Fall in love with edible gardening this Autumn: Our beginner guide!

If you have only been growing food for a short while, or still just thinking about edible gardening, Autumn is a great time as any to get into the garden and begin growing your next season of produce. With more frequent rains and less intensive garden management, Winter veggies require less care and attention than your summer veggie garden. They practically grow themselves with Melbourne’s cool and wet climate!  

We’ve compiled some of our favourite Autumn garden blogs and articles to help get you started: 

🌱 Tips on preparing your Autumn garden: 
The Little Veggie Patch Co: Preparing the Autumn garden 

🌱 Choosing what vegetables to grow: 
The Diggers Club: Autumn veggie gardening 

🌱 Month-by-month tips on what’s happening in your garden:  
Ceres: March planting advice 

🌱 Short summary of planting advice for different climate zones: 
Sustainable Gardening Australia: March in your patch 

🌱 Seasonal planting advice and preservation tips: 
My Green Garden: What to do in the vegetable garden in April

Foods to try planting in Autumn 

For a simple growing guide, check out Food from Home’s March Growing Guide. Below are some of our suggestions for beginner-friendly edibles to consider adding to your garden, courtyard or balcony! 

Brassicas 

If you have the space, broccoli, kale and some mini-cauliflowers are perfect for those new to gardening as they are easy to grow successfully. Choose seedlings that are small and young and avoid those with tough looking stems. Brassica crops will grow better if planted in full sun (a spot which receives a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight each day) but can tolerate partial shade (3-6 hours of sunlight each day). Consider using fine netting to deter white cabbage moth, or finely crushed eggshells to stop caterpillars, snail and slugs from enjoying your new seedlings. 

Garlic 

Easy to grow in small spaces! To grow garlic, you can use garlic bulbs purchased from the supermarket, but if bought from a nursery you are ensuring you are getting a variety that is disease and chemical free. Break the garlic head into individual cloves and plant them pointy end up, 5cm deep, 20cm apart. Like onion, they take a long time to reach maturity (9 months), so take some time planning where they go. Choose a pot or area in your garden that you don’t plan on using for your spring/summer veggies! 

Peas 

Make the most of your small spaces and grow peas up a trellis. Great fun for the kids to pick, shell and eat all within 10 seconds! Different varieties grow different heights – make sure to check the tag on the plant/seed packet for more information. Dwarf and bush peas grow to about 60cm high, ‘Melbourne Markey’ (also known as Massey Gem) grow to 50cm high. Sugar Snap peas are also a tasty choice. 

Broad Beans 

One of the easiest plants to grow. Plant before May to harvest in Spring. Sow 10-15cm apart. Coles Dwarf are a hardy variety, best for handling strong winds. At the end of the season, remember to leave a few of the last pods to dry on the plant and you have some seeds ready to sow for next year’s crop (or to share with your friends and neighbours!).  

Leafy Greens 

Lettuce, mustard greens, spinach, rainbow chard (also known as silverbeet – perfect for stirfrys!) all grow well in Autumn and into Winter and are perfect for beginners. Within about 8 weeks from sowing seeds (less if planted from seedlings) you can start to harvest leaves from outside the plant. 

If you have any questions or have some further tips to add, make sure to connect with out FFH Community Group, where you will receive great advice from likeminded locals with lots of knowledge and experiences to share.  

Want to get growing this weekend? Pick up some free veggie seeds as part of Food from Home’s Free Seed Initiative at one of your local libraries across Greater Dandenong, Casey or Cardinia. If you’re not sure where your closest seeds are, head to our website, fill out the form and we’ll let you know.   

Happy growing! 🌱
– Georgia (FFH team)

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