. Plant plants with flat flowers, particularly white or yellow, to attract them. Flowers like calendula, cosmos, dill, feverfew, marigold, statice, alyssum and yarrow are a good start, and then provide shallow plates of water and bug hotels for shelter.
27. Protect your lawn
A perfect green lawn is a thing of beauty in a garden, but we all have problems that need to be dealt with to keep our lawns looking lush and pest-free. Lawn Protector from Makhro Home and Garden conveniently offers 3-in-1 protection for your lawn, making it the perfect product for when you are unsure whether it is insects or fungus damaging your lawn. Makhro’s Lawn Protector consists of two insecticides and a fungicide for complete control over a range of lawn pests, like brown patch, dollar spot, lawn caterpillars and mole crickets. Deal with most lawn pests in one shot. www.makhro.co.za
28. Use old socks
Make use of old unmatched socks. Cut off the feet and slip the uppers over your wrists to protect your arms from small cuts when you work around or prune thorny plants like roses and berries.
29. Award-winning local
One of the Cape’s pretty small trees or shrubs, Sparrmannia africana, has made it big in Europe and the USA, where it is grown as a popular indoor plant. It has even received a Garden Merit Award from the Royal Horticultural Society. At home, this lush, leafy plant with pretty white flowers is ideal for a shade garden, does well in pots and indoors in a brightly lit, well-ventilated area. It grows fast in well-draining, well composted soil with a good layer of mulch and needs a moderate amount of water once established.
30. Air plant obsession
They don’t need soil, they come in a variety of shapes, textures and colours, and they are very easy to take care of. Tillandsias are trending, and the best thing is that you can order them online and they get delivered by courier. They make delightful décor items in the home in a brightly lit (not direct sunlight) area. Water 2 – 4 times a week with a mister and feed with a liquid fertiliser once a month.
Create a water well with an ‘olla’ system. Plug the drainage hole of one terracotta pot with a cork, and then glue a second pot to it and bury the result in the soil. Use the drainage hole of the top pot to fill with water. Cover the watering hole with another, smaller, pot. Olla irrigation gets water to the roots of plants for deep watering, is extremely water efficient and prevents excess evaporation and runoff.
32. Become bokashi savvy
Use bokashi for food scraps from the kitchen that cannot go to the compost heap. These include cooked food and dairy products.
33. Super slinky
Use a slinky to grow climbing plants in small spaces.
34. Bountiful beans
Green beans are an easy and prolific crop to grow, and you’ll love the Kirchhoffs ‘Purple Queen’, which has bright purple pods that turn green when cooked. Plant in a sunny, well-composted bed and water regularly. Beans germinate better when two beans are sown together. Just thin out the weaker plant or transplant it. Another tip: the more often you pick, the more beans the plants will produce. www.kirchhoffs.co.za
35. Stake until strong
New trees may need to be staked if you are in a windy area. Place the stake in the hole when you plant the tree so that you don’t damage the roots, and tie the tree to it using soft materials like fabric.
36. Take cuttings
When pruning shrubs, take semi-hardwood cuttings at the same time, to make more plants.
37. Cutworm patrol
Look out for cutworms that feed on juicy seedlings. Grab a torch and patrol in the evening, when they come out and do their damage. They eat the plants off at the base and can do a lot of damage in a short time period. Hand-pick them and drop them into soapy water or use a product specifically formulated for cutworms.
38. Plant up a barrow
Wheelbarrow seen better days? Turn it into a focal point and plant it up with annual colour.
39. Square foot food
Intense vegetable and herb growing in a small space is perfect for new veggie gardeners and those with limited space. You can set up quickly with soil that is perfectly prepared for planting, and it produces high yields despite requiring little ongoing maintenance. Each square can hold up to 16 small veg, like carrots, down to one large veg, like a cabbage.
40. Space fillers
Fill large pots halfway with empty bottles to minimise the amount of potting soil needed.
41. Do I need a focal point?
A focal point can be your best friend in a garden design; a visual exclamation point that stops your focus before it moves smoothly on again into the surrounding garden. It can be used to hide or distract and grab attention, and it can be a plant, object or container that has instant appeal, like this bromeliad. When looking at your garden ask yourself the question: Do I need a focal point?
42. Climbers for seclusion
Plant climbers on trellises: they will form a natural green wall, creating seclusion from the neighbours and road noise.
43. Smart watering
Look out for smart watering systems for your potted plants, like these Plantwell watering bulbs. They will get water and water-soluble fertilisers to the plant roots
44. Plant a beanstalk, Jack
For those impatient to grow something, try sowing beans straight into prepared rows. They like fertile, well-draining soil, water and the occasional dose of foliar feed, and in return they produce loads of podded greens that are crunchy and delicious.
45. Foxglove colour
Make haste to your nearest garden centre to hunt for foxgloves with large and scented flower spikes already in bloom in colour bags. These flowering plants are perfect for cottage gardens and woodland planting in the dappled shade of trees. This will instantly add a sense of spring to your garden.
46. Versatile storage
As we head towards summer, it’s time to rethink storage for outdoor items for pools and patios. Keter has a range of versatile storage units that are durable and fully weather-resistant. These storage units offer unique features, like the Store-it-Out Prime, which opens from the front or the top with built-in shelf supports; the Eden Bench Box, which doubles as a bench as well as a storage unit, and the Westwood Deck Box, with its wood-look panels and dual functions of extra seating and storage. For more info and stockists visit www.za.keter.com
47. Soil for hanging baskets
Hanging baskets are very contained spaces for robust flowering plants. They also dry out extremely fast, and can be very heavy once filled with soil and planted up. You can overcome all of these challenges with a light, water-retentive and nourishing soil mix. Mix together:
- 1 x 5L bucket of best-quality all-purpose potting soil
- 1L of coconut husk (palm peat)
- 1 handful of bonemeal
- 2 handfuls EXL Gel water-retention product (pre-mixed).
48. Create wind tunnels
To discourage moles, sink a line of old glass bottles into the soil with a few centimetres of neck exposed where they are active. The weird whistling sound of wind blowing across their tops disrupt their sensitive hearing and hinders their ability to find prey. Noisy little toy windmills pushed into the soil will also drive them away with their vibrations.
49. One for all and all for one
The musketeer’s motto means acting together with an unstoppable force. That is what Makhro Home and Garden’s 1-forAll Multipurpose Fertiliser does for your garden. This carbon-enriched multipurpose fertiliser is suitable for all garden plants. It contains 12 highly soluble nutrients for complete and balanced plant nutrition. 1-for-All reduces leaching of nutrients, buffers harmful elements and nourishes micro-organisms to promote healthy soil conditions. And as we all know, a healthy garden starts from the ground up. www.makhro.co.za
50. Bring your rose garden indoors
When cutting blooms for fragrance, it’s important to cut blooms when they are already starting to open, when heat, alcohols and oils have begun to alchemise to form scent. This is often evident when the centre of the bloom opens ever so slightly. Blooms in tight bud have not yet formed any oils or alcohols, which is why many store-bought blooms seem non-fragrant. For exquisite blooms delivered to your door, visit www.cosmafolia.co.za
51. Perfect for sun
Fill sun-drenched spaces with indigenous gazanias, which are in flower and available in seedling trays now. New hybrids of these spectacular plants appear every year with huge flowers in stunning colour ranges.
52. Suspend your strawberries
Plant your strawberries in hanging baskets and there will be no need to ridge up garden beds or worry about the fruit rotting on the soil. They will cascade over the edge for easy and quick picking. Make sure you fill the basket with a rich, well-draining potting soil and hang it in a sunny spot.
53. Potted design
Start small with container planting and try to keep pots that are made of similar materials together. This will maintain uniformity in your container garden.
54. Check for borers
In warmer weather, keep an eye out for invasions of lily borers in plants like clivias, arums and agapanthus, which can cause huge damage and even kill off the plants. As they feed, the yellow-and-black-striped larvae tunnel deep into the centres of the plants. Holes and prominent tunnel marks in the leaves are an indication of their presence. Catch them by hand and kill them or use a contact insecticide. This pest usually causes damage from September to April.
55. Away with ants
Cinnamon powder acts as a deterrent for ants. Shake it liberally on black ant trails coming into your house.
56. Rock your garden
Use Bio Rock for the successful planting of vegetables, flowers, fruit, trees and plants. Atlantic Bio Rock is a unique blend of the highest quality organic fertiliser, enriched with sedimentary soft rock phosphate and contains high levels of calcium for faster, healthier plant growth. It is used extensively by professional growers and horticulturists. Bonus: This product contains NO added bone meal or any other animal remains. This means your dogs will not dig up your plants! www.atlanticfertilisers.co.za
57. Store bulbs for next year
Allow winter bulbs that have completed flowering to completely die back before lifting them. The green leaves need to die back to allow the much-needed nutrients for the following season to return to the bulb. Once lifted, store the bulbs in a labelled brown paper bag in a cool dark cupboard and, most importantly, remember where you have stored them.
58. Old ladder lying around?
Lay an old wooden ladder flat on the ground and fill the spaces between the steps with soil to create slightly raised beds – perfect for herbs or different lettuce varieties.
59. Sharpen up
Your secateurs are going to be working hard soon. Give them a good clean, check the blades and, if necessary, sharpen them using a sharpening stone. If the blades are beyond help, order a new set.
60. A little spring dynamite!
Hebe ‘Sunset Boulevard’ flowers heavily with bright purple and pink sprays from spring to summer. This plant, and all the many other flowering veronica varieties, are irresistible to butterflies. It grows into a beautiful bright green sphere of about 80cm high and wide. ‘Sunset Boulevard’ likes full sun and moist but well-drained soil. It is a perfect container plant for patios or balconies, and great for small gardens.
61. Daisy days ahead
Argyranthemum (daisy bushes) are enjoyed for a profusion of flowers on evergreen shrubs. They are in bloom with repeated flower flushes from early spring until late autumn if regularly pruned and fed. The Argyranthemum ‘Madeira’ range grow no bigger than 50 x 50cm and form flower smothered rounds that are perfect for mass or container planting. Colours range from white to dark pink, purplish pink with bright yellow eyes, red, and yellow. Flowers can be single, double or densely crested.
62. Hide the unsightly
A quick spring tweak to hide less attractive areas or ugly utilities is to fit screens in the form of sturdy trellis panels, which can be covered with pretty climbers. Fast-growing screening hedge plants can be another option. The main object is to camouflage what you cannot fix immediately.
63. You CAN service your own lawnmower
Send your lawnmower for a service or do it yourself. As we come out of winter and the grass starts growing, make sure you are ready. It’s mainly an air filter change, oil change and blade check.
64. Use tongs
Use old long-handled cooking tongs to pick up slugs and snails to dispose of in hot soapy water. Tongs are also handy tools to use when repotting cacti.
65. Sowing savvy
Seed cover (the soil you place on seeds when sowing) is one of the key elements of germination success. Bury seeds to a maximum of three times their diameter, and be sure to keep them moist or the germination process will stop. The tiniest seeds need only be shaken across soil and gently patted into place. To disperse small seeds easily, mix them with mealie meal or fine river sand. A gentle watering with a fine spray will secure them.
66. Light it up
Add atmosphere to the garden with low path lights.
67. Best of blues
Evolvulus ‘Blue My Mind’ will truly blow your mind with its true blue, consistent flowering. It is perfect to use as a groundcover in the garden or in containers, where it will form a mounding mat of blue flowers and silvery green leaves. It loves hot weather and will perform best in a full-sun position.
68. Preventing destructive insects
Complete 350SC Garden Insecticide from Protek is a systemic insecticide with long-lasting action for the control of sucking and biting insects such as aphids, leaf miner, psylla on citrus trees, whitefly on tomatoes, red scale and thrips. This product is used as a seasonal application applied to the root area of the plant as a preventative control. It has a strong concentration of the active ingredient, imidacloprid. Always follow the instructions carefully before applying. Reg. No. L7959 Act No. 36 of 1947. www.proteksa.co.za
69. Watering stations
Turn the lid of an old rubbish bin or large pot saucers you are not using anymore into watering stations for garden critters. Bury them in the ground up to the rim (the rubbish bin lid should be upside down). Place some smooth pebbles inside (for the critters to sit on) and keep it filled with water.
70. Super savers
Save seeds from this season’s winter annuals like bokbaaivygies, African daisies and primulas.
71. Primp a patchy lawn
Get rid of those dead patches of lawn after the cold winter by sowing lawn seed. The method is simple, whether it’s for shade, sun or high-traffic areas. Lawn seed for shade can also be used under trees or below the eaves of the house.
72. Rosemary likes green
An old-fashioned tip to get rosemary cuttings to root easily is to start them in green glass bottles or jars filled with water. For some or other reason, they will show roots within a few weeks. They can then be planted into soil to become strong and healthy plants.
73. Walk this way
Use scented climbers to frame a walkway.
74. A spring boost indoors
Not all houseplants need to be long-term commitments. Browse your favourite nursery now for the most seasonal and sensational plants in flower in colour bags, pots or seedling trays. Line a nice basket with plastic and fill it with a clutch of flowering plants in their original containers – if needed, you can transplant some into smaller pots. Disguise the ‘mechanics’ with a layer of moss and use this creation for a windowsill or table display. After about ten days indoors, you can plant them outdoors. You can use primulas, dianthus, nemesias, pansies, snapdragons, bacopas, nasturtiums or aquilegias, but anything else is a go too!
75. Pesto snack
If you make your own pesto from your garden herbs and want to give guests a quick and easy snack, unroll a roll of shop bought puff pastry onto a baking tray. Smother it with a layer of pesto, then add a few black olives, blocks of feta cheese and halved cherry tomatoes. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and pop it into a hot oven for a while until cooked. Cut it up into squares and dish out.
76. Invest in a plant propagator
If your seed-germination results are erratic, it’s time to invest in a propagator. Seeds or cuttings can be protected from the elements no matter the time of the year, and success is much more of a certainty. A propagator acts as a mini greenhouse, keeping humidity up and creating a little ecosystem for the benefit of young plants and seed.
77. Look out for bromeliad babies
Look out for pups on bromeliads, neoregelias and vrieseas in the garden – most of them should have produced a new baby during the colder months. Only remove the pup from the mother plant once the pup is at least half the height of the mother plant. When the time is right, remove it using a sterilised sharp knife as close to the mother plant’s stem as possible.
78. At peace with moles
Moles are often blamed for garden problems, but these insectivores can eliminate thousands of grubs and insects you might not want around, weekly. They also aerate the soil with their tunnelling. Harvest some of the rich, crumbly soil from their mounds to use in raised beds or in potting mixes.
79. Healthy blueberries
Healthy blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum) are easy to grow and are generally not troubled by pests or diseases. They should be planted now in an open sunny position where they will grow to approximately 1.5m in height and have a 1 – 2m spread. They enjoy a moist and acidic soil, so ensure that you mulch them well with pine bark. Regular water and organic feeding will lead to good yields.
80. Sow merry flowers
Start direct sowing to create a meadow or bed filled with pretty flowers to wander through, to pick and to enjoy. All you have to do is to prepare the soil well with compost and bonemeal, and to follow the instructions on the back of the packet of each type of seed. The soil should never dry out after sowing. If necessary, give a light sprinkling of water twice a day. As soon as germination is completed and the first true leaves show, you can give less water. You can sow these seeds now: cornflowers, godetias (satin flower), cleomes (spider flowers), sunflowers, love-in-a-mist and zinnias.
81. Propagate pups
Remove pups from potted agaves. Slide a sharp knife down the side of the pot, then work the blade inwards towards the main plant. You will feel once you have made contact with the stem. Cut it as far down as possible, and use braai tongs to grab hold of the pup to remove it without getting pricked. Plant young pups into 20cm pots filled with potting soil and a few handfuls of coarse grit (this can be in the form of gravel, koi gravel or sifted river sand). Water well.
82. Maintain garden floors
Refresh, top-up or replace pebbles and gravel around the garden – especially between paving stones where dust and mud accumulate to spoil the effect and loosen them. Check for algae and moss on the paving, which can make it slippery. Scrub down with a solution of copper sulphate or use a moss killer.
83. Make it last
If you are purchasing any new garden tools for the season, remember to enhance longevity and keep them rust-free by applying a thin coat of silicone spray to the blades and mechanisms. The spray is available from your local hardware store and it also has 101 other uses in and around the home.
84. Add a new element
One of the joys of active gardening is to plan for something new after every winter – it could be something like an overflowing pot fountain or some other water feature. Since splashy or open water elements are frowned upon nowadays (they are seen as water wasters), the overflowing pot fountain is a trendy option. The water does not go to waste as it falls into a covered underground sump to be recycled.
85. Check for bullet-holes
Check aloes for snout-beetle infestation. If you find 1 – 2mm ‘bullet-holes’ on the leaf surface, it may be a sign. The edges of the holes are normally calloused and dark brown to black in colour. Treat the soil with a systemic insecticide according to the height of the plant.
86. Pretty companions between roses
Scabiosa columbaria ‘Butterfly Blue’ (cornflower): From dense mounds of grey-green foliage, many lavender-blue pincushion flowers on slender stems appear in spring.
87. Succulent strings
Trailing succulents to grow as houseplants are all the rage now. Look out for Curio radicans (string-of-bananas) – an indigenous succulent groundcover that will cascade lushly over the sides of a container. The leaves are small and spindle-like with claw-like tips and a translucent strip along the side. Equally cute is Curio rowleyanus (string-of-pearls), which produces long stems with round, beady leaves resembling small peas, with a sharp point and a translucent darker green strip down the side. Keep these plants in bright light indoors, or morning sun and afternoon shade outdoors. Water only when the soil feels dry.
88. Handy for twine
Transform an old watering can into a twine dispenser. Remove the watering head, place a ball of twine inside, and draw the twine through the spout. Tie a pair of scissors to the handle and you are now ready to go and tie down any wayward growth.
89. Medley of micros
Take leftover half packets of veggie or herb seeds and mix them together to make your own microgreen mix. Sow seeds into a tray filled with palm peat, cover with a thin layer of vermiculite and keep well-watered until germination takes place. Remember to eat shoots when still young to get the best flavour and maximum nutrient boost.
90. Comfrey your compost
If you have a compost heap or bin, then you simply have to have a comfrey plant or two. Periodically adding the green comfrey leaves to the compost pile gives it a boost of nitrogen that aids in breaking down organic material more quickly. The result: faster compost with very little input.
91. Feed to flourish
Plant your fruits, veggies, berries, shrubs and flowers with Vita Grow 2:3:2 (16) to develop good, strong roots and give your plants energy and vigour. Use Talborne Seedling Food 6:2:5 (13) to give your spring colour seedlings the best blooming boost and reap beautiful rewards all season long. Feed with Talborne Nourish, Liquid Organic Plant Food where plants are in stress to help them flourish. www.talborne.co.za
92. Happy houseplants
Inspect all house plants and identify those that are needing a transplant. These are signs that the pot no longer fits the plant (or even the other way around): yellowing leaves, the plant drying out after 2 – 3 days, or roots visible above the soil or through the pot’s drainage holes.
93. Plant some flowering roots
If you are looking for some dainty white flowering plants for the back of perennial beds and don’t know what to plant, then try a carrot or two. Carrots belong to the Apiaceae family of plants, which all produce the most spectacular large flat heads of dainty white clusters of flowers. Plant them and prepare to be amazed.
94. Super salvias
Prune leggy and woody salvias. By the end of winter these semi-hardwood perennials have had a rather rough time. Give them a good rejuvenating pruning by removing at least two thirds of the existing sticky growth. Make the cut above a node or swelling bud and follow through with a decent application of organic fertiliser around the base of the plant.
95. Make happy friends
Ensure your garden has a variety of Westerman’s bird seed and suet available to attract a wide variety of birds this spring. Make your garden a singing haven with birds flocking to your garden to get some yummy Westerman’s Wild Bird Seed. www.valemount.co.za
96. Use old to make new
Be on the lookout for old fencing, gates, and tools, and turn them into treasures and snappy décor in the garden.
97. “Garden as though you will live forever.” – Thomas Moore
98. Pooch pathway
Remember that pets also need a special place in the garden just for them. Instead of trying barriers, embrace your dog’s naturally made pathway and garden around it.
99. Don’t waste
Almost every gardener has one or two half-empty bags of fertiliser lying around. Add the leftovers of all chemical fertilisers together and place them in a sealable tub or bin. Use this to give established shrubs a boost (they are more tolerant to high rations of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus). Remember to water the plant thoroughly after application and avoid contact of the fertiliser with the stem of the plant.
100. Thinning out
Overexuberant sowing of seeds leads to a thick mob of seedlings, and if they aren’t thinned out, none of them will thrive. As pulling out seedlings can uplift the survivors, use small scissors to cut off the surplus at soil level.
101. Yarrow rules
If you have not lifted and divided yarrow in a few years, then the signs are more than likely there that you need to get this done. Lift clumps with a garden fork, split the plant into clusters of 2 – 3 stems, remove excess roots below the main root structure, cut the foliage back by two thirds and replant into a well-composted soil.