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Lynda's Fact Sheet: Spring Vege Garden Tips

Good Morning on TV ONE and TVNZ OnDemand.

It's time to get stuck into the vege garden!

The soil is warming up - evidenced by the speedy growth of weeds - so it's time to start planting up a storm... 

1. Keep planting potatoes. Get your seed spuds in the soil, or in containers.

2. Sow and plant brassicas: this is the plant family that includes cauliflowers, broccoli, kale and cabbages. They can be sown direct, or planted out from punnets. They are frost-hardy so a late frost won't hurt them, and they'll grow quickly from now on. Watch out for white cabbage butterflies - I saw my first one this week. Protect your seedlings with insect mesh or a caterpillar specific spray.

3. Get all your salad greens on the go, from lettuce to rocket. Plant them in tubs if your soil is still very waterlogged from winter rain.

4. Hold fire on beans, unless you have a tunnelhouse or glasshouse or you want to start a crop of dwarf beans under a plastic cloche. Generally, I know it's the right time to sow beans when my perennial 'Scarlet Runners' come up again.

5. It's still too early to plant tomatoes - give it another fortnight - however you can buy your tomato plants now and "harden them off". Because they will have been grown in glasshouses and kept under cover in garden centres, they will be quite tender. And this also applies to plants you have raised yourself from seed. So take them out during the day, but bring them back under cover at night for the next week or so, just to toughen them up a little.

6. Don't forget that September is National Bee Month, so plant some flowers in your vege patch to keep the bees happy, or sow wildflower seeds in an empty bed and let that be just for the bees this summer.


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 Let's talk about getting your garden on track for spring: 

* Primulas - these flowers are great for the shady spots under deciduous trees. They'll flower right through until spring.


* Wallflowers - one of my grandmother's favourites, these perennials bloom right through until summer and the old types have gorgeous fragrance too


* Polyanthus - easy in the ground or in pots, flowering from early winter until late spring.


* Pansies - great for shallow bowls on steps; the flowers are also edible.