After the joys of fresh garden salads all summer, the veggie patch can look a little dispiriting in autumn – but never fear, there’s plenty to plant.
Changeover time in the veggie patch
Autumn is the time when most of our spring and summer plantings in the veggie patch have run their race, hopefully having rewarded you with fresh pickings for your salads and fruit for good health.
In autumn the weather is cooling down but the soil is still warm, so now is the time to plant your next vegetable crop, which will be ready to harvest in winter and spring.
Stephan Ebert, owner of Kallinyalla Garden Centre in Port Lincoln, has been in the trade for 40 years. However, his wife Leonie is the new kid on the block, only taking an interest in gardening – more specifically vegetable gardening – since they took over the business in 2016.
Stephan has seen a long tradition of vegetable growing among customers of the garden centre. The most commonly sought-after seedlings through the year include zucchini, tomato, cucumbers, pumpkin, carrot, onion, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, lettuce, beetroot, spring onions and capsicum.
Stephan says some newcomers to veggie gardening have been attracted by an interest in healthy eating and the wide variety of Asian vegetables now available, such as wombok, pak choy, bok choy, Chinese cabbage, daikon radish, Jerusalem artichoke and sprouts such as alfalfa, mung bean and snow pea. Herbs include Vietnamese mint, okra, chicory, fennel, kale and coriander. Heirloom varieties have also made a resurgence.
“People are currently wanting to grow more food-producing plants and this list includes potatoes, garlic, pomegranate, blueberries and even guava,” says Stephen
Leonie has been growing vegetables and herbs in raised garden beds and container pots for the Community Street Garden Scheme in Port Lincoln, which provides free produce for any member of the local community.
“Over the past five years, times have got tougher and this impacts on families and the community as a whole,” she says.
“No matter if you are a seasoned or new gardener, growing a vegetable garden can be very rewarding and fun for the whole family. Apart from the health benefits, everything always tastes better homegrown!”
So, what needs to be done in the veggie garden now?
In autumn there are many jobs to do in the garden including:
• Weed thoroughly and mulch to reduce re-growth
• Start a compost heap or bin with lawn cuttings, dead leaves and flowers
• Prepare vegetable garden beds with compost, manure and gypsum
• Stephan recommends GCSA Soil Improver and GCSA Moo-nure Plus with seaweed and gypsum
• Then plant vegetables and herbs, as well as citrus trees
• Give seedlings a good dose of fertiliser such as blood and bone or Seasol at time of planting and throughout the growing season to get your vegetables off to a flying start.
This story first appeared in the Autumn 2020 issue of SALIFE Gardens & Outdoor Living magazine.