March is madness month in the garden with so much to do.
Soil renovation in the vegetable garden is high on the priority of gardening tasks and hard work put in now will pay dividends in the months ahead. Most summer crops are at the end of their prime and can be removed to make way for the winter wonders.
Autumn provides the perfect conditions for planting varieties such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and lettuce. Pak choi, wong bok and silverbeet can all be planted now. For something a little different try the rainbow chard varieties, stems on these plants add colour to the garden in red, pink, yellow and orange and are an easy crop to grow for the new gardener.
For something texturally different plant tuscan kale. Complete your planting with herbs such as corriander, dill, garden thyme, oregano and parsely.
The addition of organic matter is a must for improving soil structure. Adding compost and manures will help increase the biological activity in the soil which means good bacteria and organisms that will help crops to flourish.
As organic matter breaks down it contributes nutrients to the soil which can be absorbed by plants improving growth and crop yield. Organic matter will also improve the soils water holding capacity and aeration so plant roots can explore the soil and develop unhindered.
Once soil renovation has been completed turn your attention to other tasks and leave the planting for a week or two.
Autumn is the perfect time to be planting ornamental trees and shrubs with warm soil temperatures and cool weather conditions. The transplanting of evergreen shrubs can also be safely undertaken now and they will have ample time to re-establish their roots prior to winter.
If pruning is required to make the plant more manageable during transplant operations, limit pruning to a light trim and apply an anti-transpirant to the foliage before transplanting to reduce transplant shock.
Mulching garden beds is another task for this month even if you did mulch in summer, topping up now will help reduce weeds, conserve moisture, and retain heat in the soil.
Even with such a busy gardening schedule remember to stop occasionally to smell the flowers; after all isn't that what gardening is all about.