As the days shorten it reminds us that one growing season is nearly finished and another has begun. Autumn can be a busy time in the garden, harvesting the spring and summer crops and then preparing the soil for planting the cooler season crops.

After harvesting your summer veggies such as corn, beans, lettuces, tomatoes, potatoes and other edible goodies its time to replenish your soil with a few essentials to ensure your autumn and winter plants are healthy and tasty.

Do this by adding a thick layer of compost. Use home-made compost if you have it – if not use a high quality product like Tui Organic Compost. Further enhance planting area by incorporating Tui Super Sheep Pellets into soil to add vital nutrients and encourage earthworm activity. Use specially formulated vegetable mix for building up raised beds and re-filling vegetable grow bags and containers.

The combination of these garden goodies creates the perfect base for encouraging and sustaining growth of new crops. Remember you need to feed your soil so it can feed you!

If you and your garden are going to have a rest over the cooler months, it’s a good idea to plant a green crop to quickly and efficiently boost and replace lost nutrients in the soil. Cover crops like Tui Mustard Seed and Lupin improve soil structure, fertility and micro-organism activity in a completely natural way. Once dug back into the soil, the broken down organic matter helps to provide optimal soil conditions for the following season’s planting.

Autumn Crops – what to plant now

Brassicas – These are the quintessential cool weather crops. Cauliflower, Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale and the trendy Cava La Nero. If space is an issue, select punnets that have a variety of seedlings. Plant out a punnet every 2 – 4 weeks to ensure the crop matures gradually. 

Seed Potatoes – these can be planted out now for a new crop before winter. If you don’t have room in your garden try using Haxnicks Potato Planters. These are high quality, convenient and can be re-used next season. Share a bag of seed potatoes with some neighbours or friends if you don’t need them all. 

Seeds – Sow beetroot, carrots, radish, turnips, lettuce, spinach, silver beat, and broad beans. 

Seedlings – Plant out Celery, Garlic, silver beat, spring onions, winter lettuce, mizuna, dwarf beans.

Herbs – Plant Coriander, parsley, mint, oregano, rosemary, chives, thyme and marjoram.

As the weather cools you may need to cover new seedlings while they get established with shelters made from plastic drink bottles or use portable easy grow tunnels. Remember slugs and snails are still around so lay Tui Quash Slug and Snail Stoppa to protect your crops.

For more information and fab gardening tips, go to www.tuigarden.co.nz

As we say here at Fresh when we get out into our garden “It’s Tui Time!”

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