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It might be a bit cold and damp in New Zealand's South Island in August but don't let that deter from getting outside. If you take the time to prepare your soil now, then you'll be well and truly ready for spring.

Plant of the month: Strawberries

August is a great time to plant strawberries. They're easy to grow, and who doesn't love picking them? Good varieties to plant are:

  • Camerosa: an early producer of large, deep red fruit.
  • Temptation: a compact grower that's perfect for hanging baskets and pots
  • Roman: a juicy variety that has rose pink flowers

Strawberries grow well from the topics to cooler climates and even love a cold snap. They need a sunny position and well-drained soil. Plant them about 30 centimetres apart and mulch to stop weeds, maintain moisture and help keep the fruit clean. Strawberries also do well in hanging baskets and in pots.

Planting some strawberries is a great project to get kids interested in gardening. The best part of course, picking and eating them straight from the bush.

A person planting strawberry plants.

What else to plant

Shrubs to get in now include camellias, azaleas and lavenders. Don't neglect a New Zealand favourite, the hebes with their pretty flowers and hardy growth habit. Many commonly grown hebes are native to New Zealand.

With their attractive evergreen foliage and delicate flowers, camellias are a great plant. They have a long flowering season, are hardy, and can be grown in pots, as specimen plants or hedged.

Azaleas are another popular choice. They like a semi-shaded position, prefer morning sun and like good drainage. Remember, over-watering is a potential azalea killer and keep an eye out for insects and diseases.

If you've got a warm spot, put in some tomatoes, lettuces and beans. Beetroots and carrots are best grown from seed. Soak beetroot seeds overnight to promote germination rates. And cover your carrot seeds with a timber plank to help keep the moisture in.

There's also still time to plant deciduous fruit trees while they are dormant.

A close up of lavender plants.

Our perfect plant promise

Remember the Perfect Plant Promise. All our plants (except seedlings) are guaranteed for 12 months. If you're not 100 per cent happy, return your plant (with receipt or tax invoice) and we'll refund it.

Maintenance

Don't hibernate inside as there's lots to do in the garden. First up, prune any fruit trees. This will promote new growth and let light into the tree as well as create a good shape for the tree. Prune berries too.

In warmer areas, fertilise fruit trees including citrus. Use a slow-release fertiliser. If you need advice on what to use, come into your local store and one of our expert team members will be able to advise you. 

Now is the time to prepare beds for the vegetable season. A blend of sheep pellets and compost will work a treat. All you need to do is mix in and dig over and you're ready to plant.

A person adding a scoop of granular fertiliser to a plant.

Harvest

There are plenty of vegies to pick too at this time of your. If you have them, pull parsnips, pick cabbage, silverbeet, spinach, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli and celery.

Start planting today

Check out the wide range of plants available at your local Bunnings and bring your garden to life.


Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.