It might feel like the sweltering Aussie summer will never end, but cooler weather is just around the corner so it’s time to start preparing your garden.
There are plenty of veggies and flowers you can begin planting now to ensure your backyard maintains its beauty and productivity through the winter months.
Planting now will ensure this winter favourite is ready to be enjoyed on a cold night with silverside and white sauce. It’s best to sow cauliflower seed into trays of seed-raising mix and then transplant the seedlings into the veggie patch when they’re around seven centimetres tall. Leave 50 to 75 cms of space between cauliflower plants to give them enough room to grow. Keep watch for cabbage white butterfly caterpillars, which can quickly devour plants, and control with an organic caterpillar spray.
Beetroots take just eight to nine weeks to reach maturity, so it won’t be long before you’re including fresh homegrown beetroot in salads. Beetroot is best grown in a sunny spot and for small space gardeners, grow baby beets in pots. To help beetroot seeds to germinate, soak them in water for two hours before sowing and keep beetroot plants well fed with a complete plant food.
Have a lush clump of parsley ready to enhance your pesto pasta this winter. To grow your own parsley, sow seed 3mm deep, directly where the plant is to grow. Keep the area moist and seedlings will emerge in a few weeks. Feed with a complete plant food to promote lots of healthy foliage. Once the parsley matures, their delicate flower heads will attract some beneficial friends like ladybirds and hoverflies.
Add splashes of colour into the garden with lobelia. It flowers for months and looks fantastic when grown in garden beds, pots or hanging baskets. They’ll thrive in either sun or part shade and will appreciate a trim back after flowering to encourage more blooms. Control lobelia-loving snails and slugs with a light sprinkling of snail and slug pellets.
During cold winter weather, Iceland poppies can brighten up your life! The silky gold, lemon, apricot and salmon coloured blooms make a brilliant massed display and can also be cut for a vase. Sow seeds into trays of seed raising mix during February and then transplant the seedlings into a sunny garden bed or pots when they’re large enough to handle. Feed with a potassium-rich plant food to promote lots of flowers.