Heading into winter it’s an easier time in the garden with pests and diseases becoming less of a problem.
Dig compost and well-rotted manure into the soil, leave for a week and then plant tomato seedlings and seed potatoes. Sow sweetcorn, beans, cabbage, squash and spinach seeds.
Prepare fruit trees for the dry months ahead by watering deeply and covering the ground with mulch. Follow up with a weekly soaking and every two weeks add some seaweed extract.
After you have finished harvesting passionfruit, prune vines by tip-pruning all new growth and cut back hard anything that is growing in the wrong direction.
Don’t delay sowing peas, broad bean, carrot, fennel, parsnip, celery, English spinach and brassicas. Before sowing, sprinkle some dolomite and rock minerals, and dig it in along with some compost and a few handfuls of pelletised certified organic fertiliser.
Plant leek seedlings in rows 30cm apart. Inter-plant the rows with earlier-cropping radishes or lettuces to make use of the space.
Trim perennials such as Mediterranean herbs to shape and rejuvenate them. You can use these trimmings as cuttings to propagate new plants.
Give persimmon trees a light prune to shape and rejuvenate. Also remove any dead branches.
Sow cool-season green manure crops in spare vegie beds. Try a mix of oats, mustard and woolly pod vetch for their organic bulk, bio-fumigation and nitrogen-fixing qualities respectively. Dig back into the soil once they are well grown, but before they flower.
In the cool and southern regions of the arid zone, autumn-fruiting raspberries will need cutting to ground level in early winter, after fruiting. Check garden books for detailed pruning advice. After pruning, dress bed generously with aged cow manure, a little aged poultry manure and then mulch.
Sow cabbage, kale, pea and spinach seeds. You can plant peas to grow up a frame with the spinach underneath.
Harvest olives now. It can be hard to tell if an olive is ripe. Some are picked when black and falling off the tree, others are ripe when they are green. So it’s important to know what cultivars you have.
With a warming climate, greenhouse thrip have become a problem on bay trees, rhododendrons and other glossy-leafed trees. Try regularly watering the underside of the affected leaves as these pests hate being wet.
Move evergreen trees by watering well, then carefully digging up the tree, taking as much of the rootball as possible. Replant to the same level and water again, but this time add diluted seaweed extract to lessen transplant shock.
Prepare an asparagus bed by setting aside an area of at least one square metre. Dig in a barrow load of fresh manure (50/50 chicken and horse is good), add lime if your soil is acidic, water well and leave for a month before planting asparagus crowns 50cm apart and 20cm deep.
Harvest horseradish in late autumn by digging the whole plant with a spade. Replant half the clump then wash the dirt from, and trim the leaves off, the remaining roots. Peel and process.
Our latest issue, which is onsale until June 24, has a detailed feature by Justin Russell about winter vegies that love the frost -- a must-read for this time of year! Head here for more information about getting an issue delivered to your door.
First published: October 2019