Seasonal garden guides for all climates
Words by Fabian Capomolla
What to sow:
- July: Beetroot, lettuce, mustard greens, onions, peas, radish.
- August: 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).
- September: 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.
- October: 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:
- 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 chillies indoors at the end of winter.
- Prune fruit trees and repurpose the offcuts as supports for your winter pea crops. Prune to increase airflow and fruit production.
- Harvest the outer leaves of leafy green crops to encourage more growth. By harvesting broccoli heads, smaller florets will form as side shoots.
- Cut out any galls that appear on your 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.
- It’s now a great time to plant bare-rooted fruit trees, asparagus and rhubarb crowns.
Words by Alison Mellor
What to sow:
- July: Silverbeet, lettuce, parsley, Asian greens, radish. Divide and plant out asparagus crowns, rhubarb, Jerusalem artichokes, garlic chives, comfrey, yarrow and yacon.
- August: Cherry tomatoes, zucchini, squash, pumpkin, basil, cucumber, coriander, lettuce, radish, silverbeet, parsley, edible viola heartsease, potatoes.
- September: Cherry tomatoes, pumpkins, zucchini, squash, spring onion, basil, coriander, parsley and lettuce, potatoes.
- October: Climbing beans (e.g. Purple King, Rattlesnake), bush beans, cherry tomatoes, basil, zucchini, squash, pumpkin, corn, spring onion, coriander, lettuce, parsley, warrigal greens.
What to do:
- Prune back your grapevine, mulberries and any tall trees.
- 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.
- 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.
- Check your citrus trees for young stink bugs. Remove them carefully with eye protection and gloves, and 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.
- 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).
Words by Nadja Osterstock
What to sow:
- July: Potatoes, onions, garlic.
- August: Asparagus and rhubarb can be divided and transplanted. Keep planting successive crops of all types of peas. Green manure crops should be dug in before they flower and set seed (unless you’ve decided to keep those broad beans for eating).
- September: Broccoli, kale, spinach, Asian greens, leek, radish, spinach, silverbeet, parsley, coriander, rocket, lettuces.
- October: Broccoli, kale, spinach, Asian greens, leek, radish, spinach, silverbeet, parsley, coriander, rocket, lettuces. Start planting beans (both bush and climbing types), beetroot and carrots. Pumpkins, squash, corn/ maize, melons and cucumbers can be direct sown in succession planting over the next few months. Sow corn either in a block or in a patch shared with squash and beans for the traditional ‘three sisters’ planting guild to integrate your crops, maximise diversity and ensure mutual benefit.
What to do:
- Hill up potatoes in July, leaving a few pairs of leaves protruding on each plant.
- Leafy greens already established will benefit from fortnightly liquid fertilisers.
- Check the soil moisture, as despite the cold there may not have been enough rain to keep vegetables well-watered.
- In August you should get in before the spring weeds take off. Pull them out or sheet mulch over them. Add organic matter to the soil ready for planting spring vegetables, citrus and other evergreen trees and vines.
- Finish winter pruning of stone fruit trees at the beginning of a fine spell, so the wounds can dry out and resist fungal infection. Deciduous trees can be grafted this month.
- Dig in green manure crops in September, whip out weeds before they set seed and hot compost old mulch from the vegie garden.
- Thin out stone fruit as they set in October, to improve fruit quality and protect branches from breaking.
Words by Alex McClean
What to sow:
- July: Lettuce, spinach, rhubarb, asparagus, artichoke, tomato (will need frost protection), potato, coriander, spring onion, swede, cabbage, parsnip, turnip, peas, kale, leak, onion, carrot, silverbeet, beetroot, shallot, parsley, lettuce, radish.
- August: Onion, carrot, silverbeet, potato, tomato, shallot, spinach, chive, coriander, beans, sweet corn, capsicum, celery, sweet potato, swede, parsnip, turnip, pea, asparagus, artichoke, kale, leek, parsley, radish.
- September: Onion, carrot, silverbeet, potato, tomato, shallot, parsley, coriander, beetroot, spring onion, sweet potato, melons, zucchini, cucumber, squash, eggplant, pumpkin, basil, parsley, radish, parsnip, celery, kale, leek, spinach, chive, rhubarb, artichoke,
- October: Beetroot, sweet corn, parsley, spring onion, sweet potato, melons, capsicum, cucumber, squash, eggplant, pumpkin, basil, parsnip, beans, kale, leek, carrot, silver beet, potato, shallots, radish, spinach, coriander.
What to do:
- 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.
- For best results with tomatoes, start sowing these now under frost protection. Your neighbours may give you funny looks, but they’ll be knocking on your door asking for tomatoes when you have a booming crop well before Christmas!
- 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.
- Set your irrigation to a spring setting when you start to see new growth buds bursting on fruit trees.
- 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.
Words by Morag Gamble
What to sow:
- July: Salad greens like lettuce, coriander, rocket, peas, onions, leeks, shallots, kale, beetroot, daikon, radish, kohlrabi, purple top turnips, Asian greens, mustard greens.
- August: Basil, beans, beetroot, bok choy, pak choy, cucumber, eggplant, kohlrabi, melons, okra, pumpkin, potato, spring onions and tomatoes. Don’t forget to interplant with some colourful flowers such as amaranth, cosmos and salvia sunflower.
- September: Basil, beans, beetroot, bok choy, pak choy, cucumber, eggplant, kohlrabi, melons, okra, pumpkin, potato, spring onions, tomatoes, rosella, sweet potato, yacon, oca.
- October: Basil, beans, beetroot, bok choy, pak choy, cucumber, eggplant, kohlrabi, melons, okra, pumpkin, potato, spring onions, tomatoes, rosella, sweet potato, yacon, oca, choko.
What to do:
- Replenish washed out soils in July. Fork open areas that feel compacted, gently lifting but not turning.
- Grow green manures and mulch crops, compost your garden’s summer abundance, and gather resources for the spring garden.
- It’s also the time for citrus pruning, so look for dead and damaged branches, removing shoots that sprout from below the graft. Remove lower branches that drag on the soil when laden with fruit, and check for gall wasp attack (swellings on stems), removing and burning these before spring.
- Start focusing on feeding the soil so that you’re supporting diverse and abundant soil life, which helps control many diseases and pests.
- Keep an eye on weeds and pests, as they can begin to proliferate as the weather warms up. Especially watch out for cabbage moth and mealy aphids on any summer brassicas. Ensure drip irrigation is in working order and ready for the summer.
- In October continue to keep weeds and warm weather pests under control. Fertilise fruit trees with potash to improve taste, flowering and plant health.
Words by Emma Lupin
What to sow:
- July: Eggplants, snake beans, chillies, zucchinis, flying saucer squash, tomatoes, radishes, melons, green beans, snow peas, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, cassava, taro, turmeric, ginger, yam bean, galangal, basil, garlic chives, coriander, mint, oregano, parsley, rocket, baby spinach, sweet leaf, kale, bok choy, pak choy, choy sum, mustard greens.
- August: Eggplants, snake beans, chillies, zucchinis, flying saucer squash, radishes, melons, cucumbers, green beans, snow peas, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, cassava, taro, turmeric, ginger, yam bean, galangal, basil, garlic chives, coriander, mint, oregano, parsley, rocket, baby spinach, sweet leaf, kale, bok choy, pak choy, choy sum, mustard greens, mizuna.
- September: Eggplants, snake beans, chillies, zucchinis, flying saucer squash, green beans, snow peas, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, cassava, taro, turmeric, ginger, yam bean, galangal, basil, garlic chives, coriander, spinach, sweet leaf.
- October: The humidity is rising, which means it’s a great time for turmeric and galangal. Paw paws are amazing all year-round plants, so their seeds can be sown. It’s a tricky month, as it can be really hot with little rain, so if sowing seeds be sure to have them in part shade to start with.
What to do:
- Pumpkins may need pollinating, so keep planting annual flowers among the food crops to attract pollinators (these can also be put into salads).
- Keep harvesting and re-sowing the annual greens, such as rocket and mizuna.
- Keep the water and top mulch up, adding in snippets of living manure mulch and chook (or other) manure.
- 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. Harvest away before the humidity gets to them and they are past their best.