Autumn in the Garden- May to do List

The last month of Autumn! My May garden is always so beautiful. The garden takes on a real green theme but around me, the leaves of the trees are alive with colour.

Seeds to sow now: rocket, kale, broad beans, bok choy, pak choy, tatsoi, peas, chard, silverbeet, coriander, turnips, swedes, radish

Plant from punnets now: cauliflower, kale, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, silverbeet, perpetual spinach, chard

This month it’s a good time to focus on cleaning up your garden to minimise the risk of diseases and pests.

Thrips and Vine Hoppers

Both thrips and passion vine hoppers were out in full force this year! It seems every second tree has the telltale signs of thrip damage. Silvery, discoloured leaves and underneath it’s dotted with black spots.

The coming frosts will kill off thrips on these leaves but many can overwinter to plague you again next spring. Cleaning up all fallen and diseased leaves from under the affected trees, plus the trees around them can minimise next year’s thrip lot.

Come spring, early detection is key to keeping this pest under control. A spray with neem oil or insecticidal soap can be sprayed on the infected leaves.

Insecticidal Soap Spray

  • 2 tablespoons grated, plain soap
  • 1 teaspoon cooking oil
  • 1-litre water

Combine all ingredients together and mix well. Pour into a spray bottle and spray as needed.

May in the Garden- Passion Vine Hopper Eggs on Passionfruit Tendrils
Passion Vine Hopper Eggs on Passionfruit Tendrils

Passion vine hoppers were annoying as heck again this year. They lay their eggs over autumn, on dead wood, in little lines. If they’re on plants, cut off the wood and throw it in the bin, in a tightly sealed plastic bag, or burn them. If it’s on your stakes or trellis, scrape a knife down the edge to squish the eggs. This should reduce the number of these pests come next spring. 

Once spring comes, the best method to control their numbers is to vacuum them up! You can spray with the two sprays mentioned above but they’re so fast, they usually just hop away before you can hit them. Using a handheld vacuum is a satisfying and successful method.

Slugs and Snails

The cooler, wet weather means slugs and snail numbers are on the rise. Protect your little seedlings by laying out snail bait, snail beer traps or go on a snail hunt when it’s dark. Catching them red-handed for a few nights will reduce their numbers. Once you’ve caught them, drown or squish them so they don’t crawl back to your plants. Snails and slugs can travel surprisingly far!

Let-us plant lettuce! And other greens

Keep planting out greens seedlings. If your garden isn’t getting much sun, planting greens is a great way to ensure you always have something to harvest. Keep the colours going in your garden by adding in vegetables such as rainbow chard and purple kale.


Now is a great time to plant garlic if you haven’t done so already! You can read more on how to plant garlic here.

Keep Your Soil Covered

It’s not in nature’s nature (😉) to be left uncovered. Any bare soil will soon be covered in weeds unless you do something about it. Layer down mulches (straw, hay, newspaper, leaves) or sow a green crop.

Don’t forget to use what nature is giving you this Autumn. Whether it’s using the leaves to make leaf mould or adding spent plants to your compost, it doesn’t matter as long as it makes its way back to the soil. The worms, your plants and soil eco-system will love you for it.

And Finally…

Give all your vegetables a good liquid feed this month to nourish them over winter. Make your own or use one like this Seaweed and Fish Fertiliser from Tui Garden Products.

Happy Gardening!

3 comments / Add your comment below

  1. So right, this is a beautiful time of the year 🙂 Everything is a lot greener than in summer and it is so pleasant to work in the garden, now that the sunlight is much softer and yet still warm.
    What a great idea to use a handheld vacuum to get rid of the passion vine hoppers

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