What to plant and do in the Melbourne garden this month
The days are long and the heat is definitely about to set in. Early summer is a beautiful time to while away the hours in the garden by continuing with successional sowings of the main warm weather crops and to start Brussel’s sprouts and swedes for winter harvest, it seems a long, long way away but these brassicas will need a decent growing period before it gets cool again.
What to plant…
= sow seeds in ground
= sow seeds in cloche / greenhouse
= plant in ground
For those nightshade summer crops it’s best to be going straight to seedlings:
- capsicum & chillies
You’re going to want some herbs to eat them with, and you can never have too much basil!
- spring onion
Cucurbits (cucumber family) for the win. You can still grow from seed, but seedlings might give you a bit of a head start.
You can create ‘three sisters’ companion planting with a cucurbit and a climbing bean and corn. Usually it’s best to just grow the latter two from seed.
Leafy greens can be planted now too.
- Asian brassicas (wombok, bok choi, etc.)
- Brussel’s sprouts
- silverbeet & rainbow chard
- sweet potato (yes we eat its delicious greens as well its tubers)
Why not also plant some:
- cape gooseberry & tomatillo
In the Orchard
- Regularly deep water your young trees to enable them to thrive and develop a strong root system. Also keep the water up to berries after you’ve harvested all that delicious fruit. This will make sure next year’s crop is just as bountiful.
- Mulch in your orchard and you won’t lose precious water to evaporation.
- Keep pinching out any shoots that you see straying in the wrong direction – that will save you from heavier pruning later.
- A little potash sprinkled around trees that are developing fruit will also help ensure a tasty harvest next year.
Weeds as nurse plants
If you pull out all your weeds and then plant your little seedlings, hungry slugs and snail can wipe out your babies overnight! You’re probably going to want to give your slugs and snails an alcoholic death anyway with a beer trap. But we like to use our weeds as soil protectors and deterrents to nurse our seedlings to health. Rather than pull out all the weeds, we might make pull out a section where we are planting. And then progressively weed around our veggies as they grow, adding the weeds to the compost or layering them under a thin layer of mulch, so they feed the soil. In the meantime they’ve been filling in the gaps, and we’re capturing all that sunlight. Pictured is the very edible chickweed, so it can go in the salad too. (Find out more at one of Adam’s Edible Weed Walks.)