North East Melbourne veggie & herb planting guide

 

The table below shows the best months to plant each of a wide variety of vegetables and herbs. In addition, for each vegetable/herb, it shows: how it should be planted (direct, seed trays, etc); how far apart to plant it; its lifecycle (annual, perennial, etc); its moon phase planting quarter (for those doing moon phase planting) and its crop rotation group (for those doing crop rotation).

Click anywhere in the table to view a higher resolution version. Alternatively, for printing purposes, here is a pdf version.

planting-guide-low-res

Moon phase planting

Lots of people (including, by anecdote, many farmers) practice moon-phase planting whereby different types of veggie are planted at different times in the moon’s 28-day cycle.

The basic idea/assumption/rationale/sophistry is that one wants to root crops to grow downwards, and thus when the upward pull of the moon is lessening, and thus when the moon is waning. By contrast, one wants leafy and fruity crops to grow upwards, and thus when the upward pull of the moon is increasing, and thus when the moon is waxing. This gives the following phasing:

  • 1st quarter: leafy – plant crops where one eats the leaves/foliage.
  • 2nd quarter: fruits – plant crops where one eats the fruit.
  • 3rd quarter: roots – plant root crops.
  • 4th quarter: have a rest!

Crop rotation

As fruity things, cucurbits (cucumbers, etc) and solanums (tomatoes, etc) are heavy feeders. Brassicas (cabbages, etc) are medium feeders. As rooty things, alliums (onions, etc) and umbellifers (carrots, etc) are light feeders. Legumes (beans, etc) are non-feeders (they can fix their own nitrogen). Many leafy greens (lettuce, spinach, silverbeet, etc) don’t have much impact on the soil and can thus be planted anywhere. So, one sensible crop rotation would be:

  1. Legumes (beans, peas etc).
  2. Brassicas (cabbage, broccoli, etc).
  3. Alliums (onions, leeks, etc).
  4. Cucurbits (cucumber, pumpkin, etc).
  5. Umbellifers (carrots etc).
  6. Solanums (tomatoes, potatoes, etc).

This is a 6-year crop rotation. To make it shorter, you have to do one or more of three things:

  1. Combine some things: so, for example, combine alliums and umbellifers as ‘roots’.
  2. Omit some things: so, for example, never plant brassicas.
  3. Plant a cool season crop (e.g. brassicas) followed by a warm season crop (e.g. solanums or cucurbits) into a single bed over the course of a year.

You also have to decide whether the annual rotation should be in Spring or in Autumn.
For a comprehensive discussion of crop rotation, read Angelo Eliades’ article.

  7 Responses to “North East Melbourne veggie & herb planting guide”

  1. My cats keep going to the bathroom in my veggie garden. I keep cleaning it up but will this affect my vegetables?

  2. I am a beginner gardener and don’t know where to start. Can anyone help please 🙂

    • It depend what you like to eat, but first you have to prepare the garden with fertiliser or manure and get a garden calendar.

  3. Can I grow tomatoes in the same place year on year?
    Also is their anything that I can grow with tomatoes to assist with bug minimisation

    • Hi Dale,

      Re location: you should change where you grow your tomatoes each year, preferably as part of an organised crop rotation.

      Re companion plants: many people plant basil alongside their tomatoes.

      • Hi Dale,

        As Guy said, tomatoes and basil grow well together, basil protects tomatoes and they go well on your plate together too. Nasturtiums protect a lot of veggie plants, in particular, red and orange nasturtiums will deter aphids and yellow nasturtiums are a favourite meal for aphids, they are attracted to yellow nasturtiums, so plant yellow away from your patch and interplant red and orange in with the veggies.

        Re crop rotation, which is required so as to add and/replace nutrients to the soil, if you plant the same thing they will draw the nutrients out of the soil and nothing is replaced…therefore you will not have a good crop in a year or two and possibly some soil disease. If you have a small space, you can interplant with other plants which will not only help protect each other but will also add some nutrients to the soil…google interplanting with, whatever you want to grow, in your case, tomatoes.

        Just an FYI, you can grow tomatoes with asparagus, basil, any one of the cabbage family, carrots, parsly, onions, rosemary and sage … happy gardening:)

      • I had good results planting tomatoes in the same bed 3 years running. However I’d suggest rotating if you possibly can for better results.

        As for companion planting, I normally grow red/orange marigolds with the tomatoes – seems to help keep pests at bay.

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