Autumn 2021 in the Organic Edible Garden
Autumn is the time to enjoy the last of our fruiting crops - capsicums and eggplants are pumping out fruit - and we sow seeds for our brassicas (kale, cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli) to enjoy over the winter months.
Brassicas are in the ground for a long time, so it’s important to prepare the soil before planting out. The rain during winter also leaches goodness out of the soil, so it needs to be bulked up at this stage. Add compost, animal manure, rock dust, and if you haven’t added lime in the last couple of years, now’s the time.
Remember the white butterfly, which loves brassicas, is flying in autumn, so make sure you net garden beds to stop them laying their eggs which turn into caterpillars. If they do get through the nets, you’ll find a certified organic Caterpillar BioControl spray does the trick.
For people who live in warmer climates, it may surprise you to know you can grow some species of lettuce all year round. Iceberg, Cos and Canasta lettuces, as long as they’re in a sheltered area, can be grown in winter. Mesclun and rocket can be grown in winter too. You may need to cover them with some frost cloth in the middle of winter, but otherwise they will grow happily in cooler temperatures.
It’s good to have leek seedlings in now so they can enjoy a little late summer heat to start fattening up, ready for winter soups and casseroles.
Onion seeds need to be sown now ready for planting out in April.
It’s time to pot up the nodes from strawberry runners to create new plants for planting out in May.
It’s also a good time now to be sourcing seed garlic to plant out in April: try and find one that’s grown in your area as that is more likely to be successful.
Carrots and peas grow best in spring and autumn. Always buy new seed when sowing carrots and we recommend growing dwarf peas at this time of the year rather than climbing ones - they do better with the advancing cooler nights.
Autumn is a great time to make a hot compost to clear away all the spent summer crops. It means you’ll have good organic matter in about a month’s time to add to your garden beds.
And lastly, if you have any spare space that you’re not going to grow vegetables in this winter, try a nitrogen-fixing cover crop. Lupins are easy and effective, but there are all sorts of others – oats, barley, crimson clover, and fava (broad) beans. Kings Seeds has an Autumn green manure mix which contains winter rye, field peas, rye grass, crimson clover, and hairy vetch - all of which are good cool weather cover crops.
Autumn is a lovely time to be in the garden!
From Organic Edible Garden.
Organic Edible Garden’s vision is to make organic edible gardening achievable for everyone. Visit their website for Getting Started videos, and regular blog posts to find out what to do in your edible garden.