As your garden grows throughout the season there are many things to do to keep us busy and make sure that we give our plants the best chance at success.
Growing from seed, you will need to take care of your plants as they grow from seedlings into productive flowers, fruits and vegetables, so here are some tips to help.
Each time you cultivate, sow and water your packet seeds, everything in the soil is given the ideal conditions to germinate as well. We often are asked ‘’how did weeds grow in exactly the same place where I’ve sown my seeds?’’ and this is why. Weeds are a result of your soil practices, and are excellent at covering over freshly cultivated soil, especially when you are regularly watering and caring for the soil. This can do a couple things; it can smother your sown seeds and shade them, which means they don’t grow; or it could mean that you have to play detective to find out which are friends, and which are foe.
To help identify which seedlings are the ones to keep, each packet of Mr Fothergill’s seeds shows an image of the seedling to look out for on the back of the packet. This way, when you’re controlling the weeds in your patch, you’re able to keep the plants you’ve sown, and get rid of those you didn’t. Once you have cleared the patch of weeds, apply mulch to help keep them down. Try to keep on top of the weeds that are popping up before they go to flower to avoid more spreading throughout your patch. It is also a good idea to keep the rest of the yard free of weeds to avoid weed seeds flying into your patch from other areas.
Controlling water in your garden can be a bit of a challenge, especially when the weather can turn and dry everything out one day and drown it all the next. A great way to ensure your soil is retaining and absorbing water well is to make sure you add organic matter such as mulch, compost and green waste. In hot, dry weather, organic matter in the soil and mulch can help retain water and keep the soil from both drying out, compacting and from getting too hot. Mulching and composting will also help increase the time between watering.
If it pours, organic matter in the soil can also help keep the surface from becoming water resistant and flooding. Planting in mounds can also help keep the plant stems and seedlings high and dry while the low points allow the roots access to water without getting too soggy. If your garden gets too wet and boggy, try aerating the soil using a sinking bar or garden fork and stabbing holes into the soil to help the water escape underground. You can also incorporate a drainage plan into your garden to help divert large quantities of water away from your garden beds.
Although most plants will happily grow without the need for any real intervention, some crops will perform a lot better with a little help and maintenance. Pruning, deadheading, staking, composting, mulching and training are all ways we can provide the best chance for our gardens to flourish. Here are a few pointers on general plant maintenance.
It can be really rewarding to see a flower blooming after waiting for it to grow, but did you know that removing the spent blooms will encourage more flowers to bloom? By removing any spent of dead flower heads, the plant will put more energy into producing another lot of flowers for you. To get your flowers to produce more blooms, wait for the plant to start showing buds, then feed with a high potassium (K) feed. This is the same for fruiting vegetables to produce more flowers and therefore more fruit.
Staking and Support
There are a few plants which require support as they grow whether it is a climbing plant, tall and top-heavy or just needs a bit of help staying upright. Some of the plants which you can/should provide support for include:
- Sweet peas
Depending on the space and situation in your garden, you can use cages, stakes, mesh, wire or even string to help support your growing plants. If you’re unsure you can always read the Mr Fothergill’s seed packet to see if you need to support that particular variety.
If you aren’t sure what to plant with which varieties in your garden, there a few popular plant pairings that will keep your garden happy and healthy. Some of the best companion plants that we recommend include:
If you want to keep the pests away in your spring garden, try planting marigolds in any gaps around your garden. These popular companion plants repel nasty bugs from eating your garden, and they produce bright and showy blooms all season. They have also been known to repel mosquitoes!
Nasturtiums are a great companion plant with squash and pumpkins. They attract pollinators to your garden which will make sure your pumpkin flowers are pollinated and therefore produce fruit. They also are rumoured to increase the flavour in pumpkins too.
Basil has an aroma that we know and love, but many insects don’t. Plant basil with your vegetables to repel hungry insects from your crop and harvest yourself some delicious basil leaves all season as well!
Onions are a great autumn veggie to plant with your carrots, beetroot, silverbeet, lettuce and chamomile. The onion odour repels insects and helps protect your veggies. They also improve the flavour of your chamomile.
For more great pairings, gardening information, tips and advice, visit our blog at mrfothergills.com.au and if you ever have any questions about our products, send us a message and we’ll get right back to you!
This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with Mr. Fothergill’s.