Autumn is a greatly rewarding time for veggie garden. There is both new planting and harvesting to enjoy. Cucumbers, tomatoes and zucchinis (that haven’t faltered from powdery mildew) are still cruising along nicely. Capsicums, eggplants and pumpkins are all ready for harvest. Chillies have stored all the heat from summer and there are usually too many to consume. However, they can be dried, preserved, put in jars for jam or frozen for future consumption.
The challenge of autumn is finding the space to plant winter crops whilst still harvesting summer’s goodies. There is plenty of time to plant broccoli and cabbages but in cooler regions brassicas have to go in early to make the most of the warmer roots before winter. Broad beans and brussels sprouts are cool-climate delights well worth growing if you have a frosty winter, but get them in before, too. In warmer climates you can still plant batches of summer beans.
The optimal way to sow beans is directly into well-prepared soil. Other vegetables to sow in March are root vegetables, rocket and radish. Beetroot is able to be sown in any climate and you can consume the tasty leaves as well as the roots. Parsnips and carrots are able to be sown leading up to winter. In colder Australian climates wait until August or September for these root vegetables.
If you are awaiting summer crops to finish before you have the space for winter crops, you can start with winter salad greens or brassicas from seed for transplanting later. You may also want to plant some salad veggies and herbs in containers for a fast autumn crop, but these require plenty of watering, especially if it remains dry leading up to winter. Continue to plant lettuce every few weeks to maintain regular supply.
Autumn is the perfect planting time for onions, and there are also lots of wonderful leek varieties available. Multiplying onions, spring onions and shallots are worth growing. Garlic can be planted from April onwards.
Projects for Autumn
Build a compost heap: Once the leaves start to fall and the lawn has its autumn growth spurt you will have the perfect ingredients for an ultimate compost.
Squirrel a winter supply: Don’t waste any goodness. Pick and preserve tomatoes in any way you can – dry, bottle or freeze.
Create a raised bed: Raising your soil level is an awesome way to make gardening easier on your back whilst enhancing soil drainage. This encourages quicker, healthier veggie growth, especially in winter if you have heavy clay soil.
Citrus Planting: If you already have citrus in your garden, think about planting another variety with a varied fruiting time. You can have the fruit all year in a warmer climate.
Build a cloche cover: If birds are a problem or your plants require protection from the cold, convenient crop covers are the ideal solution.
Revamp your irrigation: With the deficiencies and leaks of the past few months kept in mind.
Autumn truly is a great time of year to produce some absolutely lovely goodies. Also, the above projects are best undertaken at this time to prepare you for later in the year. Enjoy this change in season and all the goodness it produces.