Friday, 30 March 2012

Cool Season Gardening

We live in South East Queensland so are in the sub tropical zone of the country, but we are also about 100km inland from the coast so during to cooler months we have more of a temperate climate but with warm daytime temperatures. This means we get 2 distinct season's, a winter with mild days and cold nights with frosts from June - August, and hot wet summers where we can grow things like bananas, paw paws and mangos.

Summer for us is actually a challenging time to grow veggies as there are usually endless fungal problems and the good chance of plants drowning.  For this reason I plan to fail between mid December and March and if I do get crops they are a bonus.  I also use this time to clean out garden beds and plant green manure crops to be dug in at the end of February.
From April till September we get our version of Winter.  I say from April because that is when you can feel that a change is afoot and the night temperatures start to drop.
For me March marks the start of my growing season and because our winter only has a couple months with really cold night temperatures you have to be organised.
So in late February I get my seeds sorted and planted out in seed raising mix.  I know that I am gong to prick out the seedlings as soon as they pop up so the other thing I have to do is wash out all my pots with soapy water and leave them to dry.

 Once they are potted on they spend some time in the shade house getting established so that they get a head start and during this time I also prep the garden beds.

There are some things however that did not go as planned.
My Bok Choy for example.  I planted it directly into the soil and it all sprouted beautifully.  Oh the stir frys that we were going to have.
Some nasty little critter decided to dine on all my little seedlings leaving me a few stalks.  Most of these seedlings will not recover as they had no leaves left. some not even stalks.  Bloody critters!

There have been a few bonuses though.  Some of my beans that started to rot on the vine self seeded and now we are having a late run on beans.

Next week i hope to get some of the first seedling in the garden, although i might have to do some critter proofing first.

What's growing at your place?


  1. That happened to my bok choy last year! But this year it has self-seeded and popping up everywhere and doing well, while the broccoli is getting eaten this time! You never know what you're going to get....

  2. Fiona,
    You look so organised! Normally the wet season is over by now, but with La Nina it seems to be extended this year and they are talking well into April. I have planted seeds in trays, but they are not happy with overcast skies. My silverbeet and bokchoy often get eaten by critters, so I have taken to spraying often with a chili garlic mix. Lately I have mixed in a bit of milk as well because with all the moisture around there is also a fair bit of fungus. that is gardening in the tropics for you!

  3. Having a couple of months of enforced rest for your garden beds must create really healthy soil. I was planning to rest one of my beds this winter, but I looked at it today and couldn't resist planting it out, so now I have to promise myself not to do that in the following season!


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