Autumn Gardening Tips
What an amazing summer we’ve just had! After such a tough, dry and windy summer in 2020, it has been such a relief to have our usual wet conditions. The dams and tanks are full and the produce gardens are plentiful. It’s hard to believe that it’s now time to start planning the Autumn plantings, our favourite time of year!
Here at Gaia, we are now establishing our last plantings and sowings of cucumber, sweet potato, zucchini and squash. The last burst of heat through February and March will ensure these crops get a good fast start, and they can finish slowly on the vine as the cooler nights kick in. We have started a new system of continuous sweet potato plantings this year, by cutting and transplanting runners every 2-3 weeks into a new bed. This has been amazing for providing regular picking and good small/medium size tubers. We will now do a late big transplant of runners to give us ongoing picking through April / May, and maybe June.
I’m also ordering in seed potatoes and starting up the autumn seedlings in the nursery… Firstly kale, leeks and broccoli, then into the cauliflowers and cabbages a little later. Broad bean shoot beds will be happening again soon, a real favorite with the chefs. We’re also excited to do a big garlic planting this year – Russian garlic (or hard neck) is a variety that grows really well in our climate.
In terms of pest management, we’re still managing aphids which are quite active right now. Regular soap sprays on the underside of leaves will take care of them. Snails and slugs have been sighted too with all the wet weather we’ve had, so I’m starting to throw out a few handfuls of eco- snail pellets. Looking forward to easing caterpillar issues as it cools off, however, we’ll still have a lot of grubs to contend with in the new brassica plantings.
In the kitchen we are making plenty of batches of our Chilli Lemongrass Sambal to make use of our glut of red chillies and lemongrass. Any excess chillies, we are dehydrating for use in our Chilli Jam and also cooking up batches of our Eggplant Pickle using our own organic eggplants. Our Mango Ginger Chutney has just arrived back in stock and is part of our seasonal range, using the best of summers juicy mangos. Gaia’s mango & ginger chutney started with an old favourite recipe from Gregg’s Grandmother and was adapted by our Gaia chefs. It’s perfect for adding depth of flavour to your autumn cooking!
Don’t forget you can shop our handmade, specialty cuisine products at any time on our online store.
Happy gardening & happy eating!
Gaia’s Organic Farmer