If you’ve recently discovered a new found love for your garden, you’re certainly not alone.
Getting outside and into the garden is one of the most popular ways Aussies are dealing with the current coronavirus isolation situation.
Thankfully, it’s also a good time to prepare your garden for a healthy harvest of winter vegetables.
Landscaper, and Charlie’s right-hand-man on Selling Houses Australia, Nigel Watson says autumn is the perfect time to prepare for planting winter veggies.
“Ensuring a good harvest of winter vegetables all starts with the preparation,” he says.
Here, he outlines how to get it sorted in just four easy steps.
- Choose a patch in your garden that has good sun and is free draining. An area measuring two to three square metres is a good size.
- Turn over your soil with a garden fork to about 30 to 40cm in depth. Remove all the rocks, roots and hard debris.
- Next, add some organic matter, a good eight to 10 bags of cow manure and a good quality compost mixed through will give your veggie patch a good head start.
- Finally, level off the area with a steel rake.
Now it’s time to start planting! Here are Nigel’s top picks for seasonal plants that are beginner-friendly to get you started.
- Root Vegetables: Carrots, radish, turnips and beets are all relatively easy to grow. They’re also high in antioxidants and vitamins c and b and ideal winter recipe staples for soups and stews.
Nigel’s top tip: Place your seedlings about 10 cm apart (20 for turnips) they will be ready to harvest in 2 to 3 months or until their heads start to peek above the soil level.
- Broccoli: Another worthwhile vegetable to grow during winter that will definitely come in handy to have on hand. This can grow quite big so allow 40 to 50 cm around it. Harvest time is 4 to 5 months.
Nigel’s top tip: Once the main head is developed and picked, other heads will develop from the side. These must be picked as soon as they are ready because if you leave them to flower, the plant will stop producing. So, be sure to keep an eye on it,
- Green beans and peas: These climbers need support, so make sure you give them something to grab on to. Plant the seedlings at the base and they will happily climb up the structure and produce an abundance of towering greens.
Nigel’s top tip: To build a climbing structure use 4 bamboo stakes at about 1.2 metres in length. On one end wrap a rubber band around all four until tight, then open up and push the other ends into the soil to create a Wigwam effect.
- Brussel sprouts: You either love them or hate them, but these little beauties are the perfect finishing touch to a Sunday roast.
Nigel’s top tip: When sprouts start to appear, strip off the leaves directly below and above them, this gives them more room to develop, giving a higher yield.
- Kale: Packed with fibre and all the good stuff, this super food is a must in any Autumn veggie patch.
Nigel’s top tip: Plant seedlings 30 to 40 cm apart and they are ready when the leaves are about the size of your palm, they grow well next to beets but be careful where you plant them.
Finally, once you’ve finalised your planting Nigel says the finishing touches are the most important.
“Give everything a good watering and a treatment of liquid fertiliser such as seasol, repeat this treatment about every 2 to 3 weeks to keep them happy, healthy and well fed,” he says.
“Cover the area with a layer of Lucerne mulch (about 100mm thick) this is high in nitrogen and will continue to feed the plants as it breaks down and help keep in the moisture.”
For more of Nigel's tips, follow him on Instagram.
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