Pip Monthly Garden Guide

Here are our monthly Australian garden guide, for all the tips and tricks you need to get your garden pumping, depending on which climate zone you’re in, click on the month below to jump to the relevant guide.

JanuaryFebruary | MarchApril May June |

 July | August September October | November | December

——————————————————————————————–

 

januarybanner

Cool Temperate

What to Sow:

Brussels sprouts (seedling tray), beans (bush), beetroot, carrot, cucumber, lettuce, kohlrabi, mustards, parsnip, parsley, radish, silverbeet, turnips.

What to do:

For many, January means holidays, so make sure you have a plan for watering over this period. Look to install a form of an irrigation system with a timer, or better still, ask a friendly neighbor to water your plants in exchange for some produce. Look to mulch the garden beds with a straw-based mulch, to try and retain moisture in the soil. Provide sun protection on sweltering days using shade cloth on crops such as tomatoes, so not to burn the fruit.

Warm Temperate

What to sow:

You can still sow and plant out fast growing summer crops now to make the most of the rest of summer and early autumn, like zucchini, squash, basil and cherry tomatoes and beans.

What to do:

In the hot weather, make sure those vegie beds are well watered and mulched (sugar cane is ideal). Plants will be growing like crazy this time of year, so be on top of the weeding, keeping garden paths clear and thinning out crops in the vegie beds. Stake up tomatoes and train up beans. Fruit fly attack can be tough coming into mid-late summer, so bag any infected fruit and freeze or solarise them in sealed bags in the sun to kill any larvae. If your stone fruits like apricots and plums are suffering severe attack and you feel you can’t manage the fruit fly, consider replacing the trees with fruit fly resistant trees like citrus, olives, mulberries, mangoes, macadamias, black sapote, cherimoya and bananas.

Tropical

What to sow:

Eggplants, okra, snake beans, wing beans, chillies, pumpkins, (all from seed), bananas and pawpaws. Sweet potatoes, cassava, taro, turmeric, ginger, Yam bean/Jicama, galangal. Thai basil, sweet basil, lemon basil, garlic chives (from seed), Thai coriander, Vietnamese mint, Ceylon spinach, Brazilian Spinach, abika, sweet leaf, Kang kong.

What to do:

The rains should be pouring down, which is wonderful for growth and all those water loving plants but be sure to top up nutrients by adding manure mulch to the garden. Also ensure you have well-drained materials in raised beds so there is free drainage and aeration. Seeds can be sown, but they will need to be protected from heavy rains and kept under either solid cover or shade cover and misted. It is a great time to propagate by cutting or roots division, so get amongst it with sweet leaf cuttings, , It is a great time to propagate by cutting or roots division, so get amongst it with sweet leaf cuttings, and pop in more sweet potatoes.

Arid

What to sow:

Best for: tomato, sweet corn
Start planting: cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage
Keep planting: carrot, silverbeet, beetroot, melons, cucumber, basil, eggplant

What to do:

This is the hottest time of year, so make sure you turn melons, to avoid rot and sunburn. Keep seedlings shaded for at least a week. This is the best time to plant out sweet corn and tomatoes. Pumpkin, cucumber, melons, and tomatoes may need hand pollinating, and tomatoes can be shaded to aid fruit set. Get cabbage, cauliflower and even broccoli in the ground early to make sure you are harvesting when the cold weather comes. The summer heat is a great time for propagating natives from seed too, so prepare now for autumn plantings.

februarybanner

 

Cool Temperate

What to Sow:

Brussels sprouts (seedling tray), beetroot, broccoli (seedling tray), carrot, cauliflower (seedling tray), chives, chicory, endive, fennel, kale (seedling tray), kohlrabi, leeks (seedling tray), lettuce, mustard greens, onions (seedling tray), parsley, radish, silverbeet, turnips.

What to do:

In February, look to cut back herbs to encourage new growth. Pinch out flowering heads of basil and parsley to extend the life of the crop. Pick up any fallen fruit and dispose of in your compost to discourage pests and diseases.   Due to extreme weather conditions, bees may be absent, so hand pollinate your zucchini and pumpkin crops.

Warm Temperate

What to sow:

You can still plant out fast growing summer crops now to make the most of the warm early autumn, like zucchini, squash, basil and cherry tomatoes. Lettuce, rocket, parsley, radish and beetroot can be sown or planted. Plant out potatoes.

What to do:

Keep plants and vegie beds well-watered. Watch out for forecasts for extreme heat, and prepare by picking all the fruit off plants you can, watering morning and night, and shading plants where possible. Keep staking tomatoes and remove any leaves looking poorly. Watch out for fruit fly attack. Bag any infected fruit and freeze or solarise them in sealed bags in the sun to kill any larvae. Cut your losses and take out any severely affected plants. Check if your olives are ready for harvesting and pick them before the birds do.

Tropical

What to sow:

Eggplants, okra, snake beans, wing beans, chillies. Sweet potatoes, cassava, taro, turmeric, ginger, yam bean (Jicama), galangal. Thai basil, sweet basil, lemon basil, garlic chives, Thai coriander, Vietnamese mint. Ceylon spinach, Brazilian Spinach, abika, sweet leaf, kKang kong.

What to do:

Good rains will still be in full swing. Seeds can be sown, but they will still need to be protected from heavy rains and kept under either solid cover or shade cover and misted. The Sweet Leaf will continually need trimming down, and herbs such all the basil varieties will need their flowers cut. Continue to add mulch and manure to your raised beds; they will break down quickly in the wet season. Nutrients also leach really easily, so top up with manures and seaweed in liquid or solid form. You should be having a bumper harvest of eggplants and there will probably be many bananas, paw paws and ample wet season greens to harvest. It is also a time to clear out unwanted plants and compost them or feed them to the chickens.

Arid

What to sow:

Best for: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, tomato, sweet corn
Start planting: potato, onions, leeks, coriander, Chinese greens
Keep planting: carrot, silverbeet, beetroot, cucumber, basil, capsicum

What to do: 

February can be a bit quiet in a desert vegie patch. So while you turn all the basil that survived the Christmas heatwaves into pesto, take the opportunity to get ready for a busy March and April to come by clearing out harvested beds and giving everything some compost and or fertiliser. Watch out for grasshoppers and pest attack, as this hot time of year is a time of high plant stress, so keep eyes open to the signs and treat quickly. Netting, molasses traps and hungry chickens can be used to tame grasshoppers. This is also a great time of year to plant native flowering annuals (Sturt’s Desert Pea, etc.). Deciduous fruit trees can also be lightly pruned during the February lull.

marchbanner

Cool Temperate

What to Sow:

Brussels sprouts (seedling tray), broad beans, beetroot, broccoli (seedling tray), cabbage (seedling tray), carrot, chives, coriander, daikon, endive, fennel, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, Mizuna, mustard greens, pak choy/bok choy, radish, rocket, shallots (plant bulbs), silverbeet, turnips.

What to do:

Look to make the most of your summer crop bounty by preserving and pickling. March is a great time to be making sugo (pasta sauce). Look to feed the soil in March by removing spent crops and adding good quality compost into the garden beds. Remove mulch to cool soil for the incoming winter crops. Choose to summer prune your fruit trees after they have produced, to minimise the amount of foliage growth for the following season.

Warm Temperate

What to sow: Start to sow direct or in trays winter brassicas like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and kohlrabi. Broad beans, lettuce, rocket, parsley, radish, coriander and beetroot can be sown or planted. Plant out potatoes.

What to do: Harvest basil and get busy making pesto, but be sure to leave some basil to go to seed as bees love it! Basil leaves can also be washed, dried and stored in zip-lock bags in the freezer for use in cooking. Let some of your bean pods fully mature, then dry out the seeds to save them for next summer. Check if pumpkins are ready for harvesting. When ready to pick, the skin will be hardened and the vine starting to wither back.

Tropical

What to sow:

Eggplants, okra, snake beans, chillies. Sweet potatoes, cassava, taro, turmeric, ginger, yam bean (Jicama), galangal. Thai basil, sweet basil, lemon basil, garlic chives, Thai coriander, Vietnamese mint, mint, oregano. Ceylon spinach, Brazilian Spinach, abika, sweet leaf, kale, bok choy, pak choy, choy sum, mustard greens.

What to do:

Rain will be lessening, so it is good to top mulch garden beds with hay to keep the moisture in. The end of the month will be a good time to prune fruit trees, particularly citrus trees as the rains ease. You can start planning for the drier months and harvesting all the many wet season wonders including snake beans, wing beans, okra, chilies and eggplants. This time of year is good to harvest root crops such as taro and cCassava, which have been growing steadily over the wet season.

Arid

What to sow: 

Best for: cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, Chinese greens, kale, swede, potato
Start planting: parsnip, beans, peas
Keep planting: tomato, sweet corn, carrot, silverbeet, beetroot, parsley radish

What to do: 

This is a big month for the vegie garden! Often late March signals a slight cooling change in the weather, so time to get busy in the vegie patch. With any luck you should be feasting on melons, pumpkin, a second crop of tomatoes and sweet corn, summer root crops and the last of the basil. Set irrigation to an autumn setting as the first signs of cool(ish!) weather arrive. Autumn is also a great time for planting fruit trees and natives, giving them six6 full months of cool weather before next summer arrives. Citrus, mulberry, figs, olives, and passionfruit all do great planted out at this time of year.

aprilbanner

Cool Temperate

What to sow:

Brussels sprouts, broad beans, beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, chives, endive, fennel, garlic (plant cloves), kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, Mizuna, mustard greens, onions, pak choy/bok choy, parsley, peas, radish, rocket, shallots (plant bulbs), silverbeet, spinach, turnip.

What to do:

Chilies will be now ripe on the plants. Remove and dry out for storage to be used at a later date.  Cut the chili plants back hard so they can survive over the winter. Due to cooler weather, fruit such as any remaining tomatoes will be taking longer to ripen on the vine, therefore remove and ripen inside. Autumn fruits such as figs and persimmons will start to appear.  Net these trees to keep the birds at bay. Pears and apples should be in abundance, so now is the prime time to be making homemade cider.

Warm Temperate

What to sow:

Sow direct or plant out winter brassicas like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and kohlrabi. Depending on the variety, get ready to plant out your garlic. Coriander, onions and leeks can also go in now. Direct sow broad beans, snow peas and podded peas.

What to do:

Harvest pumpkins, leaving a few centimetres of stalk attached. Why not have a pumpkin party with friends and make the most of the pumpkin abundance? Clear out any out summer crops and prepare the beds for winter crops by spreading compost or building up the beds no-dig gardening style. Sow or plant some alyssum, nasturtium, and sweet peas for winter colour. Check if banana bunches need harvesting—you can cut a couple and see if they ripen inside. Excess bananas are great dehydrated, or peel them and freeze them in containers for use in smoothies and cakes.

Tropical

What to sow:

Eggplants, snake beans, chilies, zucchinis, flying saucer squash, tomatoes, radishes, green beans, snow peas, corn, cucumbers. Sweet potatoes, cassava, taro, turmeric, ginger, yam bean (Jicama), galangal. Thai basil, sweet basil, lemon basil, garlic chives, Thai coriander, Vietnamese mint, mint, oregano, parsley, rocket. Ceylon spinach, Brazilian spinach, abika, sweet leaf, kale, bok choy, pak choy, choy sum, mustard greens.

What to do: 

Cut off the manure crops (such as mung beans) to add a green manure into the beds. Make sure the watering system is reaching all areas of the garden for the times without rain and test it out. Once the soil dries out it is really hard to rehydrate. Keep fertilising food crops, particularly fruit trees.

Arid

What to sow:

Best for: Swede, parsnip, bean, pea, celery, kale, leek, onion, carrot, silverbeet, beetroot, shallot, parsley, lettuce, radish
Chives, spring onions, spinach
Keep planting: coriander, Chinese greens, broccoli, cauliflower, onion

What to do: 

Make sure you finish as much autumn vegie planting as you can before the first frosts arrive in early May. April is also a great month for pruning and feeding citrus and other evergreen fruit trees. Prune lightly and feed one third of annual requirements; the other two thirds can be applied in spring when the new growth is on. Remember that while citrus can be thirsty, they like to dry out between waterings, so heavy waterings twice a week in summer will move to just once a week in winter. As the weather cools a little you’ll have new growth on fruit trees and a flush of greens in the garden—perfect for mealy bug and caterpillars, so keep your eyes on that. Harvest your pumpkins and the last of your melons now too, looking for a dried stalk (and a sweet smell in the melons) to ensure they’re ripe.

maybanner

 

Cool Temperate

What to sow:

Broad beans, beetroot, carrot, chives, fennel, garlic, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, Mizuna, mustard greens, onions, parsley, peas, radish, shallots (plant bulb), silverbeet, spinach, turnip.

What to do:

Feed the soil with nitrogen by planting winter crops of broad beans and peas. Look to save seeds from last season’s crops and store these in a dry, dark spot in preparation for sowing later on in the year. Harvest and dry any summer herbs.

Warm Temperate

What to sow:

Plant out brassicas like kohlrabi, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli. Sow Red Russian kale—it has less issues with white fly than other varieties. Direct sow broad beans, snow peas, podded peas and sweet peas.

What to do:

Cut back spent perennial sages and Echinacea. Mound up soil around potatoes. Clear out any out summer crops and prepare the beds for winter crops by spreading compost or building up the beds, no-dig gardening style. Sow or plant some alyssum and sweet peas for winter colour.

Tropical

What to sow:

Eggplants, snake beans, chillies, zuchinnis, flying saucer squash, tomatoes, radishes, honey dew melons, watermelons, green beans, snow peas, Jap and butternut pumpkins, corn. Sweet potatoes, cassava, taro, turmeric, ginger, yam bean (Jicama), galangal. Thai basil, sweet basil, lemon basil, garlic chives, Thai coriander, Vietnamese mint, mint, oregano, parsley, rocket. Leafy greens, baby spinach, rocket, Brazilian spinach, sweet leaf, kale, bok choy, pak choy, choy sum, mustard greens. Nasturtiums, zinnias and edible pea flowers and sunflowers.

What to do:

Harvest rosellas to make into refreshing drinks and relishes. April and May are great times to dig up root vegies such as sweet potatoes and cassava and replace the areas with dry season crops. Keep some cuttings going for the wet season in a smaller area. The first harvest of dry season greens should be ready including rocket and Mizuna. The first cucumbers and beans may also be ready to harvest.

Arid

What to sow:

Best for: parsnip, turnip, pea, leek, kale
Start planting: artichoke, rhubarb
Keep planting: onion, Chinese greens, broccoli, carrot, silverbeet, beetroot, shallot, parsley, lettuce, radish

What to do: 

Set irrigation to a winter schedule to save water over the cooler months. In winter rain dominated arid areas (southern SA, WA and NW Victoria), make use of heavy rains to flush salt build-up from irrigation out of your garden beds and fruit trees. Be careful to keep waterings regular for citrus, as inconsistency here can cause fruit split in your winter crop. Make sure any frost tender plants are protected if you’re south of the tropic of Capricorn, as the first frosts can arrive in early May. Preparing plantings holes early for mid-winter plantings of deciduous fruit trees and grape vines will bear great results down the track.

junebanner

Cool Temperate

What to sow:

Broad beans, garlic (plant cloves), mustard greens, onions, peas, radish.

What to do:

Companion plant your brassica crops with white flowering plants to confuse the cabbage white moth. Net young seedlings with superfine mesh to inhibit them from laying eggs on the underside of the foliage. Cut back on watering, and remove mulch from around plants if starting to get waterlogged.

Warm Temperate

What to sow:

Silverbeet, lettuce, parsley, Asian greens and radish can be grown all year round, even in winter. Divide and plant out asparagus crowns, rhubarb, Jerusalem artichokes, garlic chives, comfrey, yarrow and yacon.

What to do:

Check on your young brassicas for cabbage white butterfly. Squash small caterpillars and eggs. Large caterpillars are a great high protein treat for the chooks. Feed brassicas with seaweed solution every couple of weeks. Train up your climbing beans. This cool time of year is a great time to tackle garden building projects like chicken houses, frog ponds and native bee hotels. It’s also a good time to mulch wood-chipped garden paths. Old broken down mulch can be spread around fruit trees, and fresh wood-chip mulch laid onto the paths. Harvest some bamboo to dry out and use for tomato and bean stakes in the summer.

Tropical

What to sow:

Eggplants, snake beans, chillies, zucchinis, flying saucer squash, tomatoes, radishes, honey dew melons, water melons, green beans, snow peas, Jap and butternut pumpkins, cucumbers. Sweet potatoes, cassava, taro, turmeric, ginger, yam bean (Jicama), galangal. Thai basil, sweet basil, lemon basil, garlic chives, Thai coriander, Vietnamese mint, mint, oregano, parsley, rocket. Baby spinach, rocket, sweet leaf, kale, bok choy, pak choy, choy sum, mustard greens. Nasturtiums, zinnias and shrubby grevilleas can be planted to attract pollinators.

Continue planting those dry season crops, along with the all-year favourites and some melons, which love to climb and heaps of nitrogen.

Continue to sow wet season crops including corn, butter squash, more zucchinis and cucumbers.

What to do:

Keep the water up and make sure all the correct crops are in the full sun for best growth. Keep the mulching up to keep moisture in. This time of year, wicking beds can be used to save water, and vine wind breaks to keep south-easterly winds from drying out the plants. Pink grapefruits and other citrus can be harvested. The first tomatoes and zuchinnis should be ready too, as well as butternut squash. The all year plants such as eggplants will also be continually harvested.

Arid

What to sow: 

Best for: parsnip, spinach, chives
Keep planting: swede, cabbage Chinese greens, turnip, pea, kale, leak, onion, carrot, silverbeet, beetroot, shallot, parsley, lettuce, radish

What to do: 

Mid-winter is a great time for gardening in the desert! If you’re in a frost area, keep an eye on the weather forecast. Overnight lows below 2o C can mean frosts, so make sure anything tender is undercover. Start planting out your deciduous fruit trees and vines now, but save pruning until late June and July, and don’t forget to take hardwood cuttings for propagation when you do! You should be eating all the brassicas and leafy greens you planted in February and March by now. If white cabbage butterfly is a problem, try placing washed half eggshells among your garden beds to deter them. The wood fire will be going in the house, so you might be tempted to put the ash on the garden but be careful, as this will raise the pH of your soil (already a big issue in many arid areas reliant on ground water for drinking and irrigation).

julybanner

Cool Temperate

What to sow:

Beetroot, lettuce, mustard greens, onions, peas, radish.

What to do:

Make the most of the rainy days by tidying the garden shed, and oil and sharpen your garden tools. Look to be propagating your summer crops of tomatoes and chilies indoors at the end of winter. Prune fruit trees and repurpose the offcut as supports for your winter pea crops. Prune to increase airflow and fruit production.

Warm Temperate

What to sow:

Silverbeet, lettuce, parsley, Asian greens and radish can be grown all year round, even in winter. Divide and plant out asparagus crowns, rhubarb, Jerusalem artichokes, garlic chives, comfrey, yarrow and yacon.

What to do:

Prune back your grape vine and mulberries. Why not make use of the prunings and create a native bee hotel? As they have pithy stems, mulberry and grape cuttings that are at least 15 cm long can be used for nesting by native bees such as reed bees. Prune back any tall trees and stake any bananas with heavy bunches in preparation for strong winds in August and September. Citrus are in abundance, so keep on top of harvesting them and sharing the abundance, or get creative with preserves.

Tropical

What to sow:

Eggplants, snake beans, chillies, zuchinnis, flying saucer squash, tomatoes, radishes, honey dew melons, water melons, green beans, snow peas, Jap and butternut pumpkins. Sweet potatoes, cassava, taro, turmeric, ginger, yam bean (Jicama), galangal. Thai basil, sweet basil, lemon basil, garlic chives, Thai coriander, Vietnamese mint, mint, oregano, parsley, rocket. Baby spinach, rocket, sweet leaf, kale, bok choy, pak choy, choy sum, mustard greens. Nasturtiums, zinnias, and edible pea flowers and sunflowers.

What to do:

Pumpkins may need pollinating. Keep planting annual flowers amongst the food crops to attract pollinators (these can also be put into salads).

There will many different crops to harvest, including butternut squash and even radishes.

Arid

What to sow: 

Best for: lettuce, spinach, rhubarb, asparagus, artichoke
Start planting: tomato (will need frost protection), potato, coriander, spring onion
Keep planting: swede, cabbage, parsnip, turnip, peas, kale, leak, onion, carrot, silverbeet, beetroot, shallot, parsley, lettuce, radish

What to do: 

July is a good month for composting gardens beds and working on your deciduous fruit trees, while you feast on the first results from all your hard work in autumn. Prune and feed mulberries first as they will shoot earliest, but save more tender trees for a while as new growth could be burnt by late frosts. Make sure to control winter weeds before they set seed and make for a bigger job later. You’ll want to get all these labour-intensive jobs done now before the hot weather starts again in September. For best results with tomatoes, start sowing these now under frost protection. Your neighbours may give you funny looks, but they’ll all be knocking on your door asking for tomatoes when you have a booming crop well before Christmas!

augustbanner

Cool Temperate

What to sow:

Artichoke, asparagus (crowns), beetroot, cabbage (summer varieties), capsicum (undercover), chilli (undercover), eggplant, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, parsnips, peas, potatoes, radish, rocket, spring onions, strawberry (runners), sunflower, thyme, tomato (undercover), melons (undercover).

What to do:

Towards the end of winter/early spring, look to take cuttings of your herbs, such as rosemary and lemon balm. Harvest the outer leaves of the leafy green crops to encourage more growth. By harvesting broccoli heads, smaller florets will form as side shoots. Stake broad beans to stop them from falling over. It’s a great time to plant bare rooted fruit trees, asparagus and rhubarb crowns. Divide the artichoke and replant to create new plants.   

Warm Temperate

What to sow:

Start to grow your summer crops in trays in a warm, sheltered spot: cherry tomatoes, zucchini, squash, pumpkin, basil and cucumbers. Coriander, lettuce, radish, silverbeet, parsley and edible viola heartsease can be direct sown or planted. Plant out potatoes.

What to do:

Collect the last of any citrus at the end of the season. Freeze lemon and lime juice to use throughout the year, or get creative with jams and preserves. Start to prepare beds for spring crops, adding compost or building up layers no-dig garden style. Be ready for strong winds that often come around August and September; prune back any tall trees and stake any bananas with heavy bunches.

Tropical

What to sow:

Eggplants, snake beans, chillies, zuchinnis, flying saucer squash, radishes, honeydew melons, cucumbers, green beans, snow peas, Jap and butternut pumpkins. Sweet potatoes, cassava, taro, turmeric, ginger, yam bean (Jicama), galangal. Thai basil, sweet basil, lemon basil, garlic chives, Thai coriander, Vietnamese mint, mint, oregano, parsley, rocket. Baby spinach, rocket, sweet leaf, kale, bok choy, pak choy, choy sum, mustard greens, mizuna. Nasturtiums, zinnias, edible pea flowers and sunflowers !

What to do:

The first sunflowers and corn can be harvested, and hopefully lots more tomatoes and even the radishes. Keep harvesting and re-sowing the annual greens such as rocket and mizuna. Keep the water up and the top mulch coming on. Also add in snippets of living manure mulch and chook or other manure.

Arid

What to sow: 

Best for: onion, carrot, silverbeet, potato, tomato, shallot, spinach, chive, coriander
Start planting: beans, sweet corn, capsicum, celery, sweet potato
Keep planting: swede, parsnip, turnip, pea, asparagus, artichoke, kale, leek, parsley radish

What to do:

Spring is coming, so August can be a busy month getting ready. Harvest and clear out your beds of winter vegies to make way for the summers crops, however there are some that will happily keep producing into the heat, such as kale, parsley, beans and silverbeet. Keep a few of these so you have something to harvest when your garden is full of seedlings in September. Start pruning and feeding your citrus now; a harder prune than autumn and two thirds of the annual fertiliser requirement. You can plant new citrus now also, but best to set up a cage for shade cloth to protect them from the worst of the summer’s heat and grasshoppers. Wait until the frosts end in September before trying to plant out any tropical fruit varieties though. August is also a good time for pruning any natives once the flowering has finished. Aphids and other pests may be an issue as the weather warms slightly. Watch out for strong winds by protecting anything fragile with stakes and frames.!

septemberbanner

Cool Temperate

What to sow:

Artichoke, asparagus (plant cloves), basil (undercover), beans (after frost), beetroot, broccoli (summer variety), capsicum (undercover), carrot, celeriac, celery, chicory, chives, chilli, coriander, cucumber (undercover), dill, eggplant (undercover), endive, fennel, horseradish (crowns), Jerusalem artichoke (plant tubers), kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, mustard greens, parsnips, peas, potatoes, pumpkin, zucchini (undercover), radish, rhubarb (crowns), melons (undercover), silverbeet, spring onions, strawberry (runners), sunflower, corn (after frost), tomato (undercover), turnip.

What to do:

In September the weather will be warming up, with the fruit trees putting out their blossom. Hold off on planting young seedlings until the frost has passed. Cut out any galls that appear on you citrus and dispose of them in the bin, not the compost. Place yellow sticky traps in citrus trees to catch any hatched gall wasp. Remove these from the tree after September as to not mistakenly be catching beneficial insects. Look to bend the tops of the garlic plants to encourage the growth of the bulbs.

Warm Temperate

What to sow:

Start planting out cherry tomatoes. Plant out or direct sow pumpkins, zucchini, squash, spring onion, basil, coriander, parsley and lettuce. Sow sunflowers to attract bees and help with pollination of summer crops. Plant out potatoes.

What to do:

Now is a good time to plant out fruit trees and get them established before the heat of summer. Citrus trees, olives, mulberries, mangoes, black sapote, cherimoya, macadamias and bananas all thrive in warm temperate climates. Clear out the rest of the winter crops and add compost in the vegie patch to prepare for summer crops. Cherry tomatoes will fare much better in the summer heat and be more resilient to fruit fly than larger varieties. If you have problems with parrots stealing your tomatoes, try planting yellow cherries rather than red. To reduce attack from white cockatoos on your sunflowers, opt for the smaller, multi-stemmed varieties, rather than the large, single headed sunflowers.

Tropical

What to sow:

Eggplants, snake beans, chillies, zuchinnis, flying saucer squash, green beans, snow peas, Jap and butternut pumpkins. Sweet potatoes, cassava, taro, turmeric, ginger, yam bean (Jicama), galangal. Thai basil, sweet basil, lemon basil, garlic chives, Thai coriander, Ceylon spinach, Egyptian spinach, sweet leaf and abika.

Nasturtiums, zinnias, edible pea flowers and sunflowers.

What to do:

It’s harvest time! Sunflowers, radishes, all the greens, tomatoes, and corn can be harvested, and hopefully the fully plump watermelons and honeydews as well. Save the seeds for some of the late dry season vegie fruits.”

Arid

What to sow:

Best for: onion, carrot, silverbeet, potato, tomato, shallot, parsley, coriander, beetroot, spring onion, sweet potato
Start planting: melons, zucchini, cucumber, squash, eggplant, pumpkin, basil
Keep planting: parsley, radish, parsnip, celery, kale, leek, spinach, chive, rhubarb, artichoke

What to do: 

This is a big month for the vegie garden. It’s the best month for planting summer crops of solanums, cucurbits, beans and summer herbs, so make this a priority. The ‘three sisters’ combination of sweet corn, beans and pumpkin (or melons) is a proven winner across the arid zone and dry tropics. Stagger planting fortnightly over the next month or two (or cheat and plant seed and seedlings at the same time!) to make sure you have a longer cropping season and less of a glut, particularly of corn. Set your irrigation to a spring setting when you start to see new growth buds bursting on fruit trees. You can still prune and plant citrus in September, but if your trees are yellowing, try fertilising with sulphur to lower pH and make other micro-nutrients more available. Don’t forget the old rule for citrus: yellow old leaves mean nitrogen is needed, yellow new leaves meansmean not enough iron (which in red central Australian soils probably means your high pH is locking it up).

octoberbanner

Cool Temperate

What to sow:

Artichoke, asparagus (crowns), basil (undercover), beans (bush and runner), beetroot, broccoli (summer varieties), cabbage (summer varieties), capsicum, carrot, celeriac, celery, chicory, chilli, chives, coriander, cucumber, dill, eggplant, endive, fennel, horseradish (crowns), Jerusalem artichoke (tubers), kohlrabi, leeks, mustard greens, parsley, potatoes, pumpkin, radish, rocket, melons, silverbeet, spring onions, sunflower, corn (sweet), tomato, turnip.

What to do:

Look to harvest the last of the winter crop. Freeze any excess broad beans and peas, leaving some on the plant to create seeds for the following season. Dig back in crops of broad beans and peas into the garden beds and top dress garden beds with compost. If running short on space for potatoes, look to grow these in grow bags. Soil will be warming up  so harvest any root crops before they start to dry out, as they will become fibrous.

Warm Temperate

What to sow:

Direct sow climbing beans (e.g. Purple King, Rattlesnake) and bush beans. Sow or plant out cherry tomatoes, basil, zucchini, squash, pumpkin, corn, spring onion, coriander and lettuce and parsley seedlings. Sow sunflowers to attract the bees. Plant out Warrigal Greens.

What to do:

It’s mulberry time! Pick those berries quickly in the morning before the birds do, even if you have to pick them slightly under-ripe (they’re great in jam that way). Check your citrus trees for young stink bugs. Remove them carefully with eye protection and gloves—either knock them off into a container of soapy water or vacuum them up with an old vacuum cleaner. Bag or net using very fine netting any stone fruit before the fruit flies get to them. Now is a good time to plant out fruit trees and get them established before the heat of summer. Citrus trees, olives, mulberries, mangoes, macadamias, black sapote, cherimoya and bananas all thrive in warm temperate climates. It’s a good time to plant out perennial herbs like rosemary, thyme, oregano, yarrow, lemon grass and chives.

Tropical

What to sow:

The humidity is rising, which means it is a great time for turmeric. It is also a great time to divide and put in galangal. Paw paws are also amazing all year-round plants and their seeds can be sown. It is a tricky month, as it can be really hot with little rain, so if sowing seeds (see other months from December) be sure to have them in part shade to start with. Seeds with less delicate seedlings include garlic chives and basils.

What to do:

October is a fabulous time of year with the accumulation of dry season crops being ready to harvest and topped up with the all year-round greens and plants. It is heating up a lot, so it’s time to re-mulch beds and even add some cover crops. Mangoes are in season and watermelons are ready to harvest, along with the remaining tomatoes, zucchinis, kale and bok choy, choy sums and dry season salad greens. H- harvest away before the humidity gets to them and they are past their best.

Arid

What to sow: 

Best for: beetroot, sweet corn, parsley, spring onion, sweet potato, melons, capsicum, cucumber, squash, eggplant, pumpkin, basil
Keep planting: parsnip, beans, kale, leek, carrot, silver beet, potato, shallots, radish, spinach, coriander

What to do: 

Make sure you finish all your spring planting this month as the hot weather is on the way, if not here already. Getting all your deep mulching in place is crucial before the hot weather hits. Some extra watering care for new seedlings will be needed in the first week of hot weather, and regular liquid fertiliser applications over a month or more for new fruit trees will help their health and later fruit production. Get on top of any late winter weed outbreaks, and watch out for outbreaks of couch grass, especially after rain. This is a great time to get some marigolds in your garden around the tomatoes; they’ll definitely help with controlling nematodes. Keep planting tropicals now before it gets too hot, such as ginger, lemongrass, bananas, mangoes. You can keep planting your summer potato and sweet potato crops now too, but time is running out for these.!

novemberbanner

 

Cool Temperate

What to sow

Artichoke, asparagus (crown), basil, beans (runner and bush), beetroot, carrot, chicory, chives, coriander, cucumber, horseradish (crown), Jerusalem artichoke, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustard, parsley, pumpkin, radish, rocket, melons, silverbeet, spring onion, sunflower, corn (sweet).

What to do:

Harvest garlic and dry it out in the sun for a couple of days, removing any soil and cutting roots.   Plait together and store. Start growing the perennials herbs and flowers. It’s good practice to write down your activity in a garden diary. Also look to add diversity to your vegie garden at this time year by planting edible flowers such as borage, not only add to your salads, but to encourage bees to pollinate all of the summer crops just planted

Warm Temperate

What to sow:

Plant out those heat loving crops like eggplant, capsicum and chillies. Direct sow climbing beans (e.g. Purple King, Rattlesnake) and bush beans (e.g. Dragons Tongue). Sow or plant out tomato, basil, corn, zucchini, squash, pumpkin, spring onions, sunflower, parsley and lettuce seedlings.

What to do:

Stake your growing tomatoes and train any cucumbers up their trellises. Keep an eye on slugs and snails. At night after rain is a great time to collect them, put them in a zip lock bag, freeze them overnight, and then return their bodies to the compost. Check if your garlic has bulbed up and started to die back; if so it’s time to harvest and dry it out. Onions may also be ready for harvesting and drying. Place covers or bags over your grapes to protect them from the birds. Bag banana bunches to protect them from parrots and flying foxes. It’s a good time to plant out perennial herbs like rosemary, thyme, oregano, lemon grass and chives and plant out ginger tubers.

Tropical

What to sow:

Eggplants, okra, snake beans, wing beans, chillies, loofa, snake gourd, passion fruits, dragon fruits, bananas and paw paws. Sweet potatoes, cassava, taro, turmeric, ginger, yam bean (Jicama), galangal. Thai basil, sweet basil, lemon basil, garlic chives, Thai coriander, Vietnamese mint. Ceylon spinach, Brazilian spinach, abika, sweet leaf, kang kong.

Try planting some loofa seeds, as these grow so well in the wet season, and when young can be harvested and used like a zucchini. When older they can be dried and used to wash with. They climb, so need a fence or trellis.

What to do:

Dragon fruit cuttings can be put in (just a section of the cactus and a trellis to climb on in full sun). If you already have them established, then this is the time of year they flower and fruit; they need to be pollinated at night. Keep on top of weeding and topping up garden beds with manure and mulch or a combination of the two. Clear out any of the last dry season crops and start replacing with wet season loving plants. Mint is better at this time of year brought in undercover if in a pot, or shade put over it, and it generally loves free draining soil. Young shoots of sweet potato and all the new shoots of greens, such as sweet leaf and Ceylon spinach make a great wet season green salad mix.

Arid

What to sow:

Keep planting: kale, leek, carrot, silver beet, potato, sweet corn, parsley, radish, coriander, melons, capsicum, cucumber, squash, eggplant, pumpkin, basil

What to do:

Make sure your irrigation is on a summer setting, as the hot weather will have really set in now. Automatic irrigation is crucial in the arid zone summers. It takes a dedicated gardener and a lot of time to get through a summer without it. Remember, you’re irrigating before 8am or after 8pm to make best use of your water and reduce evaporation. In summer rain dominated arid areas (north of the tropic of Capricorn), make use of heavy downpours to flush salt build-up from irrigation out of your garden beds. Anything planted from now on will need extra care (shade, deep mulch and a good dose of liquid fertiliser at planting). Watch out for pest attacks, especially grasshoppers, as they can create a lot of damage in a short time. Keep an eye on ants in your fruit trees, as they may signal the presence of sap suckers like aphids and mealy bug.

decemberbanner

 

Cool Temperate

What to sow;

Basil, beans (runner and bush), beetroot, carrot, chives, cucumber, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustard, parsley, pumpkin, silverbeet, corn (sweet), turnip, zucchini.

What to do:

Look to keep the water up for the young seedlings, and water during the mornings to discourage damp conditions overnight. Give plants such as tomatoes, eggplant and capsicum a dose of potash to encourage more flowers. Look to sow the next succession of lettuce, to be planted in 6 weeks’ time.

Warm Temperate

What to sow:

Plant out those heat loving crops like eggplant, capsicum and chillies. Direct sow climbing beans (e.g. Purple King, Rattlesnake) and bush beans (e.g. Dragons Tongue). Sow or plant out tomato, basil, corn, zucchini, squash, pumpkin, sunflower and lettuce seedlings. Plant out ginger tubers.

What to do:

It’s that time of year when gardens can start to turn into jungles. Be sure to keep on top of the weeding and thinning out of crops in the vegie beds. Stake up tomatoes and feed with compost or seaweed solutions…or if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you could try watering the roots of your tomato plants with a solution of urine diluted with water at a 1:10 ratio (lots of water to a little wee that is!). Propagate babaco plants after harvesting by cutting some of the stem into 15 cm pieces and potting up. Babaco is a hybrid of the pawpaw plant, and is a prolific fruiter of large, juicy, yellow, torpedo shaped that taste like a combination of pineapple and strawberry.

Tropical

What to sow:

Eggplants, okra, snake beans, wing beans, chillies, snake gourds. Sweet potatoes, cassava, taro, turmeric, ginger, yam bean (Jicama), galangal. Thai basil, sweet basil, lemon basil, garlic chives, Thai coriander, Vietnamese mint. Ceylon spinach, Brazilian spinach, abika, sweet leaf, kang kong.

What to do:

Pineapples come into fruit for the festive season. As the pineapples turn yellow and start to smell sweet they are ready to be picked. The tops of them can be put in water until they grow roots and then replanted. A couple of years later, a new pineapple will come! Rosella seed can be planted so there is time for plants to grow and mature by May. You can take advantage of the wet months by also creating less free draining water growing areas in baths or ponds for crops that love water logging. If you’re thinking of putting in fruit trees, December is the perfect time to make the most of the rains. Tahitian limes, kumquats and pink grapefruit are wonderful and do very well. It’s also a good time of year to prune your fruit trees and pull out plants you don’t want, and makemaking room for the ample growth of the ones you do want.

Arid

What to sow: 

Start planting: cabbage, Brussels sprouts
Keep planting: leek, carrot, silver beet, sweet corn, radish, coriander, basil

What to do:

December is usually a quiet month for planting, so take the time to tidy up a few jobs before taking a well-earned rest over Christmas. Deep mulch all your beds and trees (keeping away from the trunks of citrus particular to avoid collar rot), and make sure all your shade is in place. Be vigilant in picking up all fallen or affected fruit to prevent fruit fly, and if you haven’t already, consider putting out traps and bagging fruit to make sure it doesn’t spoil. Any spoiled fruit should be crushed and soaked in a bucket for two weeks to stop the spread of fruit fly. Watch out for couch grass after summer rains. Best to get onto this by hand early, as established couch grass will be hard to get rid of without herbicide. With a bit of good luck and good timing, your kitchen should be full of great produce over the holidays: tomatoes, capsicums, chilli, sweet corn, beans greens, herbs and even some early melons. Spring plantings and winter prep will be paying off now, so enjoy the harvest!

Garden Guide Contributors: Fabian Capomolla (Cool Temperate), Alex McLean (Arid), Emma Lupin (Tropical) & Alison Mellor (Warm Temperate).