Your Monthly Planting Guide
The start of autumn …
This month sees the beginning of the “season of mellow fruitfulness” when the bounty of summer’s flowers, fruits, and veggies is almost finished, the sun is losing its intensity, it’s less humid in the northern states and days are gradually shortening. There’s an overall feeling in the air that we’ve managed to survive the challenges of another summer.
Summer’s seasonal flowers and vegies and the last of the fruit crops are coming to an end with the onset of cooler days and crisper nights. It’s a great time to make jams, sauces, relishes and preserves with the abundance of produce available, to tide you over the less productive months ahead..
As flowers and vegies fade, pull the plants out, dig over the soil, add compost and fertiliser and start preparing to plant Winter and Spring flowers, bulbs and edibles.
Gardening In March
Spring onions (also known as green shallots and green bunching or salad onions) are a delicious addition to a whole...
Runner beans, or more correctly scarlet runner beans, (Phaseolus coccineus) are among the easiest and most rewarding...
Bags of salad leaves are quite expensive to buy and have a fairly short lifespan in the fridge. Grow your own and you...
Sweet Corn, or maize, won't really grow as high as an elephant's eye, but it will be sweet, tender and delicious -...
Drizzled with olive oil and baked whole or sliced into steaks, cut into individual florets and wok-tossed in a stir fry...
You might not like the cold weather, but Brussels sprouts do! Brussels sprouts grow best in cool climates with cold...
Silverbeet is also commonly referred to as Swiss chard, chard or rainbow chard. The rainbow variety has brightly...
Watercress is a peppery, nutrient-rich leafy green that’s delicious on sandwiches and in salads. It’s easy to grow in...
Sweet potatoes rambling vines grow tubers beneath the ground. These vigorous and productive vines can be grown in a...
Globe artichoke (Cynara scolymus) are thistle like plants that produce edible flowers - harvested and eaten in their bud...
Horseradish is a vigorous plant related to broccoli, cabbage and kale - but unlike its brassica cousins, horseradish is...
Patty Pan Squash
Squash or patty pan squash as they are often called - because of their UFO like shape - are an easy to grow summer...
Mustard greens (Brassica juncea) are a cool season vegetable, grown for their peppery edible leaves. You can eat young...
Eaten fresh, baked in muffins or as the star attraction in jams or desserts, blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum) are...
Who doesn’t love strawberries? If you’re a strawberry fan, the many varieties of Fragaria × ananassa are easy to grow at...
What could be better than a bowl of sweet, fresh-picked raspberries in summer? These delicious fruits are easy to grow...
Blackberries sometimes get a bad wrap thanks to the wild, thorny, weedy ones! But growing blackberries in your garden is...
Dragon fruit grows on a climbing cactus that produces stunning white flowers in summer. These flowers develop into pink...
Passionfruits are a popular and productive vine that will grow in most climates around Australia. They particularly...
Pineapples are an easy care tropical fruit, that will also grow in other frost-free climates around Australia too...
Watermelons grow on sprawling vines during the warmest months of the year in Australia. These sun-loving plants can be...
Pear trees love a garden with cool winters, but if you choose the right variety (with ‘low chill’ requirements) you can...
Gooseberries (Ribes uva-crispa) are native to parts of Europe, but they’ll happily grow in the cooler parts of southern...
Plum trees are productive fruit trees, ideally suited to growing in the average backyard or in a large pot. There are...
Pomegranates (Punica granatum) are heat-loving trees, native to the Middle East, that grow well here in Australia. The...
Bromeliads (Bromeliaceae) are a diverse group of plants with a very tropical vibe. With over 3000 different species in...
Kangaroo paws are among the most iconic Australian plants, instantly recognisable by their unique furry and vibrantly...
Almonds (Prunus amygdalus) are the edible nuts produced inside the hard-fleshed velvety fruit, that grows on a tree that...
Bougainvilleas put on a showy display of vibrant colour throughout summer. These vigorous vines are drought tolerant and...
Bird of Paradise
Bird of Paradise plants are tropical beauties with big leaves and flamboyant, colourful flowers that resemble birds...
Dieffenbachia (Dieffenbachia spp.), also known as Dumb Cane or Leopard Lily, are fast-growing tropical plants popular as...
Boston Ferns (Nephrolepis exaltata) are elegant plants with long, slender leaves that cascade over the sides of their...
Kentia Palms (Howea forsteriana) are tall, elegant palms with arching fronds on long stems that will happily grow as a...
Lilly Pilly plants range from small shrubs to large trees - you can grow them in the ground or pots and you’ll find a...
Bottlebrush gets their common name because their fluffy, blooms are shaped like old-fashioned bottle brushes...
Lemon trees are a classic backyard staple! These productive trees are long-lived and will grow in a large pot or in your...
Christmas Bush (Ceratopetlum gummiferum) or New South Wales Christmas Bush as it’s sometimes called is an Australian...
English Ivy (Hedera helix) is a fast growing, creeping vine that is a serious environmental weed in many parts of...
Microgreens are the young and immature seedlings of plants with edible leaves that you can harvest and use for garnish...
A popular stalwart in Australian gardens for good reason, buffalo grass makes for an incredibly resilient lawn. It is...
Kikuya grass, or Pennisetum Clandestinum, is a vigorous plant often used in Australian lawns and common in public...
As Summer fades into memory, many vegetables will still have the last of their crops ready for picking.
- Leafy vegies like lettuce, rocket, silverbeet, spinach and rhubarb should be picked/cut and either eaten while fresh or blanched/cooked for freezing.
- Beans, zucchinis, capsicums, chillies and cucumbers may be snap-frozen or pickled.
- Ripe tomatoes may be turned into passata, sauce or chutney or simply peel, cut up and freeze in meal size portions (use within 6 months). They can also be bottled (preserved) for use over Winter. Green tomatoes are unlikely to ripen at this late stage, so make them up into pickles.
- Pumpkins should be left on the vine until the plants die, usually after the first frost of the season. Cut from the vine with a stub of stem attached and store on racking in a cool, dry spot with good air circulation. They will keep for several months.
- Potatoes should be dug before the weather turns cold and wet. Leave them out in the sun for a day to dry then brush off loose soil and store them in a dark, cool place, again with good air circulation to minimise rotting.
What to plant now:
Sowing seeds or planting out seedlings of Winter veggies can begin from mid-month. Your crops will get a good start before colder weather slows down growth.
In temperate to cool temperate areas, sow seeds or plant seedlings of:
- Brussels sprouts
- Chinese cabbage
- Kale (including Tuscan kale or cavallo nero)
- Spring onion
In warm regions, sow or plant:
- Soft herbs – parsley, coriander, basil
- Before sowing or planting, dig the soil over to a depth of about 300mm to work in any remaining mulch, then add a generous handful of garden lime per square metre as well as a suitable fertiliser.
- Allow rainfall (or watering) to wash the lime and plant food into the soil before planting preparation.
- Keep new plantings growing strongly with applications of liquid fertiliser for vegetables and herbs such as Osmocote Pour+Feed Vegetables, Tomatoes & Herbs every two to three weeks
- Water deeply at least once a week if the weather is dry – add a wetting agent to ensure moisture penetrates deep into the soil
- Hand pull or hoe out weeds as they appear – they compete for nutrients and moisture and may also harbour pests that could attack your crops
- Use snail and slug traps or baits to protect young seedlings
Fruit & Flower Beds
What fruits to harvest now:
Most of the summer fruits like apricots, peaches, plums and nectarines will have finished by now but there should still be good crops of mid to late season fruits maturing. These include:
- Melons (rock and honey dew)
- Selected oranges
What fruit to plant:
Evergreen fruiting plants may be put into the garden now while the soil is still warm – passionfruit vines and citrus among them. Deciduous fruit trees in pots should be left until they are dormant and have lost all their leaves before being transplanted into the garden. Together with new bare-root fruit trees, they are best planted in mid to late Winter.
What flowers to plant:
Spring flowering bulbs:
- Muscari (grape hyacinth)
Winter and spring flowering annuals:
- Antirrhinum (snapdragon)
- Aquilegia (granny’s bonnet)
- Canterbury bells (campanula)
- Iceland poppy
- Sweet Pea
- Sweet William
Garden jobs for the month:
- Pick up and dispose of any fruit on the ground under fruit trees – they may be diseased or harbouring insect pests – don’t put them in the compost bin!
- Remove and dispose of diseased or “mummified” fruits clinging to branches to avoid diseases spreading or over-wintering on trees.
- Cut out and dispose of galls (swellings) on citrus trees to help eradicate gall wasps.
- Tidy up the garden by removing spent flowers and flower spikes from perennials and annuals.
- Dahlias and chrysanthemums may need staking and/or the ties checking to ensure they are not cutting into stems.
- Keep an eye out for aphids, especially on roses, herbs and vegetable seedlings. Use a general garden insecticide like Defender Pyrethrum Insect Spray to control them. Don’t forget to spray the undersides of leaves too.
- Watch for the caterpillars of the White Cabbage Butterfly on cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and other brassicas. Pyrethrum will assist or try a cabbage dust.
- Newly planted seedlings may be targeted by snails and slugs. Protect them with Defender Snail & Slug Pellets.
Tips for March
Summer can be harsh on lawns, especially during drought and heatwave conditions. This month is a great time to repair the damages caused by the ravages of the season just passed.
- De-thatch with a garden rake to remove build-up of dead grass, especially in buffalo, kikuyu and couch lawns.
- Aerate the lawn with a garden fork or you can hire a coring machine suitable for home gardens.
- Top dress with Scotts Lawn Builder Organic Lawn Soil – Topdress Mix & Underlay.
- Water entire lawn area, if permitted, to settle topdress mix.
- Fertilise with Lawn Builder All Purpose Slow Release Lawn Fertiliser, Lawn Builder Buffalo, Lawn Builder Extreme Green Granular or one of the Lawn Builder hose-on equivalents.
- Worn and bare areas may be over-sown with lawn seed to match your existing grass type or patches of instant turf.
Find your local store and start growing your garden.
Find your local store and start growing your garden.