6 May 2023

In our garden this month it’s about clearing out any remaining summer crops, weeding, and making up new beds for winter, in other words, tidying up for before it gets cold and wet.

Make sure any of your crops that got blight or wire worm are carefully disposed of.  You don’t want to put these through either a worm farm or even a hot compost (there’s no absolute guarantee the temperature reached in your hot compost will kill off disease).

Regarding disposing of weeds, at our place we have a kikuyu lawn and hubby just mows over the garden weeds when he’s doing the lawns.  The weeds become mulch for the lawn.  Then what to do with lawn clippings?  I always use them in a hot compost as the major nitrogen component but that doesn’t use them all up. 

Latterly Rob has encouraged me to use the rest round our fruit trees.  His trees are doing so nicely, so I have started too. 

Kikuyu is a great grass, but it can be strong competition for a fledgling fruit tree.  Kikuyu won’t grow where there’s no light, so if you cover round the base with grass clippings, the grass underneath the clippings will die off, allowing trees to get going as well as providing nitrogen to the tree’s roots.


Once a bed is cleared my methodology is to

  • fork through the bed to aerate it
  • this year (and every second year after that) apply garden lime, especially in areas with high rainfall
  • add a nitrogen source like sheep pellets or chicken manure
  • add a general organic fertiliser like our Morganics
  • and finally add a layer of compost

Here are our second lot of brassicas enjoying life in such a bed…

If you’re not going to plant in a bed immediately, or at all this winter, we would recommend covering this all with a straw or something like weed matting.  The microbes can then happily do their thing undisturbed.

Another good cleaning-up activity is to make sure all fruit is raked up from under fruit trees and disposed of.  If it’s clean fruit (except for citrus) it can go in a worm farm.  If diseased, then landfill.  The reason for this is that the cause of any disease will travel into the soil surrounding the fruit tree and infect the new fruit the following season.  This is particularly important for trees with guava moth.  We would recommend an application of neem granules round the base of any infected tree.

With all the strong wind we’ve been having, it’s good to make sure your young brassica plants are sufficiently well hilled up. 

You may have to do this a few times.  And while you’re there, if you’ve got a dry stretch of weather, refresh your yeast traps to catch snails and slugs.

As it’s Full Moon, we’re sowing the last of our carrots and radishes for now.  We have two lots on the go already – a thinned out crop, and one that’s germinated and will be thinned in a couple of weeks’ time.  This third sowing should see us through to spring.

I’ve taken to sprinkling potting mix over the rows of seeds before tamping down with the back of the rake, as it’s nice and fine for the seeds to come through.

Our first lot of leeks were getting tangled up in the netting, so I’ve released them, hilled them up and given them a side dressing of Morganics and Dave’s Humate as a boost (they’ve been in the ground for a couple of months now).

Even though our temperatures are warm, I’ve covered our onions with the Mikroclima, as it protects the plants from getting smashed by the rain which we just have so much more of these days. 

Our grape has had a prune.  This is its third year.  We had one bunch of grapes in its first year.  I didn’t prune it after that and we had nothing this autumn.  Hopefully this good cut back will bring on a good yield next autumn.

We now have loads of biomass from clearing out all our beds, so a hot compost is on the go (heap yet to be covered).

Happy Autumn gardening!

From Jan and Rob

4 Responses

  1. Hello
    I love reading your practical newsletter. Would you mind letting me know what the black hoops are over your beds and which Microclima you’re using please. Also what clips are you using to attach it.

    I’ve sourced fibreglass rods for my raised beds but they’re not steep enough so that tall things fit inside. I love the simple blue plastic clips that they take though.

    Cheers and thank you again
    Katrina katrinajacobsen@gmail.com

    1. Hi Katrina We make the hoops out of 6mm reinforcing steel rods which I got from Bunnings. I don’t think all of their outlets sell it though, so best to ring around first. It comes in 6m lengths, but they cut it into 3m lengths for me (and that goes nicely over a 1100mm wide bed). Take a look at this video on how to make them… https://organicediblegarden.co.nz/2017/02/16/17-february-2017/ I just buy black hosing also from Bunnings to thread over them.
      I got my Mikroclima from Mitre 10 in Marton. They may still have some. Otherwise you could get in touch with the suppliers Polynet 03 382 9230 or 027 221 9551 polynet@xtra.co.nz
      We secure it with weed mat pins. I get the 23cm long ones.
      All the best 😊

  2. Enjoy the regular blogs keep it up.

    Anyone got any ideas on how to deal with army caterpillars

    1. Hi Garry We always recommend Btk (bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki) which is a biological control for caterpillars. Kiwicare used to make it but they only sell a general insect control now… https://www.mitre10.co.nz/shop/kiwicare-insect-control-with-pyrethrum-concentrate-60ml-clear/p/174178 It may well do the job.
      And here’s a link to Btk on Naturally Neem’s website… https://www.naturallyneem.co.nz/product-page/250gm-organic-caterpillar-control
      All the best 😊

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *