Is your vegetable patch beginning to look a little under the weather (pun intended) as the cooler months arrive? The drop in temperature is no excuse to give up your green thumb just yet.
Vegetable gardening at this time of year is actually surprisingly forgiving for autumn vegetables and winter growing. Planting now will allow your little veggie patch babies a few months to establish themselves before Spring and Summer roll in. It’s all about knowing what to grow, where and when.
Vegetable gardening – what to grow, where and when
Seed packets and seedling labels will often tell you ideal sowing and growing information. There are some vegetables that will do reasonably well across most climates in the cooler months. According to Stephanie Alexander’s (a.k.a. The Fairy Godmother of growing edible produce in Australia) The Kitchen Garden Companion book, the following vegetables and herbs will do well across most of Australia if planted in Autumn and Winter:
- Broad beans
- Blueberries (warm climate varieties now exist!)
Seeds and seedlings
There’s no right or wrong way to do it; enthusiastic gardeners can choose to grow from scratch, or those who prefer to get a head start can purchase already established seedlings to transplant in to their ‘forever garden’. Farmers markets are a great spot to pick up seeds and seedlings, as are online retailers such as the Lost Seed and Southern Harvest. Your local vegetable gardening stores and nurseries will also have a great variety.
Tip: When buying online you should be aware of quarantine restrictions that may affect delivery to certain states/territories.
Arguably the best part of making a garden is the part where you get to choose your design. Pinterest is a mecca for all forms of vegetable gardening inspiration: bed, box, containers, raised beds, vertical, hanging, potted, trellises, indoors, outdoors, rooftop, etc.; the options are endless! Get inspired.
Prepare and plant your garden
Once you’ve chosen your design, there’s prepping of soil, planting and nurturing to be done. If you’re finding yourself short of time (or just want to curl up under the blanket and watch Netflix instead), you can post a gardening task to get some help. If you’re into DIY, read on.
For bigger garden beds, landscaping businesses sell good quality vegetable garden soil by the cubic meter. You can get soil that’s already been conditioned and is ready for planting. If you’re doing something smaller scale, you can get bags of good quality soil and soil conditioning products from gardening retailers.
Remove leftover mulch
If you’ve already got an established garden bed and it’s got mulch on it, make sure your remove it. The purpose of mulch is to keep moisture in and evaporation rates won’t be as high in cooler weather, so you don’t need it. You don’t want to end up with soggy soil and unhappy plants.
Plant food and worms
If your soil hasn’t already been conditioned, you’ll want to invest in a good quality fertiliser routine to ensure your plants are well nourished and grow up big and strong. Blood and bone, seaweed plant tonics like Seasol, and compost are popular choices. Worm poo is also a great fertiliser. The added bonus of having worms in your garden is that they aerate the soil.
To keep your garden going, ensure you establish a good watering and maintenance routine – you’ll be reaping the fruits (or veggies) of your labour in no time. If you need some more help, we’ve got plenty more gardening tips just for you. Happy vegetable gardening!