This weekend I am hoping to get my veg patch ready for planting in the next couple of weeks (or whenever my plants arrive!)
It has got me thinking, and having got things wrong in the past, I thought I’d share a few learnings about autumn planting. Here we go:
- Make sure to plant in sunshine – several raised beds in my plot are largely in the shade during autumn and winter with the sun being lower in the sky. I’ve learnt now to plant in those beds that get the most sunshine.
- Maximise warmth – if you can use polythene sheets, or cloches, then do – the extra warmth will really, really help your plants. I can’t tell you how different the growth is between the plants I grow under cover and the ones that are exposed.
- Mulch – this is my main job really, to mulch heavily. It’ll help to keep the beds from becoming waterlogged, and it will also help to keep the summer warmth in the soil for a little longer, as well as protecting the soil from frost/wind/hail/snow/frost and all the other weather conditions we get to enjoy over the next few months! I’ll be using a multipurpose compost, as I haven’t got enough homemade compost, and probably aiming for a 3-4cm layer.
- Lift pots – I’ve started moving autumn pots onto pallets so that they can drain better, otherwise the soil just stays so soggy all through the winter that the plants actually struggle to grow well.
- Leave a bit more space than normal – I don’t have any scientific evidence for this, but I’ve noticed that when I plant a little further apart the plants do better – I guess they have that much more access to sunlight without being blocked by other plants, as well as better access to nutrients. I also think the space allows the air to flow around them and helps them defend themselves against fungal diseases.