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How to prepare your autumn garden

Even though nature is in decline in the season of fall, avid green thumbs know that autumn is a busy time in the garden.

From preparing the soil to planting long maturing and large, seeded vegetables early in the new season, we provide the following essentials for creating a flourishing garden.

Starting at the base with soil preparation ensures a solid foundation for future growth. This involves breaking up hard clumps and removing weeds and debris from garden beds. 

Further improve the quality of your soil by adding compost or well-rotted manure before planting your vegetables, but do not over-fertilise the soil if you are growing carrots, as this can cause forking of the roots.

Green boost

For a verdant boost to the soil, green manures are the answer. These fast-growing, nitrogen-fixing plants are cultivated specifically to be dug back into the soil a few weeks from planting.

The purpose this serves is to improve the quality and nutrition content of the soil. You are advised to plant one now to dig into the soil, thereby feeding the autumn planted crop.

Sowing seeds of fruition

Experts recommended getting an early start for autumn vegetables that need a long season to mature. 

Varieties such as cabbages, broccoli and brussels sprouts can take 16 weeks to reach maturity, and if they are not ready to be harvested by the time the spring arrives, you may end up with beautiful plants but little to harvest.

You should also plant large, seeded varieties, such as peas and broad beans, directly into the garden when cooler conditions take hold.

Your autumn to-do list

A comprehensive garden clean-up means leaving no place for pests to hide. Ongoing maintenance also ensures an autumn garden that is set to thrive. Essential chores include:

Make a concerted effort to thoroughly tidy up borders. Prepare and treat lawns for the cooler months.  Start making and storing leaf mould for garden use.  Clear out compost bins.  Plant evergreens early in the season. Divide, lift and replant perennials into well-fertilised soil. Plant new trees and plants. Make new plants from cuttings. Remove all leaves on a regular basis. Trim and prune hedges and plants. Feed citrus trees and check for pests.

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