18 Apr 2016

Autumn’s coming, and with it comes a whole heap of work in the garden. If you have deciduous trees (that is, trees that lose their leaves during autumn) you’re already going to have your work cut out for you, raking or blowing them away.

Don’t make more work for yourself by letting things go unattended now!

Don’t be caught out come April, it’s time to get your garden in ship-shape condition before you’re so caught up in other chores that you have no energy to spend. Let’s look at all the major gardening tasks you should take care of, so that nothing gets left behind.

1. TOOL TIME

Now’s about the time when most people’s tool shed is a little under-maintained. After the growth spurts of spring and the long heat of summer, your tools are sure to have taken a beating.

Before you get into autumn, where you’ll be tidying up and getting ready for winter, you should have a looksie and check that your stuff isn’t falling apart.

Places to start include:

  • Check your lawnmower blades to see if they’re dulled, or if any dirt clogging has occurred.
  • Check out your hand-tools and planting equipment for wear and tear, and for bluntness. Common culprits here include hand shears and limb saws.
  • Check your leaf blower or similar equipment, retool the whipper snipper, and just generally clear up those electrical tools.

2. GET A COMPOST BIN READY

Dropped leaves function perfectly for compost in your garden’s future. Before autumn hits, and you’re suddenly dumped with a huge pile of leaves that you’ll just be chucking into the green bin, set up a compost if you haven’t already, and cut down on costs the next time you do some new planting.

Autumn falling leaves layered with either kitchen scraps or mown grass (or similar) mean that you can effectively feed your garden off-cuts straight back into your garden in a brilliant cost-cutting cycle.

3. PLANT SOME HERBS NOW

Now is the perfect time to plant a few quick-growing herbs. Planting these through the start of autumn, and they’ll be out of your hair by the time winter comes.

Good plants to start with include Coriander, Parsley, and Chives. These’ll go well in a bunch of different meals, they’re simple to grow and maintain, and you can reuse the ground you grow them upon come winter if you’re going to be growing winter crops or vegetables.

4. CLEAN UP YOUR HEDGES AND TREES

For those trees that aren’t about to drop all their leaves (you can probably do without cleaning those ones up too drastically until they start having something to clean up). It’s a good idea to invest a little time making them spick and span now.

In about a month, you’re going to be pruning down a lot of fruit-bearers to promote a good crop. Clearing up around your trees, clipping hedges, and general tidying of the grounds is a good idea at any time of the year, but doing it now means that you won’t be caught with your pants down in a month or two.

Suddenly, the rest of the garden is threadbare without any foliage, and it’s better to have a carefully groomed remainder than a scraggly mess of bushes.

5. POND RESCUE!

If you maintain a pond in the garden, now’s the time to get it in shape. Autumn plays havoc with pondlife, clogging pumps and filters, providing a thin layer of pond-scum and leaves, and just generally making the whole thing unpleasant to look at.

In order to preserve it, consider trimming overhanging trees and make sure that you do a full unclogging of any filtering systems so that any remaining leaves don’t overload it for good.

6. BUG OFF!

March is a real pest for pests. Before you start going into the hard months, make sure your trees are looking healthy and haven’t developed any infestations in the final vestiges of the summer heat.

Insects love attacking plants around March, so grab your repellent of choice and go to town. Some simple water with a hint of chilli oil and garlic does wonders for leafy crops, but whatever you choose to spray that’ll do the job is the point.

A few other common homemade, organic pesticides include:

  • 1:20 dishwashing soap to water, spritzed lightly,
  • Citrus rind such as orange or lemon boiled in water, and
  • Planting blocker plants such as Dill that bugs hate.

Good luck in winter; even if Australia doesn’t exactly get permafrost, preparing during Autumn can make the difference between a healthy garden and a dead garden. Stock up, maintain, and make sure all your hard work doesn’t come tumbling down because of a few forgetful mishaps.