As we approach the end of winter, you might be wondering what your best options are in terms of planting for the next month or so.
In this article, we will be going over what you should be planting in Melbourne in August and September to ensure a fruitful harvest through spring and summer.
What to plant in Melbourne in August
August is not a month we generally think of for planting vegetables in Melbourne.
While there’s still the risk of frost in some areas, the weather will start to warm up after the cold temperatures of July.
August is the month when temperatures will usually reach 20ºC for the first time since May.
No need to sit around on your hands, though. There are several cold-tolerant crops that can be planted right now.
Asparagus is a perennial that needs to be planted in the winter while the crowns are still dormant.
If you purchase crowns, these will have already been grown for one to two years which means you will be harvesting much sooner than if growing from seeds.
Potatoes grow best in soil temperatures between 10°C and 30°C. They’ll do best if planted in fertile well-drained soil.
Before planting your seed potatoes, expose them to sunlight until they start to grow shoots.
Once they start to shoot, and you have your garden bed sorted, you can start planting your seed potatoes.
Lettuce can be planted year-round in Melbourne and can be started in seed trays or sowed directly into the soil.
Depending on the variety, lettuce should take 2 to 3 months before it’s ready for harvest.
Rocket is best suited to Melbourne’s autumn and spring months.
Sow rocket seeds directly in the soil and harvest the outer leaves first, which will be ready in around 1 to 2 months.
Like rocket, Kale grows best in Melbourne in autumn and spring.
Start it off in seed trays and then transplant to your soil with a spacing of around 15cm.
Coriander prefers consistent and reliable temperatures, between 15˚C and 22˚C. If you plant it later than spring, the hot weather will cause it to bolt and run to seed before you can use it.
You can pick and eat the leaves as soon as they are large enough, but they will taste better if you wait until they are fully mature.
Beetroot is a taproot in the Amaranthaceae family, the same family as spinach and chard.
In temperate climates like Melbourne, you’re best to grow beetroots in the shoulder seasons to avoid the winter frosts and extreme summer heat.
Beetroots grow best when sowed directly into the ground.
Spring onion seeds can be sowed directly into the soil from late winter to mid-spring.
They should be ready for harvest in 1 to 3 months.
Also called baby broccoli, broccoletti, sprouting broccoli, or broccolette, broccolini is a hybrid of broccoli and Chinese kale or Chinese broccoli.
The best time to plant broccolini is after the last frost, so you can harvest before the heat of summer.
Alternatively, you could sow at the start of autumn to harvest before winter.
Parsnip seeds can be sowed directly into the soil from late winter to mid-spring.
Keep in mind that parsnips can take anywhere from 3 to 5 months before they are ready for harvest so you’ll need to set aside adequate space in your vegetable garden over the summer months.
While in theory radishes can be planted year-round in Melbourne, they grow best in spring and autumn.
Radish is a cool-season crop and can tolerate light frosts.
What to plant in Melbourne in September
Spring is a very important season for planting vegetables because it’s the time of year when we can expect frosts to be gone and our soil to be warming up.
However, take care to not plant warm-season crops too early. You want to wait until both the soil and overnight temperatures have warmed up.
If you didn’t do any planting in August, you can still plant beetroot, lettuce, radishes, spring onion, coriander, rocket, and kale, in addition to the following:
Rhubarb is a perennial that is grown from crowns. Once planted, you’ll need to wait a full two years before your first harvest.
However, if you look after it and keep harvesting to promote new growth, you will be rewarded with an ongoing crop of delicious produce.
Capsicum is a perennial that grows best in full sun. They are usually started in a seed propagating tray and then transplanted when they form their first couple of leaves.
Parsley grows best in temperatures between 22°C and 30°C. Plant seeds directly in rich, well-draining soil with lots of compost and aged manure.
Harvest once there are a few healthy stems and a decent amount of foliage.
Like capsicum, celery does best if started in a seed tray and then transplanted into the garden as a seedling.
The great thing about celery is you can just harvest stalks when you want to eat them, and they may crop for a full year before going to seed.
Carrots are one of the easiest vegetables to grow and can be best planted at any time of the year in Melbourne, outside the winter months.
Carrots prefer full sun but can tolerate partial shade. Water your carrots regularly to keep the soil moist, but take care not to over-water as this can lead to fungal diseases.
Other September planting options
You can also consider planting the following vegetables later in the month, or when temperatures start to warm up.