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Leafy Planting in Mid Autumn – the first of the Winter Greens Go In

Leafy planting days from Sunday through to tonight, and I meant to post this on Sunday, but I was having too much fun in the garden to come in.

In Spring and Summer, it’s the fruiting annuals that dominate the planting calendar. In Autumn and Winter, it’s the leafies. This is a big and interesting planting break, the first one for the season in this part of the world when I plant brassicas – kale, cauliflowers, broccoli, cabbages and chinese cabbages. It’s also the first when I plant spinach, silver beet, celery, and parsley.  I plant some lettuces and rocket all year round, but this time of year I swap from the heat-hardy varieties to the bigger collection of more interesting winter varieties.

We are past the equinox now (I missed the celebration this year – it was a hard toss-up but the need for a long bath and an early night won out). It means the season of long nights has started. Up here it never snows and rarely even frosts, but plants don’t know that. They store food and hunker down, waiting for lengthening days to signal that it is safe to go to seed. So all the bolters are now safe to plant.

It has, all of a sudden, got cooler too.  I put an extra blanket on for the first time last night, and had to heat water for a morning shower after a night cool enough to undo the day’s work of the solar hot water system. Very soon we shall start lighting the slow combustion stove for cooking, heating, and to boost the hot water system.  There are still a few cabbage moths and aphids hanging around, but not for long now, so it is now safe to plant a whole range of vulnerable vegetables.

I planted all the seed in the photo – just a few of each – there will be five or six more successive plantings of them all to come and I don’t want to use up all the space in the first month. Plus there are still zucchini and squash and capsicums and cucumbers bearing that will gradually die off over the next few months.

I find it hard to love winter but the winter greens are some compensation – I’m really looking forward to pulling out the kale and cauliflower recipes again.

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{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Gillian March 27, 2012, 9:42 am

    It never gets quite cool enough here to successfully grow caulis and kale and such. Great idea to plant a few of each though – I am doing that too – some years we get a change in weather that makes certain crops better, and if you have a big variety you have a bigger chance of success.

  • Kari @ bite-sized thoughts March 27, 2012, 1:25 pm

    I loved seeing your summary of what’s going in. You’ve got a great collection – sounds like a very fun few days indeed.

  • Jason Dingley March 27, 2012, 5:23 pm

    It is a shame lettuce grows best in winter. Doesn’t it realise it goes so well with tomato and cucumber. I would be willing to bet allot of beginner gardeners think it is a summer vegetable because of this, and wonder why it is so hard to grow.

    Tried organising an equinox celebration with my garden group but alas schedules didn’t align. I did go out in the garden and say a few words though.

    I have been meaning to ask this before… what’s with the seeds in the little cups? Are they germinating?

  • Linda March 27, 2012, 5:58 pm

    Hi Jason, the little cups are the way I sort my seeds to sow, so that I don’t take the whole packets out to the garden and get them all wet and dirty. It’s a really simple trick, but so useful. I wrote a post about it a while ago – http://witcheskitchen.com.au/sorting-the-seeds/. (And I agree – lettuce is really inconsiderate!)

  • Liz March 27, 2012, 6:54 pm

    I’ve got lots of the plants you are currently seed sowing growing slowly in little pots – my main problem is where to put them as I’m loathe to rip out too many of the summer veg just yet…every year I have the same problem – more eggplants or some broccoli???

  • Linda March 27, 2012, 6:58 pm

    It’s a decision! You could pot the broccoli on into bigger pots. They’re going to like lots of compost anyhow, so you could give it to them early.

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