ten minute jobs in the spring garden

Spring is here (at least for some of us) and that means our gardens are waking up after their winter snooze. Golden wattles in bloom are an early sign that soon afterwards a host of natives will be in full flower, along with more exotic garden favourites (like those spring bulbs we planted back in autumn!)

Some gardens take longer than others to wake up - just like some humans... Some gardens are almost presentable the moment they awake, whereas others need a bit more work to get them looking schmick. 

Some garden jobs are ready to do now, some may need to wait until later in the season- it all depends on the local climate of your own garden.

If you spend only ten minutes a day in your garden, you can make a real difference with little effort.

 

Lucky Dip Garden Jobs

If you have a big garden, a big list of tasks to tackle, or little enthusiasm for garden tidying, why not try making into a kind of game?

  • Write each of the 50 jobs below onto a separate piece of paper, pop them into a bag, and each day pull out a task to do. It's a lucky dip!
  • Set a timer and see how much you can get done in ten minutes. We bet once you start, you'll want to carry on a little longer.
  • Challenge a friend to see who can get the most jobs ticked off their list before the end of the month

Grab your snips, your garden gloves, a bucket or binbag, and a cuppa (or something stronger if that helps get the job done...)  - and pick a list!

 

10 Organising and Planning Jobs

support for growing peas

    1. Sort your seed packets - organise them by time of sowing, colour, place in the garden - whatever makes it easier for you
    2. Get support in place ready for a fast-growing climber - trellis, pole, wires
    3. Support a tall perennial plant with bushy twigs pushed around the base
    4. Check the joints on your pergola, trellis, or arbour - will they stand the weight of a full grown vine?
    5. Check the screws on any basket fixtures - will they hold a fully-planted basket?

 

make a wish list

  1. Mix water retaining crystals in with compost mix, before you plant up baskets and pots, to save on watering later
  2. Apply wetting agent to garden borders, ready for any rain that might fall
  3. Take a stroll around the garden, and look for spots that need more colour, or more shade, a seat to rest on, or a path to walk on
  4. Make a scrapbook page - online or old school - of how you'd like your garden to look
  5. Start a wish list online - you can share an Australian Plants Online wishlist with others, as a gift hint for Christmas!

 

10 Cleaning and Tidying Jobs

bird nestbuilding

    1. Pull out little weeds before they double in size behind your back
    2. Spray too-big-to-pull weeds with a systemic weedkiller like eco-friendly Slasher
    3. Sweep up tree debris before fire season starts
    4. Rake the lawn for moss - leave the rakings for nest-building birds to use
    5. Scrape out moss and grass between pavers - we suggest you grab a kneeler to save your knees
      (You don't have to do the whole path at once... Remember, ten minutes a day!)

 

organise the shed

  1. Scoop the algae from your pond - watch out for wildlife! 
  2. Clean out your rainbutt
  3. Check your hoses and drip irrigation before you really need the water in summer
  4. Sweep out the shed, or clean any benches or shelves
  5. Wash and sort your empty plant pots ready for sowing seed and repotting plants

10 Pruning and Shaping Jobs

chopped spathiphyllum

    1. Trim a lawn edge - a haircut can make all the difference
    2. Prune dead or damaged wood from a large shrub 
    3. Call a tree surgeon to prune dead limbs from larger trees
    4. Chop back an ornamental grass or lomandra to get rid of old leaves and make room for new growth. You can do this with outdoor peace lilies that look a bit bedraggled, as in the photo.
    5. Prune a summer-flowering buddleia, hibiscus, or rose bush once frost has passed. It's a good time to prune a large-flowered grevillea and a callistemon too.

 

climbing vine

  1. Cut back a winter-flowering shrub like forsythia immediately after the flowers die; that gives it the maximum time to grow flowering stems for next year
  2. Snip off flowers from spring bulbs that have bloomed - leave the leaves! They feed the bulbs for next year's flowers
  3. Cut back the old growth of pond margin plants ready for strong spring growth
  4. Tie in the new shoots of a growing vine, before it clings to the wrong support
  5. Give a green hedge like box or Min a Min a once-over clip to neaten and tip-prune, which will help it to grow bushy

10 Feeding and Caring Jobs

barrow of mulch

    1. Add fresh mulch around a shrub
    2. If you've had a winter drought, give a woody shrub a good long water to help it absorb soil nutrients
    3. Feed outdoor plants with a sprinkle of slow-release fertiliser to see them through spring growth spurts
    4. Feed indoor plants with ready-to-use plant food once they start growing again
    5. Add seaweed solution to your watering can - it helps plants fight back against pests and diseases

 

aphids

  1. Squish or spray aphids and blackfly (or use pet-friendly treatments); pick off scarlet lily beetles 
  2. Watch out for slugs, snails, caterpillars - relocate them from your prized plants to unloved corners of the garden where they can pupate in peace
  3. Fruit flies will be on the move so get bait and nets ready
  4. Check shrubs for fungal diseases like blackspot, mildew and rust - give them a quick spray if needed with a fungicide
  5. Keep an eye on the weather forecast - spring can mean summer-temperature heat or icy winter winds. Protect your vulnerable plants by popping on a cloche, or an umbrella for instant shade

10 Planting and Sowing Jobs

seedlings

    1. Plant up a pot of summer-flowering bulbs like lilies and peonies - summer-flowering bulbs need three months of growing before they flower, on average
    2. Sow seeds of flowering annuals for fast cheap colour - you could have blooms in 8 weeks
    3. Sow seeds of cold-hardy veggies  like the cabbage family and onion straight out into the garden
    4. Sow seeds of tender fruit and veggies like chili, eggplant, melon, and tomato in pots indoors
    5. Sow herbs for use in the kitchen, and to lure helpful pollinators in the garden

 

potting on

  1. Repot a pot-bound container plant into a larger pot - check for vine weevil and snail eggs as you go
  2. For any plant too big to repot, scrape out the compost to a hand's depth and replace with fresh compost
  3. If there's a patch of lawn that always looks bald and shabby, consider lawn-alternative groundcovers like pratia or dichondra
  4. Plant a berry fruit plant now for juicy pickings later
  5. Plant seed potatoes for bumper harvests - they'll even grow in big pots, for no digging!