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Part 1: Preparing your Garden for Spring

Spring is almost in the air – below you will find a step by step guide to preparing your garden for the glorious spring and summer months in South Africa:

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Clean your gutters

IMPORTANT! Clean your gutters before the first rainfalls, if left the excess water can cause havoc on the integrity of your home’s structure. The gutter system is designed to move water down from the roof and away from the home and it’s foundation for adequate drainage. Not to mention the mess you will accumulate in front of doors and on window sills.

What you will need: A rake, a bucket, a ladder, gloves, a garden hose

Step 1: Firstly clear out all the debris, dead leaves, twigs etc. Use your hands or garden scoop to do this (don’t forget to wear heavy duty garden gloves). Dispose of the debris in rubbish bags.

Step 2: Using a high pressure hose nozzle, spray the gutter length ways toward the drain outlet. If you find that the water is not draining easily, use the hose to spray down the outlet to clear it of any obstructions.

Step 3: Using the rake or a garden broom, sweep away any excess debris around the house that may have fallen down while you were clearing the gutters.

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Clean up flower beds, borders and hedges

Start with your hedge trimming first, that way you can clear up the fallen clippings from the flower beds once you get started with them.

Once you have trimmed all the hedges you can start with the flower beds.  If your flowers need pruning, do so before you clean up your hedge trimmings or any other dead leaves or twigs that may be lying around your flower beds. Once this is done you can begin with the clean-up of your flower beds.

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Get rid of garden pests

Some of the most common garden pests found in South African gardens;

Aphids – they enjoy the plant sap, regardless of their size, they could end up killing the entire plant. Signs of possible infestation include; wilting leaves, limp looking plants and plants that just won’t thrive no matter what you do. Where you will find them and what they look like; look for them on the underside of leaves, they have white or yellowish soft bodies.

White flies – Much like the aphids they enjoy the sap and can also kill the plant but most IMPORTANTLY they love our veggies such as lettuce, peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers. They are white and tend to look like dew on plants. BEWARE – these suckers multiply fast!!!

Thrips –  These guys leave “leaves” looking brittle, discoloured and sometimes black patches occur as well. These disgusting little creatures look like worms on legs and are enjoyed by parasitic wasps and mites.

There is a lot of talk on the internet about homemade or organic pesticides, none of which are scientifically tried and tested. If you are willing to take the risk of possibly doing harm to your garden by using these tips and tricks found on the net, remember to let others know if you find something that works – SHARING IS CARING.

If you would rather not be closer than 10 feet away from these creepy little crawlies, I would suggest to google your closest pest control guys or visit your local Builders Warehouse or Nursery. They should be able to help you with a professional opinion as well as a commercial pesticide.

Look out for the next article where we continue with the steps on preparing your garden for SPRING!!!!