May can be a great time for gardening, and there are many plants, fruit trees and even vegetables that love the cooler months. It can also be a great time for planting new fruit trees, as rain is usually more abundant which can help newly planted trees to establish and feed their root systems. Citrus fruit trees are great to plant at this time, but you can also plant apples, plums, pears and even cherry trees at this time.
Fruit for thought
Planting fruit trees in Autumn will give them enough time to establish before the cooler months of Winter hit. Choose a sunny, well drained are of your garden that is also protected from wind. If you are planting citrus trees, make sure to keep the area around the base of the tree free of weeds, as their root systems tend to be closer to the surface of the soil and they don’t like to compete for nutrients and moisture. Mulch is also a great idea to apply around the base of the tree, to keep moisture in and maintain and even soil temperature. Keep the mulch away from the stem of the tree as it can cause rotting.
Beans, beans the musical fruit
Beans aren’t a fruit, but they are definitely a great vegetable to plant around this time are also very delicious. Beans are great to plant in the cooler areas of Australia and will return valuable nitrogen to the soil in preparation for summer vegetable planting. So, no need to prepare your soil with nitrogen before planting as beans are legumes, which means they grab their nitrogen from the atmosphere via their roots. Once you’ve harvested Winter crop of beans, your soil will be ready for your Spring crop. Always check your soil pH levels and your vegetables’ pH level requirements before planting to get optimal growth.
Eat your greens
Green veggies are great to plant during the colder Winter months and will help you save a few dollars at the checkout. Plus, you’ll get the satisfaction of growing and eating your own vegetables. Vegetables that grow well in winter are, but not limited to, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, spinach, and peas. As Australia has many different regions, from cool climate to tropical, what you can grow during Winter will vary – you can even grow tomatoes, sweet corn and pumpkin in tropical areas like Northern Queensland. Many herbs will grow well during winter in these climates, however the cooler zones tend to be a bit tricky with herbs such as basil and coriander. If you are in a cooler zone, such as the southern areas like lower Victoria and Tasmania, try growing your herbs indoors near a sunny spot.
Weeds can run rampant around this time, so it’s a great idea to keep on top of them before their establish roots and make it harder to remove. The extra rain that comes during May also helps to loosen the soil around the weeds and makes them easier to pull out. If the weeds don’t have seeds on them, you can put them in you compost for extra nitrogen.
All the leaves are brown
Deciduous trees shed their leaves during Autumn and can provide valuable nutrients to your trees and garden. They can also serve as protection for soil, helping to maintain temperature. Clearing leaves from your lawn is a must as they can prevent valuable sunlight from reaching grass blades. Collecting leaves and composting them is also great to use as mulch for your garden beds. Using a compost bin or large barrel is a great way to help the leaves break down – make sure they are watered down and kept moist to promote healthy fungal growth. Leaves will take 6-12 months to breakdown, and you’ll have some beautiful mulch ready to place around your garden beds.
Got any questions about gardening this time of year?
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