WINTER SUCCESS – Your autumn guide to getting the most from your patch in winter.

A productive winter garden is created in autumn. So even though the days are still long and the garden is pumping with end-of- season summer crops, ticking off a few jobs now will help ensure there’s plenty to harvest in the depths of winter.

While it’s hard to imagine that cooler weather will soon be arriving, having a productive winter garden means getting those important garden jobs done early. In between keeping up the water and harvesting your summer bounty, there are some key jobs you can do right now to set yourself up to be putting food on the table when the seasons finally turn.

Love Your Soil

Autumn is the perfect time to give your garden beds some extra care after hungry summer crops have depleted nutrients through flowering and vegetable production. A little attention now will replenish the most important element in your garden – soil – and lay the foundation for a productive season ahead. If you live in a hot and humid climate, autumn and winter may actually be your peak growing time – so getting the soil ready to go now is a must.

The first step is to clear any spent crops from your garden and dispose of diseased or pest-infested plants. Once your old crops are out, add some organic matter back in. Apply a ‘chop and drop’ method to healthy plants by cutting them off at the soil surface and laying them directly on the garden beds, chopping them into smaller pieces as you go. This keeps your soil structure intact and increases soil fertility by leaving the root organic matter in the ground to be food for the worms, in addition to the plants themselves being broken down gradually on the soil surface. Alternatively, you can add the plant matter to your compost pile.