In temperate zones, cooler weather is closing in and in some districts frost is just days away. This means it’s time to make way for genuine winter vegies. Most of the brassicas can go in now, though in very cold areas go for quick growers like Tokyo bekana and other Asian greens. Coriander is starting to come into its own in April, and it’s a great time to plant leafies, such as lettuce, spinach, mustard and rocket. Carrot and its relatives such as bulb fennel and parsnip can go in now, but be aware that in cooler weather, germination can take a couple of weeks.
In arid/semi arid zones take advantage of lingering warmth in the soil to get carrots, parsnips and fennel off to a cracking start. It's also a good time to start growing celery, but note that this crop needs a copious supply of moisture throughout its growing season.
In the subtropics it's an ideal time to plant crops that thrive in “cool summer” climates. It’s sounds counter intuitive, but look to places like Tassie for inspiration. Most of what they can grow in summer, subtropical gardeners can grow through winter, including tomatoes, beans, potatoes, cucumbers and basil. Avoid any heat lovers such as eggplant and watermelon. In addition, you can also plant traditional winter vegies such as brassicas and roots.
In the tropics April is prime corn planting month. The summer wet will have dragged nutrients from the soil, so before planting give it a boost with the addition of compost or rotted manure, along with a handful or two of chook pellets per square metre. You could also try planting your corn in tandem with climbing beans and pumpkins using the “three sisters” technique favoured by indigenous Americans. The corn stalks serve as climbing supports for the beans, and pumpkins shade the soil and suppress weeds.
By: Justin Russell
First published: March 2017