You may still have seeds to harvest. Gather, clean and save them for their next growing season. Label them carefully and store away from light and moisture. It is a good idea to store the seeds in paper first so that they are protected from any condensation that may form. Leaves make great mulch when stored for a year to make leaf mould so now is the perfect time to collect all leaves and store for a year. You can also simply leave them on the floor to protect the soil and decompose naturally.
If you haven’t prepared beds yet, it is a good time to mix in compost for winter vegetable planting. Mound up celeries and leeks. Harvest pumpkins and dry before storing.
Slugs, snails, aphids and white flies will be busy so be on the lookout and protect the plants that need protecting.
Fertilise fruit trees with compost tea or worm tea or a natural and organic fertilsier. Now is the time to mulch. Top up mulch everywhere so that the soil is protected from the winter cold, retains moisture and suppresses weeds.
Autumn is also the season for bulbs so ensure your beds are well fed with plenty of nutrients. If you are a sweet pea fan like I am, now is the time to set up stakes and plant those magical seeds that bring colour and aroma to the garden. Daisies, poppies and Namaqualand daisies can be planted.
As the temperatures drop, there will be more moisture in the soil so watering less creates more time for other tasks. Take note of the weather and adapt to the changing climate.
Plant a tree. With the current drought upon us, one of the best ways to do our part is to plant an indigenous tree so that when it rains, there is vegetation to act as a sponge and store the water, shade the soil and provide future mulch and nutrients. Plant a fruit tree or any tree that will bring you joy and is suitable for your garden, lifestyle so long as it does not cause harm to your neighbours or environment. A little bit of research goes a long way. Autumn is not a good time to prune in general as your plants will be shifting their focus to root growth rather than top growth and thus will not heal easily from pruning.
References: www.organic seeds.co.za The A – Z of Vegetable Gardening in South Africa by Jack Hadfield
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