A few years ago, if you asked me, I would have said that once summer was over, my vegetable growing season was also over. But thankfully I have seen the light, and now my garden continues year round. Autumn is a great time to finish harvesting those summer crops, and also preparing for winter. There are many things that you can still plant in Autumn – especially in the warmer parts of NZ; like leafy greens, beans, brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower etc.), radishes, wintery herbs.
But here are my top 5 things right now to plant in your garden this Autumn:
- Spinach, silverbeet and kale – I’ve grouped these together because to me they are fairly similar in terms of the way that I grow them. They are very easy to grow and make great additions to curries, smoothies and as side dishes. They are packed full of yummy nutrients. Planting these in succession means you will have homegrown green veggies throughout winter. Just plant the seeds in good soil straight in the garden or in seed pots making sure to keep the soil nice and moist – and after a month to two months you will be able to start harvesting.
- Snow Peas – These are gorgeous to grow and so tasty to eat. They can be eaten raw or cooked and are ready to harvest around three months after being sown. Sow these straight into your garden – supporting their growth with a trellis for the tendrils to grow up. I like to assist my pea plants by tying them gently to the trellis with some garden twine.
- Pak Choi and other Chinese greens – I am obsessed with Pack Choi. I love adding it to chicken soups, noodle soups, wonton soups and stirfrys. It is seriously easy to grow these guys and they look impressive too. I pick as I go and only take a few leaves at a time – leaving the rest of the plant to keep growing. As with all leafy greens, the hardest part about growing them is keeping the slugs off them – so make sure to use a natural deterrent such as recycled coffee grounds or egg shells to keep your greens safe. After about a month to two months you will be able to start harvesting your Pak Choi.
- Beetroot – If you don’t like beetroot then I’m sorry but you are crazy. I recently discovered Chocolate Beetroot Cake, however I was already in love with beetroot after having enjoyed it in juices and roasted. If your only experience of beetroot is canned beetroot then you have been living a lie – make sure you try real beetroot because it is a million times better than the stuff you find in burgers from the takeaway store. Beetroot seeds should be sown straight into the garden and will start sprouting quickly but make sure you thin the beetroot so that they have room to grow. They will be ready for harvest within two months of planting and I like to plant beetroot in a few goes throughout autumn so that I have fresh beetroot available all winter, however they will keep longer than two months in the ground. They are so tasty!
- Brussels sprouts – I may lose a few of you here, but Brussels sprouts are actually delicious. Just don’t boil the living daylights out of them and then you can actually enjoy them. Have you ever had steamed Brussels sprouts which have been finished off with a quick fry in some free-range bacon with all those yummy bacon fats. Because if you have, you will understand what I say when I say – Brussels sprouts are seriously good. Brussels sprouts I think are one of those plants that you have to see to believe how they grow, cos they look weird. As a kid I always just imagined they grew like cabbages, just really miniature. Luckily they don’t because how inefficient would that be?? Plant your Brussels sprouts seeds in seed trays and after about a month move the seedlings to your garden. After about 3 months from when the seeds were planted you should be able to harvest small, golf ball sized Brussels sprouts – and then cook them with bacon. Nom nom nom.
What are you favourites or must-haves for Autumn? Let me know in the comments section or hit me up on Instagram (@victoria.makes).
Happy Autumn gardening my Southern Hemisphere friends.