Starke Ayres Gardening Tips for April

With the worst of the summer heat now over it is safe to transplant those beasts of plants that are too big, in the way, need dividing or just moved into a more suitable spot. It is also time to prepare garden beds to receive spring flowering bulbs. We have a range of thirty indigenous species as well as the usual Daffodils, Ranunculus, Freesias Anemones, and many more. Prepare the beds with good compost, also ensuring the soil is cool and well drained. Be aware of the light requirements of each variety and plant accordingly. The bulbs should be, as a rule of thumb, planted twice as deep as the bulb is tall. Add bulb food and a generous application of sterilized Starke Ayres Bonemeal to set a good root mass at the bottom of the hole and fill the soil back loosely. Water deeply, at least twice a week, taking into account rain or lack thereof.

To spark the desire to get back into the garden after a hot start of the year, we have a range of plants on special this month. Lagerstroemia Black Diamond Best Red is a form of “Pride of India” with bright red flowers popping against almost black leaves. Duranta Sheena’s Gold with the bright green-yellow leaves grows in sun or shade with the leaves being more gold in sun.

Eureka lemons bear fruit at least 3 times a year so are the ideal solution to keeping you in lemons for the winter flu months. Even if on the promotion if the thought of growing a lemon tree fills you with fear follow these simple guidelines for success:
• Full sun and protection from wind
• Mulch well for cool roots and keep competition from weed roots to a minimum
• Good, well-drained soil in situ or good potting soil
• Fertilize regularly with a well-balanced plant food that is high in nitrogen and potassium
• Avoid pruning. It is only necessary to remove dead branches
• Avoid planting in the middle of a lawn as the grass will compete for moisture and food and as lemons, in particular, are heavy feeders they will suffer

Other than Eureka lemons we have received beautiful pre Winter stock of Chinotto, Calemondin, Palmers Navel, Seville orange and Midnight Valencia and a few dwarf Ornamental cultivars that are ideal for Containers.

Preparing your home vegetable garden for all the veggies for those wholesome winter broths with fresh bread or toast requires a little pre-planning. The best Starke Ayres Winter vegetables for sowing now are Carrots, Spring Red or regular Onions, Peas, Beetroot Lettuce, Broadbeans, Spinach Baby dash, Sweet Rocket, Parsley Moss Curled and others. With the onset of cooler weather, snails and slugs make their appearance and in an evening of feasting can render a vegetable garden unrecognizable. Use Organic Ferramol or Eco Snail pellets which contain Iron and is safe for vegetables and pets. Our Kombat double active Super Snail pellets works well on flower beds and non-food plants. Starke Ayres Snail Super “Double active” is a very effective commercial application that is long lasting to control snails in flowerbeds and containers and verges where they may have been prolific in previous years.

Mid April is a fabulous time to sow sweet peas and regular edible peas in a flower bed in your garden. We recommend soaking of seed in Kelpak overnight at 5ml in 1 litre of water. Whether you choose the dwarf sweet pea Bijou or tall climber Multiflora both are highly fragrant and interplanted with edible Greanfeast or fun Dutch Heirloom Blue Shelling Pea with its blue pods and bright green peas inside bearing within 70 – 120 days are always fun for the children as well as making harvesting pretty flowers as much fun as eating the crop.

Starke Ayres, West Coast Village

Tel: 021 554 8450