If you’re out in the patch at this time of the year, it barely feels like you’re working. Cool autumn air but still just enough sun to allow for a turning up of the sleeves when you get that mattock swinging.
My mattock is my favourite tool for it makes easy work of one of my autumn rituals, the turning of the soil.
I turn the soil over for two reasons, one is it’s a great way to get some more humus into the soil and also reveals the pesky African black beetle larvae which I either give to my insatiable Labrador, or collect for the chooks. I usually dig my bean plants into the soil and all this hoeing helps that breakdown.
Before I plant my winter crops I’ll be spreading the ground with organic pellets, some blood and bone and for those that know me well enough, magnesium in the form of Epsom Salts. I’ll also be spreading some potash about, more because I’ve just got a bag and I can’t help myself, rather than for some soil chemistry reason.
That’s my Do’s for autumn, here are my Don’ts
I have removed all but my silverbeet, rhubarb and perennial spinach, including the frames upon which my tomatoes were trussed. It’s all gone but this weekend I’ll be back out there planting my goodies for winter. All these plants though have created a pile of waste about one metre square. The pile, although tempting to compost, is full of pathogens that won’t be destroyed here in our cool climate because our winter is just too cool.
So whatever you do, don’t compost. Your disposal options depend on where you live. I’ll be burning mine up and spreading the ash around the base of my fruit trees. Otherwise pop them into your green waste bin and let the problem become someone else’s. If that’s not your style you can place it all in a black plastic bag and leave it in the sun for a month or two and then compost it. I like the cleansing ritual of a good old burning.
I’ll be planting snow peas, onions, garlic, lettuce, mizuna, pak choi, shallots and maybe some rocket, or maybe not.