Who can resist all the new varieties of seeds and bulbs but what must we do first?
Various online websites, garden magazines and gardening books, tell us when to plant this or that.
The reality is, those timeframes are very generalised and it's knowing your seasons and responding to the climate in your district, which indicates when it's the time to plant certain crops.
Of course, if you're a beginner gardener, there are some basic rules that you need to know.
Listen to this….. with Margaret Mossakowska from Permaculture North
Of all the least attractive or glamorous tasks in the garden, working the soil is one of them.
You can make the task easier by planting green manure crops as Margaret suggested.
Green manure crops make the task of digging and fertilising a whole lot easier, because you let the green manure crop do the work for you.
You don't have to dig them in, just lay them on top of the soil and let the worms do the work for you.
You also can just rake them into the top 10 cm of soil if you prefer.
If you have any questions about the Autumn garden why not drop us a line to firstname.lastname@example.org or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675, and I’ll post a CD in return.
Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana)Native to Paraguay and other tropical areas of the Americas, the stevia plant (Stevia rebaudiana) has leaves packed with super-sweet compounds that stay sweet, even after the leaves have been dried.
Stevia is a member of the chrysanthemum family and the Stevia leaves have been used to sweeten teas and other drinks throughout South America for centuries.
So why are Stevia leaves’ so sweet?
Because the leaves contain something called steviol glycosides.
Steviol glycosoides are high intensity natural sweeteners, 200-300 times sweeter than sugar.
The leaves of the stevia plant contain many different steviol glycosides and each one varies in sweetness and aftertaste.
Stevia is evergreen in temperate, sub-tropical and tropical climates, but in cold and arid districts, it’ll lose its leaves in Autumn.
Stevia is native to semi-humid, sub-tropical climates where temperatures typically range from -6°C to 43°C.
Adding a layer of compost or your favourite mulch around your stevia plant so that the shallow feeder roots won’t dry out.
HOT TIP:Stevia can grow in a pot.
If your district is prone to frosts in Autumn, make sure you cover the Stevia plant for another few weeks’ growth and more sweetness.
Cuttings need to be rooted before planting, using either commercial rooting hormones or a natural base like honey.
I should mention that the stevioside content is only 12% in the leaves you grow compared with the 80-90% that commercially extracted stevia has.
It’s still had a decent amount of sweetness all the same.
So you’ve picked the leaves now you need to dry them.
As with drying all herbs you can hang your bunch of leaves upside down in a warm dry place.
Otherwise, on a warm day, your stevia crop can be quick dried in the full sun in about 12 hours. If you have a home dehydrator use that instead.
Finally crush the leaves either by hand, in a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle that you use for spices and herbs.
The dried leaves last indefinitely!
If you add two or three leaves added whole or powdered, that’s enough to sweeten a cup of tea or coffee.
HOT TIP: Another way is to make your own liquid stevia extract by adding a cup of warm water to 1/4 cup of fresh, finely-crushed stevia leaves. This mixture should set for 24 hours and then be refrigerated.
Why are they good for you?
Stevia isn’t suitable for everything in cooking but you can use it to sweeten drinks, fruits, salad dressings, stewed fruit, yogurt and most creamy desserts.
Some suppliers for you to source your Stevia.www.greenharvest.com.au and ww.diggers.com.au
NEW SERIES-DROUGHT PROOFING YOUR GARDEN part 1
PLANT OF THE WEEK
SEDUMS ARE GO!
Many sedums are grown as garden plants around, because they have interesting and attractive appearance and can be quite hardy.
The various species differ in their requirements; some are cold-hardy but do not tolerate heat, some require heat but do not tolerate cold.
It's no surprise that Sedums are considered to be a stand-by perennial.
In Autumn, upright stalks carry flowerheads of pink red, yellow or ochre, the colour deepening through as the flowers age. A bee and butterfly favourite.
For the most part, absolutely trouble-free - aphids may be a problem if it is grown in shadier conditions.
In winter some varieties down right down and the life cycle starts again when tiny little foliage "cabbages" appear by late winter or early spring, and develop into a tidy low mound by summer.