Autumn – VIC and TAS

Plant:

Summer annuals that are past their prime need digging up and replacing with winter and spring-flowering annuals. Seek out colourful Primulas, Primroses and Cinerarias.

Autumn is the ideal time to plant most new trees, as the earth is still warm but the rains are picking up. Planted now, your trees will have ample time to establish before the harsher winter cold. Citrus trees take to a new home happily and will be a productive addition to your backyard food factory.

Japanese windflowers thrive in southern states now. Look for the perfect plants while they are in flower at your local garden centre so you know exactly what colour they will bring. Choose a part-shade position in damp soil and good drainage.

Daphnes are also great for cool climates as they are not bothered by light frost. They prefer morning sun with protection from harsher afternoon sun in a well-drained, compost-rich soil.

In the vegie garden, it is time to plant:

  • Broad beans
  • English spinach
  • Endive
  • Mint
  • Mediterranean herbs such as rosemary, sage, oregano and thyme
  • Kale
  • Leek
  • Lettuce
  • Root vegetables such as radish, beets and turnip

Do:

Keep alert for snails and slugs now that the cooler weather is here. Pick them off by hand or set out baits or traps, but just be careful with these around children or pets.

Dig up and divide perennials that have finished flowering to give them more room to grow. Replant the divisions straight away in a new space or give them away to family and friends to add colour and variety to their garden.

Autumn leaves are made for the compost heap. Rake them up as they appear and turn them into rich, free food for your plants. If you don’t have a compost heap, now is a great time to start one. Keep a balance between green matter (lawn clippings, soft prunings and vegetable scraps) and brown matter (dried leaves, shredded newspaper, sticks and straw). Worms, bugs and microorganisms in the ground work to break down the heap into a useable, useful medium. You will know it is ready when it smells earthy (but not rotten) and there are little to no recognisable pieces of the original matter.

Taste:

Apples are their freshest now. Enjoy them fresh or cook them up into jams, pie fillings or sauces for very a versatile food stockpile.

Grapes and strawberries are finishing up, so get one last feast in before they disappear in the cold.

The cool-weather vegies are emerging in full force – think Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower.

Fresh sweet potato is also on the menu, happily joining parsnips, potatoes and squash in a roast vegie mix.

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