Veggie seeds that can be planted in April

 

The table below lists which vegetable seeds can be planted this month in North East Melbourne. 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). It is an extract from our North East Melbourne veggie & herb planting guide.

 PlantPlanting
method
Plant
spacing
Rotation
planting
group
Moon phase
planting
quarter
Plant
type
Beetrootsow direct20cmroots3rdbiennial grown as annual
Broad beanssow direct15cmlegumes2ndannual
Broccoliin seed trays30cmbrassicas1stannual or biennial
Cabbagein seed trays30cmbrassicas1stbiennial grown as annual
Carrotsow direct10cmroots3rdbiennial grown as annual
Cauliflowerin seed trays30cmbrassicas1stbiennial grown as annual
Chivessow direct or in seed trays5cmanywhere3rdperennial
Coriandersow direct30cmanywhere1stannual
Fennelsow direct25cmanywhere1stannual, biennial or perennial
Garliccloves10cmroots3rdperennial grown as annual
Kalein seed trays15cmbrassicas1stbiennial grown as annual
Lettucesow direct or in seed trays20cmanywhere1stannual or biennial
Mizunasow direct20cmbrassicas1stbiennial grown as annual
Mustard greenssow direct30cmbrassicas1stannual
Pak choysow direct15cmbrassicas1stbiennial grown as annual
Parsleysow direct20cmanywhere1stbiennial grown as annual
Peassow direct7cm legumes2ndannual
Potatotubers30cmsolanums3rdperennial grown as annual
Radishsow direct5cm anywhere3rdannual
Rocketsow direct25cmbrassicas1stannual
Silverbeetsow direct20cmanywhere1stbiennial
Spinachsow direct or in seed trays20cmanywhere1stannual
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.

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!

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