2. Place nets over berry plants such as strawberry, raspberry and blueberry to stop birds dropping by for a feast. Plant early tomatoes in a protected spot, such as a windowsill planter or a mini-greenhouse. A few of the best early tomatoes are the cherry varieties.
3. Coax the kids into a sunflower-growing contest, either to produce the biggest flower or the tallest plant. Seed is best planted in well-worked soil in a sunny spot. Most major seed companies sell seed for giant varieties.
4. Lightly trim Australian natives to keep them tidy and growing vigorously throughout spring.
5. Help citrus trees recover from the cool days with a serving of citrus fertiliser. It’s also a good time to check them for scale problems. A couple of fortnightly applications of horticultural oil or a soap-based spray will generally fix the problem. In cooler areas, gardenias will also benefit from a dose of fertiliser now.
6. Ward off peach and nectarine leaf curl, a nasty fungal disease that causes leaves to die, by spraying with a copper-based fungicide when buds begin to appear.
7. Plant up pots of versatile petunias in complementary colours. One of the best value annuals about, petunias bloom for months; need no more than occasional deadheading, fertilising and watering; and come in an amazing range of colours and forms.
8. Get a late potato crop in to supplement kitchen supplies. Plant certified seed potatoes and progressively hill up the soil around the emerging foliage, leaving just the uppermost leaves above ground. This encourages maximum yield.
9. Treat hedges to an early trim when the first flush of spring growth comes through.