As the heat of summer begins to cool and we ease into Autumn, March is the perfect time to do a general tidy up and take stock of how your garden is going. Plus, proper plant care in these next few months will leave you steps ahead when it comes to having a winter-ready garden in June, and even a Spring-ready garden in September for the super forward-thinkers!
Time for a tidy up
As the outside temperature becomes a bit more gardener-friendly and rain on Australia’s east coast delivers some much needed moisture to plants and soil, it’s the perfect time to get stuck into some general tidying up:
- Firstly, give your pruning equipment and digging tools a good clean and sharpen – this will lessen the stress on your plants and reduce the chance of spreading plant diseases (did you know 2020 is the International Year of Plant Health?)
- Clear old dead stems from plant supports (trellises; cages; stakes etc) ready for winter crops or in readiness for Spring
- For those plants that had growth spurts over the summer, rein them back in with a light prune to maintain shape
- Remove any dead, diseased or dying growth from your plants.
Give your soil a health check-up
Soil provides plants much more than just a place to put their roots – it’s full of minerals, organic matter, water, air spaces, and a host of microorganisms vital to your plants’ health. So why not make a point of checking up on your soil at the start of every new season to ensure it’s in top condition?
One key point worth highlighting here regarding soil – over the cooler, drier months, you’ll want to think about laying down a layer of mulch to aid in water retention. It also does a great job at keeping weeds down. Just be careful of keeping it away from plants’ trunks and stems to reduce the risk of fungal damage.
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Now that the worst of the summer heat is over, you have time to get your autumn planting started. Get your seeds in now and get them all raised so that your plants are established as the weather cools off. Think leafy greens and starting your winter veg. #seedlings #autumn #autumngarden #autumnplantings #coolclimategarden . . . #myproductivebackyard#wildesmeadow#sustainableliving#organiclife#organicliving #bowral#burrawang#mossvale #instagardeners#instagarden#thegoodlife#grownandgathered#homesteading#organicgardening#organicgarden#aussiebackyard#australia#greenthumbs#southernhighlands#southernhighlandslife#growyourown#inmybackyard #cropswap
Start a compost
If you don’t already have a composting system set up, Autumn can be a great time to start, particularly if you anticipate having large piles of dead or fallen leaves around the garden. Here’s a few options and tips on starting an easy-care compost system at home.
Don’t stop planting!
You may be tempted to think that the cooler weather means you shouldn’t be planting anything new, but in fact there are plenty of varieties that are happy to be established in Autumn. It’s the ideal time to establish trees and shrubs in your garden, as the soil is warm and allows plants to establish a solid root system. Look to establish shade trees, hedges, and shrubs in your garden.
Plenty of vegetables are suitable for planting over Autumn, including:
- Broccoli and cauliflower
- Snow peas
- Baby spinach and silverbeet
- Warrigal greens
This is a general guide, however, so before planting anything be sure to check out this handy guide to planting in Australia’s different climatic regions, and if you have specific questions head to your local Plant Life Balance accredited nursery to have a chat with the experts.
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What a cool and productive urban garden 😊🧡🌿 #urbangardening #farmgoals #productivegarden . Photo by @almabackyardfarms 🌈🌼 . . . 🔸️Garden Poem of the Day🔸️ . “Back to the Farm” By Martha Gilbert Dickinson Bianchi Back to the farm! Where the bob-white still is calling As in remembered drawings when youth and I were boys, Driving the cattle where the meadow brook is brawling Her immemorial wandering fears and joys! Home to the farm for the deep green calms of summer, Life of the open furrow, life of the waving grain— Leaving the painted world of masquerade and mummer Just for the sense of earth and ripening again. Down in the hayfield where scythes glint through the clover; Lusty blood a-throbbing in the splendor of the noon— Lying 'neath the haycocks as castling clouds pass over, Hearing insect lovers a-piping out of tune. Caught in the spell of old kitchen-garden savors— With luscious lines retreating to hills of musky corn, And clambering grapes that spill their clustering flavors— Each in fragrant season filling Plenty's golden horn. Off to the wood lot where brier bloom runs riot And wary forest creature no hunter's snare deceives, Virgin growth beguiling the solemn-hearted quiet With songs of winter fires a-ripple through the leaves. Up to the bars in the twilight's soft reaction— Winding through the ferny lane to barns of stooping eaves Welcoming at nightfall to simple satisfaction, When the reeling swallow her dusky pattern weaves. Out in the dews with the spider at his shuttle— In that half-dreaming hour that awakes the whippoorwill And sets the nighthawk darting sinister and subtle, F'er the full moon complacent loiters o'er the hill. Back to the farm! With the friendly brute for neighbor, Where youth and Nature beckon, the tryst who would not keep? Back to the luxury of rest that follows labor, Back to the primal joys of hunger and of sleep! . ____________________________________________________________ . Want to be featured on our page? Use #thehappygardeninglife in your posts! 🌱 . . . . . #happygardening #happygardener #happygardeners #gardening #garden #gardener #organicgardening #urbangardening #greenthumb #growforit #growyourown
For all the super-prepared personality types out there, Autumn is also a great time to plant bulbs in preparation for a blossoming Spring garden – think daffodils, tulips and freesias. Try to plant these soon after purchasing, otherwise, store them in a cool, dark environment until you’re ready –with the exception of Tulip bulbs, which actually benefit from a 4-8 week stint in your crisper before planting.
As a general rule, you want to be plant bulbs around twice as deep as the bulb is high, and ensure the pointy end of your bulb faces up (with the exception of ranunculus and anemone). Bulbs can be planted in both the ground and in pots, depending on your space.
For specific Autumn gardening hints and tips, and to check which plants are suitable for planting over Autumn in your area, head to your closest Plant Life Balance accredited nursery and have a chat with the experts.