Gardening | Autumn ideal for turning over a new leaf in the garden

Rainbow chard brightens winter gardens.
Rainbow chard brightens winter gardens.

Winter is on the way, and there is no time to spare getting the garden cranking.

As winter approaches falling autumn leaves provide more leaves than usual, particularly with deciduous trees in the garden.

A simple way of composting these is to rake them up and place them in a garbage bag with a few handfuls of Yates Dynamic Lifter fertiliser which acts as an activator to assist the decomposition process.

Moisten the leaves and fertiliser with a light spray of water, tie up the bag, poke a few holes in the side of the bag to allow the air in and place it in a sunny spot.

Over the next three to four months roll the bag occasionally to mix up the contents for a fantastic spring garden compost.

Once composted the rich dark brown material makes the perfect addition to the veggie garden to improve soil structure and encourage beneficial micro-organisms.

Cool weather is when the leafy greens dominate in the veggie patch and lettuce is among the cream of the crops.

Leafy greens such as lettuce can be used among more permanent plantings to provide seasonal displays of colour that not only look good but taste good too.

Other leafy crops with ornamental appeal and great taste include chicory, endive, mizuna and radicchio, an Italian red lettuce.

All have a somewhat piquant flavour but like the lettuces they are stunning plants for the veggie patch and other areas of the garden for their colour and form.

Rainbow chard is another colourful pick and come-again leafy crop for the winter veggie patch with white, yellow, pink and red stems.

Herbs are a staple of the kitchen in winter and cooler weather is the best time to get the most from them. Most herbs grow best in full sun which makes them perfect for pots on a sun-drenched balcony or deck.

Alternatively, a raised planter bed in the garden is great for herbs and they can be just as easily grown in pots on windowsills.

Coriander, dill, parsley and chives are perfect in any garden and often pop up as volunteers if allowed to go to seed.

Others such as oregano and marjoram make excellent groundcovers and as a bonus, are ideal for suppressing weeds.

With so much to look forward to, no gardener has thyme for the winter blues.