Time to get growing

The heat of summer is almost over and it’s time to take back ownership of our gardens from the heat and get back into gardening during the day, kick around some autumn leaves and have the time to relax and plan for winter and spring.

It is such a glorious time of the year – warm days, cooler nights, autumn colour and (hopefully) rain.

Autumn weather is perfect to plant out gardens. It can be difficult for plants to adjust to a new garden bed, and autumn offers the ideal temperature – not too hot like summer, not too cool like winter – to reduce the risk of transplant shock. What’s more, there are still several months ahead of great growing weather, which gives your new plants time to establish before spring. 

So while it may not look like much is happening for a newly bedded plant, all of the activity is going on below the surface as the root system gets settled and expands. This means that, come spring, the plant has great access to water and nutrients and is feeling secure in its new position – ready to make the most of the spring sunshine as soon as the weather starts to warm up!

It’s usually when spring arrives that we feel the rush to plant in our gardens, inspired by the new growth and colourful blooms that are bursting open everywhere.

The thing is though, these lush plants are looking gorgeous not because they’ve just been put in the ground, but because they are established in autumn, and are as eager as you are to get into the swing of spring. 

Sugar Snap Peas

The secret then to a gorgeous spring garden isn’t a planting frenzy in early spring, but right now! It’s time to get planting Pansy, Viola, Lobelia, Stock, Sweet Pea, Delphinium, Larkspur, Cornflower, Calendula, Foxglove, Schizanthus, Ageratum and many more.

Sweet Pea

Autumn is not just a great time for colourful ornamentals though, this season offers a whole plethora of veggies to plant ready for the dinner table. Everything from Potatoes, Peas, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Silverbeet, Beetroot, Leek, Broadbean, Radish, Garlic, Kale, Asian greens, Parsnip, Swede and Turnips and a few other veggies that I’ve bound to have missed. And if you want to try something different, pop in and grab some Italian heritage Purple Cauliflower we’re trialling at the nursery. We’d love to hear your thoughts! They’re nutritious and loaded with minerals, and are easier to grow than the common white variety and add a nice touch of colour to the plate.

Hopefully you’re as excited as I am with the change of the season and are ready to get back into the garden. But before you do, remember, as with anything-preparation is key. To really see the best results with your plants, it’s important to prepare the soil properly. Add gypsum to clay soil to help improve its structure, and no matter your soil type you’ll need to add organic matter. This might be manure (ensure its fully composted so that you don’t burn the roots), pelletised fertiliser such as ‘Organic Life pellets’ are great or your own compost. This will add nutrients back into your soil and feed your soil microorganisms. It’s these microorganisms that do the hard work and will ensure that your soil structure has a good balance of water retention and drainage, and let plants thrive.

So take the time now to think about what you’d like to add to your garden; get out and plant that hedge that you’ve always thought about, that shade tree, or get that veggie garden that you always wanted and get planting this autumn for your best spring garden ever!

Caitlin Sawyer

Wingham Nursery

5 William St Wingham

655 34 570

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