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Young leafy greens grow in the soil.
Supercharge summer's bounty by taking the time to enrich your vegetable beds before the growing season.

Veg out

In most parts of New Zealand, the majority of winter crops are coming to an end, but it's a sign of warmer times – and more vegies, herbs and fruits – to come! If you prepare early and get your beds up to scratch now, you'll enjoy a productive patch this spring. Follow these tips to get a head start on a bumper harvest.

War on weeds

Weeds have an uncanny ability to pop up anywhere, anytime, especially in vegie beds. “It's important to remove them because not only do they look unsightly, but they steal valuable water and nutrients from your plants and can also potentially harbour pests and diseases,” says horticulturist Matt Carroll . Combat the spread of weeds by digging them out, roots and all.

Pulling a weed from the soil.

Out with the old

Your winter vegies have served you well, but now it's time to harvest the last of them and add the rest to the compost or green waste. If pests or diseases affect any parts, discard them so you don't spread the problem.

Bird's eye view of a woman gardening in her vege patch.

Rejuvenate your soil

A good, productive vegetable patch starts from the ground up, so revitalise and rejuvenate your soil by adding organic matter and compost. You'll improve your chances of achieving bountiful crops if your garden beds get a generous dose of a soil improver, such as Seasol liquid compost, which doesn't have to be dug in.
A gumboot presses a garden fork into the earth.

Water works

Over time, soil can become hydrophobic (water repellent), meaning that despite your best efforts, water will not sink through the soil so isn't directed where it needs to go: to your plants' roots. “Hydrophobic soil is problematic for both plants and our water usage,” says Matt. “We need to ensure each drop of water is not wasted and we can do this by adding wetting agents to the soil.” These agents help soil absorb water and are available in both granular and liquid options for easy application.

Tip: If you have irrigation, check that lines, drippers or sprinklers aren't blocked, and replace worn parts. Thinking about installing irrigation? Buy D.I.Y. kits in store and get to it now.

Droplets of water are captured in mid-air as a plant is watered.

Preparing for planting

Most leafy greens, including spinach, lettuce and Asian greens, can go in the ground now. Feed them regularly with a complete fertiliser. “Don't forget to apply a layer of mulch, like sugar cane or pea straw, to keep the soil warm and help suppress weeds,” says Sue Edwards of Seasol. “Also, get a head start on your spring and summer crops, like tomatoes and silverbeet, by sowing seeds in a mini greenhouse and keeping them on a warm windowsill.” Once the weather warms, they'll be ready for transplanting outside. 

Tip: Use the last weeks of the cooler weather to prepare your soil for spring and new-season plantings

Set up you patch for a great batch

Get everything you need to set your vegie patch up for its best season yet at your local Bunnings store

Photo credit: Getty Images


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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.