Growing Calendar

3 Season Growing Calendar for South East Queensland and North Coast New South Wales

In the subtropics (especially SE Queensland and Northern NSW in Australia) people sometimes talk of three growing seasons (or 3 "summers") - tropical summer, European summer, Mediterranean summer. Each "summer" is perfect for growing the classic crops of those areas. This model has helped me better understand our growing seasons. We generally use it in my community (Bellbunya).

This page is incomplete and I will keep adding to it over time

Three Growing Seasons Summary

Tropical
- hot, humid, wet. Summertime, after the rains start our wet season (usually by November/December, but has been late in recent years) until March/April when things cool down. Insects and fungal disease will destroy European and Mediterranean vegetables so grow tropical substitutes. Grow what they grow in South East Asia: tropical beans, sweet potato, ceylon spinach, Brazilian spinach, cassava, taro, pumpkin/melons, yakon, arrowroot, ginger/tumeric.
Cool temperate (North European Summer) - starts in Autumn (March/April) until the dry warm air (about August/September) as it cools and rains reduce. Grow what they grow in northern Europe: lettuce, brassicas (Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Calabrese, Cauliflower, Kale, Kohlrabi, Mustard, Oriental Brassicas, Radish, Swede, Turnip), bok choi, carrot parsely, coriander, tomato, potato, broad bean, sweet peas
Mediterranean Summer - dry air, warm winds. Generally starts about August/September. You need to water (and protect the gardens from digging bandicoots). Grow what they grow in the Mediterranean: cucurbits (Pumpkin, Cucumber, Zuchini, Melon), tomato, eggplant, capsicum, corn, beans.

Tropical (SE Asian Summer)

What: Hot, humid, wet.
When: Summertime, after the rains start our wet season (usually by November/December, but has been late in recent years) until March/April when things cool down.
Issues: Insects and fungal disease will destroy European and Mediterranean vegetables so grow tropical substitutes. Think of what is grown in SE Asia.

Seasonal Tasks:
Fertilise the entire garden with an organically based fertiliser.
Watch out for caterpillars on citrus, impatiens and white cedar.


Plant:
Ceylon spinach (sow direct, vine on lattice, perennial - ensure replacement crop is mature before removing old crop, salad or stir fry)
Brazilian spinach (sow direct, pereneal - ensure replacement crop is mature before removing old crop, salad or stir fry)
Cassava (should have planted in October to harvest in May)
Arrowroot / Cana (plant rhyzomes (?) (shoots with part attached tuber), matures after???, harvest for tubers, peel and cook as a potato substitute)
Madagascar Beans Phaseolus lunatus: This perennial vine produces bountiful crops of beans. Use them fresh as a substitute for broad beans or use the shelled dried beans, cooked in soups, stews and vegetable burgers!
Turmeric (Curcuma domestica), Ginger (Zingiber officinale), Galangal (Alpinia galangal): All three of these common spices find their way into food we eat, yet few people grow their own fresh supplies. Start with a rhizome purchased from an organic market or green grocer. Simply plant out in the garden and harvest garden fresh rhizomes whenever you need them.
Taro Colocasia esculenta: The large, attractive leaves of the taro plant look great in a tropical garden. Plant it where the soil is moist or plunge potted specimens into a pond. One tuber multiples quickly, producing young tubers that can be cooked like potatoes. The easiest way to ensure you get a sweet, edible variety is to buy your planting stock from the supermarket or green grocer.
Peruvian Parsnip Arracacia xanthorrhiza: This root vegetable from South America produces long, cream-coloured, parsnip-like roots. You can also harvest the tops as a green vegetable or garnish. Propagate from root cuttings.
Water Chestnuts Eleocharis dulcis: Few plants are more productive with one corm producing 50 new chestnuts in one season! Turn you pond into a productive food garden.
Yacon Polymnia sonchifolia: Also known as sweet root, this hardy plant produces large sweet potato-like tubers that are crisp and juicy. Extremely productive, its grows easily from stem cuttings or vegetative tubers.
Perennial Coriander: As the heat of summer approaches, annual coriander quickly goes to seed and dies. Not so, the perennial coriander. This low growing perennial produces dandelion-like leaves and prickly seed heads. Keep removing the seed heads as they form if you want greater leaf production. Perennial coriander has a stronger flavour than annual coriander, so you only need a few leaves to provide that great taste.

Summer salad greens - dandelion chicory, nasturtium, green elk, minuba, mizuna, watercress, perennial sorrel
capsicum (sow direct or seed trays, r3 fruity, solanaceae/nightshade, detail),
choko (plant shooting fruit to grow on fence/shed),
cucumber (sow direct, r3 fruity, cucurbit family, detail),
eggplant (sow direct or seed trays, r3 fruity, solanaceae/nightshade, detail),
lettuce (easy, sow direct, r2 leafy, daisy family, detail),
okra (seed tray, r3 fruity, hibiscus family),
pumpkin (easy, sow direct, r3 fruity, cucurbit family, detail),
radish (easy, sow direct, r4 rooty, brassicaca family),
rockmelon (seed tray, r3 fruity, cucurbit family),
rosella (sow direct, r3 fruity, detail),
snake bean (easy, sow direct, r1 leggy),
sweet corn (sow direct, r3 fruity, detail),
sweet potato (plant cuttings, r4 rooty, detail), also non running sweet potato (Ipomoea babatus)
cherry tomato (seed trays, r3 fruity, solanaceae/nightshade,detail),
watermelon (seed tray, r3 fruity, detail),
zucchini (seed tray, r3 fruity)

Cool temperate (North European Summer)

What
: cool, not so wet
When: Starts in Autumn (March/April) as it cools and the wet season ends until the dry warm air (about August/September) .
Issues: less insect activity, great for growing traditional European vegetables, especially brasicas.

Grow what they grow in northern Europe: lettuce, brassicas (Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Calabrese, Cauliflower, Kale, Kohlrabi, Mustard, Oriental Brassicas, Radish, Swede, Turnip), bok choi, carrot parsely, coriander, tomato, potato, broad bean, sweet peas

Seasonal Tasks:
Slowed growth during winter provides an opportunity to tackle major landscaping projects like making new garden beds, paving, constructing pergolas or building retaining walls. Small chance of occasional frost. Generally rain should have finished by April but in recent years it's gone until end of June. Attention should be paid to making optimum use of scarce water resources.
Fertilise fruit trees, citrus, passionfruit, native plants and emerging bulbs, then water well.
Plant sweet peas, strawberry runners, seedlings, bulbs, trees and shrubs.
Trim plants that have become too rampant over summer.
Raise the cutting height of your mower in preparation for winter.
Lift, divide, propagate and replant herbaceous perennials.
Plant deciduous trees, shrubs, frangipani cuttings, roses.
Prune deciduous plants and swollen gall wasp stems on citrus, roses.
Relocate poorly positioned trees and shrubs to new areas.
Control bindii weed in lawns (look like carrot leaves) to avoid painful burrs during summer.

Harvest:
Cassava (plant (October) sections of stem including 2 or 3 nodes, harvest (May) as will not grow any more this season and gets woody with age. Harvest by removing entire plant, peel roots/tubers and remove dark areas (toxic). Cannot be stored as toxins (black areas) will grow. Cook like potato - best to steam then bake. After harvesting, cut stem into 6 inch sections and store in slightly damp sawdust until they sprout (October) and can be planted)

Plant: (months just give approximate idea)
March: carrot, cauliflower, French beans, leeks, lettuce, silver beet, spring onion & radish, capsicum, cucumber, eggplant, potatoes, sweet corn, sweet potato & tomato
April: beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, lettuce, radish & spring onion, Brussels sprout, capsicum, endive, French beans, garlic, kohl rabi, leeks, onions, potatoes, silver beet, spinach, sweet potato & tomato
May: broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, carrot, kohl rabi, lettuce, radish, silver beet, spring onion & turnip, beetroot, broad beans, Brussels sprout, capsicum, celery, chicory, endive, French beans, garlic, leeks, onions, parsnip, peas, potatoes, spinach, swede, sweet potato& tomato
June: carrot, cauliflower, kohl rabi, lettuce, radish, spring onion & turnip, beetroot, broad beans, broccoli, cabbage, capsicum, celery, endive, French beans, garlic, leeks, onions, parsnip, peas, potatoes, silver beet, spinach, swede, sweet potato, tomato
July: carrot, kohl rabi, lettuce, radish, spring onion & turnip, beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, capsicum, celery, endive, French bean, garlic, leeks, peas, potatoes, silver beet, swede, sweet potato, tomato.
August: kohl rabi, lettuce, radish, beetroot, carrot, capsicum, celery, cucumber, eggplant, French beans, okra, potatoes, pumpkin, silver beet, spring onion, squash, sweet potato, tomato & zucchini

Warm Dry (Mediterranean Summer)

What: dry air, warm winds.
When: Generally starts about August/September and goes until the rainy season hits - hot and humid (usually November/December but has been late in recent year - could be February).
Issues: You need to water (and protect the gardens from digging bandicoots). Grow what they grow in the Mediterranean: cucurbits (Pumpkin, Cucumber, Zuchini, Melon), tomato, eggplant, capsicum, corn, beans.

Seasonal Tasks:
Prune fruit trees?
Fertilise bulbs, pawpaws, citrus and water well.
Protect seedlings from snails and slugs with non-toxic, iron based baits.
Repot and fertilize indoor plants.

Plant: (months just give approximate idea)
Cassava (plant (October) sections of stem including 2 or 3 nodes, harvest (May) as will not grow any more this season and gets woody with age. Harvest by removing entire plant, peel roots/tubers and remove dark areas (toxic). Cannot be stored as toxins (black areas) will grow. Cook like potato - best to steam then bake. After harvesting, cut stem into 6 inch sections and store in slightly damp sawdust until they sprout (October) and can be planted)
September: carrot, choko, cucumber, eggplant, French beans, lettuce, radish, spring onion, squash, tomato, beetroot, capsicum, kohl rabi, okra, pumpkin, rockmelon, rosella, silver beet, sweet corn, sweet potato, watermelon, zucchini
October: capsicum, choko, cucumber, eggplant, French beans, lettuce, okra, pumpkin, radish, spring onion, tomato & zucchini, rockmelon, rosella, squash, sweet potato & watermelon, sweet corn
November: capsicum, choko, cucumber, eggplant, lettuce, squash, sweet corn, sweet potato, radish, snake beans, tomato, zucchini, okra, pumpkin, rockmelon, rosella, spring onion, & watermelon


Greenharvest also has a good growing calendar: