September 19, 2019

In the garden: Spring jobs, lemongrass and nut trees

Get out into the garden to make the most of spring, and plant some lemongrass and nut trees.

Zesty and easy

Now winter has passed, lemongrass will thrive in the sunshine. This easy-to-grow herb will grow throughout the sunny months and is a delightful addition to Asian dishes and teas – it will save you money at the markets too! From the end of September onward, plant lemongrass seedlings in a sunny spot with room to grow as the grass will take-off in optimal conditions. After 12 weeks, the grass will be ready to cut at the base and use the white part in your cooking. The pest-resistant grass is also an attractive feature in the garden, though will die-off come winter. Lemongrass is a great beginner for an Asian-style section in your home veggie patch, among the bok choy, Chinese broccoli and daikon radish.

New season, new you

Spring in the garden is a thrilling time with growth from existing plants bursting and new varieties available to test in your home. Pay a visit to your local nursery this season for fresh flowers, trends and cultivars that are in vogue. With new varieties, always be sure to ask the big questions: Is it hardy? Suitable for your site and climate? Has it been trialled in SA? Is it value for money? Many variants are tweaked from the standard botanicals and will grow much the same, but be sure to read the label and check with the nursery staff to get the best performance. As new releases may cost a little more, do your homework and wait with anticipation for the spectacular results. 

Nut it out

Fruit trees are in their prime at the nurseries now and while stone fruits and citrus are always popular, try your hand at nut trees now as well. From pistachio, almond and walnut, there’s a raft of choices and sizes available for any corner of the garden or container and nuts add a delicious texture to your meals. Best planted in late September and early October, look for a strong, healthy-looking tree and if needed, ask for a prune before leaving the nursery. Nut trees are slow to bear, so be patient and encourage maturity with regular watering and feeding, and some may need pollinators. 


These stories first appeared in the Spring 2018 issue of SAGardens & Outdoor Living Magazine. 

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