The Garden in March- Gardening Tips and What to Plant- by Max Lindegger
Max Lindegger of Ecological Solutions has kindly agreed for Permaculture Noosa to post his newsletters on our site:
Welcome to Autumn!!
February did bring some extremely hot weather to our parts of Australia and some excellent rain and plenty of it. Enough to fill dams and tanks and re-plenish our ground water tables. A good start for us gardeners.
Trudi and I have been away for most of February – it was cooler in Cambodia and Thailand then here.
Most of our garden is cleared ( thanks to Trudi) and the first bed planted in anticipation of more rain in the next week or so. It is raining as I write this but very comfortably mild – Autumn is on the way! Most of the garden beds have been top dressed with some poultry manure which will break down before the major planting starts.
I’m planning to grow Beans through winter as we did successfully last year. Just a few years ago we had regular frosts right up to our home – no more.
March is one of my peak planting dates. Many of the warm weather vegetables will still be doing quite OK ( eg Cucumbers, Beans etc) and if you are willing to take some risks you can start planting some of the vegetables which do better here in the cooler part of the year ( eg Broccoli, Cauliflower, Mibuna, Mizuna etc) and it is about the perfect time to plant some of the vegetables ( eg Garlic, Radish, Carrots etc) We all will have a busy time ahead! And we will be hoping for more rain and milder weather.
March is the best month to put your Garlic into the ground. Buy your planting material from a reliable source ( like Green Harvest) .
South-East Queensland is not the ideal place to grow top quality Garlic as Garlic prefers cooler, and shorter days but some cultivars have been developed which do quite OK.
( Cambodia and Thailand grows Garlic and I always wonder why they seem to have no issue growing garlic? Indeed they grow Broccoli all year round and must have different varrieties)
Garlic is such a valuable crop ( and most of the Garlic is imported and most likely sprayed or fumigated) that it is worth the effort.
Garlic likes deep, well prepared and reasonably fertile soil. Plant the clove pointy end up and mulch well. Maintain an even soil moisture throughout winter but hold water back when leaves start to wilt ( as the days are getting warmer and longer again).
It is generally accepted that ” Glen Large ” is the best one for our area. Last year’s crop was far from perfect and it will be difficult to buy top-grade corms. Get your hands on any which are reasonable, plant the biggest cloves and eat the rest. Good value at any price.
As soon as the humidity drops it is time to plant Potatoes. Try to plant into new ground ( a former lawn is great) or a patch where Potatoes have not been grown for a few years. This will reduce the likelihood of diseases and pests. Avoid rocky soil or soil infested with Nut grass.
Only use Certified Seed Potatoes ( eg from Green Harvest or another reliable source) Potatoes don’t like wet ground but will do well in most reasonable soil. Potatoes are good “Ground Breakers”. You may cut the seed potatoes into smaller pieces as long as each part has at least one “eye: but the yield will be greater per plant if you use whole tubers. In our climate where we expect dry weather from about April it is well worth it to mulch the Potatoes thickly to keep any moisture in. Many books will tell you that for each piece planted you will get about 10 ( or more) Potatoes. In our climate this is a little optimistic but there is no harm to try.
I don’t think that we are sure which cultivar will do best in our climate and it would be worthwhile to do some trials.
Leaf vegetables planted while the temperatures are still pretty high and equally important, humidity is still high will suffer from a number of pests. Snails can be bad this time of the year if night time temperatures stay above 15 C. You may like to make use of appropriate sprays and dusts to limit the damage or simply go out at night and collection them. All of the problem snails are imports ( native snails are no problem in our gardens) and you don’t need to be too worried about feeding them to chickens and ducks.
Cauliflowers and Broccoli planted now will most likely be attacked by a number of insects but in my experience will outgrow the problem as the nights get cooler. Remember that we eat the heads forming in a few months in the middle of the plant not the outer leaves. Plant a few seed or seedlings regularly for the next few months for an on-going supply.
The quality of Lettuce grown is much better now than the Summer Lettuce. And the choice is huge! Don’t forget to try some of the more bitter Salad Vegetables like Endive, Radicchio and Chicory – they are good for you and will bring back memories of Italy.
March is the month for Strawberries.
Plant into a well prepared and mulched ( pine needles or Casuarina leaves are ideal as Strawberries like it a bit acid) bed in a sunny, frost-free spot. It is not easy to find runners which are suited to this climate but try Green Harvest ( Pat will attempt to have some at the Witta Market).
Only Plant Tomatoes if you have a sunny, warm and definitely frost free patch. The advantage of late Tomatoes is the lack of fruit flies in the cooler part of the year.
What to plant in March: Carrots, Radish, Peas, Corn Salad, Turnips, Parsnip, Beans, Beetroot, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Celery, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Endive, Rocket, Onions, Spring Onions, Onion Chives, Silver Beet, Spinach, Tatsoi, Mibuna, Mizuna, Pak Choy, Bok Choy, Wong Bok, Leeks, Parsley, Chicory, Radicchio, Roma Tomatoes.
We will be at the Witta Market ( which is getting bigger all the time) on the 17. March with some honey and candles and Pat and John will have a good selection of seedlings. Be early and you will have the best choice
Pat will be at Lot 59 at Crystal Waters on the 15. March between 2 and 4 PM with Seedlings
max and Trudi
And pat and John
EcoLogical Solutions – Consultancy & Education Services
59 Crystal Waters, 65 Kilcoy Lane, Conondale Qld 4552, Australia
Tel: +61 (0)7 5494 4741, Fax: +61 (0)7 5494 4578
I get often asked what the ideal pH was for various vegetables. I have included a list below. In my experience I have found that if you have a soil high in organic matter the pH is less of an issue. Still, for best results it is worthwhile to aim for a level close to the remanded.
Green Harvest sell pH kits and tools suitable for the home gardener. See here http://www.greenharvest.com.au/tools/soil_testing_and_monitoring_prod.html
Witta market on the 16. September Lots of seedlings available and there will be an early rush!
Next Beekeeping Workshop: 23. September.
max and Trudi
Pat and John
From: Max Lindegger [mailto:email@example.com]
59/65 Kilcoy Lane
Conondale QLD 4552
Tel: 07 54944741