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Cold Changes

The colder part of the year is gradually getting here, increasing cold snaps letting us know to wind some things back in the garden and also that it is time to start sowing other plants. This change is not something to avoid but to embrace! Apart from being the lifeless, cold, grey or rest period of the year for the garden, it is often a time for the garden to heal itself from the vigours of summer and all the associated trials, for example the 2011 big flood in SE Qld and for other slower forms of life to take over the shift.

Plants that I should (!) be sowing include:

  • Autumn green manure mixes (this is great for the soil and also habitat for frogs and beneficial insects. Also a great source of winter salad leaves when things like endive, beetroot or radish are sown)
  • Kanna (Sceletium tortuosum and S. emarcidum) The low temps are ideal for germinating and you will see established plants sending out new shoots.
  • Yellow Horned Poppy (Glaucium flavum)
  • Maca (Lepidium meyenii)
  • Opium Lettuce (Lactuca virosa) though this tends to self seed around the garden anyway, preferring shady moist spots against the southern side of the house for example.
  • Winter growing Phalaris aquatica cultivars.
  • Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum)

That’s just the plants that sprang to mind, there are dozens, hundreds, literally thousands of other species that can be sown, grown, divided and multiplied through the colder months of the year. See what other gardeners are growing in your local climate at this time of year to get some hints. Up here in the Lockyer Valley it is perhaps the best part of the year to grow vegetables and many other herbs, the pest pressure is minimised, temperatures are much kinder on the top end and there are many frost free areas around to grow without hesitation.

Talk a walk in the garden, pull that jumper off and suck up the cold air while you fork over the garden!

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