Autumn gardening guide
Posted by Webmaster | Filed under Flora — In the garden
Autumn means harvest time. It’s the time of year when you’re enjoying the fruits of your labour from spring, says the Veggie Lady. Tomatoes are ripe and plentiful, beans are abundant, cucumber and zucchini are still producing and there’s plenty of greens for salads.
Pumpkins can also be harvested during autumn but will need to be ‘cured’ first. Harvest them with as much stalk left on as possible, then leave them in a dry and sunny position for at least two weeks to harden their skins. This way they will store for longer and you’ll be able to enjoy them for months to come. Some country folk recommend putting them on top of old tin roof for a week or two. The intense heat is enough to cure them very quickly.
If you haven’t already sown seeds of cabbage family plants, then get to it as soon as you can because these plants take several months to grow. They need to be well established before winter hits for best results.
It’s also time for root crops now too. Plant carrot, parsnip, swede and beetroot seeds directly into the garden and then thin them out as they germinate and grow to ensure they have enough room. When sowing the seeds, mix carrots with sand so the tiny seed is easier to spread, firm them down in the soil and then keep them moist. Beetroot seeds benefit from pre-soaking. Just place the seed in a jar of water for a couple of hours to soften them first and germination rates will be better. Parsnip seed always needs to be fresh otherwise their viability and germination rates drop dramatically.
You can try growing another batch of potatoes if you have some seed potatoes. These are grown from tissue culture to make sure they’re disease and virus free. If you have a few small, undersized potatoes from your last crop and they’re free of any disease then you could use these instead.
Some vegetables love the onset of cooler weather and are traditionally planted in Autumn. These include Asian greens, iceberg lettuce, endive, silverbeet, leek and parsley.
Onions and garlic are day length sensitive and can be planted out from the autumn equinox on 20 March. Snowpeas and sugar snap peas are a favourite among kids with their crisp sweet taste. You can plant these and normal shelling peas to replace your beans after they finish harvesting.
Monthly planting guides are available for all the Veggie Lady’s Veggie Club members. Join for free at www.theveggieclub.com