Subtropical Zone - warm humid summers

What to do in the garden


Its March and temperatures are starting to cool. This is a busy month as beds need to be prepared in readiness for planting autumn and winter crops. These are those traditional north European vegetables, with a few Mediterranean types thrown in as well. Organised gardeners would have begun clearing some areas towards the end of February, and these areas can be progressively dug over, incorporating composted organic matter and a balanced organic or biological fertilisers containing ground rock minerals and humates.

Some of the European vegetables need a long, cool growing season and each year the subtropical winter growing period is getting shorter and shorter. I lay out my winter garden based around slower growing plants, trying to time sowing for the week when night temperatures suddenly fall – generally late March, but last year, in mid-April.

These long season (slow growing) plants include: broad beans, cauliflower, drumhead cabbage, globe artichoke (fast flowering types grown as annuals), wombok and Chinese cabbage.  I like to give these plants plenty of room (500 to 900mm) and sow faster growing plants between them while young. These quick crops include rocket, corn salad/mache, purslane, bok choy and choy sum.

Lettuce thrives over the autumn and winter months, and seems to suffer from fewer pests or diseases.  I sow a few different varieties each month along with some of my favourite salad greens – corn salad/mache, wild and salad rockets, purslane spinach and lime streaks mustard greens.

Tomatoes continue to grow well throughout winter, suffering minimal pests or diseases, especially if you rotate plants around the garden each season. Cherry and currant types are great for beginners. I also like to grow Russian varieties at this time of year. They grow well in a sunny spot and the flavour is amazing.

Arno King, 

Brisbane, QLD

Seeds to Sow Now

Seeds to sow now if you live in areas like Byron BayBrisbane and Rockhampton, or places where there are 42-46 weeks a year or more with temperatures over 15°C and high summer rainfall.


Sow now

Artichoke, beans, beetroot, broccoli, capsicum, carrot, chilli, chives, coriander, corn, dill, eggplant, leek, lettuce, mint, radish, silverbeet, spring onion.

If you would like to add this seasons seeds to your shopping cart automatically, CLICK HERE

Also plant: burdock, cabbage, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, chicory/radicchio, choy sum, collards, salad/Mache, cress, daikon, endive, fenugreek, Florence fennel, iceplant, kailan/Hong Kong broccoli, kale, kohl rabi, landcress, mibuna, mizuna, miner’s lettuce, mustard greens, NZ spinach/warrigal greens, Onion ‘Gladllan’, orach, pak choy/bok choy, parsley, peas (inc snow peas), purslane, salad and wild rocket, spinach, swede, tatsoi, tomato, (cherry, currant, Tommy Toe, Russians and East European types), turnip.

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Things to do in March

Plant spring flowering bulbs

Spring flowering bulbs should be planted this month. Prepare the ground to a crumbly texture and plant the bulbs tip up (except for Ranunculus which are planted 'claws' down!) As a rule, bulbs are planted to a depth that is twice their length. Water in well.

Plant garlic bulbs

It's also time to plant garlic bulbs. Split the head of garlic into individual cloves and plant tip up into a well prepared, and well drained, soil. Garlic likes to be planted about 3-5cm deep and 7cm apart. Planting garlic now will allow it to develop root and foliage over the autumn and winter, then nice plump bulbs in late spring/summer.

Tidy up the vegie patch

Remove summer crops that you are no longer harvesting from and rejuvenate the soil with compost and well rotted manure for autumn plantings. Pick up any fruit that has fallen onto the ground under fruit trees to prevent a build up of pests and diseases. 

Vegie Garden Basics

Learn how to create a vegie garden from scratch with our Horticulutral Advisor Julie Willis.

This article includes: 

- location

- soil

- nutrients

- what to grow

- crop rotation and more. 


Vegetable Growing Tips

Starting a vegetable garden

- Choose an area that gets full sun and is not too far away from your house. The mid-winter dash to the vegie patch will be easier! 

- A good, healthy soil is the foundation to success so focus on improving the soil before you do any plantings. 

- Know what to sow, when to sow and how. Every vegetable seed has its own growing requirements. We offer a beautiful heirloom Seed Sowing Guide here and a 2018 Gardeners Diary with space for seed packets, garden plans and notes here.

How to sow seeds

How to improve your vegie garden soil

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