In the north, spring is well under way. Broad beans are flowering, garlic is well through the ground (and craving liquid feeding), peas are advancing up their supports and carrots may even be at the stage of requiring thinning. All of which is no reason for not making a second sowing of anything (with the possible exception of garlic) that takes your fancy. Brassica seedlings can be transplanted into the garden, now, and mulched well to retain moisture as the season warms up. Main crop beetroot, kohlrabi, parsnip, and potatoes can still be sown any time this month but it’s best to hold back on those leafy Asian greens (mizuna, mibuna, bok choy, tatsoi and nappa cabbage) which prefer to grow into the cooler months. Leek and onion seedlings can be transplanted into beds while, in pots, capsicum, chilli, tomato and melons should be kept well fed with liquid manure. Toward the end of the month, bush and climbing beans can be sown in beds (if the season is wet, sow into small hillocks to encourage good-draining as bean seed is prone to rot if ground is water-logged). In pots, under cover, or placed on heated seed-raising trays, sow egg-plant and watermelon. Asparagus-lovers should leave it no later to plant out new crowns which can be purchased from garden suppliers. Make sure asparagus beds are heavily enriched with well rotted animal manure.
In cool regions, peas can be sown now along with early carrots (shorter varieties are best, with longer rooted carrots sown 3-4 weeks later), spinach, coriander, and cool-season leafy greens such as mizuna, mibuna and tatsoi. Get those broad beans in the garden now but don’t go overboard with a big sowing. Successive sowings can be made throughout the growing season, right up until early autumn. Toward the end of the month, get shallot bulbs in the ground and plant out garlic cloves. Under cover or in trays, sow lettuces, silver beet, and leeks. Don’t be hasty with warmer-temperature plants such as beans, zucchini and pumpkin. There time will come next month.
Brassica sown in August can be fed with liquid manure. If seedlings are large enough, transplant them into the main garden but be prepared to cover them with plastic bottles or cloches during cold snaps. Berry fruit plants are beginning to come into leaf. Gently weed around bushes without disturbing roots. Top up on mulch to keep further weeds at bay. Last minute pruning of fruit trees can be undertaken providing they are still dormant (showing no sign of breaking into leaf). Check rhubarb plants, nipping off any seedheads that make an appearance. Make the most of early greens such as chives, sorrel, and spring onions sown last autumn. If broad beans are doing well, you may be able to nab a few green leaves to add to a salad. If you didn’t cut back on perennials (including herbs such as sage and rosemary) at the end of autumn, there’s still a chance to do so now before spring growth gets up and running.
Wherever you are gardening, one of the most important things to remember at this time of the year is ‘slow and steady’. Everything doesn’t need to be planted or sown at once. The growing season stretches out before you and you don’t want all your garden space taken up at the start of spring, leaving no room for anything else later on.