Landscaping expert Jason Hodges’ top tips for preparing your garden for spring

Spring may seem like it’s a lifetime away during these cold days, but now is the perfect time to start preparing your garden for warmer weather.

Jason Hodges, garden expert and former Better Homes & Gardens host, says if you start on your garden now it will be healthy and strong for spring.

“Working in the garden during the cooler months is ideal as it’s not too hot, so you can work for longer and accomplish more,” he says.

“And there’s nothing better than being able to step back come spring and marvel at your handiwork!”

Here are Hodges’ top tips for preparing your garden to ensure your outdoor space is a thriving green paradise in no time:

  1. To help your soil reach optimum levels come spring, fertilise anywhere between every six weeks and every three months for ultimate growth. “The best choice for fast results in the garden is liquid fertiliser as it’s quick acting, allowing the plant to absorb both the micro and macro nutrients through the foliage quicker than any other fertiliser,” says Jason. “The result being plants grow bigger, stronger and less prone to disease and pests. It also keeps them healthy during winter, thriving in spring and surviving through a hot summer.” Hodges recommends Charlie Carp, an organic-based liquid fish fertiliser which he says is perfect for any garden or lawn type.
  2. Mulch, mulch, mulch! Mulch insulates soil and acts as a buffer from cold temperatures. It also helps to retain water and keep roots moist.
  3. Remove any damaged branches that you can see on your deciduous trees.
  4. Prune your trees and bushes so they have the best chance to bloom in spring.
  5. Pick up fallen leaves regularly so your lawn gets as much sun as possible.
  6. Winter is a great time to start a herb garden.  Herbs such as rosemary, thyme, basil and lemongrass are hardy and very easy to grow, whether you have a balcony apartment, quarter acre or acreage. Start with herbs and then add vegetables.

Summer crops: a gardener’s guide to growing radishes

Thinking about growing radishes in your vegetable garden? Radishes are quick growing brassicas with a peppery flavour and a crisp, crunchy texture. They work wonderfully in summer salads and roast up nicely, too.

Radishes are available all year round and have been championed as the vegetable of choice for the novice gardener.

If you have a small corner in the garden, often in the shade or exposed to winds, this could turn into the perfect spot for your radish crop so long as the soil is light and rich, and humid but never soggy.

Franco’s tips: 4 things to know about growing radishes

1. Radish seeds are exceptionally durable and last well if stored correctly. Look for heirloom varieties and keep them labelled in a cool dark place in a glass jar or envelope.

2. Radishes need soil with a loose texture to develop and grow the bulb. This means that soils that have the tendency to cake during dry weather may not be suitable for radishes.

3. Radishes are one of the most versatile companion plants. They are perfect right next to carrots. Harvest the radishes before the carrots reach full maturity.

4. For storing, place untrimmed, unwashed radishes in a bowl so the leaves are sticking out. Fill the bowl with cold water to partially submerge bulbs (but not the leaves). Change the water daily.

Get your ultimate guide to growing radishes and summer crops in INSEASON Summer

Summer is a great time to get some heat-loving plants into the garden, to enjoy those long, hot days. In INSEASON Summer, we explain what, where and when to sow and how to care for your crops.

Get your copy here.