In April, temperatures start to cool, marking the time to preserve and store the last of the summer harvest from the vege garden and fruit trees. Save and store seed from favourite healthy edible plants to sow and enjoy again next year. Try this with tomatoes, capsicums, beans, pumpkins and squash.
Autumn is the main season for planting trees and shrubs as the soils are still warm, and they can establish over the wet winter months to follow. It is also an excellent time for planting frost-hardy perennials and winter annuals and vegetables.
What to plant
- It is time to remove flowering annuals and summer edibles to make way for autumn planting. Seed can be collected from non-hybrid varieties.
- Sow directly into the garden broad beans, peas, coriander, lettuce, parsnip, radish, rocket, spinach, pak choy, carrots, beetroot and silverbeet.
- Plant winter vegetable seedlings, such as cabbages, cauliflowers, broccoli, kale, lettuces, beetroot and parsley.
- Direct sow broad beans, carrots, parsnip, peas and silverbeet. Sow batches of beetroot, rocket, corn salad, mizuna, lettuce and coriander every 3 – 4 weeks to ensure a continuous supply.
- Add lots of organic matter like compost and manure and work into the soil before planting seedlings.
- Now is the best time to plant winter annuals such as lobelia, pansies, violas, polyanthus, snapdragons, alyssum, Californian poppy, cornflower, stock and calendulas.
What to harvest
- A few summer edibles may still be cropping such as capsicums, chillies and some leafy vegetables.
- Jerusalem artichokes will also be ready to be dug up and roasted through autumn.
- Continue to harvest late varieties of apples and pears, feijoas, figs, guavas and passionfruit as they ripen.
- Collect ripe seed from crops such as peas, beans and other vegetables except for F1 hybrids which do not come true from seed.
- Pick any late flowering asters, helenium, daisies and roses for the vase.
Shrubs & Perennials
- It is an ideal month to plant shrubs as soils are still warm and the wet months that follow enable them to establish before next summer.
- Autumn through winter is the best time to plant trees and fruit trees as the soil is still warm enabling them to establish roots over the winter and spring months (a tree planted in the right season with mulch around it will need less water come the summer months). See how to plant trees and choosing a tree.
- Lawns will establish well if sown now and regularly watered as the soil is still warm and relatively few weeds germinate compared to spring.
- Turf can also be laid in autumn. It is important to make sure it is kept well-watered through the drier months.