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  • Café 26-Mar-2015 03:22 PM

    Marks Autumn Gardening Tips

    Marks Autumn Gardening Tips

    Do you wish for a flourishing food garden or seek expert tips to encourage your green thumb? Read on for this seasons garden tips.

    St Patrick's Day marks the last chance for planting before the onset of late Autumn and then Winter with the first frosts expected from Anzac Day. 

    Planting now gives plants time to establish while there's still growing time left and either produce something for you to eat over winter or first thing in Spring. Once the frosts arrive all your plants will just shut down and hibernate for Winter so now is the last chance to get them going.

    Rule of thumb is anything that's not affected by frost and that your kids don't eat is what you plant now.

    All the brassicas including broccoli and cauliflower can establish now. We eat the flower buds and they will fire off first thing in Spring when its still too early to plant summer vegetables. A Winter bonus is that the usual pests like cabbage white butterfly are dormant during the cold months.

    The leafy greens like chard - silver beet - of all colours and the new super food kale can all be harvested during winter so are ideal to plant right now. Some leafy lettuces and related things like endive can be planted as they are frost resistant but they tend to be slightly tougher and bitter in cooler times. Some Japanese greens such as pak choi and plants like fennel are planted now because they tend to bolt to seed in warm weather. They will all be good for early Spring salads when everything else is still just sprouting.

    Many herbs like parsley are now going to seed so plant replacements for fresh herbs in warming stews over Winter and into early Spring.

    Seeds to plant include peas and snow peas although their growth will be a bit slow if left too late. All the root vegetables like parsnips, turnips, carrots and beetroot can be sown now and if they get a good start will sweeten in the cold weather and can be eaten through Winter.

    Autumn puts less pressure on plants compared to the heat and dry of Summer and you will be surprised how well things grow. Its the Autumn flush. But don't leave it too late. Its easy to neglect and by the first frost you will be kicking yourself for not having planted anything and you'll have to wait till November.

    Thankyou Mark for your words of vegetable wisdom.  We are heeding your advice although we've missed St Patricks day on a few things, sowing is on the to do list and we look forward to the reaping of all that goodness! (My added advice is it's worth a try even if you don't get organised and plant til May or June - we planted mid June last year and still got great garlic, broad beans, snow peas, herbs)

    Mark Simpson is a local grower and has often supplied Nest with delicious vegetables and herbs as well as seedlings we've been able to plant and harvest  ourselves.    He is always up for a chat in the cafe about gardening, or anything really especially if you share a bottle of wine with him...