Autumn Garden Chores for New Zealand Homes

Your Autumn Garden Chore List...

  • At the end of summer, gardens can look a little scrappy. Try boosting things with some fertiliser, sheep pellets and compost. You may be able to encourage some liveliness and new flowers.
  • Dead-head to help keep things neat and encourage new growth. Might as well give shrubs, climbers and hedges a good cut back while you’re at it.
  • You could perk everything up with some seedlings of late blooming annuals such as zinnia, calendula, marigold, pansy, polyanthus, poppy, stock, sunflowers and viola.
  • Fungal diseases like powdery mildew thrive in the warm days and cool nights of March/April. Look out for it and treat it early. Dividing clumps can increase airflow and might help to keep powdery mildew at bay.
  • Don’t forget the ‘M’ word! Mulch to conserve water and stifle weeds. For most of the country, watering the garden is out of the question at present, but if it’s dry where you are, you know what to do.
  • Citrus are heavy feeders, give them some fertiliser around the drip line.
  • Prepare beds, sow seeds or plant seedlings of winter veges such as  beetroot, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, kale, leeks, silver beet,  spinach, winter lettuce and herbs.
  • Autumn is the ideal time to sow and repair your lawn, so that it can flourish over the winter months.

 Autumn Garden Chores

It’s bulb planting time, so get busy preparing your garden beds and pots for a spring show. In warm areas it can be a good idea to keep bulbs refrigerated for a few weeks before planting.

autumn garden bulb planting

Make sure you plant bulbs fairly deeply. For planting depths, follow the instructions on the bulb pack. No pack in sight? A general rule of thumb is to plant bulbs at the depth of twice their width. Mass planting of bulbs is most visually pleasing. Watch for slugs and snails once the leaves start emerging!

 autumn garden bulb planting diagram

How to plant bulbs in a pot: Importantly, start with a good quality, well draining soil, enriched with lots of compost. Bulbs love a nutrient rich soil. Follow our diagram but also visualise how your pot will look after it blooms. Here’s a tip to get a nice arrangement of sizes without the tulips blocking the wee crocuses etc. Place a piece of tape on the “front” of your pot. Add a layer of soil and plant your bulbs that grow the lowest around the back rim of your pot. These are usually your tall tulips.  Next, apply another layer of soil and plant a full amount (6-8) bulbs in the centre of the pot. For example these would be daffodils. Apply another layer of soil and then add bulbs to the outer front rim of the pot. These would be your lowest blooming bulbs, like crocus or miniature daffodils. Then let it be and pat yourself on the back come spring!

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