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MAY-AUGUST

Seasonal garden guides for Australian climates

in-a-garden

COOL TEMPERATE

Words By Fabian Capomolla

What to sow

MAY

Broad beans, beetroot, carrot, chives, fennel, garlic, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, mizuna, mustard greens, onion, parsley, peas, radish, shallot (plant bulbs), silverbeet, spinach and turnip.

JUNE

Broad beans, garlic (divide and plant cloves), mustard greens, onion, peas and radish.

JULY

Beetroot, lettuce, mustard greens, onion, peas and radish.

AUGUST

Artichoke, asparagus crowns, beetroot, cabbage, capsicum (start them off undercover), chilli (undercover), eggplant, kohlrabi, leek, lettuce, parsnip, peas, potato, radish, rocket, spring onion, strawberry (runners), sunflower, thyme, tomato (will need frost protection until the risk has passed) and melons (undercover).

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 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.

Feed the soil with nitrogen by planting winter crops of broad beans and peas. It’s now a great time to plant barerooted fruit trees, asparagus and rhubarb crowns. 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. To increase airflow and fruit production, prune fruit trees and repurpose the offcuts as supports for your winter pea crops.

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. Remember to remove these after September so as to not mistakenly catch beneficial insects.

WARM TEMPERATE

Words By Alison Mellor

What to sow

MAY

Broad beans, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi, kale, as well as snow, podded and sweet peas.

JUNE

Divide and plant out asparagus crowns, as well as artichokes, comfrey and garlic chives. Jerusalem artichoke, lettuce, parsley, radish, rhubarb, silverbeet yarrow and yacon.

JULY

Divide and plant out asparagus crowns, as well as artichokes, comfrey and garlic chives. Jerusalem artichokes, lettuce, parsley, radish, rhubarb, silverbeet yarrow and yacon.

AUGUST

Basil, cucumber, coriander, cherry tomato, lettuce, radish, silverbeet, parsley, pumpkin, squash, edible viola heartsease, potato and zucchini.

What to do

Sow or plant some alyssum or sweet peas for winter colour. Prune back your grapevine, mulberries and any tall trees, as well as cutting back any spent perennial herbs. May and June is a good time to tackle garden building projects like chicken houses, frog ponds and native-bee and insect hotels.

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 bounty, 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 warmtemperate climates.

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

MAY

Artichoke, asparagus crowns, beetroot, broad beans, broccoli, Brussels sprout, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, endive, kale, kohlrabi, leek, lettuce, onion, radish, rocket, silverbeet, spinach, swede, turnip and watercress.

JUNE

Artichoke, asparagus crowns, beetroot, broad beans, broccoli, Brussels sprout, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, endive, kale, kohlrabi, leek, lettuce, onion, radish, rhubarb, rocket, silverbeet, spinach, swede, turnip and watercress.

JULY

Potato, onion and garlic.

AUGUST

Asparagus and rhubarb can be divided and transplanted. Keep planting successive crops of all types of peas. Greenmanure crops should be dug in before they flower and set seed (unless you’ve decided to keep those broad beans for eating).

What to do

Order bare-rooted deciduous trees for planting in winter and get the soil ready to plant in June. If you live in a low-lying or frosty spot, protect 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 beneath.

Hill up potatoes in July, leaving a few pairs of leaves protruding on each plant. Leafy greens which are already established will benefit from a fortnightly liquid fertiliser. Check the soil moisture, despite the cold there may not have been enough rain to keep vegetables wellwatered.

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.

ARID

Words By Alex McClean

What to sow

MAY

Asian greens, kale, leek, parsnip, peas and turnip. Start planting artichoke and rhubarb now and keep planting Asian greens, beetroot, broccoli, carrot, lettuce, onion, parsley, radish, silverbeet and shallot.

JUNE

Chives, parsnip and spinach. Keep planting beetroot, cabbage, carrot, Chinese greens, kale, leek, lettuce, onion, parsley, peas, radish, silverbeet, swede and turnip.

JULY

Artichoke, asparagus (crowns), beetroot, cabbage, carrot, coriander, kale, leek, lettuce, onion, parsley, parsnip, peas, potato, radish, rhubarb, silverbeet, shallot, spinach, spring onion, swede, tomato (will need frost protection until risk has passed) and turnip.

AUGUST

Asparagus (crowns), artichoke, beans, capsicum, carrot, celery, chives, coriander, sweet corn, kale, leek, onion, parsley, parsnip, potato, sweet potato, peas, radish, silverbeet, shallot, spinach, swede, tomato and turnip.

What to do

If you’re south of the Tropic of Capricorn, make sure frost-tender plants are protected as the first frosts can arrive in early May. Prepare holes early for midwinter planting of deciduous fruit trees and grape vines – you can start planting now, but save pruning until late June and July and remember to take hardwood cuttings for propagation when you do.

The wood fire will be going in the house so you might be tempted to put the ash on the garden, but be aware of your conditions (see page 20). Ash can raise the pH of your soil and can also be an issue in many arid areas reliant on groundwater for drinking and irrigation.

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, start sowing tomatoes 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 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.

SUBTROPICAL

Words By Morag Gamble

What to sow

MAY

Beetroot, beans, broad beans, capsicum, carrot, cucumber, eggplant, garlic, leek (seedlings), lettuce, okra, onion, pak choy and peas (climbing, sugar snap and snow), potato, radish, rosella, rocket, silverbeet, spring onion, strawberry, sweet potato, tomato and zucchini.

JUNE

Beetroot, beans, broad beans, capsicum, carrot, cucumber, eggplant, garlic, leek (seedlings), lettuce, okra, Asian greens, parsnip, potato, radish, rosella, rocket, silverbeet, spring onion, strawberry, sweet potato, tomato and zucchini.

JULY

Asian greens, beetroot, coriander, daikon, kale, kohlrabi, leek, salad greens like lettuce, mustard greens, onion, peas, radish, rocket, shallot and turnip.

AUGUST

Basil, beans, beetroot, bok choy, pak choy, cucumber, eggplant, kohlrabi, melons, okra, pumpkin, potato, spring onions and tomato. Don’t forget to interplant with some colourful flowers to attract the pollinators.

What to do

Plant winter tomatoes in a spot where they will get at least six hours of direct sunlight daily. In June, prune deciduous fruit trees and shrubs and plant bare-rooted varieties. Now’s a great time to feed leafy greens with a liquid fertiliser.

It’s also the best time for citrus pruning, so look for dead, damaged or diseased branches, removing shoots that sprout from below the graft. Remove lower branches which drag on the ground when laden with fruit, and check for gall wasp attack (swellings on stems), removing and disposing of these well before spring.

Replenish washed-out soils in July. Fork any areas that feel compacted, gently aerating but not turning so as to not disrupt the soil structure. Cover with a layer of compost.

TROPICAL

Words By Emma Lupin

What to sow

MAY

Abika, basil (Thai, sweet and lemon), beans (snow and green), bok choy, Brazilian spinach, cassava, Ceylon spinach, chilli, choy sum, coriander, corn, cucumber, eggplant, galangal, garlic chives, ginger, honeydew melon, kale, mint, mustard greens, okra, oregano, pak choy, parsley, pumpkin, snake bean, sweet potato, radish, rocket, squash, taro, tomato, turmeric, watermelon, yam beans and zucchini. May is also a good time for nasturtiums, sunflowers and zinnias.

JUNE

Baby spinach, basil, bok choy, cassava, chilli, choy sum, coriander, cucumber, eggplant, galangal, garlic chives, ginger, green bean, honeydew melon, kale, mint, mustard greens, oregano, pak choy, parsley, pumpkin, radish, rocket, snake bean, snow peas, squash, sweet potato, taro, tomato, turmeric, watermelon, yam bean (jicama) and zucchini. Also edible flowers like nasturtiums, zinnias and cornflowers.

JULY

Baby spinach, basil, bok choy, cassava, chilli, choy sum coriander, eggplant, flying saucer squash, galangal, garlic chives, ginger, green bean, kale, melons, mint, mustard greens, oregano, pak choy, parsley, pumpkin, radish, rocket, snake beans, snow peas, sweet leaf, sweet potato, taro, tomato, turmeric, yam bean (jicama) and zucchini.

AUGUST

Baby spinach, basil, bok choy, cassava, chilli, choy sum, coriander, cucumber, eggplant, flying saucer squash, galangal, garlic chives, ginger, green beans, kale, melons, mint, mustard greens, mizuna, oregano, pak choy, parsley, pumpkin, radish, rocket, snake beans, snow peas, sweet potato, taro, turmeric, yam bean (jicama) and zucchini.

What to do

May is a great time 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 harvesting and re-sowing the annual greens, such as rocket and mizuna.

For best growth, make sure all the correct crops are in full sun. At this time of year, vine windbreaks can save water by stopping south-easterly winds from drying out the plants. Keep the water up and top up the mulch, adding in snippets of living manure mulch and chook manure.

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