Tag Archive: autumn


(Almost wordless – these photos were taken in late May in the front garden, just found them on the camera!)

ac 1 ac 2 ac 3 ac 4 ac 5

The front yard cleared
The front yard cleared

As we head into May and the temperatures start to quickly decline, I was reminded that the window of opportunity for my usual autumn overhaul will soon be closed. A day to complete my usual overhaul of the garden was essential. Weeding always seems to me to be the housework of the garden – really doesn’t take that long, but it’s amazingly easy to find ways of putting it off. And this year was no exception – the garden was almost looking like I was growing only weeds! Once I had gotten around to clearing all the now dead summer plants and removing all the weeds (and filling two compost bins in the process), I was left once again with the semi-empty template on which I could start to plan and plant out the winter garden.

fyard 3
With each season and year that passes the better I get to know my plot. I know which areas get the best sun, or struggle to get any sun, where the snails will surely hunt first, or what is first viewed upon entering the yard, or from each window. Because of this it was already clear in my head where each seedling needed to go to get the garden to work this year – all that was left was to make it happen. After turning over the soil a little and adding some compost – the seedlings went in easily and extremely quickly. I’ll find out in the coming months whether a bit more time and structure to my planting would have paid off…

fyard 5 fyard 6 fyard 7 fyard 9 fyard 10

The back patch however did take a bit longer to plan out in my mind, as I’ve never planted winter veggies there before. Needless to say the raised veggie patch we’ve planned is still not in, so the space is still mine to roam free with. I’ve spent many mornings staring at the patch with a cup of coffee drawing different ideas in my head. As usual the part of my brain that seems to yell “plant everything!!” always seems to win.

I’ve planted a row of broad beans at the back, which I can tie against the cucumber trellis still up from summer. In front of this I’ve put a mixed row of cauliflower and broccoli seedlings, finished with a mix of wombok and kale seedlings at the front. If I can get things to survive away from the snails long enough, I think I’ll be the best maximiser of the space and sun.
byard 2byard 1

I added some sugar snap, snow and sweat peas into pots with stakes to help them climb and topped everything with pea straw. Then I’d done it – both front and back autumn overhauls completed in a day! Absolutely buggered, all that was left was to head inside to find some wine…

Autumn Pickings

egg 1

Now well into autumn – the hype and lustre of the summer garden has, for now, completely gone. My free time has been spent weeding, starting off the winter seedlings and clearing out all the dead summer plants. Although this is usually a “down” time in the garden, it can at times be disappointing compared to what the garden looked like and the harvests I had in summer.  Despite this, I have been encouraged and comforted by the continued small harvests throughout autumn of my eggplants (which have been a huge success) and capsicums.

I know the glory of these plants also won’t last, but for now the weekly harvests of supermarket sized eggplants seems just too good to be true! These have also far outdone any of my previous attempts at growing these veggies and have helped fill in the gap until the winter harvests start.

 egg 4 egg 5 egg 3 egg 6 egg 2 cap 1 cap 2

mantis 1

Autumn Colour

Only a couple of days left of autumn and I’m left playing the waiting game for my winter veggies to grow large enough to harvest. While it may not be the most productive time in my garden, I am lucky to still be able to enjoy its beauty – mainly thanks to the stunning autumn colours of changing leaves we’ve had from our weeping cherry and “Grace” shrub (Smoke bush – Cotinus coggygria). It won’t be long before the leaves are completely gone for the season, but right now they’re just lovely…

“Grace”

 

As winter seems to be drawing in at rapid pace, it’s a relief to see some things in the garden brighten and bloom with the change in temperature – none more so than my two Correa plants which have been flowering the whole way through Autumn. For my overseas readers Correas are native to Australia and have small bell shaped flowers which are just beautiful. Inspired by my two plants, I bought four more Correas to widen my collection (which are now all out in the garden). So not always about veggies in my garden… just most of the time.

Correa “Dusky Bells”

Correa “Dusky Bells”

Correa “Marian’s Marvel”

Correa “Marian’s Marvel”

New Correas

The winter veggie seedlings I planted a couple of weeks ago are growing strong & looking great! The copper tape has kept them safe from snails and some have almost outgrown their containers.

So pleased with the progress I was taking these photos and went to check the seedlings a little more closely… only to find almost all of them were covered with cabbage white butterfly eggs underneath the leaves! Argh! Lucky I found them before they hatched, but a great reminder that it’s not just snails I have to watch out for….. the war continues….

Autumn overhaul

The tidy up...

Although a bit later than hoped, I finally found the time to head out into the garden and give it a massive overhaul to prepare for the winter crops. I started by removing all the weeds and dead growth (mostly the remaining summer veggies). During this process I also found a group of parsnips that I’d completely forgotten I’d planted! Hidden harvests – always good….

I then turned over the soil using a fork and spade. For those of you who have clay soil you can sympathise with me for this part (for those who don’t – well it felt like the equivalent of digging up concrete…) I then added gypsum and mixed it in, followed by compost and mixed that in as well. Suddenly my soil had a new lease on life amd was ready for the next round of veggies.

Gypsum followed by compost

Gina helping me dig....

I planted an initial round of advanced winter seedlings including broccoli, red cabbage, wombok and celery (in random order – I don’t like to plant things in straight rows). I’ll be keeping them protected from snails with plastic bottles and copper tape until they’re large enough to fend for themselves. I finished the whole thing off with a thick layer of lucerne mulch and also revamped the dog run which wasn’t looking the best…

The dog run - before and after

Then all that was left was to head inside, bathe the blisters, massage the sore back and feet and collapse from exhaustion! A big weekend of work, but the finished garden is looking pretty great!

Finished!

About a month ago I got quite keen and started my first round of autumn and winter seedlings (see Preparing for Autumn and Winter – New Seedlings post). Not long after this I went on holiday…. Most people would have waited until they came back from holiday before starting their seedlings – but I’ve never been known for my patience. I decided not to leave them outside while we were away in case of extreme weather days, so they stayed under a window inside. I came back to an overgrown mess of leggy seedlings!

I was pretty impressed by the amount of growth, but a lot were just too leggy to plant as they were. A quick internet search about what to do lead to mixed results… a lot of people said leggy seedlings will simply die – just start again. There were a few sites/posts however saying it was possible to plant them up (similar to what you would do with tomatoes) and roots grow in the newly planted section. A whole lot else said the seedlings will rot if you try this… As it felt like such a waste to throw my seedlings away, I thought it was worth a try!

I firstly cleared out all the seed pots that hadn’t germinated at all and then I separated out the seedlings that were ready to go straight into the garden and planted them. I then selected out all the seed pots that hadn’t gone leggy and moved them aside. This really helped to reduce the chaos in the seed trays!

With the remaining seedlings I placed them (still in their paper pots) in the bottom of a standard small plastic pot. Then I filled up around the seedlings with soil to what visually felt like a normal seedling size/length (…the real scientific approach….)

Initial....

...after one week....

...Kale seedlings after two weeks...

Unfortunately I lost a few seedlings to snails in the first week (it really is a constant war… forget and lose the battle) but I’ve put some copper tape around the other pots to help keep the remaining ones safe. Two weeks later and a lot are still going strong! While some have died, there are still many alive and doing well. I’d say a successful experiment so far – more updates to come.

I also have the next round of seedlings are off and running! This time I’m moving them daily to get the best of the sun and so far their growth (and even the colour of the seedlings) has been a lot better.

Next round of seedlings

So yes, initial care is the best method – but is seems not all is lost when it comes to leggy seedlings.

Look what I found….

Look what I found in the garden yesterday morning – the first eggplant of the season!

Yay! Grow my little one, grow!