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Planting Guide Index

  Mulch Pit Monthly Planting Plus Guide

At the Mulch Pit, we're learning as we go along. Learn with us here as we discover the best things to plant, pick, prune and prepare for each month of the year in our Tropical Permaculture Garden.

Please add to this growing knowledge bank by commenting on the entries below (coming soon!) and by joining us for hands-on learning in the Pit.

 

Monday
Jan212013

For the month of January....

Plant

  • Finalise planting of fruit trees, shade trees, bamboo and foliage plants to capitalise on wet season rains.  Feed lightly and mulch well over the coming months.

Prepare and Provide

  • Maintain fertiliser and water to minimise fruit splitting.
  • Fertilise needy plants with small doses of organic fertiliser to counteract leaching from heavy rain.
  • Stop potted plants drowning by covering shadehouses with plastic during the wettest times.
  • If rest vege beds over the wet season, plant a green manure crop to be turned into the soil to increase soil fertility.  Plant a crop like millet or sorghum into a well prepared bed.

Pests

  • Use milk spray to control powdery mildew.  Combine one part milk to five parts water and saturate entire leaves once a week.

Prune

  • Cut off citrus branches hanging lower than one metre off the ground to stop the spread of brown rot disease.

Propogate

  • Lift and divide cardamom.
  • Lift up and replant gingers from soggy ground.  Fertilise with seaweed.
Saturday
Jan192013

For the month of......February

Plant

Forget about planting traditional vege crops in the wet season.  Stick to heat-loving crops like snake beans and water-loving kang kong grown in your pond or bath.  (BB 2011)

Plant flat-leaf parsley in well drained garden beds or pots.  (BB 2011)

Plant mini/dwarf tomatoes at the end of the month to “get a start on a crop before the dry comes” (when you can plant traditional varieties).  They need five to six hours of sunlight a day.  (BB 2010)

Prepare for dry season growing by sowing seeds in punnets in the protection of the shade house - dill, rocket, lettuce, tomatoes, snow peas, capsicums and coriander.  (GA 2005)

Pick

“Native food plants in the tropics are laden with fruit.  They include black plum (vitex glabrata), white apple (syzygium forte and syzygium armstrong), blackcurrent (antidesma ghaesembilia), red plum (canthium schultzii) and purple plum (terminalia microcarpa).  Plant some for a future harvest.” (GA)

Keep harvesting kang kong so it doesn’t get “leggy and bitter”.  Re-plant for new young plants. (GA)

Vietnamese coriander will keep growing until you can plant traditional coriander after Easter.  Best confined to pots.  “Cut off the tail, spiky flower heads and use the flat leaves as a coriander substitute (use a few more than normal coriander)”. (BB 2011)

Pick a bunch of ceylon spinach, kang kong and sweet potato leaves, throw them in the blender and add the mix to pies, quiches and chippattis. (GA 2005)

Pot

It’s a good time for repotting large fruit trees and moving them to a sunny spot in the garden where they’ll be protected from storms.  (GA)

Propogate

Plant cassava cuttings now.  Old wood stems will strike well if poked into wet, soft ground.  Make sure it’s the plain green leafed variety not the variegated leaf (which is ornamental).  (BB 2010)

Perfect time to take tip cuttings.  Snip off first thing in the morning, keep moist in a plastic bag, dip in rooting powder and put them in seed raising mix.  (GA 2005)

Prepare and provide

Take a tour of your garden during one of the wet season downpours to “watch where the water flows”.  You’ll learn “where the run-off goes, how erosion happens and hopefully some clues on how to solve the problems”.  (BB 2011)

Taro and casava could use some encouragement with a bit of compost.  Alternatively, add blood and bone and cover with mulch.  (GA, 2005)

Break the banana flower off your banana bunches (use it to cook a fab salad!) and give the plant a good dose of chicken manure. (GA 2005)

Put mulch under your pumpkins and watermelons so they don't rot, then mulch on top to protect them from the sun.  (GA 2005)

Prune

Avoid doing pruning now if you can help it.  Cuts take longer to heal in the humid weather and plants are at greater risk of disease.  (BB 2011)

Pests

“Weed, weed and weed again.  Lush weeds are a terrific source of nitrogen for the compost heap”. (GA)

(Sources: Gardening Australia, Feb 2011 & Feb 2005; Bourke's Backyard, Feb 2010 and Feb 2011)

Friday
Jan182013

For the month of March.....

Prepare and provide

  • Get ready for dry season planting.  Build up layers of green weeds, manure, lime, mulch and trace elements.  Dig in cover crops before they flower.  Either turn over plants or slash the crop, then add chook manure and cover with mulch.  It takes six weeks before nutrients are available.  (GA 2005 and 2010)
  • Fertilise plants entering dormancy to encourage rhizome growth before the wet ends e.g. ginger, turmeric.  (GA 2010)
  • Apply fertiliser to citrus fruit for strong growth and good flower formation.  (GA, 2010)
  • Install or check your irrigation system for the upcoming dry season (TEG).
  • Start making compost and liquid compost for the dry (TEG)

Protect

  •  Cover seedlings with an A-frame covered in shade-cloth to protect them from knock-em-down storms.

Plant

  • Suitable for planting now: Sweet Corn, Pumpkin, Eggplant, Watermelon, Rockmelon, tomatoes, beans and curcubits (Gardening Australia 2005 and on-line).
  •  Sew herbs in good sized pots, so they are big enough to plant out in April.  Plant dill, oregano, rosemary, marjoram, thyme and coriander.  (GA 2005, 2010)
  • Hurry and start growing dry season seeds in your nursery, so they are ready to plant out in April (TEG, GA2005)
  • The "Tropical Food Gardens" guru, Leonie Norrington says "Sow capsicum seeds now in individual seedling pots to prevent stress when transplanting in the coming dry season".
  • Plant tomato seeds in pots in the shade house for protection and they'll be ready for planting in the cooler weather.  Wait til air is dry before transplanting the 5-10cm high seedlings.  Bury 2/3 of the stem underground to promote a good strong root system.
  • Plant cucumber directly into beds in early March, and replant each month to be eating cucumbers most of the dry season.  
  • Sow rockmelon seeds in early March and again in April in fertile soil.  Feed well throughout the long growing season.  You should have fruit in 12 weeks.  
  • Plant watermelon in early March and fertilise regularly. Pick out the ends of two metre long wandering vines to encourage branching.

Prune

  • Mulberry and guava need a final pruning before the rains stop so they have time to recover.  (GA 2011)
  • Cut back eggplant, okra and chilli's, fertilise and mulch to encourage more fruit.  (GA 2011)
  •   "Cut off all the flowers of the yam bean (pachyrhizus erosus) as they appear, to force the plant to put more energy into the tuber."  (GA 2011)

Pick

  • Harvest seeds and produce from the last wet season crops (TEG).

Propogate

  • Take strong and vigorous stem cuttings from dragonfruit (older than one year).  Take a stem that has fruited and flowered well.  Cut into segments at least 20 cm long.  Dust ends with powdered sulfur and leave cuttings in the sun for at least a week to promote healing and form roots.  Plant into pots or directly into the garden.  (GA 2011)

Pest control

  • To treat nematodes and eel worm, strip the garden and dig in compost.  Dissolve 1kg sugar and apply to 2.5 square metres.  Cover with black plastic, edge with bricks and leave for 12 weeks.  Dig in manure and compost then it's ready for replanting.
  • Treat mould, fungus and mildew on suseptible plants (TEG).

(Source Gardening Australia, March, 2005, 2010 and 2011; Gardening Australia online at http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s3149516.htm; Top End Gardening (Environment Centre NT; Tropical Food Gardens by Leonie Norrington, 2001)).

Friday
Jan182013

For the month of April...

Plant

  • Depending on rains, plan out dry season beds with seeds and seedlings! (TEG)
  • Plant rockmelons now in raised beds or over trellis (GA, 2010)
  • Plant snow peas now over 3 metre trellis so they’ll flower before the cooler weather (GA, 2010)
  • Sow a crop of cherry tomato seeds now in seedling pots and you’ll have fruit until October/November.  Plant out when the weather cools off (TFG)
  • Now's the time for cucumber, zucchini, celery, eggplant and malabar Greens (GA, online)
  • Perfect time for planting coriander seeds straight into the ground, to avoid transplant shock.  Throw in extra seeds every few weeks to keep up a regular supply of leaves and let the older plants go to flower to attract beneficial insects (GA, online).

Pick

  • Harvest seeds from wet season crops (TEG).

Prune

  • Cut back dead or dying ginger foliage (GA, 2009)

Prepare and Provide

  • Shade seedings.  Mulch beds heavily.  Cover seedlings with loosened mulch to protect them from the sun (GA, 2009).
  • Fertilise citrus if you didn’t do it in March.  Break the flower off new banana bunches when the fruit is fully formed and fertilise heavily with chook manure (GA, 2009)
  • Clean out irrigation systems.  Open the ends of each pipe, turn on the water and flush out accumulated debris, mould, ants, dead lizards etc.  Check dripper nozzles and clean if blocked (GA, 2009)
  • To keep bamboo easy to harvest, take out 3 year old stalks.
  • Continue making compost and liquid compost for the coming Dry (TEG).
  • Add compost to dry season vege beds and fruit trees (TEG).

Pests

  • Keep weeds away by building up mulch that broke down during the wet (GA, 2010)

(Source Gardening Australia, March, 2009 and 2010; Top End Gardening (Environment Centre NT); Tropical Food Gardens by Leonie Norrington, 2001); Gardening Australia online at http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s3171788.htm.

 

Thursday
Jan172013

For the month of May.....

Plant

  • Plant coriander in rows each week as it grows only this time of year.
  • Tomatoes should be planted by the end of the month.  Try cherry tomatoes for less pests.
  • When corn has reach 10cm high, underplant with butternut pumpkin, rockmelon or watermelon to take over after corn harvest.
  • Plant rocket in a semi-shaded position and feed well for a milder flavour.
  • Harvest your peanuts before the ground gets too dry and diseases move in.

Protect

  • Loop two lengths of 50mm PVC piping over your figs and throw netting over the top

Pests

  • After laying your mulch this month, cover it with chicken wire to keep scrub fowls at bay.

Prepare and Provide

  • Prune back trees to give your vegie garden extra sun.
  • Give young citrus plants a light dose of fruit tree fertiliser.
  • Thin out seedlings of lettuce, rocket, basil and parsley.
  • If you haven't already, check your irrigation.  Clean sprinkler heads, ensure water pressure is equal allong the irrigation line, flush the pipes to clean of alll sand, dirty and ants and check joins for invasive tree roots.
  • Feed the vegie garden with organic fertiliser every 4 to 6 weeks and herbs with liquid fertiliser every two weeks.
  • Replenish mulch where needed.

(Sources: Gardening Australia 2010 and 2011; Top End Gardening, Environment Centre NT)