As the mornings are getting crisper and the days are getting longer, it’s time to start preparing your garden for Spring. And, most importantly, planning what you want to grow. Melbourne has a very specific climate which means some plants thrive better than others. Today we’ve put together a comprehensive list of vegetables, herbs and fruits you can grow and how best to manage them.
Preparing Your Garden for Spring
The first thing you need to do is prepare your garden for planting. So kick off the new gardening season by clearing out weeds and debris, as well as pruning back your existing plants. You should also replenish your soil by adding a healthy dose of compost and mulch to help your plants thrive.
Mushroom compost is the best option for your garden. It should be a pasteurised blend of straw (wheat), gypsum, and chicken manure. Mushroom compost is ideals for improving soil in new gardens, conserving soil moisture, and rejuvenating gardens.
Mulching is absolutely essential in Melbourne. The temperamental climate can cause damage to your soil and plants, so mulching gives your garden a level of protection. Not only does mulch help eliminate weeds, it is also aesthetically pleasing and helps retain moisture in warmer seasons. Mulch also helps insulate plant roots from harsh Melbourne frosts and can help reduce soil erosion. Finally, mulch is perfect for adding nutrients and improving soil health, so you have a better chance of your plants thriving.
What Vegetables to Plant in Spring?
Homegrown vegetables are one of the best things in the world. Not only are they packed full of flavour, they are also far more fresh than grocery store varieties. There is a sense of pride that comes with successfully growing your own vegetables and it can also be a fantastic teaching point for children. Understanding the origins of our food is more important than ever for younger generations.
Spring is the perfect time to establish a new garden bed/s in time for the growing season. For the time poor, no-dig vegetable garden beds are increasingly popular. They are also ideal for those who have pets that might dig up the garden and for those who can’t bend over a lot.
Below are the we discuss what vegetables to plant in Spring!
Beetroot needs rich, well-drained, light but deep soil. It should be planted directly into its final position in your garden. They should be planted at least 15cm apart each way. Choose a position that is in the sun or partial shade.
Broccoli and Cauliflower
Broccoli and cauliflower both like rich, deep soil that is firm with plenty of well-rotted compost. Both plants enjoy being planted in full sun. When heads start to form, they need to be fed a liquid plant food. You harvest both plants the same way – cut out the large, central head first before it begins to flower. The smaller side heads should be ready to harvest a few weeks later. Cauliflower is ready when the head is fully developed, before the curd becomes loose. The plant should have a rice-like appearance. Plant 50cm each way and cover with netting to protect from butterflies, moths, birds and other pests.
Capsicum likes rich soil with plenty of compost. It should be planted in a sunny position or under cover. You need to feed capsicum a liquid plant feed once it reaches a reasonable size. Plant in late Winter to early Spring and transfer to bigger pots as required. The plant might need some support if the capsicums grown large. Plant with at least 35cm each way. You can harvest them green when they have grown to a good size, or leave them to ripen to yellow, orange or red, whatever you prefer.
Carrots prefer sun or partial shade in light, deep, well-drained soil that hasn’t had compost or manure added recently. This means you avoid forked roots. They need to be sown directly into the soil and never sown during a heavy frost. There should be 10cm between each plant, each way. You can harvest carrots over a long period however, if left in the ground over Winter, they can split which will attract slugs.
Cucumbers grown best in soil that has been enriched with a lot of compost. They need to be in a sunny, sheltered site or grown in a greenhouse. You need to feed cucumbers a liquid feed, fortnightly, from mid-summer. Plant after frosts, with 60cm between each plant, each way. Cucumbers need supports so they can climb easily upwards, especially when the cucumbers get larger. Harvest when cucumbers are young, otherwise they become hard and will need to be peeled.
Eggplants are fantastic vegetables to plant in Spring. They love warm, fertile and well-drained soil, situated in full sun. It is a semi-tropical plant and does not do well in frost. Space each plant 40cm away from the next. Sow in indoor pot plants 6 weeks before Spring. Move to larger pots as needed. Plant outside in Spring. Stake and support your eggplant to prevent them from falling when they are heavy with fruit. Use shears to cut fruits from the stem when the eggplants have shiny skins and only a few seeds inside.
Leeks like rich, loamy soil that holds moisture. It needs to be planted in the sun or partial shade. In late Summer, you need to drench the plants in a water-soluble plant food. Leeks should be planted with 20cm each way between plants. Sew under cover in cool weather and plant when the soil is warm. You can leave leeks in the ground until required and can be harvested through Autumn, Winter and into early Spring.
Lettuce likes most soil types but prefers if the soil is moisture retentive with dug in compost. Plant in semi-shade or a cool, sunny spot. It does well inter-planted between other vegetables. Space 25cm each way. You can do early planting under cover, in containers then continue sowing every few weeks to keep a continuous supply. Be careful, though. Early sowings of lettuce can be attacked by slugs and snails. You can harvest when the head of the lettuce feels firm. Pull the whole plant up and cut off the roots. It is best to harvest lettuce in the early morning when the leaves are still cool and full of moisture.
Onions are great vegetables to plant in Spring. They prefer fertile, well-drained soil with the compost dug in. Plant onions in sun or partial shade. Onion plants should be given 15cm space either way. Grow onions from seeds in pots under cover, then plant out in Spring. Harvest as soon as they reach a reasonable size. Weed early and often to keep onions growing.
Peas and Snow Peas
Grow peas and snow peas in fertile, well-drained soil in sunny or light shade positions. Feeding is not usually required though mulch compost, grass clippings or other organic matters can help if your soil is poor. Plant peas and snow peas with at least 10cm each way. Sow in batches for a continuous supply. Harvest just before eating when the pods are young and not stringy. Support plants with a strong row or structure with netting tied over for them to climb.
Rocket loves fertile, well-drained soil holds moisture well. Position in sun or partial shade with a cooler, shadier position preferred in Summer. Space 15cm apart each way. Sow directly into the soil in early Spring. Harvest in small batches as you require it. Once it flowers, however, the leaves will be tougher and hotter to taste.
A garden favourite, tomatoes are great vegetables to plant in Spring. Cherry tomatoes and normal tomatoes love rich coil with plenty of added compost, planted in a sunny position. Feed them a liquid plant feed from Spring onwards. Plants should be spaced 50cm apart. Tie plants to upright stakes with string to support the weight of the tomatoes. Pick as soon as the tomatoes are ripe to encourage the production of more tomatoes.
Ready to begin planning and planting your Spring time vegetable garden? Explore the range at Aumann’s Garden Supplies today! We have everything you need to get your garden started today!