Reap the rewards of getting dirty

WINTER is the best time to get outdoors, tend to the garden and prepare for a blossoming spring, according to Bunnings Greenlife buyer Paul Taylor.

"With a little effort, you can get some amazing results," Mr Taylor said.

"Taking care of a garden can be very rewarding and can help keep you active and healthy. With basic planning, durable plants and the right tools and irrigation system, a vibrant garden can be created that requires very little maintenance."

Mr Taylor said a well-presented garden could help bring life to your home

"For those selling their home, an eye-catching garden is a lure for potential buyers," he said.

"A well-kept garden is also a great place to relax and spend time with family. Regular lawn maintenance ensures weeds such as bindies and clover are controlled, thus ensuring a safe environment for children," he said.

Home gardens can also be set up to yield fresh fruit, herbs and vegetables.

"Not only does home grown produce taste great, it can also help you save on your grocery bill."

Mr Taylor shared his top tips for starting a garden this winter:

Soil preparation - Over the winter months soil and turf can lose its nutrients. Revive your soil by adding compost and manure. An application of an organic liquid soil improver will also help revive tired soils.

Pruning - It is recommended to prune most trees, shrubs and roses in late winter as this will encourage fresh, healthy new growth when growing starts again in spring. Most fruit trees also benefit from a trim-back to encourage dense re-growth and heavier fruiting.

Mulching - Mulching for winter protects plants from drastic temperature changes in the soil, insulating plants against extreme cold, and also preventing soil erosion. It will also ensure moisture loss in the soil is minimised as temperatures start to rise in the coming warmer months.

Watering - In most areas, winter means less demand for water, so re-set automatic timers to reduce the frequency of irrigation.

A good watering once a week in winter is usually all that is needed to keep your plants healthy.

Late winter is a great time to plant edibles such as cauliflower, broccoli, lettuce and spinach, as well as herbs including oregano, rosemary and thyme.

Late July is the perfect time to plant capsicums, tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, cucumber, beans, cabbage and silverbeet.

Winter is also a good time to plant most other herbs in your garden or planters. Herbs such as mint, basil, chives, oregano and parsley are all quick and easy to grow.

Bulbs and potted colour can also be planted to brighten up the grey weather - try pansies, violas, primulas, marigolds and gladioli.

Be sure to use a good potting mix and use a soluble fertiliser.

Gardening enthusiasts can gain more inspiration and advice from Bunnings' expert team members, as well as Bunnings' DIY brochures that cover topics such as how to grow vegetables and how to build a worm farm.

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