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It's time for Spring pruning!

Updated: Nov 27, 2018

It’s August here in Golden Bay, New Zealand. Daffodil bulbs are flowering and blossoms on peaches and plums are almost bursting forth signaling the coming of spring.

This month I’m completing my winter pruning before fruit buds start bursting….

Spring gardening means pruning
Pruning shears

....this includes stone-fruit (plums, peaches, nectarines, cherries), pip-fruit (apples, pears, quince, persimmon) berries (blueberries, gooseberries and currants), and the hardy sub tropical feijoa.

The benefits of pruning

Each type of plant needs a different pruning style, but in principle we’re trying to create space for fruit to grow in the light, removing damaged or dangerous branches (for the mower) and maintaining the core shape of the tree or bush. If you have some issues with diseases then best to spray now before bud burst with a copper oxychloride or lime sulphur brew. Other less toxic options are the different seaweed concentrates on the market that build tree health.

Pruning shelter belts or hedgerows is a good practice now to let more light into the garden if that’s an issue and more airflow too. Prunings from these mixed species in combination with fruit prunings (as long as they’re not di-seased) would be best put through a chipper and shredded down into small bits ideal for mulching the fruits.

Make a fruit compost

You can also make a fruit compost with the material by adding manure and grass clippings, weeds and leaves. Or use it in the chicken run and compost the manure-infested carbon later on. I do a combination of the two as well as using it in my compost that’s good shit!

Winter crop beds

Prepping beds: what to do with old winter crops

In the vegetable garden we’re incorporating green crops grown over the winter by chopping them down onto the bed, and we're waiting a few weeks before planting early potatoes. Garlic beds have had a weed with more seagrass added (type of sea weed also called eel grass) to prevent weed competition. Not what we want for any of the Alliums (garlic, onions, leeks) for at least the first third of their lives or yields reduce. Onion beds are soon to be prepared with addition of compost (approximately 3 cm thick) tined into the surface soil. Seed for onions was sown in end June. Composts made earlier in winter/late autumn have been turned too to speed up their decomposition so it's ready for spring plantings..of potatoes, kumara, pumpkins, squash, sweet corn, popcorn, tomatoes, capsicum, eggplants and a little on beetroot.

August is the beginning of seed sowing for the keen vegetable grower. Have well made seed raising mix and potting mix ready.

August is the beginning of seed sowing for the keen vegetable grower. Have well made seed raising mix and potting mix ready. Not to mention a selection of your favourite crop seeds. Label well. Watch out for rodents, best set traps. Don’t forget to sow flowers for diversity to attract beneficial insects.

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Contributed by Sol Morgan

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