With the cooler season approaching, we're beginning to imagine the leaves transitioning from their lush vibrant greens to their russet reds and burnt oranges. But don’t put away those gardening gloves just yet! Your garden still has plenty to give and with the right love, care and attention you'll be able to enjoy an Autumn harvest from crops that thrive in the brisk temperatures.
But the key to enjoying an Autumn garden is good planning in the summer...
If you can, try to find out when your first frost is forecasted. You want to give your plants enough time to grow and produce their yield before the dangers of frost. However, some vegetables like kale are rarely affected by the bitter temperatures and can grow well into the winter months. Other plants, such as lettuce, swiss chard and beans also fair well when planted in Autumn.
Before getting started with your Autumn garden its best to decide which plants to grow before grabbing your trowel. The likes of Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, Cabbage and Leeks are best to grow indoors during mid-summer, before moving them outside. Whereas, Beets, Carrots, Peas, Turnips, Radish and Spinach (even Garlic to be harvested next summer) can be sown from seed outdoors in the late summer. Although check the seed packets or do some research beforehand as some will grow slower than others.
After deciding what to plant, set some time aside to do some general tidying, including removing any lingering weeds, debris and plants that are no longer producing fruits. Then add organic compost to prepare the soil for the new seeds and rejuvenate depleted nutrients. Depending on your region in late August/early September you may still be enjoying some late summer sun. If so, the ground may retain the heat, so ensure you water to lower its temperature.
Finally, add an insulator like mulch or straw to help retain soil moisture, keep your roots safe on colder nights and if any surprise frosts happen to catch you off guard. Then maintain your garden as you would during the summer; watering, weeding and removing any fallen fruit or leaves that may attract bugs. Remember that if you planted herbs during the summer, cut and dry them for use in your Autumn/Winter recipes, like a hearty warming stew!
Do you have any gardening tips for the season change? Let us know in the comments…