Perfect Autumn - How to get ready for the Spring
It’s May! The last month of Autumn and the trees will soon be bare. The rain comes more frequent, as the cold winter is ushered in.
Well, Autumn is a great time for planting. The air is cool, the soil is still warm and the frequent rain has increased the moisture in the soil. All these factors help new plants establish good root growth, and then slows down in winter. So, pick up your garden gloves, trowels, buffwear etc. and let's get dirty.
Autumn is also the best time to start transplanting any shrubs or trees to make new plants from cuttings. Plants can only be safely transplanted during late autumn and winter when no longer in active growth.
For cuttings, cut approximately 10 cm from hardwood herbs or shrubs and remove the lower leaves. Dip the cut stem about an inch into hormone powder - this will stimulate root growth. Now prepare a pot with moist planting medium and plant the dipped stem cutting into the pot.
Keep moist at all times (not wet) and sheltered from strong wind and the sun by covering the pot with a clear plastic bag, then see the results in Spring!
Autumn produces a lot of leaf matter which can be used as compost, nature's process of recycling decomposed organic materials into a rich soil. For good garden hygiene, clear a little way around the base of shrubs and trees to limit the build-up of mulch and matter around the stem or trunk area, especially in high rainfall areas, it will help prevent collar rot and other fungal attacks.
Pruning stimulates new growth so it’s not a good idea to prune around this time of year, as plants are trying to go dormant. So as a general rule, do not prune if it's wet out there, as it spreads a lot of diseases. The best time to prune would be towards the last month of winter.
Now after preparing the soil, it’s time to decide what fruits, veggies, flowers and herbs you would like to see in spring. Have you got your pots? The soil? The tools?