September 6 - 12, 2020: Issue 465


Early Spring Garden Care

Spring has definitely Sprung, the air smells sweet, days are getting warmer, and people are wanting to get outdoors and enjoy the day.  This is a time to enjoy your garden and get ready for a brilliant crop of your own salad ingredients or just do those little chores that will mean a great place for the family and visitors to enjoy over the coming months. Children can be engaged in planting out 'mini' crops such as grape tomatoes or baby carrots or be helped to plant out luscious herbs such as parsley and basil to make great salads even better.

For those aiming for a tick-free Spring and Summer, now is the time to put in some bird attracting native plants that will eat these insects ( Attracting Insectivore Birds to Your Garden: DIY Natural Tick Control ) or plant out some of those herbs and flowers that repel these biters (Reducing Ticks in Your Garden: Garden care, Plants that Repel, What to Wear Outdoors) or think about having a few chickens for fresh eggs - chooks also eat ticks.

A few ideas about little things you can do now that will make a big difference for Spring and Summer runs below.

Early September Garden Care - Lawns

Most lawns need some care after Winter. This is the ideal month to fertilise all varieties of lawns giving them a kick start as the spring weather starts to warm the ground. A good reliable fertiliser that contains a slow release nitrogen will give your green areas a much needed boost.

Seasol Concentrate Fertilisers – Powerfeed - $6.00: 600ml. Promotes overall garden health.

Start your Spring lawn boost when the grass is no longer sopping wet. Rake your lawn to get rid of dead growth, stray leaves, twigs or winter debris and let light and air to the soil level, encouraging the grass to grow.

Re-seed bare or damaged patches of lawn. Scratch up the soil with a rake first. Mix a shovel of soil with a couple of scoops of grass seed and spread in the patch you're fixing. Rake level and keep well-watered until seeds germinate and the new grass establishes.

If your lawn’s ground has become compacted encourage Spring growth by using the prongs of a garden fork to gently aerate the lawn by forcing the prongs down around 10-15cm into the soil – this also allows encourages the roots to spread and grow.

Get your lawn mower checked and blades. Sharp blades cut better and leave your lawn grass healthier.

Maintain edges. Grass growth is vigorous in the early spring garden, so edge your flower beds with a sharp trench between them and the grass to keep it in bounds. Repeat this job a couple of times through the season or installing permanent edging goes a long way towards having a lower maintenance flower garden.

Early Spring garden jobs -  Flower Garden, Furniture and Pathways

Early spring is the ideal time to apply fertilisers to most garden plants. It's time to plant, prune, prepare beds, and care for your lawn. 

Allow winter mulch to remain a little longer until it gets warmer. Once it looks like it needs replenishing then will be the time to build up and protect the surface of garden beds.

Transplant any existing shrubs you want to move before they begin their Spring growth.

Apply dormant oil spray to fruit trees, magnolias, crabapples and shrubs to control scale insects and other overwintering pests. Use this organic pest control method when the buds are swelling but the leaves haven't opened yet. Apply when temperatures are between 4-21 degrees Celsuis.

Citrus varieties should be fertilised in August and February. It is good to alternate fertilisers – a Dynamic Lifter in August/September and Complete Citrus Food in February.

If you have citrus varieties in pots now is the time to decide whether they need a bigger pot and these too will thrive on a nearly Spring boost. Ideally they should be fertilised every six to eight weeks with a complete citrus food, alternated with Dynamic Lifter or use 3-4 month Osmocote applied in Spring and early Summer.

Cut back the previous season's dead plant material. If this is small enough it can go straight into your compost bin for the vegetables you will soon plant out for late Spring and Summer salads.

If your flower beds are dry enough (a handful of soil should fall apart easily when picked up) you can start to dig beds and add compost or manure in preparation for planting.

Getting on top of the weeding now means a lot less work later. Weeds start growing vigorously early, so when you spot them, pull them out while still small as their roots are still shallow in early Spring.

Garden Furniture may also need a bit of a clean now, or to be re-oiled or re-stained before the sun gets too hot and does more damage. Garden umbrellas may need some maintenance too now – calcium build up on metal frames can be easily removed with a mixture of 1 part white vinegar to ten parts water. Fabrics will last longer and look better when scrubbed gently with a cloth or soft brush and a mix of a mild detergent and water. 

Garden paths may have some green growth that has become slippery, these will need a scrub with a stiff bristled yard broom and if you don’t want to use harsh chemicals, use the white vinegar here again too – just be careful when hosing off not to direct the water into garden beds or lawn areas.

That should keep grown-ups busy for a few hours. Now something for our younger Readers:

Salad Garden For Children 

Cherry tomato on vine - courtesy  Connormah

 Salad Garden for Children 

Do you have youngsters who love to play in the dirt or love to help out in the kitchen making all kinds of good things to eat?

This week we’d like to share an idea that occurs in many local schools where children grow their own food and then have a lovely feast once their home-grown crop comes in.

As we’re heading into Spring and Summer Salads will soon be what we all want to eat, and younger people love raw carrots and sticks of celery or little tomatoes (cheery tomatoes) or lettuces that can continue to provide leaves over the whole of these seasons simply by picking the outer leaves and allowing the others to continue to grow. Cucumbers are great to eat and can be made into a yoghurt raita too – great for carrot and celery stick dipping.

There’s beetroot for burgers and onions to go with sausage sandwiches, or garlic for salad dressings – everything they like to eat they can grow and have fun and gain a sense of great achievement bringing to the table the best food in the neighbourhood!

Do your children like herbs? How about growing some parsley or thyme, rosemary and basil. These scrumptious aromatics can add yumminess to roast chicken stuffing or a basil based pesto for pasta.

To begin some preparations and decisions need to be made

1. Garden Plot or Garden in Pots?

If you have a lot of possums and bandicoots in your yards, or limited space, you may want to think about planting your slada garden in a series of pots that can be covered over at night so these little munchers don’t have the pick of all growing before it’s big enough to eat. Small just sprouting plants taste great to these local furry residents. We grow our herbs in pots and just put a big bucket over them at dusk as we have found our resident possums just love our parsley.

If you think a garden plot will be alright for what you want to do then choose a spot in the yard where it will get enough sunlight to promote good growth but not so much that it will be too hot for your salad plants once Summer’s sun rises.

2. Soil Preparation 

Once you have decided on pots or a plot you need to make sure the soil itself will be healthy enough to feed all those growing youngster plants. A good compost bin works well here to mix in with the dirt and also some fertilisers – mum or dad or grandma and grandpa will have to do this bit for you – gloves and a mask are required. It’s also a good idea to let this new mixture sit in the soil for a day or two, watering and turning it over a few times prior to planting any seedlings or seeds. That way tender roots won’t come in contact with fertilisers that may burn them.

You can also apply pellets of plant boosting food to pots, if that is what you have chosen to do. An adult to help is a good idea there too – you don’t want to put in too much and you need to work out what fertilisers will work best for what kinds of salad ingredients you want to grow.

You can probably help with the mulching – mulching is a layer over the top of the soil, in either some hay or some bark, that will protect the soil from blowing, feed it as well as it changes into compost itself, and keep water you spray, when watering your garden, in the soil a lot longer – very beneficial to your garden!

3. What to plant and How to plant it

Once you have prepared your soil make a list of what you want to grow and perhaps do a diagram as to how you will plant out your salad garden. Things that grow tall and on a trellis or supported by stakes, such as cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and capsicums, would look great at the back of the garden, where they will still get lots of sun. 

Smaller closer to the ground plants, like the herbs, will make an attractive and easy to reach border. 

Lettuces in a row will grow best in the centre of your plot, as will celery, and under the ground root vegetables with light green fluffy tops on either side of these will benefit from the sun overhead, while beetroots could go towards the back too, just before your capsicum/cucumber wall of green eatables. 

Corn would grow best in a row by itself too - and could be used as a bit of a windbreak as it grows if you have a yard that gets a strong sea breeze like those that run in November.

If you make your list, and do a drawing, you will not only do what’s best for ensuring you get a good crop, you will also have a garden plot that looks good – or ‘good enough to eat’ if you will pardon the pun.

4. How to look after

Once everything is planted you need to keep an eye on your babies. Watering them well in the morning, and if it has been a hot day, an hour before dusk too, will stop them from wilting or not growing – plants get very thirsty too! Aim the hose towards the roots of the plant, not their leaves so much as water sitting on leaves under sun can scorch them – the roots is where they drink anyway – they don’t need too much elsewhere unless it has been dusty and you want to clean dirt off the leaves so they can get more sunlight to help them grow.

When and as they begin to grow, some plants will need some help standing up – this is where staking for tomato plants or a simple trellis or frame to help vine like plants such as capsicum and cucumbers stand or grow upright will need to be done.

If you have chosen pots to grow your salad garden in, you can still do this, just with smaller versions.

The other thing you need to do as your plants grow is keep and eye on their leaves – this is where the health of your salad vegetables shows – discolouration means something is growing wrong and you may need adjust their food. Perhaps too much fertiliser has been added by mistake and something else is needed to balance this out – or they may not be getting enough food from the soil, and something else needs to be added. 

The other part about leaves is when they have gone brown and finished to gently pluck away those leaves.  That stops the plant sending everything needed to keep growing a leaf that has finished to that part of it and allows the plant to send, instead, all that good stuff to the parts still growing.

As your garden grows there may be a few weeds that pop up here and there, blown by the wind as seeds into this wonderful soil – these too will needed to be pulled out so they don’t take the food your salad vegetables need. It’s a good idea to pull these out soon after you have done the watering – the soil will be soft and it will make it easier to get the whole weed, roots and all, and that will stop them growing back.

These weeds and discarded leaves can go into your compost bin to become more food for future gardens!

5. The feast!

After around six weeks the first of your salad and barbecue and pasta ingredients will be ready to pick. It’s Yummo Time!

You may even be able to put a whole meal together – some pesto spaghetti, with a nice salad on the side, or some mushrooms stuffed with your own herb seasoning.

As we have suggested salad vegetables and herbs that will keep producing throughout these two seasons, as long as you pick the outer leaves of your lettuces, or the rip tomatoes, you should be able to bring something to the table until the end of Summer.

We hope you have great fun with your very own Salad Garden and learn a little bit about all the nice things you like to eat this Spring and Summer!

Bon Appetite! 

Vegepods are a great idea for the junior gardener or for those who like to pick fresh produce straight from their Unit balcony.

Father's Day 2020 - Get Dad What He Really Wants

Catalogue available to read online HERE

Karcher K3 Pressure Washer + 1L Bonus Ultra Foam Detergent: $199.00
Powerful K3 Karcher Pressure Washer. Ideal for cleaning cars, pavers, decks, paths and other outdoor areas. Comes with bonus Ultra Foam car cleaning detergent. 

Stabila Be A True Pro Level Set - 5 Piece: $139.00
BE A TRUE PRO Edition spirit levels in lengths of 30cm, 60cm and 120cm. Slim, stable and non-slip aluminium profile.  Firm seat during marking thanks to integrated anti-slip stoppers. STABILA installation technology (LOCKED VIALS) ensures long-term accuracy – measuring accuracy is ± 0.5 mm/m in normal position and ± 0.75 mm/m in reverse position. A spirit level bag and key ring are included.

Stanley Mechanic Set - 14 Piece: $25.00
Rugged cellulose acetate handles. 7 standard tip, 6 Phillips tip & 1 insulated screwdriver. Premium grade Nickle Chrome vanadium steel. Cellulose acetate handles for impact resistance.


Armor All Wipes 25Pk: $8.00 each                                                        Razorsharp Scissor Pack - 3 Piece: $9.00                                                 Grillman Non-Stick BBQ Accessories: $15.00 each

Mr. Men Coffee Mug 502ml: $10.00 each

  Mr. Men Flask 750ml (stainless steel) : $15.00 each

Planter Box with Seat Charcoal: $109.00
Planter Seat with 2 planters. Charcoal powder coated steel. 1200mm in width. Oak composite slats.

Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 Update: Shop Online Options

Intending to keep our customers and staff safe, we present some additional ways for both our retail and trade customers to do business with us.

Trade and Retail Pick Up

Express Pick up Mona Vale

- Call Johnson Bros Mitre 10 Mona Vale, and we will pick & pack your order and have it ready for you to pick up in 2 hours. (Stocked Lines Only)

- Drive into our undercover Trade Drive-Thru area at 73 Bassett St Mona Vale, and your order will be ready for pick-up.

- Our team members will help you with your load and finalise payment/paperwork

Express Pick up Avalon

- Call Johnson Bros Mitre 10 Avalon, and we will pick & pack your order and have it ready for you to pick up in 2 hours. (Stocked Lines Only)

- Drive into our back lane off Bellevue Avenue, and your order will be ready for pick-up.

- Our team members will help you with your load and finalise payment/paperwork

Online Retail Stores Go Live

We’ve launched two eCommerce sites offering 2hr pick up in-store and flat rate delivery options on the northern beaches*. (Mona Vale) (Avalon)

With the ability to leave the product on your doorstep, this provides an option of an entirely contactless transaction.

*Flat rate delivery is not available to trade sales, building supplies and trade quantities

** The stock availability is updated nightly, which may mean the stock is unavailable when the order is placed

Trade Delivery to Site

Maybe not new, but certainly worth a mention again!

We can get almost anything delivered quickly onto site!

As always ring the trade desk direct on 9999 0333 and let them know what you need!

Final Thought

Like everyone, we have found ourselves in a new and uncertain environment, but we’re setting up (and digging in) for the long haul!

We want to acknowledge that the decision to retain over 120 staff and meet any future challenges head-on, could not have happened without the continued support you provide us as customers.

Thank you and stay safe,

The Johnson Family

Green Life Garden Centre at Johnson Brothers Mona Vale has a great stock of seedlings, native and other plants and all you need to get gardening in brilliant Autumn weather

Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 Trade Centre at Mona Vale - everything you need under one roof.

Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 New Store
73 Bassett Street
Mona Vale - Online Store: Jbhmv.Com.Au

Products advice is available from the trained friendly staff at Narrabeen, Mona Vale and Avalon Johnson Brothers Mitre 10. 

Click on logo to visit Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 website

Johnson Bros Mitre 10 - Avalon            (02) 9918 3315

Johnson Bros Mitre 10 - Mona Vale     (02) 9999 3340

JBH Timber & Building Supplies          (02) 9999 0333

JBH Fencing & Landscape Supplies    (02) 9970 6333 Online store:

Previous DIY Pages:

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John and Bob Johnson - The Johnson Brothers Profile  John William Alfred Johnson - The Eulogies for those who could not attend Mass

Australia's Prime Minister Visits Mackellar - Informal Afternoon Tea with Hon. Malcolm Turnbull October 2016

JBH Win Awards August 2018 Trifecta - 2018 Free Trade Day supporters, Mitre 10 Heritage Advert features JBH Mona Vale Store, Hardware Australia’s 2018 NSW Hardware Store of the Year over 2500sqm.

Front Page Issue 294: 2018 Winners Of National Hardware Store Of The Year - Johnson Bros Mitre 10 Mona Vale !!!

National Garden Week's 2019 Focus Is On Children(Oct 13-19): School Holiday Garden Ideas (to get started on) & Congratulations Award Winning Johnson Brothers Mitre10 At Mona Vale - 2019 NSW Store Of the Year2019 NSW Trade Centre Of the Year and 2019 Village Garden Centre of the Year

Johnson Bros Mitre 10 were awarded as the best Trade Store in the country: February 2020

Family Hardware Store Wins Best In Australia: Johnson Bros Mitre 10 Mona Vale Crowned ‘National Trade Store Of The Year’ - Celebrating 65th Year in 2020

Anzac Day In Pittwater 2020: Candles, Crosses and Online Commemorative Services: Johnson Brothers Family Donates 20 Thousand Candles to Community Light Up The Dawn Initiativ

Front Page Issue 447ANZAC DAY 2020

All information and tips in this publication are of a general nature only and neither Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 or Pittwater Online News does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information and tips in this publication. This publication is not intended to be a substitute for expert advice. Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 advises you to always consult an experienced and qualified person when undertaking jobs of this kind (including consulting a qualified tradesperson such as an electrician or plumber where relevant expert services are required). 

You should also consider any safety precautions that may be necessary when undertaking the work described in this publication (including wearing any necessary safety equipment such as safety glasses, goggles or ear protectors or hard hats). The information and tips in this publication are provided on the basis that Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 and Pittwater Online News excludes all liability for any loss or damage which is suffered or incurred (including, but not limited to, indirect and consequential loss or damage and whether or not such loss or damage could have been foreseen) for any personal injury or damage to property whatsoever resulting from the use of the information and tips in this publication. 

Pittwater Online News and Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 also advises there may be laws, regulations or by-laws with which you must comply when undertaking the work described in this publication. You should obtain all necessary permissions and permits from council and/or any other relevant statutory body or authority before carrying out any work. Major projects published in this publication always list these and/orlinks to where you may research what your own project requires to meet regulations.