As the weather is warming up, the daylight hours are extending and moisture is forming in the skies above it is always a time that calls for me to be in the great outdoors. What better way to start the outdoor adventures than by spending time in the garden, reaping the rewards of a backyard bounty! I have just planted out my first spring and summer rotation so I figured why not do up a small cropping schedule for my fellow Brisbane budding brown-thumbs to enjoy some delicious home harvest through the Spring and into Summer.
Preparing the Bed
Most people who ask me about planting are also setting up their crop beds and growing area, so I will begin with preparing the soil for growing. Regardless of whether you are utilizing raised beds or planting directly into the soil, preparing the growing medium will be relatively similar. Just about all garden soils need a big boost of organic matter and a go to for organic matter is some mushroom compost, aged cow and chicken manure mixed through the onsite soil (this breaks down into a nice nutrient holding loam). For the final amendments (top dressing, mixed through) adding rooster booster, seamungus, a handful of rock mineral dust and a microbe activator should be sufficient. Now it is hard to give an overarching soil remediation program as every backyard is slightly different, Brisbane has 4 main soil types alone, however this should see you through the next 10-12 weeks of growing and harvesting.
If you would like to read more on preparing the soil medium, be sure to check out:
For plant selections it will be beneficial to create a diverse cropping system as it will allow continuous harvesting through the season and plants can be ripped and replaced as they come to the end of their life cycle continuing the harvest. Adding some beneficial bug attracting flowers will maintain a healthy ecosystem while giving the garden space a pop of color, the plants we have selected here are also edible so you can enjoy them in your spring salads. Some sure fire winners for this time of year are:
15 Crops for Spring and Summer Planting in Brisbane
- Cherry tomato
- Swiss Chard
- Marigold (use marigold tenuifolia as the petals can be used in salads)
To read more about biodiversity in the backyard and find some projects, be sure to check out:
- Befriending Beneficial Bugs and Building Biodiversity
- DIY Worm Farm Bin
- DIY Composting for the Backyard Gardener
- Bokashi Composting for the Backyard Gardener
- Insect Hotels for the Deft and Dangerous
- What is Bio-intensive Growing?
So a few things to think about is most crops we grow are European they prefer 6 hours of morning sunlight with a north facing position. Do not worry though, it can be easily worked with! Setting up a shade structure from some reo-bars staked into the ground and PVC pipe hooped over the bed creates ample shading from the harsh UV and temperatures we get coming into summer. Planting a crop like Turmeric and Rosella along the western boundary of the growing area will also provide some shade from the afternoon sun. Brisbane gardens through the Spring and Summer season suffer largely from evaporation and rapid degradation of soil structure, so getting the soil rich in organic matter and mulching over as much open soil as is feasible mitigates much of the harsh climate, also try set up a permanent sprinkler which is easy to turn on and off. Otherwise, happy planting!!