Autumn is a great time to plant just about everything from shrubs and seedlings to vegies. It’s also a great time to plant up containers. The key to success is getting the soil or potting mix right before planting. Here’s a step-by-step plan for good soil preparation before you start planting.
Cleaning and clearing Lightly dig over the soil to remove weeds, old roots and stones and to break up clods. Take care digging around existing plants as you don’t want to disturb their root systems. Keep an eye out for soil-borne pests such as curl grubs and remove them.
Waterwise If the soil or potting mix is dry, sandy and hard to wet with water either pooling on the soil surface or running off, it is hydrophobic (water repelling). To create soil that absorbs water, treat it with a soil wetter such as Seasol Super Soil Wetter & Conditioner.
In with the organic matter Further improve the soil by digging in well-composted organic matter such as manure or well-rotted compost. If possible, leave the soil to rest for a couple of weeks before planting to let beneficial organisms in the soil get to work. If you don’t want to plant an autumn crop, sow a green manure crop instead. Let it grow then dig it back into the soil to replenish nutrients and organic matter.
What about containers and raised? Replace exhausted mix with new potting mix such as a Premium mix (indicated by a red panel with five ticks on the bag), which contains soil wetter and enough nutrients for the first couple of months of growth. For raised beds, replenish by adding a manure blend. To refresh existing potting mix without replacing it, soak the plant and pot in a bucket of Seasol for a couple of hours to revitalise the plant and potting mix.
Planting or sowing Once the soil or potting mix has been prepared, cover it with a thin layer of organic mulch. Water the area well before sowing seeds or planting. At planting, water in with Seasol and remember to reapply regularly (every 2 to 4 weeks). Seasol gives seeds a helping hand to germinate and reduces transplant shock for all plants including natives.
Step 6 Ongoing plant care. Once plants have settled in, they need to be fed to ensure healthy, vigorous growth and an abundance of gorgeous blooms and tasty produce. Apply PowerFeed All Purpose including Natives every 2 to 4 weeks during the growing season. PowerFeed is a dynamic fertiliser and soil conditioner.