Late Autumn Gardening

Plant winter vegies and keep pests at bay as autumn winds down 

Late Autumn Gardening

Keep the garden in top shape this autumn by completely these gardening jobs. Image: iStock

Late autumn is a great time to make use of fallen leaves, treat pests and problems and plant winter vegies as well as perennial flowers and herbs. 

Leaf compost 

Turn autumn leaves into leaf mould instead of putting them in the green bin and use it as a free organic mulch, soil improver or top dressing for lawns.

Collect all types of fallen leaves in a pile and water if dry to help them rot

Pack into garbage bags and tie the tops loosely, making a few holes with a fork. 

TIP Wait a year or two before using.

Plant boronia for perfume 

A popular cut flower, boronia is a native Australian shrub or small tree with aromatic foliage and sweet-smelling cup-shaped flowers in a range of colours including white, pink, mauve, yellow, green and brown.

Plant in a spot that gets full to part sun with other plants around it for protection from strong winds. Keep the soil moist and add a 70mm thick layer of mulch. 

To grow in containers make sure the potting mix doesn’t have high levels of phosphorus that can kill native plants. 

Prune boronia back by up to a half after flowering to encourage dense new growth.

boronia pulchella, handyman magazine , late autumn gardening,
Boronia is a native Australian shrub or small tree with aromatic foliage and sweet-smelling cup-shaped flowers. Image: iStock

Growing red cabbage 

Plant cabbage varieties such as Ruby Ball, Red Drumhead and Early Red now for a winter harvest. 

Sow the seeds 20mm deep in a tray or seedbed and cover with well-rotted compost. Transplant after about six weeks, when seedlings have four true leaves, to a spot with full to part sun.

TO CARE water seedlings daily in dry weather then twice a week as they grow. Mound soil around stems for support, removing dead leaves.

FOR HARVEST about three months after planting dig up the entire plant and cut off the roots. 

WATCH FOR clubroot that causes wilting.

TIP Rotate cabbage beds every three years to reduce the risk of disease and fungus.

red cabbage, handyman magazine, late autumn gardening,
Eat this colourful vegie cooked or raw for anti-ageing antioxidants. Image: iStock

Planting salad burnet

A member of the rose family this perennial herb has small, round serrated leaves with a refreshing cucumber flavour and grows to about 400mm high.

Plant seeds in well-drained soil in a spot that receives plenty of sun and keep the soil moist. Thin out seedlings when they get to about 80mm high and replant them 300mm apart. 

Remove flower stems when they appear, as the herb self-seeds readily and can easily take over the garden. 

Snip off stalks of young, tender leaves as needed to use in salads, sandwiches, dips, fruit punch and as a garnish. 

salad burnet, handyman magazine, late autumn garden,
Use fresh or frozen as this tasty herb loses its flavour when dried

Harvesting silverbeet 

Now is the time to start picking healthy silverbeet leaves, using a sharp downward motion to pull off the outer leaves when needed for soups, steaming or baking. 

Regular harvesting encourages the inner leaves to grow to full size, providing fresh silverbeet for months. 

TIP Young leaves make great salad greens but older leaves are more bitter and the stems can become tough so don’t wait too long to harvest. 

silverbeet, handyman magazine, late autumn gardening,
Now is the time to start picking healthy silverbeet leaves, using a sharp downward motion to pull off the outer leaves. Image: iStock

Treat autumn pests and problems 


SPOT IT Grey fuzzy growth on leaves, stems or blooms.

ORGANIC ZAPPER Remove the infected plants. Water plants at ground level. 

CHEMICAL CONTROL Spray with Amgrow Chemspray Mancozeb Fungicide with 15g per 10 litres of water. 

botrytis, handyman magazine,
Botrytis displays as a grey fuzzy growth on leaves, stems or blooms

Damping off

SPOT IT Seedlings collapse and die after being attacked by fungi or bacteria. 

ORGANIC ZAPPER Sow seeds thinly and don’t overwater. 

CHEMICAL CONTROL Spray soil with Fongarid or copper oxychloride before or after sowing to protect seeds. 

damping off, handyman magazine,
Seedlings collapse and die after being attacked by fungi or bacteria

Staghorn beetle 

SPOT IT Blue-black 3mm rounded beetles with four orange spots that chew craters in staghorn fronds. 

ORGANIC ZAPPER Prune off affected fronds and destroy.

CHEMICAL ZAPPER Spray bad infestations with Bayer Confidor insecticide.

staghorn beetle, handyman magazine,
Staghorn beetles are blue-black and 3mm round, with four orange spots that chew craters in staghorn fronds

Iron deficiency 

SPOT IT Leaves are bright green fading to pale yellow.

ORGANIC ZAPPER Lower the pH in alkaline soils by adding animal manure and mushroom compost. 

NON-CHEMICAL Apply liquid iron chelates to the soil or foliage. 

iron deficiency, handyman magazine,
Iron deficient plants have bright green leaves that fade to pale yellow 

Vote It Up: 
Late Autumn Gardening

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