With the fading of another summer and the arrival of autumn, those of us who enjoy growing some of our food from home are getting ready for planting the cool-season crops. While there are still tomatoes hanging around, pumpkins baking and capsicum and chilli trying their best to ripen, it is a good time to prepare for your next plantings. Sowing seeds or purchasing seedlings now will help you to achieve bountiful winter and spring harvests.
Although we have had above-average rainfall for the beginning of the year, it’s really just been two or three deluges. Our soils can still dry out fairly quickly, and
a lot of people get caught out when the hot, dry weeks sneak up on us and their suffering plants lack the level of productivity they expect. When preparing for your next plantings, there are a few simple things that can be done to markedly lift the amount of produce you get from your patch.
Before planting your garden, make sure the soil is prepared properly. Nothing new there. But you can’t just chuck a bag of compost on crappy, dry, sandy soil and plant your food crops expecting them to deliver. Your soils need regular attention, regular feeding and protection from the elements. Prepare your beds well in advance of planting, cover them over with a thick layer of composted or straw mulch, and let them rest. Water them from time to time as the weather dictates and the soil will mature over a few weeks as it waits for you to plant your vegies. If, when planting time comes around, you can dig your fingers into the bed and extract a small fistful of soil that holds together when you release your grip, then you are ready. If, however, the soil just slips through your fingers, you will know you need to pay more attention to your preparation prior to planting.
And even if you have created the most beautiful soil you can, without a consistent irrigation regimen that maintains adequate soil moisture throughout the season, you may find yourself visiting the grocer a little more than you’d like. Your vegetable gardens and fruit trees will always perform way better with a properly functioning irrigation system. It’s very much worth the investment in time and/or dollars.
So get excited, get prepared and take your home harvests to a new level. Plan well, put a few hours into it and you can share loads of goodness with your family and friends year-round.