Autumn planting guide
Our seasons are beginning to creep a little. True autumn weather seems to be coming later, although the daylight hours are still shortening at the same time, the warmth is lasting longer and night-time temperatures remaining higher than normal.
This is really noticeable when it comes to the autumn vegie patch. Basically we are experiencing warmer temperatures in autumn which are keeping our summer vegies cropping longer. It also means vegies that need a cooler temperature to set pods may need to be planted later.
In spite of that, autumn days are still warm and sunny without harsh winds, so it’s an ideal time for planting.
This is the time to rotate the vegie beds to autumn/winter crops. For gardeners in the metro area, over the next month you can sow artichoke, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, celery, endive, fennel, garlic, kale, leeks, onions, peas, silverbeet, spinach, spring onions and turnips.
Other autumn vegies include: Asian greens, asparagus, basil, beetroot, Brussels sprouts, cassava, chicory, Chinese cabbage, celery, chives, cress, cucumber, daikon, eggplant, Jerusalem artichoke, kohlrabi, lettuce, parsnip, potato, radiccio, rocket, spring onions, sweet corn, sweet potatoes, swede and tomatoes.
However, you can also add broad beans and cauliflower as you get much colder nights than coastal areas.
Hopefully you will get rain to help things along.
Don’t throw away any crutchings; sheep dags make the best fertiliser and the wool part holds moisture. Yep, sheep just keep on giving.
With every seasonal change in the vegie patch, take the opportunity to add more manure, compost and mulch. Never put dolomite lime and manure in at the same time as it reacts and gives off ammonia. Liquid fertilise newly emerging seedlings and protect them with a small cup if necessary.
As for all the pesky sap-suckers, you can now safely spray with eco-oil or pest oil, or make up your own oil spray.
ROOT CROP PLANTING TIME
Autumn is a wonderful time to plant root crops such as carrots, parsnips and beetroot. Parsnip and turnip seed will not germinate in higher temperatures, so late autumn is ideal for sowing, and seed offering biggest selection.
Sow carrot seeds in late autumn or early winter and they will bolt to seed as spring weather arrives.
CARROTS A VERY OLD FAVOURITE
The ancient Greeks were so fond of carrots they used the leafy parts as corsages and to put in cut-flower displays.
Both carrots and parsnips need an open friable soil pH of 6.5-7.5 that allows the roots to develop without obstruction.
Germination for carrots is a few weeks and parsnips up to five weeks. You will need to water the drill before sowing the seed, once you have sowed and again after sowing. This is the main cause for failure of germination. Thin your seedlings out to allow room for the roots to grow. You will need 10cm apart for big carrots and 5cm apart for smaller varieties. As the carrots grow, hill up the soil around the tops. When you harvest your carrots, pull the top green bit off immediately as they will draw moisture and sugars from the root.
ROSES AT FULL FLUSH
Autumn is also the best time for roses, as the colours are much better and stronger and the bush healthier and greener without the harsh sun.
Feed them up with a high-potassium fertiliser, water deeply and deadhead and you will have a wonderful floral display. Aphids are less of a problem now, as roses will be putting energy into the flowers rather than vegetative growth.
© The West Australian
More Home and Garden at thewest/lifestyle/home