Before winter sets in, there are still a few jobs that need to be done in the garden to prepare it for the cold ahead. I’ve found that autumn is probably one of the busiest times for me as the work I do now means my garden is looking at its best in spring and summer.
Autumn is the perfect time to start planting any new additions to the garden, as the days are starting to cool but the soil is still warm. This creates the perfect environment for plants to establish their roots so they become strong before winter comes and the frosts set in.
I have great success in the garden at this time of year and always plant around April and the start of May. If I plant any earlier than this I find the harsh summer sun tends to frazzle everything, and summer definitely doesn’t always finish in February in Australia. It sometimes has a tendency to linger for a while and throw out the odd heatwave just to keep you on your toes.
So as we’re currently in the sweet-spot for planting, let’s have a look at few little jobs around the garden that you can do now to ensure that you get the most out of your plants in spring and summer.
This is something that is really important as some plants will become leggy without regular pruning. If you’re not sure how to prune a particular plant, do some research online or take a photo of the plant and head down to your local nursery and ask for some advice.
Pruning your bushes will promote new growth in spring and also keeps your garden looking tidy. Don’t forget to give your fruit trees, and roses especially, a prune at this time of year so that you get plenty of fruit and roses in spring.
Also cast your eye over any trees you have, especially those close to your house. All you need is strong wind and a weak branch for it to end up in your lounge room watching TV with you and your family. So take the time now to remove any overhanging branches or ones that look weak or cracked.
Remember you want to do all your pruning prior to the first major frost in your area as frost can kill some plants. Once you’ve finished pruning, it’s time to fertilise your plants.
This time of year is one of the best times to be fertilising your plants. I like to fertilise with a slow release fertiliser, and then a dose of Seasol. Seasol helps your plants better cope with stresses such as frost, so don’t forget this.
Feeding your plants in autumn just before they go dormant gives them a great opportunity to stay strong through the winter months. I can’t tell you how many plants and roses I have lost during winter because I forgot to do a little care in autumn.
I also like to keep up the natural fertiliser (chicken poo) throughout winter, on a monthly basis. The rain we get through winter helps the nutrients soak into the soil, and the chicken poo has to go somewhere after I’ve cleaned the coop. Recycling!
Once you’ve fertilised don’t forget to mulch your plants. Just like in summer it’s important to mulch for winter to protect your plant roots from the cold and frost. Don’t go too thick otherwise the rain won’t be able to penetrate down to the soil. I think around 7cm thick is the general guideline now.
I also take this time to pull out all my vegies from my patch and start adding in natural materials to my soil. I can’t grow vegies through winter on the farm as the frosts kill them off, but gives me a great opportunity to prepare the soil ready for spring plantings. But if you’re lucky enough to be able to plant and grow through winter, it’s a great time to put in broad beans, broccoli, garlic, onions, peas and spinach.
So pop your coat on and step out outside this weekend and start preparing your garden for the winter ahead.
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