In The Garden: March – June


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Clockwise from above left: Warm temperate seedlings; Cool temperature rocotos; Subtropical comfrey; Mediterranean artichoke; Cool temperature lettuce.

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Seasonal garden guides for all climates.

COOL TEMPERATE

What to sow and plant:

  • Brassica seedlings. [March and April]
  • Successive crops of broad beans, English spinach and peas; and winter vegies such as beetroot, carrot, celery, Florence fennel, leek, parsnip, turnip. [late March through to May]
  • Green manure crops, for winter digging in. [from March to May]
  • Hard neck garlic. [April to May]
  • Asian greens, silverbeet, spring onion and winter lettuce will keep you in fresh greens in winter and early spring. [from April]
  • Soft-neck garlic. [from May to June]
  • Non-keeping salad onions, such as red or white varieties. [from May]
  • As June approaches, shift your focus from planting annual vegies to perennials – lift, divide and replant the following through June and July: asparagus, chive, garlic chive, globe artichoke, horseradish, Jerusalem artichoke,
  • onion, potato, rhubarb, shallot.
  • Plant bare-rooted deciduous trees and cane fruit during their winter dormancy.
  • Some annuals will germinate and grow (slowly) in cold winter soil: use broad bean, English spinach, pea, radish, spring onion to fill gaps.

What to do:

  • As you clear summer crops (such as sweet corn, tomato, zucchini), rake up any mulch that was on those beds and compost it. This reduces the habitat for slugs and snails that could overwinter in the mulch.
  • Try to keep on top of weeds and grass so that they don’t set new seed.
  • In early autumn young brassicas are still vulnerable to the cabbage white buttery – squash the grubs.
  • Pick pumpkins before the frosts come. Always leave a bit of stalk attached, and the pumpkin will extract the last bit of goodness from the stalk as it dries off. After harvest, let the pumpkins sit somewhere sunny and out of the weather for a few days to help the skin cure. Then store in a cool, dry and dark spot. [March and April]
  • Watch out for late outbreaks of aphids: grey ones on brassica, especially where broccoli or cabbage heads are forming; and black ones on chive, young garlic or spring onion. [autumn]

WARM TEMPERATE

What to sow and plant:

  • Sow direct:
    • beetroot, carrots, coriander, daikon, English spinach, mizuna, pak choi, parsley, radish, silverbeet. [from March to May]
    • broad beans, lettuce, radish. [from March to June].
  • Sow in succession, in trays in a protected area: nonloose-leaf brassicas, fennel, leeks. [March, plant out from April]
  • Garlic. [March until May, depending on variety]
  • Onions and strawberry runners. [from May, directly]
  • Green peas, snow peas and sugar snap peas, in succession for a long crop. [from April]
  • Raise strawberry seeds in a protected area. [from June]

What to do:

  • Stake and tie broad bean in case of windy weather.
  • Clear summer vegie growth as it begins to die o§, and mulch and compost.
  • Collect autumn leaves for hot-compost carbon.
  • Divide overgrown perennials and transplant.
  • Cut down asparagus as it turns yellow, mulch and feed well.
  • Keep an eye on citrus for gall wasp. [May and June]
  • Plant green manures for winter digging in. [from April]
  • If you live in a low-lying or frosty spot, protect any vulnerable plants by covering them on clear nights. [winter]
  • Prepare areas for winter-planted perennials and fruit trees. [autumn, plant from June]
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Tropical turmeric
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Mediterranean artichoke

SUBTROPICAL

What to sow/plant

  • Beetroot, broad bean, carrot, leek (seedlings), lettuce, pak choi, radish, rocket, silverbeet, spring onion. [all season]
  • In frost free areas: bean, capsicum, cucumber, eggplant, okra, potato, pumpkin, rosella, sweet potato, tomato, zucchini. [all months] • Coriander, fennel. [from March to May]
  • Raise in a protected area, before transplanting out in succession: non-loose-leaf brassica, celeriac, celery. [from April]
  • Onion, pea (climbing, sugar snap and snow). [fromApril]
  • Begin to sow garlic and strawberries. [from May]
  • Begin to sow parsnip. [from June]

What to do

  • Finish clearing summer weeds, then mulch before winter weeds get a foothold. [from March]
  • Plant winter tomatoes in a spot where they will get at least six hours of direct sunlight daily.
  • Divide and transplant overgrown perennials.
  • Propagate herbs and shrubs from cuttings.
  • Prune deciduous fruit trees and shrubs, and plant bare-rooted varieties. [June]
  • Feed leafy greens with a liquid fertiliser.

MEDITERRANEAN

What to sow/plant

  • Asian greens, bean, horseradish. [March]
  • Beetroot, broad bean, endive, kohlrabi, onion. [from March to May]
  • Broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, kale, leek, lettuce, radish, rocket, silverbeet, spinach, swede, turnip, watercress. [from March to June]
  • Artichoke, asparagus crowns, brussels sprout, cabbage, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, kale, kohlrabi, leek, lettuce, onion, radish, rocket, silverbeet, spinach, swede, turnip, watercress. [from April to June]
  • Garlic cloves, seed potatoes, strawberry runners. [from May to June]

What to do

  • Remove shading as days shorten and there is less intense heat (except for any late hot spikes).
  • Feed citrus while there’s still enough warmth for them to use it, especially if they are potted. [March and April]
  • Watch for vines dying back, and knock on melons to see if they sound hollow. Cut pumpkins with plenty of stalk and let them cure for a few weeks before using or storing over winter.
  • Compost spent summer vegie plants.
  • Spread mature compost around fruit trees, dig it into vegie beds and use a small amount to make compost tea for liquid plant feeds. Water compost in well, especially if soil has become water repellent over a long dry summer.
  • Prune apricot trees during ne weather – paint any large wounds to prevent fungal infection. [April]
  • Order bare-rooted deciduous trees for winter planting and get the soil ready. [plant in June]
  • Plant perennials such as artichoke, asparagus, berries, rhubarb. [from June]
  • Plant green manures for winter digging in. [from April]
  • Collect falling leaves for mulch or compost. [autumn]
  • Have a cup of tea on the porch, and enjoy the mellow sunshine through the autumn leaves.
  • Nurture leafy greens with liquid fertilisers (e.g. fish solution, weed tea, worm wee, seaweed) – water over the whole plant for a foliar and root-feed, to ensure maximum absorption.
  • If you live in a low-lying or frosty spot, protect any vulnerable plants by covering them on clear nights, and don’t prune off frost-damaged parts of plants until the frost risk has passed, as they protect the healthy parts below. [winter]
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Tropical wing bean

TROPICAL

What to sow/plant

  • Tomato, heat tolerant greens and tropical fruit trees. [March]
  • April is a transition period from the wet to dry seasons, and planting directly is risky if there is a large downpour – try: raising seedlings of kale, lettuce, onion tomato; or direct sowing plants such as bean and carrot.
  • Asian greens (including mustard leaves such as komatsuna), basil, bean (except broad bean), beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, capsicum, chilli, Chinese cabbage, carrot, cauli.ower (in a cold part of the garden), celery, chives, coriander, cucumber, dill, eggplant, endive, English spinach, fennel, Jerusalem artichoke, kale, kohlrabi, leek, lettuce (all), Mediterranean herbs. melons, okra, onion, parsley, pea (including snow pea), pumpkin, radicchio, radish (including daikon), rocket, silverbeet, spring onion, squash, sweet corn, tomato, zucchini. [May]

What to do

  • Turn in green manure before it flowers, and plant green manure crops in areas ready for winter vegetables later. [March]
  • Continue to work on swales and drainage, as there could be a lot more rain to come.
  • Keep on top of weeds during the wet season.
  • Fertilise trees and perennial plants with trace elements, to build the soil up for the dry season and replace micronutrients leached by the heavy water inundation.
  • Start looking at trees which will need to be pruned at the end of the wet season: pruning in April will not cause the flush of new growth which follows pruning during the wet season.
  • Mark the locations of Chinese keys, ginger, Javanese turmeric, sand ginger and turmeric before the vegetation dies off. This allows you to protect the area and harvest rhizomes as required. Remove the vegetation as it dies down; keep the area clean and well mulched. The rhizomes can be harvested and processed for storage, or they can be left in the ground and harvested as required.

Compiled by the Pip team with contributions by Christina Giudici of FIMBY, Nadja Osterstock of Nadja’s Garden, Morag Gamble of Our Permaculture Life and Kathleen Hosking of Solution Focussed

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