Autumn is an excellent time to plant many flowers, vegies, trees and shrubs and while the soil, air and water temperatures are still warm plants will get a very good start.
Sweet peas are traditionally planted around St Patricks Day but any time in autumn is ok. Right now is a good time to prepare the soil. Select a sunny spot, you will need a fence with some mesh attached or a proper trellis for them to climb on. Dig in 8 to 10cm of compost or animal manure and a good handful of dolomite per lineal metre and leave to rest for about two weeks before planting. This allow the worms and micro organisms to do their work. When you plant the seed, water them with tepid water and Seasol and do not water them again until the seedlings appear.
Spring annuals take around 20 to 25 weeks from seed to flower. You may choose to plant seeds now and save money or prepare the soil and wait a while and buy seedlings which are a lot quicker. The best autumn annuals for our area are stocks, poppies, violas, pansies, lobelia, primula, alyssum, snapdragon, sweet William, nemesia and cinerarias.
Spring/summer flowering perennials that can be planted in autumn include, asters, delphiniums, Canterbury bells, gypsophila, cannas, penstemons and shasta daisies.
I believe that autumn and winter are our best seasons to grow vegies in our locality. They dont suffer the same stresses like heat, insects and diseases to the same degree as in hot weather. We can grow broccoli, peas, broad beans, dwarf beans, lettuce, onions, cabbage, silverbeet, radish, tomatoes, capsicum and brussel sprouts.
Shrubs and trees planted now will get an excellent start. You can plant natives like banksias, grevillas, bottle brush, eucalyptus, and lillypillies. Evergreens like azaleas, conifers, bull bay magnolia (m. grandiflora) and m. little gem, crepe myrtle, bouganvillea and tibouchina.
The Lismore Garden Club has a few seats left for the coach trip to Boambee near Coffs Harbour to see three big gardens that are open under the Australian Open Garden Scheme on Sunday, March 25. Anyone can go, you dont have to be a club member. The cost includes luxury coach travel, morning tea and entry into the three gardens. Please phone me urgently and secure your seats on 6624 7422 or 0421 021 451. For information on the club please phone Dot on 6621 4100 or Wally on 6624 1125.
Finally, many gardeners say that spring is the season for gardening but I reckon that autumn has a lot more going for it.
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