Newcastle Garden Guide by Brian Holt For April
Remember these tips are a guide only. Your individual situation may require professional help.
Usually by Easter we should have more of a nip in the air.
Plants, Veggies and Herbs
Plant new shrubs while the soil is still warm. They will establish roots prior to the heat of next summer. Using Seasol will assist root development and give plants a head start before next summer’s heat.
It’s still possible to get your spring flowering bulbs and annuals in. Use a bit of cow manure when you plant and give regular weekly to fortnightly doses of liquid fertiliser (according to directions) to move them along. Seasol also helps but use a weak solution.
If you like pansies and you haven’t planted them, now is the right time. They revel in the cool and will wilt when summer arrives. Polyanthus will be available in garden centres and are a bright addition to your garden (see a great image of these on my FB page in the album about Hyde Park in Sydney).
The Edible Garden
Add Broccoli, strawberries and celery to the list of cool weather veggies. Broccoli will produce a good crop before the caterpillars eat them if planted now or last month. Prepare some vegetable garden beds in advance for peas or beans next month with dolomite, compost and cow manure.
Continue successive plantings of lettuce and Coriander.
Autumn colour Towards the end of this month the deciduous trees will be giving us a wonderful display. Places like Cook Park in Orange are a treat to visit around Easter. Use fallen leaves as mulch on garden beds or add them to the compost. If you mow over them and collect in the catcher, it will compost faster. Check for lace bug on Azaleas. Later this month, if Chrysanthemums are your thing, feed them with liquid fertiliser to promote good results in May.
Lawns will be slowing down. Remember to mow higher so lawns have goodness to draw on and so the grass can effectively photosynthesize. If it is still warm you may get away with a late fertilising, but not once that cold snap comes. You can sow Bent seeds to couch lawns in order to have a green lawn in winter.
Towards the end of this month you may wish to lightly prune Crepe Myrtles. I let mine grow rather than restricting them with heavy pruning.
Mulch is still a good idea if you haven’t topped it up yet. But make sure you deal with weeds beforehand.
Watch your gardens and potted plants carefully. Test moisture levels by opening up the soil with your trowel and inspecting, or just put your pinky (finger) in. Just because its cooler doesn’t mean things can’t dry out. If it becomes really cool, don’t saturate soils just prior to evening.