Spending time outside in the garden or on the patio ready for a few autumn chores is just as important as spring to get a few jobs done. Ticking off the list will give you an all round better garden through winter and into the new spring.
Out list includes dividing and replanting a few overgrown succulents, feeding the garden and containers, plant a few edibles and some colour as well as mulching the beds along with a few more. It’s time to get stuck in and make a difference, here’s our extra info kick start to get you planning your approach.
Colourful Garden Mums
Many of us grew up with Fall Chrysanth’s or Garden Mums indoors as a easy colour option. Back on trend they are making a comeback as the perfect way to celebrate the autumn season. Not only indoors but as instant colour on the patio that will last right through autumn. Indoors they are best in a bright spot and they don’t like to be overwatered so keep them on the slightly dry side. In the meaning of flowers they represent happiness, love, longevity and joy. We think that makes them a perfect addition to an Easter gifttoo.
Succulents for FREE
The selection of succulents in autumn is quite different to summer as the cooler nights start to bring out the colours of the leaves particularly on the Echeveria. It’s a great time of the year to not only build your collection but by dividing your overgrown succulents you can increase your stock this time of the year.
They will establish over the next few months and look even better in spring. When dividing succulents be quite ruthless pulling off old leaves and the bits that don’t look great. Replant into trays or new containers using succulent mix which is formulated to be just what they need. The one good thing about sorting out the succulents is that one can’t go wrong. The only way you lose them is by ignoring them and not rejuvenating them by dividing them every now and then.
Protect your conifers
We have seen many conifers looking very sad this summer. The Italian Cypress Aphid may attack certain conifer species in the winter months and into spring. The damage, brown tips on random parts of the plant, normally only shows through the following summer. Apply a root drench with a systemic insecticide from March.
Depending on the overall health of your conifers there are two options to use for a systemic insecticide. For generally healthy conifers we recommend Efekto Plant Protector and for older mature conifers under stress, Complete 350SC which has a longer residual action and is absorbed by the plant killing only sap-sucking insects and not beneficial ones. Repeat treatment fortnightly till the end of April and monthly through winter.
Conifers are sun-loving, water wise and hardy to severe frost. We recommend feeding established conifers with BioGanic in autumn and maintaining a layer of mulch around their base helps to keep them in good condition.
The rain we have had was great for the garden but it also washes away or speeds up the disappearance of compost in the beds. This is certainly the case in my garden. Just as the trees are naturally dropping leaves to create their own mulch by adding an additional layer of mulch now you not only help improve the long term organic content of your soil it also helps to encourage earthworms to aerate the soil. Compost and mulch are two of the most important elements in any garden.
Compost improves the condition of the soil making your plants grow better and by mulching you encourage the natural cycle of life to do its job by bringing the earthworms to the surface to aerate the soil. The leaves that fall through autumn are a good base to start making compost from. If you don’t see chance for a compost bin consider just layering all the leaves in your beds as mulch. By the time spring arrives they will be almost compost and they will have kept the garden moist through winter.
Bagged mulch is an easy way to fill in full beds to go between plants and create the layer. Bagged Mulch is a rough compost which takes a bit longer to break down that regular compost. One can mulch with either compost or bagged mulch especially if you want it to break down and move into the soil. Bark chips or pebbles are a longer lasting layer of mulch and add a decorative touch to the garden or around your container plants.
Living in a water scarce country we should all embrace the culture of mulching our gardens. It retains moisture. Limits run off and improves the soil all round.
Get ready for an early harvest. It is best to plant strawberries in autumn giving you a crop their first spring. Flower buds should be kept picked off during the first month or so after planting to allow the plant to establish itself and develop strength for a big crop.
Strawberries grow very well in raised beds and in containers, particularly strawberry pots, where the soil retains the moisture but at the same time where it is well drained. Strawberries in can start to rot in waterlogged conditions.
Strawberries do not produce deep roots but they very much need their soil well-dug at planting. Prepare the soil before planting with as much compost as possible and include two handfuls of bone meal per square metre. After planting apply a dose of BioOcean. Strawberries are greedy feeders over a relatively short period of time so we recommend feeding them every six to eight weeks for the best results.
Feed the whole garden
Autumn is one of the most important times of the year to feed your garden and container plants. This restores the balance of nutrients which are leached away after all the summer rain and supports growth on all the winter growing plants. Remember that most plants even though they are not pushing out new leaves in winter still have the roots growing. Stronger roots through winter gives you an earlier flush in spring and generally healthier plants. Feeding the entire garden can general fertiliser to promote growth on newly planted annuals and bulbs is just as important this time of the year.
2:3:4 Planting fertiliser quick release is the best way to ensure strong roots and BioGanic organic pellets will provide the garden with all the nutrients it needs to get through to early winter. Organic fertiliser is particularly relevant in the colder gardens as it encourages stronger, thicker cell walls to help withstand the upcoming winter months.