Time to reap autumn harvests

Easy Care Gardening volunteers dig in

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Autumn is a great time for the garden - the perfect time to plant and plan.

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Autumn is a great time for the garden - the perfect time to plant and plan.

The helpful people from charity Easy Care Gardening say it's a good time to plant any screens and hedges right now, as the moist soil from summer rains ensures they settle well and the "Goldilocks weather" - not too hot and not too cold - makes it perfect for planting and gardening.

New season's vegetables like cabbages, peas, lettuce and broad beans can go in, and sweet peas, poppies and calendula if you want a garden full of flowers to pick.

As the weather cools further, choose deciduous trees during their autumn display. It's also the right time to plant bulbs - those surprise packages of joy perfect for pots or plots.

Can't get enough gardening?

If you've recently retired or find yourself with more time on your hands as remote work has freed up your timetable, why not do something groundbreaking and consider volunteer gardening?

Gardening is one of the most rewarding pastimes to get involved in, with the bonus sense of accomplishment at the end of a few hours work.

The physical exercise provides a great workout too, provided you stretch first and wear a hat and blockout to protect your skin from the sun. There's actually a lot of science around gardening being good not only for your body, but also for your mind.

"Being outdoors in the fresh air, surrounded by greenery and serotonin-stimulating soil bacteria, means that after a session, volunteers come away feeling healthy and rewarded by the experience," said Easy Care Gardening co-ordinator Larissa Hansen.

The charity is backed by one of Australia's most respected horticulturists, Judy Horton, who lives in the Hornsby Local Government Area, one of the four in which the Easy Care Gardening operates.

"I was honoured last year to be asked to be the patron ... and I gladly accepted," she said.

"This is such a worthwhile organisation to support in any way.

"I often look around my own garden and think of how much I'd hate to be forced to leave if I was finding it a little difficult to manage.

"Having an Easy Care Gardening group come to visit must seem almost as magical as having a team of good fairies flying in and whipping things back into shape. This organisation not only brings joy to those who are being helped but provides an enormous sense of satisfaction for all the volunteers who generously donate their time."

Volunteers can come from anywhere and donate just a few hours of their time. To receive services, however, people must live in either the Hornsby Shire, Ku-ring-gai Council, City of Ryde or Hunters Hill Council areas.

The charity is currently holding a tool and equipment drive. Anyone interested in helping can jump on to Go Fund Me to help buy electric hedgers and other gardening equipment. Donations of used and unwanted gardening tools would also be appreciated.

Find out more HERE or visit the Easy Care Gardening stand at the NSW Seniors Festival Expo at the International Convention Centre, Sydney, on March 30-31.

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