April. Autumn here in Wanaka.
The Free Range Family is settling into the new/old environment of town. Work, school, friends.
In our new homestead rental we don’t have a garden set up for winter. It was already well into summer when we moved in, and chores around the property have taken a back seat to the practical realities of work routines.
Ange has managed to begin weeding what overgrown gardens are already here in the hope we can get some autumn planting to give us even a supplemental crop of vegetables heading into the colder months. We’ve still got about six weeks or so until the cold really settles in and begins to bite.
A Little Bit of Planning
Figuring out where the sunshine will hit becomes a lot more important in these cooler months when the sun is lower in the sky and up for a shorter period. The growing period is reduced, so maximizing exposure with placement is critical.
We’ve got a lot of shade in the backyard due to high trees behind the property. This doesn’t help with nurturing our autumn veges. Thankfully down one side of the house and in front of the property things are more exposed.
Ange has started clearing space in front of our bedroom window and we’ll look at the garden in front of the living area and deck next. This should be a good starting point to get some vegetables planted for the short-term.
What To Plant
A fun exercise, and with a little bit of research (thanks Google) we have a pretty good idea of what we’ll be able to attempt to grow with the short time left.
A quick search on one of our favourite sites yates.co.nz has been hugely beneficial in providing advice for autumn planting. And the grow guide at gardengrow.co.nz offers an exact list of what to grow along with estimated growing times.
So here’s the list of what we’re planning on getting into our autumn garden:
- Broad beans
- Pak Choi
- Garlic (will do this for the first time)
Most, if not all, of these will end up growing in the garden. We are also going to be growing our produce in pots that can be moved indoors or out depending on the weather. Luckily we have a conservatory at the back of the house which will make this easier to control.
Managing Our Expectations
As with all hurried experiments, our autumn garden may or may not supplement what we have to buy at the supermarket this coming winter. We haven’t grown anything in this soil to date, and will probably have to do quite a bit of soil nurturing in the coming spring to get things where we want them.
So while we hope to have a successful crop, time will reveal to us the truth of that statement. We won’t expect or plan on total supplementation just yet.