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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)


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


  • 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.


  • 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)


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


  • 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; Top End Gardening (Environment Centre NT; Tropical Food Gardens by Leonie Norrington, 2001)).

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