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Autumn is one of the best times to plant in Australia. The scorching summer sun has lost its intensity, giving way to cooler temperatures and wetter weather. Autumn certainly provides the best climate for you to dig, plant and prep your garden for spring and the following summer. The question is: What to plant in autumn? A question that we’re going to answer with this handy guide.
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Let’s get started with veggies! Having your own vegetables at hand can be both advantageous and extremely rewarding. Not only do you get a lush, green garden (depending on what you grow), but you’re also able to eat the ‘fruits’ of your labour. Plus, nothing beats the freshness and taste of homegrown vegetables, free from the pesticides, preservatives and fertilisers used in commercial farming. Just make sure to prepare your soil properly.
Some of our favourite veggies to plant in autumn are beetroot, radishes, English spinach, kale and lettuce. All are exceptionally fast-growing, being ready to harvest within 6-8 weeks, with the sole exception of beetroot, which takes between 10-12.
Keep in mind, that the type of vegetables you plant will depend on an area’s climate. For instance, for our Sydney readers, you’d be best planting garlic, broad beans and spinach, as these veggies thrive in more temperate climes. For those living in subtropical climates, like those in the Northern regions of New South Wales and South-East Queensland, you’ll have a lot more choice of what vegetables to plant.
If you’re willing to wait slightly longer for your crop, then broad beans, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and onions are also viable planting options in autumn. These veggies take the longest to grow (onions taking 24-36 weeks), but most should be ready by late spring, or early summer as long as they are well cared for.
Keep in mind, that the type of vegetables you plant will depend on an area’s climate. Australia has six different climates, each of which will affect what kind of vegetables you can grow. For our readers based in Sydney for instance, you’d be best planting garlic, broad beans and spinach, as these veggies thrive in more temperate climates.
If you live in the Northern regions of New South Wales, you have a subtropical climate, which increases the amount of choice of what vegetables you can plant. Veggies like broccoli, lettuce, onion, peas, shallots and turnips all do exceedingly well within subtropical climates.
Let’s talk about sun exposure. Generally, lettuce, brussel sprouts and spinach like to have fuller protection from the sun, so shadier areas would be best. Cabbage, onion and radishes do prefer partially shaded areas, with garlic being a notable exception, in that it prefers full sun. Partially shaded crops should still have access to the sun for around 4-6 hours, preferably in the morning, when the sun’s heat is less intense.
Like most greens grown in the garden, they’re going to attract pests. Most notably snails and slugs. Granted, these are easily taken care of, you just need to be vigilant. Inspect your veggies every day and keep an eye out for munched leaves and remove any of the pests you find by hand. For an easier solution, you can buy slug and snail pellets, which are safe for your vegetables and your pets.
For cruciferous veggies, like kale and cabbage, be on the lookout for caterpillars. The best way to prevent these beasties from ruining your garden is by installing a net over the top of your crops. These are relatively inexpensive and easy to install, but they do a world of good protecting your greens.
Herbs are a very popular addition to many gardens during the autumn season, as they’re versatile and fast-growing. Plus, herbs are perfect for utilising smaller spaces, as many varieties can be grown in pots. They’re also easy to maintain, which should be a relief to the beginner gardeners out there.
Most common herbs are best grown from cuttings. Rosemary, thyme, oregano and lemongrass are within this group and are best grown in Autumn.
To propagate from cuttings simply:
This is a convenient method, as you can buy herbs directly from the supermarket and take your cuttings from them. You can grow these herbs from seeds, though it takes around 2-4 weeks for them to germinate, again depending on the seed. Regardless, both ways are acceptable.
Some annual herbs, like parsley, coriander and dill can’t be grown from cuttings. They must be seeded first. Seeding is easy enough, especially in Autumn, you just need to give the herbs a little extra time in order to germinate.
Again, you’ll have to deal with the differing Australian climates while trying to figure out what to grow. It’s always best to check whether a herb will be suited to your environment, but let’s take a look at some examples.
Growing herbs is perfect for those with smaller spaces, like balconies. Most herbs and veggies can be potted (helpful for growing indoors too) to help you utilise your space. Before planting, you should consider how much sun exposure your balcony gets. If it gets half-a-days sun, you’re in the perfect location to grow herbs. That being said, if your balcony is exposed to the sun all day, or is mostly shaded, it’s best to look at other options. Cacti, ferns and certain species of flowers would be good alternatives.
For those of you who want your garden to be flush with colour, there are a number of flowers and shrubs that are best planted in autumn. Freesias, tulips, daffodils and succulents are best planted in the season, though each has its own requirements.
As a final note, depending on what part of Australia you live in, the climate can have a huge impact on the types of flowers you can grow. If you live in a subtropical climate, like those found in New South Wales and South-East Queensland, Iceland poppies, carnations, and marigolds have the best chances of thriving.
Alternatively, for more temperate climates, like those found in Victoria, Sydney and the coastal regions of NSW, you’d be best to plant foxgloves, candytuft, snapdragon and primula. Keep in mind, that these lists are in no way exhaustive and there are a huge variety of flowers that thrive in both environments. That being said, it’s always best to check whether a flower can handle in your area’s climate, before attempting to plant them.
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We hope you found our article on what to plant in autumn helpful. For any questions, or to add a tip of your own, leave a comment with us below.
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