Autumn – SA

Plant:

With the soil still warm, new plants will grow quickly and establish before winter begins. Native plants are ideal to get in the ground now and there are varieties to suit every garden. Check out the displays at your local garden centre.

Revive your garden beds and remove summer annuals before they look straggly. Replace with new patches of colour from Alyssum, Celosia, marigold, Dianthus, Impatiens, pansy and viola.

In the vegie garden, it is time to plant crops for winter harvest. Aim to plant vegetables with a range of different harvest times to ensure variety and avoid the overwhelming glut when everything ripens at once. Keep seedlings watered and fed with a liquid fertiliser, as it is quickly taken up by plants for fast edible produce. This season’s vegies are:

  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Lettuce
  • Peas
  • Artichoke
  • Beetroot
  • Leek
  • Silverbeet
  • Turnip
  • Parsnip

Do:

Beware of snails getting out and about with the first rains; they will take great joy in destroying your newly-planted seedlings. Coffee grinds, egg shells, beer traps, baiting or just going around first thing in the morning picking them up will help curb the damage.

Lightly prune plants to encourage new growth and tidy them up, but don’t be too hard on them. Cutting back too far can leave plants susceptible to cold damage if the new growth hasn’t had a chance to harden up before winter.

Roses will be putting on a spectacular autumn flush now. Keep up with light fertilising until early April with a rose food containing potash (potassium) for good flowering and healthy leaves. Keep aphids in check with a jet of water to knock them off their perch, or spray with a horticultural oil or pyrethrum spray.

Check your lawn for patches where the water pools and open up the ground with a garden fork or aerator. Consider adding a soil wetting agent to further ensure rainfall sinks down to where it is needed.

Taste:

Citrus fruit will be starting to come into season; think lemons, mandarins and oranges. Delicious fresh, squeezed into juice or preserved in homemade cordial, these beauties will pack in the vitamin C and help you stay healthy into the cooler months.

Some more unusual fruit such as pomegranate, persimmon and quince will also be available now, however figs are the stand-out in South Australia this season, closely followed by delicious sweet passionfruit. For a fresh, light dessert, make the most of your passionfruit with a simple sorbet.

PASSIONFRUIT SORBET

Pulp from 12 ripe passionfruits (‘Black’ or ‘Panama Red’)

Approx. 120 g caster sugar

Mint sprigs for decoration

Sieve the pulp to remove the seeds and weigh the juice. Make up a mix of sugar and water where the weight of each is half the weight of the passionfruit juice. Add to the juice and stir to dissolve the sugar. Freeze the mixture. Take the frozen mix out of the freezer and allow it to soften as it partially thaws. Place in a food processor and beat, then refreeze. When serving, allow it to become slightly soft by leaving it at room temperature for a few minutes. Decorate with mint.

Recipe courtesy of Delish – From Garden to Table. Available here.

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