Garden Matters

Autumn Gardening Matters

Hopefully, by the time you are reading this, we will have had a decent rain and lots of follow-up rain, as it has been such a dry autumn!  If you have the water, it is a great time to plant, as the ground is still warm and plants will be established before the cold weather sets in!!! Buy your deciduous trees in bags now,  so you can see their beautiful autumn colour!  Make sure you do you your homework on the trees you are buying, especially if you have a small back yard!! Not sure what you like!  Go for a drive around your neighbourhood and look at what’s growing!  Hopefully, you have your winter vegie garden growing but if not, now is the time to get started!  Plant broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, peas, broad beans, bok choy, carrots, parsnip, celery, silverbeet, kale, turnips, swede turnip, garlic and so much more!  Nothing beats picking your own produce, especially knowing that NO nasty sprays have been used!  I have been picking about 15 green caterpillars off my broccoli each day and the outer leaves look like lace but hey! Who cares as I think I have won as the new inner leaves look so healthy.  You can always make your own “garlic & chilli” spray, which is so natural. Get the kids involved as they will be so happy when they pick their crop for a meal!

 

FINGER LIMES –GREEN…..(Microcitrus australasica Green) ***** Native to Australia, the Finger Lime produces delicate caviar-like crystals that burst out of the cylindrical shaped fruit.  Fruit is cylindrical in shape, up to 100mm long and have thin skins appearing glossy, due to the oils contained in the rind.  The juice produced is similar to that of a standard lime.  These plants thrive in a protected position in well-drained soil and will tolerate light frost.  Fertilise regularly but lightly, with citrus food.  These crystals from the fruit can be used to make chutneys, jams and sauces, as well as garnishes.  Freezing the fruit enables all year availability, as it doesn’t destroy the fruit flavours and textures when thawed.  They are very popular on some of the cooking shows!

 

CITRUS TREES****** Now is a good time to buy and plant a citrus tree, and one of the most popular trees would have to be the Lemon, used in pies, sauces, drinks, fish and so much more!  Eureka and Meyer would be the most used varieties and now there is a dwarf variety called “Lots of Lemons” which can be grown in a pot!!  When I have lots of lemons,  I freeze the juice in ice-cubes so that I always have fresh lemon juice!  Squeeze a fresh lemon into a glass of warm water and drink first thing in the morning, as this will alkalise the body, helping to prevent cancer!  Orange Trees – Can’t beat the taste of a fresh orange picked straight from the tree or freshly, squeezed orange juice!  My favourite orange is the Washington Navel and is virtually seedless.  The skin is thick and makes for easy peeling!  A thin skinned orange is the Valencia and there is a seedless variety, and this orange is the best for juicing! The Blood Orange is also popular!   Lime Trees are also popular, with the Tahitian Lime popular for juice with its fruit, while Kaffir Limes are popular for their leaves in Thai cooking though the skin on the “ugly fruit” can be used for zest in cooking!  Mandarins are popular with most people wanting seedless and there are many varieties available, though lots of people are going back to the old-fashioned variety called Imperial, which has a small fruit full of flavour but has seeds!  Citrus are easy to grow but do not like “wet feet”.  In other words, do not plant in heavy clay!  If this is your soil, add lots of compost and well-rotted manure and build the bed up, plus add gypsum when planting and keep adding every six months around the drip line.  Add fertiliser every six weeks from spring to autumn, plus keep well-mulched though keep away from the trunk to stop collar-rot!  Citrus leafminer distorts new leaves but won’t kill the tree.  Either ignore or spray with Pest Oil which will deter the offender!   Sooty mould feeds on honeydew deposited by sap-sucking scale, mealy bugs and aphids.  Spray with a horticultural oil, such as Pest Oil.

Autumn is a busy time in the garden, what with planting vegetables, herbs, spring flowering annuals, and whatever else your heart desires!!  Also weeding is on top of the list!  Especially in the vegie garden, as vegetables do not need competition!  Enjoy this time in the garden, as it is also good exercise, plus it is good for the soul!  So until next month,

 HAPPY GARDENING!