In The Garden: March – June

Seasonal garden guides for all climates

in-a-garden

COOL TEMPERATE

Words by Fabian Capomolla

What to sow:

  • March: 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.
  • April: 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.
  • May: Broad beans, beetroot, carrot, chives, fennel, garlic, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, mizuna, mustard greens, onions, parsley, peas, radish, shallots (plant bulb), silverbeet, spinach, turnip.
  • June: Broad beans, garlic (plant cloves), mustard greens, onions, peas, radish.

What to do:

  • Look to make the most of your summer crop bounty by preserving and pickling. March is a great time to make sugo (pasta sauce).
  • 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.
  • Chillies will be ripe on the plants, so remove and dry them. Cut the chilli plants back hard so they can survive over the winter.
  • Fruit, such as any remaining tomatoes, will take longer to ripen on the vine, therefore remove them 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 make homemade cider.
  • Feed the soil with nitrogen by planting winter crops of broad beans and peas. Save seeds from last season’s crops and store these in a dry, dark spot in preparation for sowing later in the year. Harvest and dry any summer herbs.
  • Companion-plant your brassica crops with white flowering plants to confuse the cabbage white moth. Net young seedlings with superfine mesh to inhibit moths from laying eggs on the underside of the foliage. Cut back on watering and remove mulch from around plants if the garden is starting to get waterlogged.

WARM TEMPERATE

Words by Alison Mellor

What to sow:

  • March: Beetroot, broad beans, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, coriander, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, parsley, potatoes, rocket, radish.
  • April: Broad beans, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, coriander, garlic, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, onions, snow peas, podded peas.
  • May: broad beans, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi, podded peas, Red Russian kale, snow peas, sweet peas.
  • June: Asian greens, asparagus crowns, comfrey, garlic chives, Jerusalem artichokes, lettuce, parsley, radish, rhubarb, silverbeet, yacon, yarrow.

What to do:

  • Harvest basil and get busy making pesto. Be sure to leave some basil to go to flower, as honeybees and native bees love it! Let some of your bean pods fully mature, then dry out the seeds to save for next summer. Harvest mature pumpkins, leaving a few centimetres of stalk attached to each vegetable.
  • Clear finished summer crops and prepare the beds for winter crops by incorporating compost or building up the beds no-dig gardening style.
  • Sow or plant some alyssum and sweet peas for winter colour.
  • In May, cut back spent perennial herbs such as sages and echinacea.
  • Check young brassicas for the eggs and caterpillars of cabbage white butterflies and squash or remove them. Or you can set up a growing area, with fine netting to keep the butterflies out. Feed brassicas with seaweed solution every couple of weeks.
  • May and June is a great time to tackle garden building projects like chicken houses, frog ponds and native bee hotels.
  • Harvest some bamboo to dry and use as stakes for supporting tomato and bean plants in the summer.

MEDITERRANEAN

Words by Nadja Osterstock

What to sow:

  • March: Asian greens, beans, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, celeriac, celery, horseradish, kale, leek, lettuce, radish, rocket, silverbeet, spinach, swede, turnip, watercress.
  • April: Artichoke, asparagus crowns, beetroot, broad beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, endive, kale, kohlrabi, leek, lettuce, onion, radish, rocket, silverbeet, spinach, swede, turnip, watercress.
  • May: Artichoke, asparagus crowns, beetroot, broad beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, endive, kale, kohlrabi, leek, lettuce, onion, radish, rocket, silverbeet, spinach, swede, turnip, watercress.
  • June: Artichoke, asparagus crowns, beetroot, broad beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, endive, kale, kohlrabi, leek, lettuce, onion, radish, rhubarb, rocket, silverbeet, spinach, swede, turnip, watercress.

What to do:

  • Remove shading as days shorten and there is less intense heat (except for any late hot spikes).
  • In March and April, feed citrus while there’s still enough warm weather for them to use it, especially if they are planted in pots.
  • 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.
  • Spread mature compost around fruit trees, dig it into vegetable beds and use a small amount to make compost tea for liquid plant feeds. Water compost well into the soil; especially if soil has become water repellent (hydrophobic) over a long dry summer.
  • Order bare-rooted deciduous trees for planting in winter and get the soil ready to plant in June.
  • Nurture leafy greens with liquid fertilisers (e.g. fish solution, weed tea, worm juice, seaweed), watering 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. Don’t prune frost-damaged parts of plants until the frost risk has passed, as they protect the healthy parts below.

ARID

Words by Alex McClean

What to sow:

  • March: Cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, Chinese greens, kale, swede, potato. Start planting parsnip, beans and peas. Keep planting tomato, sweet corn, carrot, silverbeet, beetroot, parsley, radish.
  • April: Swede, parsnip, beans, peas, celery, kale, leek, onion, carrot, silverbeet, beetroot, shallot, parsley, lettuce, radish, chives, spring onions, spinach. Keep planting coriander, chinese greens, broccoli, cauliflower, onion.
  • May: Parsnip, turnip, peas, leek, kale. Start planting artichoke, rhubarb. Keep planting onion, Chinese greens, broccoli, carrot, silverbeet, beetroot, shallot, parsley, lettuce, radish.
  • June: Parsnip, spinach, chives. Keep planting swede, cabbage, chinese greens, turnip, peas, kale, leek, onion, carrot, silverbeet, beetroot, shallot, parsley, lettuce, radish.

What to do:

  • Set irrigation to an autumn setting as the first signs of cool weather arrive. Autumn is also a great time for planting fruit trees and natives, giving them six 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.
  • Finish as much autumn vegetable planting as you can before the first frosts arrive in early May. April is 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).
  • 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.
  • Prepare holes early for mid-winter planting of deciduous fruit trees and grape vines; this will bear great results down the track.
  • Start planting your deciduous fruit trees and vines now, but save pruning until late June and July. Remember to take hardwood cuttings for propagation when you do prune.
  • The woodfire will be going in the house so you might be tempted to put the ash on the garden, but be careful! This will raise the pH of your soil, already a big issue in many arid areas reliant on groundwater for drinking and irrigation.

SUBTROPICAL

Words by Morag Gamble

What to sow:

  • March: Beetroot, broad beans, beans, capsicum, carrot, coriander, cucumber, eggplant, fennel, leek (seedlings), lettuce, okra, pak choy, potato, radish, rosella, rocket, silverbeet, spring onion, sweet potato, tomato, zucchini.
  • April: Beetroot, broad beans, beans, capsicum, carrot, coriander, cucumber, eggplant, fennel, leek (seedlings), lettuce, okra, onion, pak choy, peas (climbing, sugar snap and snow), potato, radish, rosella, rocket, silverbeet, spring onion, sweet potato, tomato, zucchini.
  • May: Beetroot, broad beans, beans, capsicum, carrot, cucumber, eggplant, garlic, leek (seedlings), lettuce, okra, onion, pak choy, peas (climbing, sugar snap and snow), potato, radish, rosella, rocket, silverbeet, spring onion, strawberries, sweet potato, tomato, zucchini.
  • June: Beetroot, broad beans, beans, capsicum, carrot, cucumber, eggplant, garlic, leek (seedlings), lettuce, okra, pak choy, parsnip, potato, radish, rosella, rocket, silverbeet, spring onion, strawberries, sweet potato, tomato, zucchini.

What to do:

  • From March onward, finish clearing summer weeds, then mulch before winter weeds get a foothold.
  • 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.
  • In June, prune deciduous fruit trees and shrubs and plant bare-rooted varieties.
  • Feed leafy greens with a liquid fertiliser.

TROPICAL

Words by Emma Lupin

What to sow:

  • March: 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.
  • April: Eggplants, snake beans, chillies, zucchini, 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.
  • May: Eggplants, snake beans, chillies, zucchini, flying saucer squash, tomatoes, radishes, honeydew 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, baby spinach, rocket, Brazilian spinach, sweet leaf, kale, bok choy, pak choy, choy sum, mustard greens, nasturtiums, zinnias, edible pea flowers and sunflowers.
  • June: Eggplants, snake beans, chillies, zucchinis, flying saucer squash, tomatoes, radishes, honeydew melons, watermelons, green beans, snow peas, 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, sweet leaf, kale, bok choy, pak choy, choy sum, mustard greens, nasturtiums, zinnias.

What to do:

  • Rain will be lessening, so top-mulch garden beds with hay to keep moisture in.
  • The end of March will be a good time to prune fruit trees, particularly citrus.
  • Start planning for the drier months, harvesting all the many wet-season wonders including snake beans, wing beans, okra, chillies and eggplants.
  • Cut off the manure crops (such as mung beans) to add a green manure into the beds.
  • April and May are great times to dig up root vegetables, such as sweet potatoes and cassava and replace with dry-season crops. Keep some cuttings going for the wet season in a smaller area of the garden.
  • Keep the water volume up and make sure all the correct crops are in full sun for best growth.
  • This time of year, wicking beds can be used to save water, as can vine windbreaks to keep south-easterly winds from drying out the plants.

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