Feature

Spring planting tips

Green Lifestyle

Is it past time you got that spring vegetable patch underway? Here’s our expert tips on how to go about it to ensure some bumper crops this spring and summer.

spring-guide

- Advertisement -

If you’re like me, you’ve been looking forward to the warmer weather and being able to get outside and grow something.

Spring means vegie growing in a big way, with many types ready for planting or at least starting off from seed.

Our spring planting tips cover some of the most important garden tasks for mid to late spring, including improving your soil and getting your tomatoes off to a great start.

Starting a vegie patch

Here's five tips to help get your spring vegie planting off to a good start.

1. Location: if you’re starting a new vegie bed, choose a spot that gets at least six hours of sunlight each day, preferably north-facing. Good sun will make plants vigorous and better able to ward off pests and diseases. Also, avoid spots exposed to high winds as many vegies are fragile.

2. Space: allow an area of about 2–3m if you’re a beginner gardener – any bigger and you may not be able to tend your garden correctly. You can always add on to it later.

3. Soil: dig in some compost and aged cow manure three or four weeks before planting to help plants flourish from the word go. The soil should be light and crumbly to allow the plants’ roots to easily penetrate. If your soil is very sandy or tough clay, and difficult to improve with compost or clay breaker, a raised bed with bought soil mix could be your best option.

4. Plants: planting seedlings bought from the garden centre will save you time as you’ll get to the productive part of the growing process sooner than with seeds. Seedlings are also best if you’re planting fairly late in the season. Allow 4-6 weeks extra growing time if you’re starting from seed.

5. Grow what you and your family likes to eat. That way your efforts will definitely be appreciated.

What to plant in spring

You’re spoilt for choice with the number of vegies that can be planted as seedlings in early spring. Here are some of the most popular for the various climate regions of Australia.

Temperate: Beetroot, carrots, fennel, many herbs, radish, parsnip, peas, rhubarb, rocket, silverbeet, spring onions and turnips.

Subtropical: Beans, beetroot, Cape gooseberry, carrot, Chinese cabbage, chives, cucumber, turnip and yacon.

Tropical: Basil, ginger, mustard greens, sweet corn and sweet potato.

Cool: Beetroot, carrots, chives, endive, kohlrabi, lettuce, parsnip, peas, potato, rocket, spinach and Swedes.

Hot, dry: Beans, beetroot, broad beans, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, mizuna, Warrigal greens, potato, pumpkin, radish, rhubarb, squash, and sweet corn.

Note: zucchinis, sweet corn, beans, squash, watermelon, rockmelon and pumpkin are all frost-tender so wait until all threat of frost has passed before planting in frost-prone areas.

Spring to-do list

- Dig up and divide perennial vegie patch plants such as rhubarb, artichoke and arrowroot. This will refresh the plants and provide you with more plants for your own garden or to give away.

- Plant vegie seeds in propagation trays or pots for starting undercover. You can plant them out when the weather warms up.

- Hang some fruit fly baits to get an early start on controlling this pest insect.

- Smother weed infestations by laying newspaper on top of them, covered by mulch. Just let the newspaper break down naturally.

- Keep an eye out for snails and slugs eating the shoots and seedlings in your vegie patch and pick them off.

- Plant out your tomato seedlings, giving them a generous amount of space to spread.

- Make a chook poo tea to feed plants. Collect about 500 g of droppings, put them in a hessian bag and soak it in a large bucket or trug of water for 4–5 days. Remove the bag, compost the contents and use the liquid to water plants. Also, ensure your chook house has adequate shade and ventilation for the summer months.

-------------------
If you’ve grown your own gorgeous produce, send in some photos, and share your growing tips! Email us at: editorial@greenlifestylemag.com.au