Hello Spring! Our September Garden Guides are here with all you need to know about what to do in your garden this time of year, depending on which climate zone you’re in…
- Cool Temperate September Garden Guide
- Mediterranean September Garden Guide
- Subtropical September Garden Guide
Cool Temperate September Garden Guide
by Christina Giudici of FIMBY
WHAT TO PLANT?
Loads of leafy greens and roots like carrots, parsnip, beetroot, turnips and swedes can all be sown now. Also celery and silverbeet (or rainbow chard – pretty!) seedlings, brassicas like broccoli and cabbage, leeks, and the ubiquitous spring onions and radish.
Peas and broad beans can still go in, and will catch up quickly to autumn-sown ones, although the peas might be prone to slug attack.
Chunky things too like potatoes, Jerusalem artichokes, rhubarb and asparagus crowns. You can sow seed of globe artichokes, but be aware that you’ll get a whole range of flower bud colour, size, spikiness and edibility from a single seed packet. If you really want a particular artichoke flower shape, best to find an example at a friend’s place, and beg a few suckers from that plant which will be clones of the parent plant.
This month is the exciting start of planting seeds of summer vegies in pots on a windowsill or greenhouse: tomatoes, pumpkin, zucchini, capsicum, sweetcorn.
As we approach the equinox the days are nearly as long as the nights, and the soil is starting to warm up. With the burst of growth in spring it’s a good time to feed everything.
Plants need major nutrients from the soil, as well as sunlight and carbon dioxide absorbed through their leaves. The complex web of life in healthy soil is constantly breaking down old organic matter, even minerals, to restock the storage “shelves” in clay and humus particles in the soil, and thus make the nutrients available to plants. So consider when you think about fertiliser that you’re feeding the soil and the plants. Try to use organic fertilisers and compost, animal manures and worm castings, rock dust and seaweed products, worm wee and compost tea, to give the soil life as balanced a menu as possible.
PESTS AND DISEASE
Late brassicas are often monstered by icky grey aphids around now. For broccoli, you can peel the stems, even, and especially, if they are going up to flower, and discard really badly infested florets – the chooks will love them.
HARVEST AND PRESERVE
- Citrus are coming on strong. Pick a few days before you use them if you can, they get juicier.
- Asparagus spears are emerging! Snap or cut them close to the soil surface.
- Snow peas are starting to provide garden snacks, and purple sprouting broccoli is an early spring staple. You may even have a few early artichoke flowers to add to the spring basket.
PERMACULTURE PRINCIPLE NO 9: Use small and slow solutions
We have a nice big bowl of crushed eggshells on the kitchen counter. Must be hundreds of eggs in there. We’ll use it in fertiliser mixes when planting tomatoes and other summer vegies, and give some to the worms and some to the chooks in any warm mash they get.
Of course, hundreds of eggshells don’t accumulate overnight. Every time we have eggs we set the shells out on a tray to dry, and then grind them in a mortar and pestle and empty it into the shell grit bowl. I love how over the days and weeks the bowl fills up bit by bit. Slowly but surely.
Mediterranean September Garden Guide (in verse!)
by Nadja Osterstock of Nadja’s Garden
Dedicated to the garden, it’s a blessing, it’s a curse
I don’t want to get monotonous so let’s do this in verse
Have you rejuvenated vegie beds with compost and manure?
Then you’re ready to start sowing your spring vegies that’s for sure.
All the snow peas and asparagus are popping up their heads
With the leafies overflowing all the raised vegie beds
We got silverbeet and mustard, and the parsley is insane
Coriander and spring onions they are spicing up the game.
Let’s get sowing seeds of lettuces in colours of all sorts
Not that boring iceberg lettuce like the tasteless stuff you bought
You know the loose-leaf lettuces you pick from the outside?
So the inner leaves keep growing while your tastebuds they are blowing
And you smile smugly knowing that your salad’s all right!
Get your climbing beans planted when the ground is warming up
(If you’re not sure that it’s warming you can test it with your butt)
When you’ve sorted out your timing give them trellises for climbing
Do the same for your cucumbers and your garden keeps on rhyming.
Stick potatoes in the soil with some organic matter
As they start to grow you pile it up higher deeper fatter.
If you want some vegies quickly then you gotta try pak choi
Along with rocket, peas and radishes, then stir-fry them with soy.
Now we’re going to get serious cos summer’s coming soon
And if you’re gonna grow tomatoes then you gotta make some room
Not the same old place as last year where the nematodes are bad
Prepare some soil for tomatoes in a place they’ve never had
Plant tomato seeds in toilet rolls in deep recycled trays
In a nice warm place to germinate, now start on this today!
Your capsicum and chilli and the eggplant too
While the garden beds are breaking down the sheep and cow poo
By the time those babies’ roots appear underneath their tubes
The soil’s warm and comfortable, it’s time to plant that food!
Now you might be getting hungry and be working up a sweat
But we’re not entirely finished so don’t head inside just yet
There are lemons here for picking, there are herbs that need a trim
If you work out on the pruning you don’t need to join a gym.
There are small and slow solutions working all over the yard
When you do a little every day it isn’t really hard
Chuck some thistles to the chickens and collect the warm eggs
Add some marjoram and scramble them and never waste the dregs
Cos we constantly recycle in a permaculture loop
From the kitchen to the compost, to the worms or chicken coop.
If I’ve missed your favourite vegetable or best fruit tree
I apologise but hope you’ll come and chat to me
You remember each September it’s a crazy time of year
But if you’re getting into gardening come and find me here:
Organic Corner Store market Thursday 1st and 15th
Happy Patch Spring Fair on Saturday 17th
Seed Freedom Food Festival on Saturday 24
And then I take a little break – what’s next month got in store?
Subtropical September Garden Guide
by Morag Gamble of Our Permaculture Life