As summer temperatures soar, autumn may be the last thing on your mind. But it’s time to start thinking a few months down the track and planning for autumn to get the best out of your garden. In this guest post, the garden experts at Mr Fothergills explain how to get your garden ready for autumm.
Autumn is a key season for growing cool loving vegetables such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, lettuce, onion, peas, spinach and many more.
Autumn is also the time to sow spring flowers such as sweet peas, calendula, cornflower, forget-me-not, foxglove, hollyhock, lobelia, pansy and poppy.
So whilst you may still be enjoying the rewards of your spring plantings, it’s also worth thinking ahead and preparing for the autumn planting season.
Top 5 Autumn Preparation Tips
1. Prepare the soil
Turn over the soil well, breaking up hard clumps and removing any weeds and debris as you go.
2. Plant a green manure crop
Green manures are fast growing, nitrogen fixing plants grown specifically to be dug back into the soil a few weeks from planting to improve the quality and nutrition content of the soil. Plant one now to dig into the soil to feed the autumn planted crop.
3. Improve the soil with compost
You can further improve the soil by adding compost or well-rotted manure before planting your vegetables, but do not over-fertilise the soil if you are growing carrots as it can cause forking of the roots. You can also add some dolomite to prepare the soil for planting Sweet Peas in March.
4. Sow long-maturing vegetables early
Get an early start to sowing the autumn vegetables that need a long season to mature. Varieties such as cabbages, broccoli and brussels sprouts can take 16 weeks to reach maturity, and if they are not ready to be harvested by the time the spring heat arrives, you may end up with beautiful plants but little to harvest.
Get these seeds sown in greenhouses or Jiffy pots and pellets. Grow them away from the mid-summer heat until the weather cools down a little, then transplant them into the garden. The Jiffy pots and pellets are fantastic as you can plant the pot/pellet with the seedling, thereby minimizing transplantation shock and ensuring quicker establishment of the plant.
5. Sow large-seeded vegetables when the weather cools
Plant large seeded varieties such as peas and broad beans direct into the garden when the weather has started cooling down. Peas and sweet peas like to be sown in well-watered soil, but not to be watered again until the seedling has emerged. Overwatering your peas may cause the seed to rot.
If you want to receive free gardening advice, special online offers and inspiration for your garden sign up for Mr Fothergill’s Garden Patch E-newsletter. Simply go to signup.mrfothergills.com.au to register.
If you sign up before the end of February 2017 you'll also receive a free pack of Mr Fothergill’s Spring Onion seeds to plant in your autumn garden.
Alternatively, try the Mr Fothergill’s Garden Planner and Planting Guide App.
All the products mentioned in this article can be found at Bunnings and at www.mrfothergills.com.au.