Ah spring. It feels like it’s finally here! This week we were blessed with warm sunny days that got up to 20 degrees. The garden is slowly starting to wake up again. Cherries, plums and almonds are in blossom. Peaches and nectarines are covered in swelling buds that are about to burst. If they haven’t already blossomed it’s a great idea to try and prevent curly leaf on your peaches and nectarines with a dose of homemade Bordeaux spray. But, if they have blossomed, it’s too late. All that blossoming and the leaf and fruit growth to come requires a lot of nutrients. So it’s a good time of the year to give all your fruit trees a good fertilizing, this include the heavy feeders, citrus. Use a fruit & citrus based fertilizer, and make sure you follow the instructions on the pack, or you may end up killing your plant.
Many of us will be eager to get out there digging and planting in this glorious weather. Here’s a guide on what to plant in September.
The great news is, with the warming weather we are starting to get a lot more planting options available to us in September. However, it’s easy to be lulled into a false sense of security when it comes to September weather. Yes, the days are warm and sunny, but the nights are cold, and so is the soil. Most of the summer veggies don’t like cold soil. So if you try and plant many of them as seedlings into the garden now, you’ll shock them. They’ll will grow so slowly, they’re practically dormant, making them susceptible to pests and diseases like aphids. If you try planting many of the summer veggie seeds direct into the garden, they won’t germinate, and the seeds might rot in the cold wet soil. There’s still a strong risk of frost about, and that can scupper any gardener’s best laid plans for a head start on the summer veggies.
What to plant in Pots in a Greenhouse
Tomatoes are already in stock across most big name Melbourne hardware stores. These plants have been grown in ideal conditions in hot houses. If you take them straight home and plonk them in the garden they’ll go into shock and you run the risk of frost damage. You’re far better waiting until October, when plants are more likely to become successfully established. Of course, if you have access to a greenhouse you can still get a head start with your tomatoes now. We sowed our tomato seeds back in mid-July and they are coming along nicely with a regular fortnightly feed of weak liquid fertiliser. Other plants you can get a head start with in the greenhouse with are:
If you’ve got plenty of room in your greenhouse and some deep pots, you can also try other cucurbits such as zucchini (including tromboncinos), pumpkins (including Atlantic Giant), squash and melons. Getting the timing right for this is a bit tricky. You don’t want to start the plants too early, as they grow quickly and they’ll become root bound and stunt their growth (to avoid this you need to transplant them before the roots start to appear at the bottom of the pot). If they remain in the greenhouse for more than 2 to 3 weeks, they’ll start to vine and really take over. Cucurbits are very frost sensitive, so if you transplant them too early, without protecting them, you’ll either set them back significantly, or even kill them. We planted most of our cucurbit seeds into pots in the greenhouse this week (the last week in August) and aim to transplant them in early October.
What to Plant in the Garden
As always, leafy greens will grow well in the garden at the moment. Consider allocating space to these quick growing, very productive plants and start getting ready for lots home-grown salads at barbeques over spring:
- Mustard Greens
Root veggies should be ok to plant now too. A few young beetroot leaves make a tasty, colourful addition to your salads.
Peas are pretty hardy and like the cool weather and snow peas make a great addition to those leafy green salads.
Asparagus and Rhubarb crowns can still be planted out (or dug up and divided if you have existing plants). Strawberry runners can be planted out as late as early October if you can find them in shops still.
Potatoes don’t mind cold soil, but are very sensitive to frost. We had some seed potatoes that were a bit past it and were looking a bit like big hairy spiders. So we planted them out early (mid-august) against a north facing brick wall in a sunny area. We’ve managed to keep them protected enough from the frosts and they’re doing really well. Now is a good time to plant yours out. Just make sure you cover them when you expect frosts to occur.
Now is a great time to start a herb garden. Avoid planting basil out in the garden just yet, but the rest of these should be starting to wake up from their winter dormancy now.
- Curry plant
- Spring onions
Like to know more?
If you’d like a bit more of a guide on choosing which veggies to grow this summer, we’ve developed the Leaf, Root and Fruit Philosophy of Edible Gardening. It’s this philosophy that’s provided the name of the business, as well as the inspiration for the logo.
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Happy Gardening everyone!