As one tremendously hot season comes to an end, the cooler nights and morning dews will signal autumn is here. Now is the time to replenish garden beds and pots and replant new season’s vegetables, seeds and herbs to enjoy in autumn and winter.
Get started by removing from your garden any crops that have matured and been harvested. Cut the plants up into small pieces and add it to the compost bin. Then replenish the soil with a few bags of Tui Super Sheep Pellets, Tui Vegetable Food or Tui Blood and Bone, along with good compost. Blend this all together thoroughly and water in well to incorporate all the goodies into the soil. Summer crops will have sucked valuable nutrients from the soil; therefore it’s vital to replenish the soil before planting autumn and winter crops.
Some crops may still be producing good amounts of food, don’t worry about this, plant around them, a punnet or two of salad veges, can easily fit in under rows of beans and tomatoes. In pots and containers, remove summer crops and add in fresh bags of Tui Vegetable Mix, or mix in Tui Super Sheep Pellets and Tui Compost to give the tired summer soil a boost. SaturAid really helps plants growing in pots to make the most of water, so sprinkle that in too. Brighten up those veggie pots with some winter flowering pansies and violas, these are not just pretty but edible too.
The main veggie seeds to sow now are quick growing crops such as: lettuce, spinach, silver beet, mizuna, rocket and bok choy. All the other autumn crops are best planted as seedlings now to save on growing time. Sow seeds into trays of Tui Seed Raising Mix, keep soil moist and transplant seedlings once they are about finger length.
If you are only a spring and summer gardener, sow a green manure crop such as lupins or mustard to replenish nutrients in the soil, and leave the garden alone until next spring.
Now is the perfect time to save seeds of summer crops to sow next spring. Crops such as tomatoes, beans, peas, pumpkins, lettuce and rocket all set seed readily. Collect, dry and store seeds in clearly labelled envelopes. See the Tui Time Seed Saving Guide for a step by step guide to saving seeds.
What to plant now:
- Leafy Greens: spinach, silver beet, celery, miner’s lettuce.
- Salads Crops: lettuce – rocket, mesclun blends, mizuna, parsley, coriander, chives, chervil.
- Brassicas: broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, cavalo nero, pak choy, Romanesco, curly kale.
- Root crops: radish, beetroot, carrots, kohl rabi.
Your Soup Garden:
If you enjoy warm hearty soups in winter, grow crops that suit the purpose - plant out a soup bed. All of these crops, if planted soon, will be ready to crop and harvest over the winter months, and turned into delicious soups: beetroot, broccoli, carrots, celery, cabbage, cauliflower, silver beet, spinach, spring onions, coriander, parsley, mint, thyme and rosemary.
As the temperatures cool down, slugs and snails will be back on the hunt for fresh new crops, either keep crops covered with nets or cloches or sprinkle Tui Quash Slug and Snail bait around to send them packing.
By Rachel Vogan