Spring Fever

by Mark Evans

Whether you subscribe to the meteorological view that it begins on the first day of the month or to the astronomical view that it begins on the vernal equinox on the 23rd day of the month, September brings us into the season that many consider the beginning of the gardening year, namely spring.

This is our favourite time of the year to get plants into the ground. Planting or re-potting this month means that plants will be ready to get growing as soon as the weather really begins to warm up. We have loads of cuttings taken at the end of last summer that are rooted in pots, so we’ll be taking the opportunity this month to plant them all out and fill in a few gaps in our garden.

Another important September job is to fertilise all your plants, whether they are in pots or in the ground, inside or out. Feed everything you can with an appropriate fertiliser applied to the manufacturer’s specifications and, if you can, double down with a combined tonic of liquid fertiliser and seaweed extract from the watering can to really speed things along. If you love mowing the lawn, now is also a great time to feed that too.

Don’t forget that lush spring growth also appeals to a number of herbivorous insects, so keep an eye out for any infestations of sap-suckers, such as aphids, and leaf-eaters, such as caterpillars, both of which, if they remain unchecked, can reduce a plant’s vigour and weaken it. If caught early, you will have more chance of overcoming any such pesky pesty problems.

Around the town gardens, spring is yet to make a full splash at the time of writing, however some of the Prunus spp. (cherry blossom, plums etc) are beginning to put on a show, as are some of the deciduous magnolia trees and the Jasminum polyanthum (common jasmine). The spectacular flowering vine Pyrostegia venusta (orange trumpet vine) has also been a stand-out these last few weeks.

With 1 September being National Wattle Day, it is nice to see several Acacia species obliging and beginning to light up the greenery with a golden flush in the wild places on the sides of the road around the Triangle. Of particular interest, is the highly-restricted population of the locally endemic Acacia pedina (Bermagui golden wattle), which was only first described in 1999, that is currently putting on a show out in the local State Forest and Nature Reserves around the town.

This month in the vegie garden, the season reopens on sowing for some of our favourite root crops such as beetroot, carrots and swedes, as well as celery. If you are feeling particularly optimistic you could try starting some capsicum/chilli, eggplant or tomato seeds if you can keep them nice and warm under a cold frame or on a heated pad and bring them inside during the evening. Otherwise, continue with the onions, peas, potatoes and silverbeet.

Finally, if you have any comments, gardening questions, plant or pest identification queries, please send them through to gardening@thetriangle.org.au and we will endeavour to help.

Happy growing!