Gardening Guide: Autumnal Plants

Autumn's arrival doesn't mean you have to watch your garden whither away. Make the most of the season by adding some plants that flourish as the temperature dips.

Because the weather remains fairly balmy and doesn't shift too drastically here in Australia, there are many vegetables and plants that will fare well throughout May, June and onwards. Save your plants from icy mornings and have them ready to eat by winter by planting them now.

Here are some ideas to get your garden started.

Vegetables

  • Peas: Best grown at the end of summer and throughout autumn, peas will sprout from sown seeds. Just give them a helping hand until they start producing leaves by adding support in the form of twigs or strings between posts. They don't need a lot of space, between 5 - 8cm? should do the trick, and they can be grown in the same bed as many other plants, but particularly potatoes. Peas are very versatile. They can be used in salads, as a side for your roast, or still in their pods for a quick snack, and will be easy to factor into your healthy meal plans.
  • Broccoli: If you're growing in May and June, you should plant your broccoli from seedlings to get the best results. This vegetable is also easy to grow as it isn't excessively sensitive to low temperatures. Allow the plant to develop lots of leaves, and if you leave the plant after you cut the flowerhead off, it might flourish again. You should have something to eat in a month or two. Steamed broccoli is a very simple and easy way to enjoy your produce. This vegetable is also a stir fry staple.
  • Cauliflower: When growing in autumn, use seedlings for the best results. Cauliflower is quite sensitive to frost and heat, and doesn't cope well with being roughly transplanted, so it can be a little more difficult to grow. You'll likely have the best luck in cooler temperatures as opposed to the warmer months. If you're successful, there are many ways to enjoy your cauliflower - steamed, in curries, in a stir fry or with a classic cheese sauce.

    Herbs
  • Coriander: You'll be able to enjoy this herb, that is great to add flavour to hot meals and salads, even if you don't have a green thumb. Coriander is better to grow from seeds as it's likely to flower quickly if you use seedlings. Give it lots of mulch and sun, a good amount of space, keep it away from fennel and you'll be able to eat it in 30 - 45 days. The seeds, dried and ground, can also be used as a flavour enhancer in dishes like curries.
  • Oregano: This plant grows well throughout the year and can be grown from cuttings. In autumn, start growing this plant by sowing the seeds in your garden or seed trays. When they start to flourish, don't hesitate to trim them back, as this will actually encourage new growth. When you see flowers, they are ready to harvest - this should be in about 2 months. Oregano goes great with tomato based dishes and Greek cuisine.

Fruit

  • Strawberry plants: This fruit likes medium temperatures and is surprisingly easy to grow. Plant it directly in your garden with the roots just covered, give the plant a good amount of space, between 30 - 100cm, in a place where it will get a good amount of sun and air. In about 10 weeks, you'll have plump, red fruit ready to eat straight from the vine. To enhance the flavour and colour, sprinkle a bowl of the fruit with balsamic vinegar and a couple of pinches of sugar.

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