In collaboration with Yarra Valley Water we bring you tips for your spring garden. Want to get out in the spring sunshine? Now’s the time to make the most of your environment.
We hope everyone is safe and taking in some welcome sunshine as we have with our partners Yarra Valley Water. With Spring now well and truly flourishing it’s time to consider some healthy tips to get your natural landscape ready for the late Spring and Summer heat.
How are you saving water?
With the weather starting to heat up it’s time to think about turning our irrigation back on, at least to test our lines. Before setting up the controller it’s a good idea to flush & do a thorough check. Making sure the tap is turned on, run the irrigation and leave the flush valve open – allowing all the particles that may have settled to flow out. Whilst the irrigation is running you can check on the lines by listening in for any irregularities or noticing any leaks. A good starting point may be to have your irrigation running for 2-3 days, at least before the extreme summer sun kicks in.
Have you considered the use of a drip irrigation system with a smart controller?
When placed correctly (underneath mulch and on top of soil) drip irrigation can be an incredibly efficient way of watering your plants. The advantage of drip irrigation over sprinklers is that there is little water loss due to evaporation and runoff.
A few helpful tips to remember before installing your system:
1. Determine the flow rate of your water supply. You can then apply this across each zone to ensure they fall within the property’s flow rate.
2. Group plants with similar water requirements together as they’ll be receiving the same amount of water as each other on the drip system, this process is referred to as Hydro-zoning.
3. Space each line of irrigation 30cm apart, that way you can ensure the water is displaced evenly and there isn’t one area of the garden that is receiving an uneven amount.
4. Attach a filter to prevent small waterborne particles building up and clogging the emitters, it’s also a good idea to have a flush valve at the end of the line.
5. Use a Smart controller. Advancements in technology have meant that controllers can now adjust every day based on rainfall, temperature, wind and evaporation which could drastically reduce your water bill.
Want to know how to manage your natives leading into Spring?
When considering what natives to select for your garden you need to decide how much time you’re willing to spend maintaining it. It’s a bit of a myth that natives don’t require much attention but the truth is that many of them respond well to pruning which helps keep them tight and compact and not leggy. Grasses such as Poa and Lomandra are best left alone for years but shrubs like Grevillea, Callistemon and Correa respond best to a prune after they have finished flowering. A good time to do this is early spring and if you’re unsure of how much to take off you can do up to a third. After pruning it’s a good time to fertilise, you should avoid using anything high in phosphorus so a specific native mix is preferred. With consideration to climate, you should try to select natives that grow in a similar one to yours, that way you can rely more on rainfall to care for the plants and less on your watering systems.
Ever wondered what to plant to make the most of spring?
Spring is a good time to plant fruit trees so why not consider a native? Citrus australasica, more commonly known as Finger Lime, can be found growing in the wild in Northern NSW & QLD. They are tolerant of dabbled light as well as full sun, making them a fine choice for Melbourne. A partly shaded North facing garden would be ideal. The fruit is delicious in drinks, desserts & chutneys and they make great pot plants.
If you’re looking for a small sized Native feature tree that requires little to no extra water once established, it’s hard to look beyond a Corymbia ficifolia (Mini flowering Gum). When they flower in late spring – summer they get a coverage of bright red flowers attracting many different nectar eating birds.
For something a bit smaller, Bracteantha (Everlasting Daisy) are perfect for adding bursts of colour to your garden. At their best when planted around rockeries or mixed in with other wildflowers.
Aulax cancellata (Bronze haze) A favourite at PW, it goes from a deep bronze colour in winter to developing bright yellow & orange flowers in spring and summer. An ideal choice when considering a water wise garden as they require very little.
Plant images left: Pomaderris paniculosa & Poa labillardierei, Corymbia ficifolia, Bracteantha, Aulax cancellata.
Images by Tatiana Gerus & Amelia Stanwix.
Ever wondered what veggies to plant in Spring?
It’s that time of the year for planting things that don’t cope so well with the winter frosts. You can begin by starting to harvest the end of your current crops, then turn & feed the soil when it’s free to do so. Cow, sheep & chicken manure as well as mushroom compost are all suitable, if unavailable, dynamic lifter & blood & bone are available at all garden supply stores. The following are some of the favorites that can be planted in Spring but remember to reserve your Melbourne Cup weekend for planting your tomatoes.
Basil, beetroot, bok choy, broccoli, capsicum, chilli, eggplant, kale, rocket, tomato, zucchini.
Final watering tip
Remember to keep an eye on the forecast, Spring can produce a substantial amount of rainfall so we may not have to call upon our watering systems just yet. The later we can hold off on that gives us the best opportunity to remain under our target of 155L per household per day and can keep those tanks full until summer when we know we’ll be needing it.
Start well and healthy people, happy gardening!
We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which we work and live, and we pay respect to elders past, present and emerging.