Autumn in the Veggie Garden.

Autumn is a great time of year in the veggie patch in my backyard. The change from the heat and scorching sun of the Summer to the more stable weather and cooler nights of Autumn makes me want to get as many crops in as possible so I can take advantage of the remaining warmth that is still about.   For my region, the next 6 weeks is a great time for growth and I intend to take full advantage of it.

GardenLayoutHunterBackyardVeggieGrowersRight now more than half of my garden is void of veggies and it’s high time I rectified the situation.   I have fifteen beds in my patch and there is a plan for every single one of them. I’m going to let you see some of the secrets that I follow to ensure good results in my veggie patch.   Keep reading to discover the plan for preparation and planting for the coming months.

Bed one. After a fantastic crop of Cucumbers and Zucchinis I have prepared the soil to plant Broccoli, Cabbage and Cauliflowers.   They are heavy feeders so I prepared the soil by adding a bag each of chicken and cow manure and also a handful of mixed fertilizer then covered it with Sugar Cane Mulch. Into this rich mixture I panted the seedlings 2 weeks ago and they are already growing flat out. The insect mesh will go over the crop next week to keep the caterpillars away.

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Bed two. I had a crop of early Sweet Corn followed by Mung Beans as a green manure crop to give the bed a bit of a rest. I have already dug it all into the soil and I will add in the same mixture as bed one. The seedlings have already germinated for the second batch of Broccoli, Cabbage and Cauliflowers and I will plant them in a couple of weeks.

Bed three. Nothing to happen here – Asparagus is still growing in this bed and there is no intention to move them.

Bed four.   This bed grew a good crop of Cherry Tomatoes and Capsicums this year. I will carefully pull out the Capsicums this weekend and avoid disturbing the surface sugar cane mulch as I do it. The bed was heavily manured for the tomatoes so I’ll just sow Broad Beans in about a month or so directly into the soil without cultivating or adding anything to it. I don’t want the Broad Beans to grow too tall and leafy so I’ll add only a couple of handfuls of pelletised manure only as they emerge.

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Bed five. Sweet corn and Climbing Beans sucked all of the nutrition out of this bed. I gave it a break by growing a green manure crop of oats which is ready to be dug in. I will add some compost to the soil and plant some Brown Onions and Garlic.   Not too much nitrogen based fertilizers are included in the soil preparation because I want the crop to produce good quality bulbs.

Bed six. I’ll leave the Rhubarb growing in this spot for another season. I might even sneak in a row of Sweet Peas for a bit of colour over winter.   Just because I can.

Bed seven. Snow and Snap Peas is the main crop in bed seven.   If there are any spaces I’ll squeeze in some leafy greens like Lettuce or Silver Beet. This bed has been prepared and is ready to go. I added chicken and cow manure as well as a handful of mixed fertilizer and a good layer of Sugar Cane Mulch when I prepared it last weekend. The first Snow Peas are 3 cm tall already.

SpinachSeedlingsHunterBackyardVeggieGrowers

Bed eight. Prepared exactly the same as bed seven. I will plant winter greens in here like Coriander, English Spinach, Spring Onions, Parsley, Rocket and Lettuce. In fact the English Spinach has already emerged from the soil.

Bed nine. My Potato seeds were shooting in the cupboard so I had to plant them early into this bed. It previously had Sweet Corn followed by a green manure crop of Oats. The Oats were dug into the soil and I added a couple of handfuls of blood and bone as well as mixed fertilizer then planted the spuds.

Bed ten. Salad greens are already established and doing well and will continue for a few months yet. The soil was well prepared so I’ll keep growing winter greens in this spot. As one crop finishes I’ll replant with another type.

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Bed eleven. I have some healthy Ginger and Turmeric that are getting fat in this bed and it will occupy this spot for a couple of months yet. The bed will be rested after this crop is completed. It will have a green manure crop of Broad Beans to add to the organic matter over winter ready for a Spring planting.

Bed twelve. Currently growing Beetroot, the last Tomato plant and a few Leeks. Months away before the next crop will be planted.

Bed thirteen.   Had a poor crop of Pumpkins in this bed and it needs some compost added and deeply dug in so I can sow another Beetroot and a Carrot crop. I need to get them in really soon. There is a danger of adding too much Nitrogen in a root crop like these. It gives you some fantastic leaves and poor crops underground. I will avoid making that mistake. Yep, I learnt that lesson the hard way.

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Bed Fourteen. Sunflowers and Sweet Corn grew at least 2m tall and took any goodness out of this bed. I’ll give it some Chicken and Cow manure and throw in some Broad Beans as a green manure crop. I’ll dig it in and plant the second batch of Potatoes in a couple of months. I will assess the colour and health of the green manure crop to determine if any additional nutrition is needed for the Potato crop.

Bed Fifteen. Currently Sweet Potatoes are thriving and will continue to occupy this spot for a couple of months yet. When they are finished, I’ll add chicken and cow manure and also a handful of mixed fertilizer and covered with Sugar Cane Mulch ready for the third batch of Broccoli and Cauliflower.

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That’s my plan over the next couple of months in the veggie patch. I will probably fine tune this a bit as I go. I consider that changing your plans is the legal right of any backyard veggie grower and I will amend if necessary. I expect to get good results from all of the work I put in because I believe that the work you put into the soil pays off with the rewards of a good healthy crop.

It’s all good fun really.   If you have not worked out your Autumn preparation and planting schedule yet, now is a really good time.  Go on, get to it then…..

4 thoughts on “Autumn in the Veggie Garden.

  1. Hi Andrew – thanks for your informative article re autumn planting. Am uncertain your exact location but note that Hunter Valley is a great wine growing region same as for us here in Stanthorpe Qld. We would be in the Australian hardiness zone 2 I suspect (cool temperate) and am wondering if you are in the same zone? Reason for this preliminary info is that I am wanting to plant snow peas here and wondering about when to get started. I read that your peas are already up 3 cm. Would appreciate your advice. In the interim, I’m wondering how you are able to manage your time in order to get in all that gardening as well as updating us with your blog along with photos and still find time to get to work for 9-5 paid employment? Either multi-skilling is your middle name or you get by on 3 hours sleep per night or other secret means we don’t know about???

    1. Hi Lynda, thanks for your comment. I live right on the coast near Newcastle. I am a warm temperate zone with plenty of rain in the summer months (usually). I have only had a very light frost a couple of times in 7 years. I comparison to the grape growing regions of the Hunter which are much colder in winter and hotter in summer. As to the 3 hours sleep, I wish! I do spend a bit of time in the garden, usually 5 hours early in the day on a weekend. I would do more but work does get in the way unfortunately. I do all of the facebook time while I watch TV and write blogs when I get a bit of spare time. I don’t spend time watering the garden because everything is automated and I also have very few weeds because I use mulch a lot. My pictures are quick snaps taken on a tablet and I only pick the few good ones. I consider it my therapy and relaxation after a busy work week. The blog and facebook are just good fun.

  2. Hi Andrew,
    You mentioned you grew a good crop of tomatoes and capsicums in the same bed. I struggle at every attempt to grow capsicum but seem to have luck with the tomatoes. This time I had them in the same area of my garden and thought perhaps they might have different requirements, hence the failure of the capsicum. The capsicum plants looked so limp and miserable but the tomatoes are thriving. Any advice? (I’m in Brisbane.)
    Also, how do attract the good insects in your garden and protect your plants from the bad ones (other than netting)? Do you companion plant, plant particular flowers/herbs in your garden beds or spray?
    🙂

    1. Hi Margie. Yep I did have a good crop of capsicums. The tomatoes were rather good too. I am not sure if I’ll repeat the same thing next year though. I think that the fertilizer regime that I used worked well for the Capsicums but it was a bit to high in nitrogen for the tomatoes. They were a bit too ‘leafy’ and I should of had more tomatoes. What worked well was that the tomatoes shaded the young capsicum plants from the scorching sun when they were young.
      I have no shortage of insects in the garden. I do have some flowering trees close by and so do the next door neighbours. There is a great population of frogs in my garden which keep a lot of insects away and I believe they control hatching slugs and snails. I encourage the native birds to visit by providing seed and habitat. I also have been known to buy some predator bugs online to sort out any outbreaks. This Autumn is the first time that I will be using mesh to protect my Broccoli and Cabbages. For Fruit Fly I have a coupe of traps which do not solve the problem but reduce it a lot.

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