Growing Winter Vegetables

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from seedlings in your own backyard

Autumn is the second bite of the spring cherry and with the soil still warm from Summer, it’s a time when plants love to thrive. Feed them up, give them a drink and watch them flourish.

Wherever you may live in this amazing country, Autumn is the time for action when it comes to gardening. What better way to kick-start your garden with a nutritional boost of organic mulch, quality potting mix, worm castings or compost.

If you don’t have a vegetable patch now’s the perfect time to start.

If you want a productive Autumn vegetable garden a good clean-up is a must. Pests and disease love to thrive amongst dead plants, broken stems and dead flower heads, so avoid leaving dying or dead plants in your garden to become host to bacteria or other life sucking critters.

Once clean-up and soil preparations are completed and hilled rows or beds have been created, it’s time to make a selection for your patch. Do your research and find out what grows best in your region so you can ensure they will thrive.

When choosing your seedlings, keep in mind you are preparing for yourself and your family to fight off flu and other illnesses that tend to do the rounds through winter. A healthy diet of seasonal fresh vegetables may aid in building your immune system and a great way to save money.

Once you’ve made your list, it’s off to your local garden centre or seedling supplier. Always select healthy plants. Look at the general health of plants in the store. Don’t choose anything spindly and check for pests and disease on leaves. By checking the drainage holes at the base of the pot it can tell you a lot about what’s happening to the root system. Healthy plants will show white roots and perform better in your garden.

Before making your purchase it’s important to find out how seedlings have been grown prior to delivery to the retailer. Plants grown in an outdoor nursery should be fine to direct plant into your patch. If they’re grown in greenhouse conditions they’ve been protected from the elements therefore making them susceptible to the harshness of the outdoors.

To build up stamina keep seedlings in their container and place under a veranda or similar outside area with filtered light for a few days. Gradually introduce direct sunlight for an hour or so each day for another couple of days. Your seedlings will then be more than happy to face climatic conditions.

After planting your seedlings they will need a good soak of water to avoid transplant shock. Your vegetable patch will need regular checking for moisture and signs of pests for another week or so. A protective cover is also good to have on hand in case the weather turns nasty. These are available at your local nursery, or you could make one yourself.

Once your crop is underway, regular weeding is important to avoid attracting pests and nutrients being taken from your seedlings. Don’t let your babies dry out. This causes stress and may result in poorer crop yields.

It’s an exciting time when your crop is ready for harvest. The bounty of fresh, nutritious vegetables will provide you and your loved ones with many delicious healthy meals.There’s nothing more enjoyable than making your selection from a home grown plot and enjoying the sweet fruits of your hard labour.