With the heat of summer done and dusted, Autumn is a great time to get out in the veggie patch. Far from being an inactive period, the warm soil makes it the perfect time to prepare and plant a cold weather crop.
After nourishing your garden over the booming summer months, it’s time to tidy up and replenish your soil. Remove the remnants of your summer crop and any weeds that have become established and throw them on your compost heap. Finally, use a garden fork to turn over the soil and aerate it. Mix in any leftover mulch too. As it breaks down it will help improve the soil.
Prepare To Plant
Now that your patch is a blank canvas, you can get ready to fill it with your winter veggies. Spread a 30cm thick layer of compost over the soil and fork it in. Add some cow or chicken manure into the mix while you’re at it.
Time To Plant
Now the fun part – sowing your favourite winter veggies. The classic winter crops are members of the brassica family. Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale and bok choy. Brassica are hungry feeders so incorporate blood and bone into the soil when preparing and a nitrogen-rich fertiliser for the leafy varieties as it helps promote their growth. To avoid the white cabbage moth from laying its larvae, cover the area with fine netting.
Root vegetables like carrots, turnips and beetroot are other veggies that love the cooler weather. Before planting, add blood and bone to the soil for much needed phosphorous. Don’t over fertilise as they grow as all their energy will go into foliage production and not the root.
If space in your veggie garden is limited there’s also a range of options for pots. Herbs are perfect plants for pots and pretty much every herb except basil, will thrive at this time of year. On the sweeter side, May is the perfect time to plant strawberries, which look wonderful in pots and will provide you with a bumper harvest come spring. Make sure you choose pots a few sizes larger than the plants so they have room to grow.