What to plant this autumn

by | Mar 14, 2024 | At Home, At Home Featured

The autumnal equinox is almost upon us. From Wednesday onwards the nights will be getting longer, dew and mist will greet us most mornings, and we’ll be saying farewell to all the wonderful stone fruit that this summer has given us. The tomato glut is beginning to tail off, cucumbers will be limited to those tasteless, arrow-straight, pastic-wrapped things you pay through the nose for over the winter months. But there will be freshly harvested apples, pumpkins and squash, the first of the winter vegetables, and of course, the intitial trickle, followed by the plenty, followed by the superfluity of feijoas.

There are still plenty of good things to eat as we head into autumn. But what should we be getting into the ground while the soil is still warm and the rain comes a little more often? What can we plant to ensure there are fresh things to gather from our garden come the cold, dark winter months?

Beetroot: get your beetroot seeds in the ground pronto to ensure you have a vibrant and delicious crop as early as June. Why should you wait until berry season to ruin all your white t-shirts?

Broccoli or broccolini: it’s dead easy to grow, it’s healthy and delicious, what’s not to like about broccoli and it’s uppity sibling broccolini? Should be ready to harvest in three to four months. Once you harvest the main head of broccoli, the side shoots should continue to grow over the winter.

Cabbages: the most underrated vegetable in my humble opinion. Crunchy and delicious in a salad, great in a stirfry, or cut into wedges on a hot grill with plenty of butter and garlic. Smaller varieties will be ready to eat in a couple of months.

Radishes: another underappreciated gem. They grow fast. Harvest them in six weeks and eat them (leaves and all) with whipped cod’s roe. Or leave them in the ground a little longer if you like them extra peppery.

Garlic: it’s delicious and it even grows in Dunedin. Apparently. Wards of colds, flu, and vampires.

Fruit trees: ok the gratification might be delayed, but autumn is a great time to get an apple tree in the ground, or to plant those citrus trees you were annoyed you didn’t have last winter. There are few greater consolations for the winter months than a mandarin picked from your own tree and peeled and eaten while sitting in the pale winter sunshine.


About the Author

David Wrigley

David is a writer and musician from Kemureti/ Cambridge. He has been published in Noble Rot, Nourish Magazine, Turbine|Kapohau, New Zealand Poetry Yearbook, and is currently working on his first novel. He has done his time in restaurants in Aotearoa and the UK. Oh, yes. He has done his time.

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