The transition from summer to autumn brings cooler weather and helpful rain. The soil also stays warm, thus making autumn the perfect season for planting. The right soil preparation will turn your summer space into an ideal fruit and vegetable patch for the year ahead.
And, although we typically associate spring with planting, you should still plant as much as possible in autumn, especially as seedlings need time to develop healthy roots. This will ensure that these roots are strong and healthy throughout the dormant winter months and into spring.
You can yield truly wonderful results when you plant prior to autumn. You can clean up after the busy summer period and lay sturdy foundations for the winter chill. Whether you’re doing a summer cleanup, prepping for the year ahead or something simple like placing a large plant in pot, here is the best way to prep your garden for the autumn cool down:
- Clean & compost the garden
Summer’s end is the perfect time to clean and compost your plants or perennials. Tired plants can be picked out and cut up into smaller size pieces that will create easy break down in your compost heap. Organic matter and leaves raked in your garden paths and beds are also perfect for composting.
Composting is all about finding the perfect balance. You should try to find the perfect balance of carbon/nitrogen whilst keeping your compost heap nice and aerated to ensure the perfect balance for your soil.
- Prep your soil for the months ahead
It’s always a good idea to take the time to clear debris and remove weeds from your garden beds and veggie patches. Avoid putting bulbous weeds like onion weeds or perennial running weeds like crouch grass into your compost bin. These will likely survive your compost bin and can come back to haunt your garden in the future.
You can easily manually aerate your soil through inserting a spade or garden fork before loosening it. Next, turn the soil over and break apart any tough lumps. This is one of the best ways to promote solid soil growth whilst assisting water penetration.
- Give your soil a feed
Organic matter is any soil’s friend. Put plenty of compost, leaf matter or manure in your wheelbarrow and add it to your veggie patch and garden beds. Mix it well throughout the top soil layer. If you’ve already been protecting your plants with mulch over the summer period and it’s still getting the job done then you can gently move it aside and reuse it once you’ve worked the soil layer.
Soil conditions and fertilisers will help enhance soil quality before you go to work. Therefore, you can choose the best type for your garden based upon what you want there and the right soil type.
- Don’t forget to mulch
Mulch is the Aussie garden’s number one companion. It can benefit our gardens in so many amazing ways. Not only does it look great, but it improves soil quality, reduces weeds and saves on watering. There are numerous mulch types to choose from across the organic and inorganic subcategories.
Organic mulches are those like lucerne straw and pea that incrementally break down. Inorganic include river stone pebbles and gravel which don’t break down but have an elegant aesthetic appeal. Be sure to choose one of these for providing a solid layer of soil protecting goodness to your garden in time for the autumn – spring period!