Planting guides

Planting Guide MapAbout these guides

These are general guides only. Planting times can vary within climatic zones and are affected by specific local conditions. If you experience variations to what is recommended, make a note for following years, download the printable version of the guides and add your note in the space provided. In general, seeds should be sown at the beginning to the middle of the planting season so they have time to establish. The end of the season is usually more suitable for planting seedlings.

About the Spring-Summer guide

Plant yourself a veritable feast of corn, squash, tomatoes and greens with follow-up sowings to spread your harvest throughout the warm season.

Things heat up early in tropical, subtropical and arid zones, so don’t delay when planting your warm season favourites. Be prepared to shade sensitive crops on hot days and, from mid-season onwards, focus on planting heat-lovers such as corn, okra, sweet potato and snake bean.

You can still grow cabbage and broccoli in warm and cool temperate areas, and it’s a great time for potato, tomato, basil and parsnip. With a little shade, you will extend your coriander harvest into summer.

Spring-Summer planting guide

TomatoesTo-do list

  • water deeply and maintain mulch cover
  • fertilise regularly to replace leached nutrients
  • watch out for mildew on grapes and cucurbits
  • keep compost moist and turn heaps regularly
  • protect crops with shade-cloth on hot days
  • put a fruit-fly control plan in place
  • clear gutters and pipes for harvesting rainfall
  • check irrigation systems and unblock drippers


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About the Autumn-Winter guide

It’s all about the pea, cabbage and onion families this season, and a speedy start to planning and planting will maximise your return.

In cold areas, sow seed early while the soil is still warm and be prepared to cover tender young plants if you are expecting early frost. Brussels sprouts and cauli·flower need a lengthy cool season so plant them by April in warm temperate and arid zones.

In the subtropics, there’s time for one last crop of corn and cucumber if you move quickly, and in the tropics, it’s almost anything goes so get in and make the most of it!

Autumn-Winter planting guide

CabbagesTo-do list

  • liquid fertilise leafy vegetables fortnightly
  • protect frost-sensitive plants with cloches
  • make plans for doing bigger jobs in the cool
  • spray or net brassica to control grubs
  • plant bare-rooted deciduous fruit trees
  • sow hardy green manure crops in unused beds
  • re-pot perennial herbs with fresh potting mix
  • protect seedlings against snails and slugs


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About the Seed sowing guide

Sowing seeds into seed trays and pots, pricking them out and then eventually planting them out seems like three times the work of simply sowing seeds directly into the garden – so why bother? Some seeds require warm temperatures to germinate successfully and, if you grow them in containers, you can move them into positions that have the required warmth. Also, as seeds and seedlings are delicate, you may enjoy greater success if you place them in containers where you can care for them better, rather than subject them to the vagaries of a garden bed. 

Why grow from seed?

  • Most vegetables grow readily from seed.
  • Growing plants from seed allows you access to many more varieties.
  • Seedlings can be expensive. Seeds are much better value, and if you save your own, they are free.
  • Seeds can often be easily collected, allowing them to be saved, stored and swapped between gardeners and regions.
  • Some vegetables, such as carrots and radish, transplant poorly at the seedling stage and must be grown from seed sown directly into the soil.
  • Growing plants from seed allows you to get a head start on some crops, as they can be grown under glass and then transplanted into the garden as semi-advanced plants.
  • Growing plants from seed is fun and satisfying, and great for children and adults alike. 

By Annette McFarlane 

Here's a sowing guide to help with the planting of seeds at the right time and with appropriate spacing for happy growing. This guide was compiled by Phil Dudman and first appeared in ABC Organic Gardener #77.

Seed planting guide by Phil Dudman

For more on growing vegies from seed, including comprehensive general seed-sowing instructions, grab a copy of Issue #132 of OG. You'll also find a range of helpful information in the ABC Organic Gardener Essential Guide: Urban Farming.