EARLY SPRING IN THE GARDEN WITH GRAEME

Early Spring starts with the first warm spell after the cold of mid-winter, in late July or early August.
This provides the signal to start thinking about those summer crops that need a head start in warm
soil under cover of some sort. Cold tolerant winter vegies can continue to be sown in the open
ground, but they’ll be slow to germinate and get established while the temperature is low. It’s still too
early to sow summer crops in the open ground.
If you’ve sown any green manure crops these can be dug in as soon as they commence flowering.
AUGUST IN THE VEGIE PATCH
Sow Beetroot (Early Wonder), Broccoli, Cabbage, Coriander, Kohl Rabi, Lettuce (Cos), Mizuna,
Mustards, Parsnip, Green Snow & Snap Peas, Radish, Rocket, Shallots (Bunching Onions), Spinach,
Swedes, Tatsoi, Turnip, Calendula.
Sow under glass or in a hot-house. Capsicum, Chillies, Eggplant, Tomatoes. These common
vegetables are of tropical origin and need warm soil to germinate.
Plant Tubers and bulbs of Oca, True Shallots, Sunchokes, Potatoes, Yacon. Crowns of Asparagus.
Subdivide and replant Chives, Garlic Chives, Bunching Onions, Globe Artichokes, Rhubarb.
SEPTEMBER IN THE VEGIE PATCH
Sow As for August, including Beetroot (Cylindrica and Detroit). Lettuce, You may want to start some
of the cucurbits (melons, cucumbers, pumkins, zucchini, etc) under glass or in the hothouse also, so
they’re ready to plant out in the open garden late October – early November. These are best sown
singly in small pots or Hyco tubes, so that can they can be planted out with minimum root
disturbance. It’s also time to start sowing Asparagus, Bol Choy, Chinese Cabbage, Carrots (All
Seasons, Topweight), Celeriac, Celery, Chicory, Endive, Lettuce, Parsley, Silver Beet/Chard.
Plant Potatoes, shallots. Any tomatoes, capsicums, etc, that are big enough to transplant after
germination under cover can go into pots to be grown on for a few weeks, ready for transplanting into
the open garden in Late Spring.
As we approach the Spring Equinox increasing day-length will trigger the bolting of many biennial
vegies. Root crops (beetroot, carrots, parsnip) will need to be used up before this happens, unless
some of the best plants are being left for seed collection. Shoots of leaf crops (leaf beets, parsley)
can continue to be used before they flower and go stringy.
EARLY SPRING IN THE ORCHARD
Pruning of deciduous fruit trees should be completed during August before the sap starts to rise and
blossoming starts. Wood ashes spread around fruit trees and berries at this time of year will provide
some potash to enhance fruit set and flavour. Some rotted manure or compost, covered over with
mulch, will stimulate some strong early growth of new wood, particularly with young trees that are not
yet well established.
If you have curly leaf in your peaches and nectarines a copper-based spray applied just as the
flowerbuds begin to swell and turn pink will help to control the fungal spores hanging around on the
bark waiting for a chance to invade the soft tissues of the blossoming trees.