Not too hot and dry, no more flies and the weather is cool enough to get physical and enjoy digging and weeding.
So, if your vegie patch is looking a bit worse for wear after summer, now’s the time to clean it up, give the soil a good feed with well-rotted compost and some pelletised chook poo and get planting all those vegetables that love the winter. Of course, ‘winter’ can mean quite different things in this enormous country of ours, so before you rush to invest in every veg that takes your fancy, be sure to check that they will, indeed, suit your particular climate zone.
The favourite tried-and-true winter vegies are the brassicas – broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower – and although they especially love cool weather, they will also thrive in all but the most tropical areas. Kale, another brassica, is also a happy autumn performer and has the particular advantage of being able to be picked leaf-by-leaf, ensuring a perpetual harvest through the cooler months.
For other leafy greens to plant, think English spinach, silver beet and mustard greens. Broad beans and peas (the latter is not so happy with frost) make great cold weather crops, and if you’re in milder zones, you can also plant snow peas.
And let’s not forget the root vegetables, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, turnips, beetroot, radish, onions (and leeks) and garlic (yes, garlic), all of which shine in cooler weather.
Last but not least, don’t neglect your herbs. Apart from sweet basil, which needs warm weather to thrive, almost any herb can be planted in autumn, even coriander and dill, which may have exasperated you over summer with their tendency to bolt to seed. The cooler conditions make them much better behaved!