GARDEN HINTS

Wangaratta Chronicle - North East Regional Extra - - Front Page - WITH MANDI

AS the days are slowly get­ting cooler, I hope you are all find­ing your gar­den­ing groove again.

Un­for­tu­nately, we have to keep up the wa­ter­ing un­til we get some de­cent rain.

It is a re­ally good time to get your veg­etable garden ready for the au­tumn and win­ter plant­ing.

If, like me, you can’t pull out the tomato plants un­til they re­ally look quite “tired”, but are still pro­duc­ing, pick the green ones and make green tomato pick­les – well worth sac­ri­fic­ing those last red toma­toes for!

Your soil will need some work be­fore you start plant­ing.

Com­post, well bro­ken down ma­nure and fer­tilis­ers wil help to re­plen­ish the soil ready for your next crop.

Broc­coli, cab­bage, cauliflower, brus­sel sprouts and kale are just a few of the crops that can be planted.

Brus­sel sprouts need quite a long grow­ing sea­son, so get them in now.

The im­por­tant thing to keep an eye out for is the dreaded cab­bage moth.

They lay their eggs on your bras­sica plants and the green cater­pil­lars that hatch can dec­i­mate your seedlings very quickly! If you have the time, re­move the cater­pil­lars by hand. If not, dust with der­ris dust, or cover your plants with net­ting to pro­tect them.

These pests don’t just lay eggs on young plants, so keep check­ing for these pests through­out the sea­son.

Some of you may have de­cided to “rest” your veg­etable garden for the au­tumn and win­ter.

You can plant a green ma­nure crop in­stead of ed­i­bles.

Just a few of the ben­e­fits of do­ing this are pro­vid­ing or­ganic mat­ter, nu­tri­ent re­place­ment in the soil and im­prov­ing soil struc­ture.

The green ma­nure crop pro­tects the sur­face of the soil, helps pre­vent ero­sion and as­sists with weed con­trol.

At the end of the sea­son, you sim­ply dig the crop back through the garden.

You can buy green ma­nure crop seeds at the nurs­ery now.

En­joy your au­tumn gar­den­ing.

GREEN THUMB: Broc­coli is one of the veg­etable crops you can plant now.

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