Days are shorter, temperatures are gentler, and hopefully we get good autumn rains...
Deciduous trees and shrubs are starting to change into their autumn tones - this is the time of year to look out for plants with great autumn colour to brighten the garden. Blueberries not only provide a wonderful show of colour, they produce delicious berries as well.
This is also the season for apples, grapes, quinces and figs. In late autumn cumquats, pomegranates, feijoas, chilies and the early mandarins ripen up. Birds also find many of these to be delicious treats, so if you want to get to eat any, you may need to net your trees.
Invest in sturdy, commercial standard bird netting, available from the commercial suppliers. It comes 10 metres wide which is enough to fully cover a backyard fruit tree of about three metres height and width.
Sow in April:
bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, lettuce, mustards, spinach, silverbeet, coriander, parsley, turnips.
Sow in May:
As for April, but now is a good time to plant broad beans as well as garlic and rhubarb.
Silverbeet (chard) grows abundantly at this time of year. What to do with it all?
Try this tasty soup:
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 packet taco seasoning
2 teasp ground cummin
1/4 bottle taco sauce
2/3 cup each of
cooked butter beans,
chick peas and
red kidney beans*
800g can chopped tomatoes
2 celery stalks, chopped
6 cups water
3 stock cubes
6 silverbeet leaves
Saute onion in olive oil until clear and soft. Add garlic, taco mix and cummin and cook for one minute over low heat. Add all remaining ingredients except the silverbeet. Bring to the boil and then simmer twenty minutes. Add silverbeet and cook a further ten minutes.
Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with sour cream or grated tasty cheese.
* This is roughly a scant half-cup of dried beans/peas. 310g cans of beans and chick peas can be used instead.
The chard pictured here is a chance cross between common sliverbeet and beetroot. Its colour in the garden is gorgeous, and its deep red stems have a delicious beetrooty flavour.
Collect all those fallen leaves; add them to the compost heap, dump them in the chook yard or even just spread them onto garden beds. Scrounge leaves from friends and neighbours who don't want theirs: you can never have enough...