What can you sow in Autumn?
It's impossible to write a blog post this week without acknowledging the terrible earthquake that struck Christchurch a week ago. This week, like all people in New Zealand, our thoughts have been with the people in Christchurch. We are thinking of you all in this difficult time and we are looking forward to being able to help in a practical way when the time is right. We chose this picture of this emerging seed to represent the regrowth of Christchurch, our garden city.
We thought that this week we would also offer you some ideas for Autumn sowing. At this time of year there are gaps opening up in the vegetable garden as crops are harvested. It is a good time to start planning your winter crops and we can offer some ideas of what could be sown now to help you on the way for Autumn and Winter gardening.
Late summer is an ideal time to revitalise areas where summer crops have grown by sowing a green manure crop. Green manures help to replace humous, increase the soil bacteria and fungal life, supress weeds, curb erosion and nourish the soil - you are both protecting and improving your soil. Some green manure crops you could sow now could be our Spring Manure Mix, Phacelia, Blue Lupins or you could sow Mustard where brassica crops haven't previously been grown.
If you love your flowers and want to keep sowing flowers for enjoying later in the year Gerard suggests that some flowers that are good for Autumn sowing are Calendulas, Viola and Pansies, Nasturtiums, Ornamental Kale, Alyssum and Antirrhinums. You can also find other flowers suitable for Autumn sowing here.
Likewise, your herb garden needn't be empty through winter. Many herbs like to be warm but there are cold tolerant culinary herbs you can sow now. Lemon Balm can be sown now and makes a wonderful herbal tea and can be used in cooking or even salads to give a lemony flavour. Parsley, Dill and Coriander can all be sown now. Sorrel and Salad Burnet are also cold tolerant and can be used in salads or added to dishes for flavour.
It is still a bit early for brassicas - the white fly is still very keen to gobble them all up. Wait a little longer before sowing your Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Kohlrabi, Kale and Pak Choi. There are plenty of salad plants that are good for autumn sowing. We even make a special mix - Winter Greens. It doesn't include any brassicas and now is the perfect time for sowing - you can have delicious salads through the winter months! You can also keep sowing Mesclun mixes to keep you in salad greens. Corn Salad is another fantastic winter salad plant, and you can keep sowing Lettuces, Rocket and Endive.
You can plant Carrot Touchon now - this is an autumn Nantes style carrot that is cold tolerant and has good keeping qualities. Now is a great time to plant Florence Fennel and you can anticipate harvesting those wonderful crisp bulbs around 80 days from sowing. Parsnip, Broadbeans, Dwarf Peas, Silverbeet, Leeks, Onions, Spinach, Turnips and Swedes are some vegetables that can be sown now. This is just some ideas to get you started - you can also find vegetables suitable for sowing at this time of year here.
Thanks for reading our blog. We hope it is useful to you - please visit our Facebook page too and feel free to comment. We would love to hear from you!