Time to prepare for spring

SPRING is around the corner.

Jan Strydom, of Northscaping, says now is the best time to start preparing your yard and garden.

"The overall health of your garden in the warmer months depends largely on how you prepare your garden for spring," says Strydom. He offers handy spring gardening tips:

Nurture your soil

The most important step you can take to encourage a healthy spring garden is to ensure that your soil is in top condition. Dig organic materials like compost through the soil, and add a high-nitrogen fertiliser, especially if you're hoping to plant exotic plants.

Get the vegetable patch going

Spring is a great time to get your first crop of vegetables into the garden. If you haven't already got a vegetable patch in place, choose a spot that is sheltered from the wind and receives plenty of light.

For a healthy spring garden, add some organic material to prepare the soil and then plant vegetables like peas, lettuce, carrots and beetroot.

Cultivate your lawn

Grass is just like any other plant, and with the extra sunlight and warmer soil it will start thriving again after months of dormancy.

Plant a new lawn now, or fertilise established lawns to take advantage of the improved conditions. Top up hollows or uneven patches in the lawn with topsoil.

Tame those wild weeds quickly

Weeds go wild in spring, so the sooner you get onto them the less chance they have of taking over your garden. Paved or gravel areas can be sprayed with a weed killer.

Get rid of pests

Bugs like aphids, slugs and snails adore young spring growth to munch on. And they can damage your plants.

Put down snail pellets after rain and spray infested plants with pyrethrum-based pesticides.

Get inspired

There's nothing quite like seeing other beautiful spring gardens to inspire great things in your own outdoor spaces. Visit open gardens and wander around your local vicinity to see what other gardeners are doing.

Water just the right amount

Water young plants frequently, but don't drown them. Young seedlings need a consistent supply of moisture to help them set their roots and get established, but too much water can hurt them.

Give your plants just the amount of light they prefer

Plants require sunlight for photosynthesis, but not all plants are sun tolerant. Check the labels on all the plants you purchase to see if they are light-specific. Planting in the wrong location can lead to poor performance and, or death of the plant.

Use colours to your advantage

Simple combinations of just one or two colours can make a powerful statement. Using only one colour to establish a monochromatic scheme for your garden can help to adjust a mood.

Cooler colours like blue or purple can make a sunny site more relaxed, whereas warmer colours such as yellow and orange can make a dark space more inviting.