Welcome to spring! The calendar has clicked over to September, which means that winter is finished and the time has come to rush outside and plant summer vegies like tomatoes and corn. Right? Well, unless you believe that nature adheres to calendar dates, wrong.
Those of you in temperate climate zones should either wait until the risk of frost has passed in your area before planting tender vegies, or start them inside, or in a frost protected greenhouse. This spring is forecast to be very hot, dry and windy across a swathe of country from Sydney to Cairns. Water restrictions might come into play in some areas, so be a little more conservative than usual with your planting during the first half of summer. Hopefully, the New Year and the second half of summer will be perfect for starting new plants. Time will tell.
With that said, let’s look at what to plant in the various climate zones across the country:
- Take care with water and use things such as shadecloth to help create slightly cooler microclimates for tender young plants. Try planting snake beans, rosellas, okra, zucchinis, cucumber, sweet corn, sweet potatoes and tomatoes. If you have water to spare plant ginger and galangal , otherwise hold off until we get closer to the first storms of summer.
- In the subtropics, September is a great month to plant corn, carrots, beetroot, lettuce, basil, rocket, beans and spring onions. It’s also a good time for solanaceae plants like eggplant, chilli and capsicum along with tubers such as turmeric, arrowroot and yacon. Warmth loving cucurbits such as rockmelon, zucchini, and cucumber can also go in now but be prepared for powdery mildew as we get closer to summer.
- In arid-/semi-arid areas it’s time to get in some quick growers that will provide fast returns before the onset of hot weather. Try quick growing roots such as radishes and turnips, Asian greens, rocket, bush peas, lettuces, mustard, and kale. Get in a crop of potatoes early in the month.
- In temperate climates, plant Asian greens, rocket, spinach, beetroot, cabbage, carrot, turnip, radish, broccoli, onions, parsnips, peas, potatoes, and silverbeet. Hold out until the risk of frost has passed before planting heat lovers such as cucurbits, tomatoes and corn.
By: Justin Russell
First published: August 2017