As the days begin to get shorter, and the last of the summer crops have been harvested, it is time to plan and prepare your autumn and winter garden. Autumn is an important time for the home gardener. Preparation is needed as the soil begins to cool. The cooling of the soil will slow soil life and plant growth. This means plants can take longer to mature so now is the right time to start planting your winter harvest.
Here are some tips for to help you achieve a full harvest for Autumn/Winter:
- Summer crops are coming to an end. As you’re removing them from your garden, chop them down to soil level instead of pulling them from the soil. The root can carry important food sources for the soil.
- It is a good idea to plant Leeks now, get them off to a good start. Root vegetables like beetroot, carrots and turnips are best sown directly into garden beds.
- Try not to plant vegetables from the same family consecutively. e.g. If you plant leeks in one spot choose to plant turnips next.
- The best time to plant brassicas, crops like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and kales. Brassicas are strong growers that need plenty of food.
- Broad beans and the last crop of peas can be planted. Beans and peas like well-drained alkaline soil. A dressing of lime can raise your pH levels and add calcium to the soil.
- Plant main-crop variety, like potatoes, in frost-free areas. If it is cold you can always cover them with a frost cloth overnight.
- If you are giving your garden a break over winter, the soil would benefit from a cover crop. A cover crop will ensure your soil is not left bare over the winter. It will suppress weed growth and help maintain nutrients in the soil.