Growing your own vegetables, herbs, flowers and other plants is something that many Australians take a great deal of pride in - and with good reason, too! It takes plenty of work to cultivate and maintain a fertile garden bed that can support healthy vegetable and plant growth.
To help cut some of the guesswork out of getting your planting done right, many home gardeners choose to invest the time in developing their own planting calendar. Much like in commercial agriculture, a home planting calendar can help you get the best out of your garden and avoid a host of common mistakes.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at the sorts of things that should inform the design of your planting calendar, and the sorts of factors you should consider when planning out your crop of fruits, vegetables and herbs.
How does a planting calendar work?
Where and when you’re planting plays a huge role in the success of your crop. But with so many factors to keep track of, it’s hard to know that you've got your bases covered and you’re set for success. A planting calendar is a great way to ensure that what you’re asking your plants to do is in line with their best growth patterns.
The best planting calendars are informed by plenty of research – but doing the extra work to plan out what you’re going to plant and when you need to take in some individual factors of your own.
Consider that your planting calendar should take into account:
- Where is your garden located?
- What sorts of light and moisture conditions are you dealing with?
- Is there some work that you need to do to bring your soil up to scratch?
- What sorts of vegetables, herbs and fruits are you hoping to grow?
Doing a little bit of a deep dive on questions like these is the first step toward building your own targeted approach to growing fruit and vegetables at home. If you’re feeling a little out of your depth here, don’t worry. The details behind all of this are what we’re diving into next.
Planting for your regional conditions
Perhaps one of the most common problems that people run into when getting started out planting their own fruit, vegetables and herbs is not planting for their regional conditions. That is, attempting to grow plants that aren’t well adapted to the environment you’re trying to grow them in.
The same crop that will thrive in a Brisbane-based garden will not likely grow as well in Hobart. The same is true for virtually anything you try to grow. The most populous sections of the country tend to be somewhat temperate though, so if you live in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney or nearby, you’ll often have plenty of options to choose from.
We recommend coming into your local Mitre 10 or digging a little deeper online for region specific advice on particular herbs, fruits and vegetables. There’s no easier way to ensure your success than to choose a crop that is well suited!
Choosing and zoning your plants
Once you’ve determined what conditions you’re working with, you then want to pick out the particular herbs, fruit and veg that will work best for those conditions – but also that will grow well together. Some plants don’t make good bed mates, and others simply don’t play well with others at all! If you’re planning a small herb garden without much space, you’ll need to consider the sorts of plants that you want sharing resources in your garden.
It’s not all problems on this front as you can actually make some careful choices that will bring out the best in both types of plants. Tarragon is a shining example of exactly this. It’s a herb that not only pairs well with a whole variety of other herbs, but also produces a range of complementary conditions for the surrounding plants.
We recommend breaking your garden down into sections and planting it on something of a grid. This will help ensure that your crop has adequate access to resources and isn’t left battling a more aggressive neighbouring crop. This will also help you make targeted decisions down the line about what to plant next, and what work needs to be done to restore your soil.
Timing your planting
When planting your garden, you need to consider the seasonality of your crop, and how early or late in their particular season you can expect to plant and grow your crop successfully.
An important feature of all this is frost, and you’ll often hear experienced home gardeners and farmers talk about frost dates. These are the points of the late winter and early autumn where you can expect to avoid freezing temperatures and overnight frost.
This is important because some plants respond better to frost than others. Some plants simply won’t survive frost conditions and shouldn’t ever be planted outside before these dates.
Let us help
If you’re looking for guidance on how to best time your gardening efforts, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Mitre 10. With great prices on all the gear you need to tend to your garden and the backing of tailored advice from our team, we’re the place to come for all your gardening needs.
Reach out here online today or come pay us a visit in store to get detailed advice on your choice of products from all the leading brands in home improvement. Reach out via our contact page today!