What to do in the Autumn Garden
Autumn is here which means the harvesting of late summer vegetables and pip fruit should be in full swing. It is also time to begin preparation for winter vegetable and flower gardens.
Where vegetable plants have survived the long, dry summer, harvesting should include; beans, beetroot, cabbage, carrots, celery, corn, cucumber, eggplants, Jerusalem artichokes, lettuce, melons, onions, potatoes, pumpkin, radish, silver beet, tomatoes and yams. It’s a good idea to save seeds of vegetables that have performed well. Clean the seed, dry completely, label and store in a paper bag in a dry part of your garden shed.
Start preparing the areas for your winter vegetables with the addition of fresh compost and raise the level of “beds” to ensure good drainage over the wet months. Winter vegetable seedlings or seed can now be planted, including; beetroot, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, lettuce, onions, radish, silver beet, spinach, swedes and turnips.
Flowering Annuals and Perennials
Most summer flowering annuals are now near the end of their flowering season, although some like alyssum and lobelia will continue to flourish throughout winter. Winter annuals to plant in March include; calendulas, cineraria’s, cornflower, nemesia, pansy, primulas, snapdragons, stock and wall flowers. Prepare soil for planting as per your vegetable garden.
Bulbs to plant in March include anemones, crocus, daffodils, freesia, hyacinth, ixia, lachenalias, ranunculus, sparaxis, tritonia, tulips. As with any plants, preparation of soil before planting is the key to success, especially as your bulbs will remain in the soil undisturbed for a number of years.
Many varieties of apple and pear are now ripening. The last peach - golden queen, matures in March. Passionfruit also matures in March. Either pick passionfruit off the vine when a deep purple colour or collect them off the ground. Maintain adequate moisture levels around citrus trees to encourage winter-maturing fruit to develop healthily and apply a layer of mulch.
Many perennial herbs start flowering at this time of year and can either be cut back or dug out and replaced. Remember that herbs prefer a hot, dry, well drained site so consider this when planting your winter herb garden and choose the sunniest site.
Following a very dry summer for lawns, as autumnal rains arrive you can start renovating existing lawns or lay a new lawn. With existing lawns, apply lawn fertiliser, ensuring it is watered in well. Continue to water your lawn in the cooler parts of the day to maximise water usage.
Time to replant your containers either with winter flowering annuals or with leafy salad vegetables and/or herbs. You can place some bulbs in deeper containers to add interest in spring when their flowers emerge. For best results, toss out last season’s worn-out soil and replace with a fresh new soil mix.
After a difficult summer, autumn flowering of roses can often be outstanding. Continue to ‘dead head’ finished blooms and remove any deadwood. Apply Daltons Premium Rose and Flower Fertiliser every 4-5 weeks. Some varieties e.g. iceberg will continue flowering until the onset of winter!
It’s also a good time to do a little planning and browse rose catalogues. Assess your roses and think about replacing any existing plants that did not flower well or were prone to diseases during the season. Look for new or disease resistant varieties.
For more gardening advice, check out our range of How To Grow guides.