Now's the season to grow for it

TIME TO PLANT: Chelsea Van Rijn of Trevallan Lifestyle Centre with some of the plants that flourish in the temperate spring climate.
TIME TO PLANT: Chelsea Van Rijn of Trevallan Lifestyle Centre with some of the plants that flourish in the temperate spring climate. Claudia Baxter

IF you’re a grow-your-own type, then gardening expert Chelsea Van Rijn recommends you get cracking on that vegie patch.

The beginning of spring – when the weather is warm but not stifling – is the ideal time to plant a wide variety of fruit, vegetables and flowers.

Ms Van Rijn, who operates the Trevallan Lifestyle Centre at Brassall, said cucumbers, beetroot, corn, zucchini, pumpkins, tomatoes, squash and watermelons should all thrive in Ipswich soil at this time of year.

“Lettuces will always grow and pretty much any herbs will grow,” she said.

“First off, no matter what you’re planting, make sure you compost and fertilise your gardens.

“If you’re just starting off, get a really good compost in and work it into the soil.

“Mulch is the best thing to do before coming into summer time – it saves a lot of water.”

Sugar cane mulch is recommended for vegies as it can easily be worked into the soil, meaning you won’t have to pull it out of the way before harvesting.

“With compost you can make your own, and mushroom compost is also fine,” Ms Van Rijn said.

“You can get composted manure from sheep, cows and chooks. Dog poo won’t work as well because they eat meat.”

Ms Van Rijn said the best compost contained a mixture of manure and vegetable scraps.

For those looking to beautify their back yards this spring, pretty much any flowering plant will thrive at this time of year.

Even plants that wouldn’t normally flower at this time of year can be planted and established before they come into their fruit and flower period in the middle of summer.

Vegetables will need about twice as much watering as flowers in the middle of summer, although with forecasters predicting a wet, late spring-summer, nature might do the majority of the work for us.

A La Nina weather event has established itself in the Pacific Ocean, pointing to above-average rainfall.


Spring tips

Most vegetables and flowers will thrive

Use compost with a mixture of manure and vegetable scraps

Mulch will help soil retain moisture

Use plenty of fertiliser

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