Sow from seed this month: beetroot, carrot, broad beans, lettuce, bok choy, peas, radishes, silverbeet, onions.
Plant from seedlings this month: beetroot, broccoli, cauliflowers, brussel sprouts, cabbage, lettuce, celery.
Leaves are falling and covering the ground in a crunchy blanket. The (few) deciduous trees we have are starting to shed and change their colouring. The seasons seem to go so fast but luckily I love each and every one of them.
Autumn is a busy time in the garden. Spent summer crops need to be pulled out and winter crops put in. Garden beds that will be unused in winter can be covered in green crop so they’ll be revived for next spring.
People have often asked me what I grow to feed my family in Autumn/Winter. The answer is: a lot! It may seem like it’s is a tricky and bad time to grow vegetables but it’s not really. Sure, it’s not the most pleasant time to be out in the dirt (especially if it’s raining) but with a bit of planning ahead you can grow a feast with not too much work.
Planning ahead is quite key, because plants do grow slower in the colder seasons. If you plant seeds just the once and wait for them to grow, you won’t have anything whilst they are growing. You won’t have anything once you’ve eaten them either. I like to continuously sow and plant my vegetables, staggered over time so that there is always something that is ready. A great vegetable to do this with is the humble beetroot.
I have been direct sowing beetroot seeds every three week to keep a continuous supply coming. Over the next few months, when Autumn turns into Winter, I’ll be starting my beet seedlings inside to transplant out.
When growing beets from seed, they’ll need to be thinned out. Each beetroot seed will produce more than one seedling and you’ll need to give each beet plenty of space to grow.
I like to grow my beets in soil enriched with plenty of compost and well aged manure. Not too much nitrogen though, as this will encourage a lot of leafy greens and not much actual beetroot.
To encourage a bigger root, beetroot likes a lot of phosphorus so to boost phosphorus levels, I add in chopped up seaweed to my soil, sourced from my local beach (rinsed well to remove as much salt as possible), as well as Yates Thrive Natural Blood & Bone.
Mulch around your beetroot. In summer you do this to retain the moisture in the soil and in Winter you do this to keep your beets a bit warmer.
Don’t forget, the beetroot leaves are also edible! In fact, beetroot used to be harvested only for its leaves. The baby leaves are great, fresh in salads and the older leaves can be treated like silver beet and sauteed.