What to grow in Brisbane during autumn and winter.
In this strange new world we are living in at the moment, many of us have more time on our hands. If you’ve been thinking about starting a vegetable garden, now might be the perfect time. Since we’re already halfway through autumn, it’s probably best to plant vegetables from seedlings rather than from seed if you want a harvest during winter.
The beauty of living in a subtropical climate like Brisbane is that we can get away with planting some varieties of vegetables during the cooler months that our more southerly neighbours can’t.
Growing spinach, lettuce and silverbeet in Brisbane during summer can be a frustrating experience because our hot summers encourage them to run to seed quite quickly. However, our more temperate autumn climate means these greens can do very well at this time of the year.
It’s worth giving other typically summer crops a go now too. Vegetables like tomatoes, eggplants, zucchini, squash, capsicums and cucumbers are worth a try if your vegetable garden gets plenty of sun and no frost. Germination rates are slower in the colder months so if you’re growing these from seed, plant them in pots in a warm, protected spot initially and then transplant them into the garden when they are bigger.
Other crops you can plant during autumn in Brisbane and the greater Southeast Queensland include dwarf beans, carrots, broccoli, beetroot, cabbages, peas, zucchini, onions, turnips, radishes and snow peas.
If you’re not confident about growing vegetables or have limited garden space, try your hand at growing herbs. They’re great for adding flavour to home-cooked dinners, and successfully growing them will boost your confidence.
Mint is an easy herb to grow. It tends to take over a garden bed, so give this one a pot of its own. You can also plant Garlic, Chives, Dill, Tarragon and Thyme now. Plant them in a warm spot and make sure you water regularly. Coriander is another one of those plants that goes to seed quickly during a Queensland summer, but can do quite well in Brisbane during autumn and winter.
Your gardening success will depend largely on what you plant, where you plant it and the quality of soil its planted in. Most vegetables prefer a pH that ranges from 6 to 6.5. If you’re not sure what the pH of your soil is, do a test using the Searles Soil pH Testing Kit or the Garden Trend Mini pH Tester.
To give your plants a head start, and to help seedlings recover from being transplanted, add some Seasol Planting Gel to the soil before planting. Seasol promotes good root development and higher-yielding plants. If you’re planting in pots instead of a garden bed, use a good quality potting mix that contains all the nutrients your plant needs.
Autumn and winter are traditionally dry months in Brisbane, so make sure you keep up the water. It’s also a good idea to add a layer of mulch to your plants to prevent moisture loss. Water early in the morning rather than in the evening so the leaves get a chance to dry out. Too much moisture on foliage on a cold night can lead to mould and rot developing.
If the idea of getting up early to water the garden during the chilly autumn and winter weather doesn’t appeal, invest in a tap timer. You can set them up so that they water according to whatever schedule you prefer. In fact, you can control the tap timer from your smartphone via Bluetooth from the comfort of your couch.