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It's bulb-planting time

Flowering bulbs like jonquils, hyacinths and freesias fill the air with fragrance during late winter and spring and tulips (above), daffodils and anemones can create swathes of gorgeous colour or brighten an outdoor area when grown in a pot.

Time to think about spring bulbsWhatever your favourite spring flowering bulb is, it’s time to start planning. A little preparation now will result in much healthier bulbs and a gorgeous floral show.

Here are some tips to help create a fantastic display:

In a sunny location out in the garden, enrich the soil in the planting area with some Yates Thrive Natural Blood & Bone. It’s a rich source of organic matter that will help improve the structure of the soil, encourage earthworms and beneficial micro-organisms and provide the newly planted bulbs with gentle, slow release organic nutrients to promote good early bulb growth.For potted bulbs, choose a pot with good drainage holes and fill with a quality potting mix such as Yates Premium Potting Mix. When planting bulbs in a pot, they can be grown quite close together, which helps create a lovely dense look.Follow the directions on the bulb pack as to how deep to plant the bulbs and ensure that you plant them the right way up!Water the garden bed or pot after planting to help settle the soil or potting mix around the bulbs.As soon as the first leaves emerge, you can start to feed the bulbs each week with a high potassium plant food such as Yates Thrive Flower & Fruit Soluble Fertiliser, which encourages healthy growth and helps promote future flowers.Potted bulbs will need regular watering to ensure they have enough moisture.Prolonging the showRoses can bloom beautifully well into autumn with some quick and easy maintenance. Here are our top rose tips for early autumn:

Trim off spent flowers regularly to keep the rose looking tidy and encourage more flowers to develop. Don’t forget to bring some inside for a vase.Keep feeding roses, both in-ground and potted, each week with a potassium rich liquid fertiliser like Yates Thrive Roses & Flowers Liquid Plant Food. The potassium- boosted formulation helps to promote flowering as well as encouraging healthy plants.Top up or apply mulch around the base of rose plants. Lucerne or pea straw is ideal. It reduces moisture loss from the soil as well as adding beneficial organic matter to the soil as it breaks down.Monitor for insect pests such as aphids and caterpillars. Aphids are tiny sap sucking insects that can be black, brown, grey or green and can distort foliage and deplete plant health. Caterpillars can chew through leaves and also into flower buds. Both aphids and caterpillars can be controlled with Yates Super Shield Rose Spray.Regular sprays of Yates Super Shield will also control common rose diseases like black spot, rust and powdery mildew which can be increasingly common as rose foliage ages.

Grow your own health foodMost of us need more greenery in our diets and kale is one of the ‘super foods’ well worth including. And if you grow it yourself, you’ll have months of healthy green leaves to include in lots of different delicious recipes, whether you whizz it up in a green smoothie, use in a stir fry, bake into chips, add to a frittata or mix in with pasta or rice dishes.

Kale is rich in vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre, as well as having the same health benefits of other plants in the brassica family, like broccoli and cabbage.

Yates Kale Red Russian is an attractive variety with blue green leaves with purplish stems, that can be cut from around nine weeks. Kale seed can be sown directly where they are to grow or sown in trays filled with Yates Black Magic Seed Raising Mix and the seedlings transplanted into a sunny spot after four to six weeks. Kale can also be grown in containers, making it ideal for courtyard and balcony gardens. Not only for the vegie patch, Yates Kale Red Russian provides a lovely foliage and colour contrast when mixed with flowers in garden beds.

It’s important to feed leafy vegies like kale with a nitrogen (N) rich complete plant food, with nitrogen being the key nutrient that promotes green leaf growth. A complete plant food is one that contains the 3 main elements for plant growth — nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K).

It’s easy to supply kale with all the nutrients it needs by feeding each week with Yates Thrive Vegie & Herb Liquid Plant Food, a complete plant food that’s rich in nitrogen. Dilute 1-2 capfuls in a 9 L watering can and apply over the foliage and surrounding soil or potting mix for container grown kale.

Tonnes of tomatoes?If you’re lucky enough to have had a bumper tomato crop during summer, you may be still swimming in them. Here is some inspiration on what you can do with all those delicious red (or yellow, orange or purple) fruit.

Sun drying: whether you use a special food dehydrator, some long slow hours in the oven or on trays out in the sun, drying or semi drying tomatoes and then storing them in oil or in the freezer is a great way to create your own flavour packed additions to salads and pasta dishes.Freezing: you can simply freeze whole or chopped up raw tomatoes in resealable bags to use in cooked dishes like casseroles.Homemade pasta sauce: cook up tomatoes with garlic, herbs and spices and freeze or preserve for those nights when you want a quick and easy pasta dinner.Jams, relish and chutney: whether it’s a tasty addition to a sandwich, used as a meat glaze or served as part of a cheese platter, these are a great way to make delicious and long-lasting use of tomatoes.Keep on sowingTo keep your kitchen stocked with healthy salad ingredients, it’s a good idea to sow fresh seed of vegies like lettuce every few weeks.

Yates Lettuce Cut & Come Again is a gourmet mix of colourful loose leaf lettuces. Individual leaves can be picked as required, so you can have an ongoing supply of fresh, tender lettuce for salads, sandwiches and wraps.

Yates Lettuce Cut & Come Again can be grown in either full sun or part shade and does well in both the vegie patch or pots. Sow seed directly where they are to grow, cover lightly with some Yates Black Magic Seed Raising Mix, firm down and keep moist. Seedlings will pop up in 4-7 days and leaves can be picked from around six weeks.

As the lettuces grow, water them regularly and every 1 - 2 weeks apply some Yates Thrive Natural Fish & Seaweed. It’s a unique complete and balanced liquid fertiliser that contains a rich combination of organic ingredients like fish, seaweed, humates, microbes and molasses and boosted with fast acting nutrients to boost plant growth. Dilute 1 to 2 capfuls of Yates

Thrive Natural Fish & Seaweed in a 9 L watering can and apply over the lettuces and surrounding root zone.

Harvest individual lettuce leaves regularly, which will encourage the plants to grow more lovely fresh and tasty leaves.

• Courtesy of Yates