THINGS TO DO IN AUTUMN
- Amp up soil in areas which are spent after summer, vegie beds in particular. Use clay (Soil Solver, or any kaolin based product - avoid bentonite), Charlie Charcoal AND compost, worm poo or bought soil conditioner. Save yourself work, pests and heartache by avoiding planting the same vegies in the same spot you did last year. GreenLife Soil Vegie Concentrate is excellent and contains clay and charcoal (acidic not alkaline). This is available from Greenlife Soil or any of these outlets.
- Plant broccoli, broad beans, beetroot, cabbage, carrots, chillies, kale, silver beet, spinach, leeks, cauliflower, onions, Asian greens, lettuce, peas, parsley, beans (late March). Liquid fertilise them fortnightly.
- Plant garlic bought from an organic green grocer. Avoid buying Chinese garlic.
- Prune off old succulent flowers. Take succulent cuttings if desired.
- Check for non-wetting soil where mulch has thinned & retic may have missed. Ideally use a liquid wetting agent like Eco-hydrate. If you can ensure that you have mulched well and the soil will be kept moist, you can use Grosorb granules instead. After aerating with pitchfork, treat the lawn as well.
- LAWNS: Check for army worm (a type of caterpillar) & weeds. Ask your lawn contractor to wash down their mower at their last job to avoid infesting your lawn with weed seeds. Or mow it yourself. Feed naturally with a mineral rich fertiliser for the cooler weather. We use Eco Emerald Lawn - it is an excellent product. (PS there are no kickbacks here with any of the products mentioned - we just like using them!) Use a soil microbe friendly wetting agent (Eco Hydrate, Grosorb, Eco Wet etc) before feeding.
- Trim wisteria side shoots to 20-30cm from main stem now or after autumn flowering if your vine flowers in autumn, many don’t. NB Pruning in winter results in no flowers!
- Trim roses by 1/3. If black spot is present, use EcoRose and increase ventilation.
- Cut shasta daisies & kangaroo paws to ground. Prune summer flowering perennials like salvias, buddleias, plectranthus, geraniums & gardenias by 1/2.
- Divide daylilies, kangaroo paws, aggies, iris, pennisetum & liriope by using a pitchfork or spade and separating into small clumps.
- Feed shrubs and citrus with organic fertiliser such as Seamungus, Searles KICKALONG Fruit And Flower OR GrowSafe Home Gardener. Apply a layer of compost, then top with a chunky mulch. Water well before & after feeding to prevent root burn.
- Check vegies for white cabbage moth. Pick off green grubs and feed to chooks or spray Dipel or EcoNeem (NB spraying will knock out the 'good' butterflies as well).
- Spray citrus with an Eco Oil and EcoNeem mix if you have citrus leaf miner or put up a few CLM traps.
- Place spring bulbs needing chill factor in egg cartons in crisper of the fridge now for 4-6 weeks ie daffodils, tulips, dutch iris, hyacinths.
- Sow sweet peas mid March. To speed up germination, soak in hot water for 4hrs. Make sure soil is between 7 and 7.5pH. Don't water seeds again until they sprout. Apply ¼ tsp bicarb– 4L water monthly when 20cm for better blooms. Protect from snails. They really are worth the effort!
- Liquid fertilise annuals and vegies fortnightly or weekly (weakly!).
- Clean out gutters to rainwater tanks. Consider a gutter guard to make life easier. Forestry Tools
- Prune hedge plants. Consider buying some good quality electric hedge clippers.
- Plant out your verge with vegies or local natives. Check council regulations first.
- Plant coriander now as cool weather provides ideal growing conditions. Plants will bolt to seed in even mild heat. Grow in sun or semi-shade & freeze excess.
- Plant those bulbs you put in the fridge plus bluebells, jonquils, hippeastrums, etc.
- Mid - late May is the latest month to plant.
- Plant any Mediterranean/temperate shrubs and trees.
- Plant potatoes, beetroot, leeks, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, broad beans. Keep sowing snow peas if you love them.
- Visit an Open garden
- Plant out strawberry beds. Avoid using black plastic as mulch. Straw is good, hence the name. Keep moist and well fed.
- May is a good month to transplant shrubs. Wait till spring to move tropical plants.
- Cut down old canna stems to the ground (do this regularly for great looking plants). Use the seed pod stems as floral art in a vase. Lasts for weeks.
- Reduce watering of houseplants but remember to water plants under eaves.
- LAWNS: Increase microbial activity - apply a seaweed tonic. Microbes are essential for lawn health & also eat thatch. Lower mower height to allow more sun in which helps reduce fungal problems.
- Rake up those precious autumn leaves -put in compost or mix with mulch.
- Prune callistemons lightly to get rid of old seed head branches immediately after flowering to encourage growth.
- Liquid fertilise annuals & vegies fortnightly.