Pick the mix for a good start to growth – Canberra CityNews


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Anthurium andraeanum (Flamingo flower)… potted and recently divided. Photo: Jackie Warburton
With indoor plants in vogue, conditions are critical to success./ Gardening writer JACKIE WARBURTON says they mustn’t have direct sunlight and not as much water as you think. 
SPRING is truly here and, with light frost lingering, it’s time to pot up any indoor plants. 
Jackie Warburton.
If they have outgrown their pots, then either repot to a larger pot or divide or take cuttings to keep its size smaller. 
The explosion of indoor plant gardens is in vogue and a must-have in all the rooms in my house with filtered sunlight. The indoor conditions are critical to success and mustn’t have direct sunlight and not as much water as you think. 
Wiping the leaves and spray with a light spray bottle can be all some tropical indoor plants might need. There are specific potting mixes required for indoor plants and the most important function is its water-holding capacity (WHC) and air-filled porosity (AFP). Getting this right for indoor plants is a good start to growth. 
If the seedlings that are growing are ready for planting, now’s a good time to give them a mild liquid fertiliser once there are four leaves on the seedlings. The first two (cotyledon leaves) will die off to give them a little more sunlight as well. 
The most important thing to remember is to keep the water up to them and drainage at this stage. Keep them warm at night and due for planting in October. Then there should be a wonderful display in the garden for Christmas at very little cost. 
LAWN treatment is important now, and it is not too late to get some summer weeds under control. Now is the time to spray it out of the lawn before the seed is set or it is too late in summer. 
Dig out winter-grass, bindis and flat weeds using a small, hand-held weeder. Ten minutes a day will make all the difference over time or it’s a good chore for small children to do in the garden for 20c a weed perhaps.
A good lawn fertiliser can be used and there are many different products on the market. There are lawn starters and fertilisers for all specific types of lawns. 
Having some knowledge of what type of lawn is in the garden will determine its care. Read the back of the packaging carefully before applying additives to make sure it is suitable. Remember less is more with fertilising lawns otherwise it will burn if too much is applied. 
If planting a new lawn then a few to look at would be warm-season grasses such as couch, kikuyu and buffalo or cool-season grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue and ryegrass. Look at the shade in the garden and then determine what lawn is best. 
Veronica peduncularis (creeping speedwell)… a fantastic ground cover under roses. Photo: Jackie Warburton
NOW’S also the time to prepare for the tomato-growing season. Tomatoes can be planted but won’t really do anything until the soil warms up. If you have a protected spot where you can give them a head start, they should be fine. 
Sprinkle a little dolomite lime on the soil where the tomatoes are going to be growing. Dolomite lime is primarily calcium and magnesium, and it will give the tomatoes a terrific start. 
Calcium helps reduce blossom end rot in tomatoes and the magnesium makes sure the leaves are green and can maximise the uptake of the sun’s energy for good growth
THERE will be a proliferation of snails and slugs in vegetable gardens with the lovely moist weather we’ve had. There are many chemical and non-chemical products on the market to keep these at bay. 
Some organic ways to keep the numbers of pests down would be to use a dry, coarse mulch such as sugar cane mulch or crushed up eggshells or anything the snails find difficult to climb over. Nocturnal insect numbers can be reduced by using crumpled wet newspaper in a small old pot on its side in the veggie garden. Shake out in the morning in a bucket of warm soapy water. 
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