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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.


Entries in planting guide (2)


For the month of......February


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)


“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)


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)


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)


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)


“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)


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)).