By planting seasonally, you can avoid a slew of potential problems. For instance, vegetables growing out of season are far more vulnerable to insect attack and fungal diseases. Use this planting guide, including a visual reference at the bottom of the post, to help you choose plants that will grow most optimally in each season of the year.
The planting guide also shows which varieties will grow well in each season whether you live in the country. For an easy reference, northern Australia covers Broome to Darwin on the west coast and from Brisbane upwards on the east, while southern Australia covers south of Broome and Brisbane.
Planting from seeds
Seeds of the varieties listed in the planting guide below can be planted four weeks prior to the beginning of each season. Raise seed using coir or coco peat. This product is available at all garden centres and hardware stores.
When choosing coir peat, always select the potting mix grade. It comes in a dehydrated brick-like form.
Place in a wheelbarrow and add water to rehydrate. The medium once rehydrated is an ideal option for raising seed or taking cuttings and is used by professional growers.
Ideally use a seed raising tray or 200mm pots. Fill to just under the lip of the tray or pot and water well, sprinkle seeds on top, and cover lightly with more coir peat.
Place your newly planted seed in a shaded position and water twice a week. Once seedlings start to appear, water once a week with a half solution of liquid fertiliser. We recommend Power Feed or a fertiliser based on fish and compost as an ideal starter fertiliser. Move the seedlings to positions where they will receive morning sun and afternoon shade.
About three weeks after the seedlings appear, they are ready to plant out in the garden.
Seedlings available from garden centres and hardware stores represent excellent value, costing about $3 for six to eight starter plants. Sometimes nurseries sell seedlings that are not the right ones for the current season, so be sure to check your planting guide to avoid disappointment.
A safe, general-purpose insecticide to use in the home garden in case of minor outbreaks is Natrasoap which is an organic soap spray. This product treats aphids, thrips and mites.
If plants are attacked by caterpillars, either pick them off or use a natural product like Dipel. Fungal problems can be treated with Eco Fungicide, an organic fungicide for control of powdery mildew, black spot, and rust.
Fertilising is essential and the soil should be replenished each season with generous amounts of pelletised chicken manure. Look for products like Dynamic Lifter and Rooster Booster. These are certified organic and will help feed vital microbial life while enriching the soil with valuable nutrients. The addition of sulphate of potash, another natural fertiliser, will ensure maximum fruit and flower production.
If you are keen to learn more, join our Plant, Grow, Eat: An Urban Gardening Starter workshop.
All the Dirt is a free, award-winning podcast by Deryn Thorpe and Steve Wood. They provide a wealth of information about growing your own food and creating a beautiful garden, as well as interviews with some of Australia’s leading gardeners and gardening personalities.
You can listen to their podcast on www.allthedirt.com.au or download it to your phone or iPad on iTunes or any podcast app.