Whether you are completely new to gardening or a green thumb from way back, you'll find a lot of useful info here in our Gardening Advice section.
Start with our monthly gardening guide where you'll find seasonal tips for all the things you need to do this month, next month and beyond.
If you're looking for help on a specific topic, try the Gardening Information section and if you don't find what you're after please contact us. We're more than happy to help.
Garden Guide for AprilAutumn is well and truly here. The generally mild weather makes it a great time of the year for gardening. The days are shortening with increasing speed. The leaves of deciduous trees are starting to show signs of changing colour. Some of the spectacular ones to watch for are liquidambar, claret ash, maples and the ginkgo. Enjoy the glorious autumn colours as many deciduous trees prepare for winter dormancy.
The Edible Garden
Harvest time for figs, pears, blueberries, Chilean guava, apples and also for feijoas, get busy stewing, preserving, making feijoa cakes or just eat them fresh to use the plentiful harvest. Good time also for stewing apples, mixing them with feijoas is a tasty option.April
Blueberries are a much enjoyed fruit. The fruit ripens between December and April. Though often an expensive fruit to buy, as garden plants they are easy to grow and crop well in the home garden. The plants themselves are quite decorative. For maximum cropping potential plant two different varieties.March, April, May
Time to plant citrus; citrus fruit grows well around Whanganui and can also be grown successfully in large pots. They are generally easy plants to grow requiring little or no pruning they usually do not succumb to insect pests therefore do not need regular spraying.
Time to do a health check up on your citrus. At this time of year they should be laden with fruit which will ripen through the winter months. As the plants energy reserves go into the fruit development the leaves often turn yellow at this time of the year. It is recommended to fertilise citrus trees, including lemons, limes, mandarin’s etc with ‘Tui Citrus Food’ at this time. Additional to the citrus fertiliser a side dress of Epsom salts is also highly beneficial. A healthy well fed plant will not only provide a better harvest but will also be far more resilient against pest and disease attack.
Fertilise lemon trees and other citrus now using ‘Tui Citrus Fertiliser’, this will help with fruit development and the general health of the tree.April, May
Time to plant garlic. Seed bulbs are in stock now in the garden centre. Pull off the individual cloves (there's no need to peel them) and plant 10-15cm apart and 5cm deep. Plant garlic bulbs in free-draining, moist but never waterlogged soil with the pointy ends facing up. To try some thing different grow some elephant garlic, they are sold as individual cloves that will grow to form huge bulbs.
Green Crops - Natural soil Maintenance
If you do not intend to plant a winter vegetable garden then consider sowing a green manure crop, rather than letting your vegetable garden area be invaded with weeds.
A green crop is the growing of a crop that will be dug back into the soil. It is a natural method of soil maintenance, when dug into the soil and it will boost and replace lost nutrients. This will also encourage earthworms and other beneficial micro organisms to your garden. There are three main varieties of seed commonly used as green manure crops; blue lupins, barley and oats and mustard. This is a good use of an area of ground, not needed for winter vegetable growing, rather than allowing weeds to take over.
Harvest time for feijoas, the fruit is ripe when it falls on the ground. If you want to grow feijoas then planting two or more will increase pollination and fruiting. A clever method is to plant different varieties with timing of harvest of early, mid and late, this will give you a fruit harvest from mid-March to late May.March, April, May
Pick the last of your tomatoes
Pick the balance of remaining tomato crops as the autumn temperatures have suddenly become cooler. Green fruit can be picked & ripened indoors or pickled, chutney, relish etc.April
Plant lettuce varieties in pots or the garden in a sheltered situation where heavy frost will not cause heads to rot, try coloured fancy varieties in pots for edible colour!April, May
Preparing the site for a new vegetable garden
Vacant ground can be dug over and fertiliser and/or compost added to it. This is the best time to add lime to the soil in your vegetable garden. If you garden on heavy clay soil the lime helps to combine with the very fine particles of clay soil to form into larger particles that are more easily cultivated.April, May
Sow broad beans
Broad beans are a cool season crop and it is time to sow them now, with a second sowing in June or July as a successive crop. They are normally ready for eating in 16 weeks. They are best grown in full sun in well dug soil and sheltered from the wind.
We highly recommend the ‘Chefs Best Ican Broad Bean’ called Mr Green Seed. It will produce a great crop of beans that look good and taste good. Mr Green Seed produces beans that remain green after cooking. Rich in minerals, vitamins A & C, and dietary fibre. Broad beans sown now will give you heavy crops of delicious beans in late winter and spring.April, May
With a bit of forward planning you could have a nice crop of winter vegetables to harvest during the cold months. Planting these vegetables now will get the vegetables as close to maturity as possible before winter really sets in.
Plant out silverbeet, spinach, cabbages, cauliflower, broccoli, broccoflower, spring onions, brussel sprouts, beetroot, celery, lettuce & and pak-choi. At this stage of the year with the lead up to winter shortening, seedlings are best planting choice.
However sugar snap peas, carrots, swede, turnip, and raddish are best sown as seeds. Plant these seeds directly in the garden.
If you have an unused bean frame consider growing sugar snap peas which can be eaten pod and all. These do well during the winter months and are easy to grow. A top pea variety is Pea—Magic, It is part of the ‘Chefs Best Ican’ range and produces dark green pods on vigorous high yielding plants. It boasts a good resistance to fusarium and powdery mildew which means you keep on picking till the last pod is produced.March, April, May
Best time to plant a tree
Autumn is the best time of year to be making plantings of trees and shrubs so that they can establish good root systems before the dry of next summer. They often make far bigger, better and stronger plants, more quickly than those planted in the spring. Why not plant some fruit trees? Home grown fruit tastes better and is alot fresher.March, April, May
Great time to make compost! Gather up falling leaves, layer the heap to include shrub prunings, grass clippings (not too many), vegetable scraps, garden weeds etc. Be sure not to make any layer excessively thick. This will rot into the most excellent mulch to use in the spring. Add ‘Reln Garden Worm Farm & Compost Conditioner’ or ‘Tui Garden Lime’ to the pile to speed decomposition.April, May, June
Grass grub in lawns
Treat grass grub problems in the lawn at this time of the year. Grass grubs eat the roots of the grass causing the tops to die. This results in brown patches developing in the lawn and birds digging at the surface as they look for the grubs. At this time of the year the grubs are close to the surface and can therefore be effectively controlled. ‘Yates Insect Killer for Lawns’ should be sprinkled over the lawn surface around affected areas prior to or during heavy rain. Alternatively, ‘Yates Complete Lawn Insect Control’ can be connected to the hose and watered onto grass areas.April, May, June
Home made compost is easy with leaves
Collect up autumn leaves when they fall in the coming weeks as they make fantastic compost. Because sometime we need a little help with our compost, you could add ‘Worm Farm & Compost Conditioner’ to the compost heap. Not only will this product help neutralise the acidity created as the organic matter decomposes. This increases the speed of decomposition and promotes increased microbial activity and optimises the conditions for worms.March, April
This is probably the best time of year to start making changes to the design and shape of the garden. It is the ideal time to sow a new lawn as the soil moisture generally increases at this time with increasing rainfall. Also soil temperatures start to decrease which then slows seed germination and will result in a patchy lawn. It is also a great time to renovate & fertilise existing lawns in need of a spruce up. Check out our 'How To Construct, Establish and Maintain Lawns' guide here.April
“The answer lies in the soil” is a well known phrase which is true to the success (or not) we have in the garden. With this in mind it is time to re-invigorate the soil in the vegetable garden. Summer vegetables can often pillage the soil of fertility and break down the structure. Therefore the addition of sheep pellets, compost & fertiliser is highly recommended and will help ensure continued good production from your plot.March, April
In all sections of the garden it’s a busy time for hoeing and pulling out weeds. After rain showers they will grow very rapidly. Regular attention prevents weeds from smothering vegetables, flowers and small shrubsMarch, April, September, October, November
The Flower Garden
Chill your Tulips and Hyacinths
Tulip bulbs should be in store now. To get you bulbs off to a good start, chill your Tulips and hyacinths in the fridge for 4-6 weeks, before planting. This will ensure beautiful blooms. It is better to place the bulbs in a paper bag. A plastic bag may cause the bulbs to sweat and rot.March, April
Fertilise Winter and Spring flowers
Time to fertilise winter and spring flowering and fruiting plants such as citrus, rhododendrons, camellias, daphne, azaleas and others to aid flower developments for spring. Come in store to find the right fertiliser you need.March, April, August, September
Lifting Gladioli Corms
The best time to lift Gladioli is 6-8 weeks after they have finished flowering. Don't wait for the leaves to die back.
If your gladioli suffered from rust, then spray your plants with 'Grosafe Free Flow Copper' before you lift the corms. Leave the plants a few days before you lift the corms.
Trim the leaves off the top of the corm, and remove any soil from the roots. Place the corms and cormlets in a paper bag and store in a warm, airy place for 2 weeks. When thoroughly dried, remove the dried roots. Finally remove a layer or two of the corm, revealing heathly corm underneath. Store your corms in a cool, airy place until spring.
Gladioli are normally planted in the spring and flower from early January to mid-February.April
Lifting Tuberous Begonias
When finished flowering, tuberous begonias can be stored away for next growing season. Click here for more informationMarch, April
Pansies are back!
Its pansy planting time! Pansies are the most popular winter flowering bedding plant. They are suitable for sun or shade, pots and gardens. They are a truly good looking, long flowering versatile plant – check out the wide selection available in stores now.April, May
Time to start thinking roses! New seasons roses varieties will be arriving into the store from the end of May. Roses really are an impressive plant. There are few plants that can boast the growth rate and extent of flowering that a good rose will provide. A rose bush purchased in June or July (that looks like a group of sticks in a pot) will by November will be 60-80cm in height and producing a mass of colourful blooms, most roses (depending on the variety) will repeat flower throughout the summer and well into next Autumn. Prepare the soil for new season rose plantings in preparation for this arrival.
Rose pruning in Whanganui is best left until mid July. Other wise our mild temperatures tend to promote early growth which may be damaged by frosts.
However now is the time to order roses now for winter delivery to ensure you don’t miss.March, April, May, June
Time to purchase spring bulbs. Check out the range in store now; daffodils, hyacinth, grape hyacinth, gladioli nanas, crocus, iris reticulata and more available be in quick for the best selection. Check out our planting guide here.February, March, April
Time to sow Sweet Peas
Now is the time to sow sweet pea seeds for a fragrant and colourful, winter/ spring display. To help germination of the seed, soak the sweet pea seeds in water for several hours, before planting. This well soften the shell of the seed. Plant your seed in a sunny and well drained siteMarch, April, May
Winter flowers to choose
There is a huge range of flowering plants to choose from, to fill up the gaps in your your winter garden. These include
- sweet William
- lobelia (in frost sheltered spots)
to name a few. Plant these flowers to give cheerful colour during the coming months. Come in and check out the range available in the garden centre now.April, May, June, July