This is the busiest time of the year in your garden as more than two thirds of the yearly food supplies are grown during the spring and summer months. Add generous amounts of compost into the soil prior to planting for most summer crops, except carrots.
Clear out the weeds and unwanted plants from your garden now to minimise competition in the coming growing months.
Hoe regularly to prevent weeds. It's best to hoe "little and often" to keep things in check. After harvesting winter crops don’t leave soil bare for too long to prevent damage. Soils are warming up therefore soil moisture conservation is important. Generally, wet soils are cold, so mulching them too soon will slow the warming process. Also, late frosts occur more easily over mulched soils. So watch frost sensitive areas of garden carefully, as mulched crops will be at special risk from frost damage.
Time to plant tomatoes! Frosts are usually over at this time so you should be able to sow seeds of tender annuals directly into soil. Transplant seedling into the garden.
Feed fruit trees with general purpose or fruit-tree specific fertilizer, and water often. This promotes large leaf area which is important for absorbing lots of sun for good fruit crops. Fruit trees require spraying at this time of the year to prevent fungal infections.
Watch out for aphids on citrus trees - may require spraying as well. Strawberries -watch out for fungal disease.
Mulch all flower beds and liquid feed for strong, healthy growth. Plant up pots and hangars and re-pot existing containers if necessary. Plant roses in a sunny site. Feed all acid-loving plants e.g. camellias, azaleas, and rhododendrons after flowering with acidic fertilizer. Sow seeds for a new lawn. Watch out for fungal diseases and pest damage. Protect your garden from pests especially mice, rats, rabbits, hares. In warm wet weather watch out for fungal attack.
Lawn care: it's time to rejuvenate your winter stressed lawn. Aerate by forking all over, and patch holes by pegging down matching runners (sideways pieces with roots) or by sowing grass seed. If you are sowing a new lawn, you will need to water it throughout summer. Existing lawns should be fertilised and treated for moss.
Harvest Aspargus, artichokes. broadbeans, cabbage, parsnips, leeks.
Seeds to sow: bok choy, climbing and dwarf beans, beetroot, brussel sprouts, cabbage, capsicum, carrot, cauliflower, celery, corn salad, cucumber, leeks, marrows, NZ spinach, spring onions, silver beet, swede, sweet corn, turnip and tomato.
* If you are in a warmer part of NZ you can plant your main crop potatoes and kumara.
Sow and plant: Alyssum, Arctotis, Asters, Begonia, Candytuft, Carnation, Celosia, Cosmos, Cornflower, Dianthus, Delphinium, Forget-me-not, Gazania, Impatiens, Larkspur, Linaria, Linum, Lobelia, Lupin, Marigold, Nemesia, Pansy, Petunia, Phlox,Poppies, Portulaca, Salvia, Snapdragon, Statice, Stock, Strawflower, Sunflower,Sweetpeas, Sweet william Violas and Zinnias.
For more of what to plant in your climatic zone, click here