autumn winter vegetable planting and growing

Last Autumn you were ready. Warm days, cool nights. The perfect time to be outside.

You'd spent all summer on Pinterest pinning the grow your own from scraps posts and the build it with a pallet garden blogs. You were armed and ready to go.

While You had a few successes your desire to feed the family with home grown produce wasn't as successful as you had hoped. Plus you aren't even sure how that eggplant appeared you don't even eat eggplant!

Don't get discouraged. Vegetable gardening isn't rocket science but it does take a little practice.

Planting Your Vegetable Garden - Autumn Vegetable Planting

Firstly you got your season right. If you've always wanted to have a vegetable patch Autumn is the perfect time to start it. The weather is cooler so less watering and the bugs don't seem as active.

The first step to a great vegetable garden is the soil. Buy soil in if necessary (organic garden soil if doing a garden or the best quality potting mix you can find for Pots). You can also do a layered garden and build your soil up slowly. I find ultimately no matter how much care and attention the vegetables get, good soil = good vegetables.

 

Now to choose your vegetables.

Be honest here. If it's your first year growing vegetables don't start with the vegetables that one day you'd like to cook with. Make a list of the vegetables and herbs you regularly use. Start with this. As you get better add in plants that are on your id love to grow list and then finally after a few goes add in the weird and wonderful.

The basic cool season vegetables that I find grow well in most areas are –  broccoli, beetroot (my favourite), cabbage, cauliflower, leek, celery, onions, shallots, silverbeet, spinach, snow peas, strawberries (my other favourite), peas, turnips, braid beans, parsnip, swede, radish, kale and rhubarb.

If you don’t get a frost or you can cover your vegetables – beans, lettuce, carrots, Asian greens, capsicum, eggplant and tomatoes can also be grown.

Or if you get really cold you can give brussels sprouts a go.

This is the very basic vegetable range; there are so many different variations on these classic vegetables.

If you choose to buy small plants (seedlings or punnets) rather than seeds to get your vegetable patch going you will find there is a large choice available for instance there is at least four different versions of broccoli, white and purple cauliflowers and rainbow or green silverbeet.

New ranges of vegetables and herb plants are being released all the time. This season we have a white strawberry - Strawberry Blondie, Wasabi Rocket, perfect for hot salads due to its burst of wasabi flavouring without an aftertaste and Red Kale - one of the top 5 superfoods.

If you start using old fashioned open pollinated seeds the list can be endless.

If your vegetable patch consists of a variety of different sized pots don’t worry, there is a large range of dwarf vegetables available in seedlings and seeds.

Leek, lettuce, Asian greens, capsicums, shallots, silverbeet, spinach, snow peas, strawberries, tomatoes, beans, beetroots, peas and rhubarb all grow well in pots without needing dwarf varieties.

 

Vegetables in Pots!

Autumn Vegetable Garden Planting

The secret to growing any vegetables in pots follows the same principles as growing in the ground.

Start with the best quality soil or potting mix, mulch with an organic material (I like organic sugar cane mulch that is free from weeds), fertilise with a complete organic slow release fertiliser and liquid fertilise fortnightly with a complete organic liquid fertiliser.

I like using the Plant of Health range of fertilisers – Organic Link and Triple Boost and Searles’ range of garden soil and potting mix – Peat 80 Plus

 

Herbs

The cooler months are the best time for growing herbs.  Nearly all the herbs are available at this time of year. Herbs grow well in the garden or in pots and most herbs can be grouped together in pots to make mini herb gardens.

The best thing about growing cool season vegetables is that it’s usually too cold for the pests to be out and about.  If you do get a few pests an organic spray like eco oil or eco fend work well. I mix neem oil up into my liquid fertiliser and try to do it fortnightly as a preventive rather than a cure. Mildew and mould is a common problem during wet winters – copper spray (some are considered organic) can be the best solution.

 

I have heard that having pretend white butterflies or eggshells made to look like butterflies in your vegetable patch not only looks pretty but helps deter moths. While fruit fly aren't much of a problem in the cooler weather I still have a fruit fly trap going all year.

 

Remember though the healthier the soil, the healthier the plants and the less likely you are to get problems.

Now get outside and get dirty!

 Trevallan Garden Lifestyle Centre

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