North East Melbourne veggie planting guide


The table below shows the best months to plant each of a wide variety of vegetables and some herbs. It is not the only months that plantings are possible – just the best months.

In addition, for each vegetable, it shows: how it should be planted (direct, seed trays, etc); how far apart to plant it; its lifecycle (annual, perennial, etc); its crop rotation group (for those doing crop rotation); and its moon phase planting quarter (for those doing moon phase planting). Note that perennial herbs are not included (with Autumn being a good time to plant most of these).

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

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 take place in Spring or in Autumn.
For a comprehensive discussion of crop rotation, read Angelo Eliades’ article.

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 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!

  14 Responses to “North East Melbourne veggie planting guide”

  1. I failed my vegie patch last year. Capsicums didn’t mature from flower and tomato plants were scrawny. I watered the patch with bore water that is brown and full of iron. Could this be poisoning the plants?

    • Try planting your capsicums and tomato plants later. We planted capsicums early which never grew and just stayed the same size. We then planted a 2nd lot in early October and they thrived. They need warmth. We are leaving planting until early October this year.

  2. A waxing or waning moon has no effect its gravitational pull. Moon phases are caused by illumination of the moon’s surface. When the moon, sun and Earth align, that’s when we see the biggest tides, and that’s at the new and full moon. See here for the science:

  3. I think my potatoes would highly disagree with the chart on here. I’ve got Dutch cream, kipler and kestrel. All of them have been in a minimum of 6 weeks+. So I’m guessing that it’s a specific variety of spuds. Which 1 is it? I live in the Yarra valley. Which is north east of Melbourne.

    • Hi Woody,

      Thanks for your comment. I’ve had a chat with Gembrook Potatoes. Potatoes grow best over summer, and therefore the best time to plant them is in Spring. However, they can be sensibly planted in any month apart from Winter (June and July). Given that it is actually quite difficult to store potatoes successfully in Melbourne for long periods of time without them sprouting, succession planting throughout the year is a good approach. After thinking about all this, I have amended the guide to extend the planting period for potatoes.

  4. Hi all,

    I’ve been looking into increasing my winter food production and it occured to me that growing mushrooms might be worth a go. I’m just unsure as to how to go about it. I get the occasional field mushroom (see which are very nice but I’d like more. Do I need to buy the spores? Or can I just pinch them from the existing mushroom population? Will I need to heat the growing area? I’ve got an old book on the topic but it insists that I need to make or purchase mushroom compost. Any advice or experience would be much appreciated.

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

  6. 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.

  7. 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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