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Tropical Zone - hot humid summers

What to do in the garden


Its September, which is one of the busiest and most important months for sowing vegetables in the subtropics. With days in the mid 20s to 30s, the focus is on summer crops which will take you through the summer months and into early autumn.

Spring in central and northern latitudes of Australia is often the most trying time to garden. It can be very dry; the sun is fierce; there is low humidity; and temperatures are high. No wonder this season is often referred to as the “burning months”. With this in mind, it pays to place shadecloth teepees or cages over seeded areas or newly planted seedlings. I tend to sow directly wherever possible, placing big seeds insitu and thinly sowing smaller seeds in furrows, and thinning out excess seedlings as they grow for use in salads. Transplanted seedlings can often suffer setback at this time of year, and never seem to grow as vigorously or be as productive.

Watering is critical at this time of year and I would strongly recommend a cheap battery operated timer on a sprinkler or drip irrigation system – so you can have a day or weekend away without worrying about watering the vegetable garden. Remember to keep a thin layer of mulch on the soil at all times. Coffee grounds are terrific as they also repel insects.

With warm temperatures and moist soils, seedlings will grow rapidly and require regular feeding of a balanced fertilizer containing the full spectrum of macro and micro nutrients. If the nutritional needs of your plants are met, they will be less prone to pest and disease problems. I find an organic approach to plant nutrition in my vegetable garden has resulted in very few pest issues.

Remember to think about appropriate seasonal vegetables. Now is the time to sow seeds of tropical and subtropical vegetables (avoiding north European vegetables) and enjoy some delicious and exotic summer dishes. Get rosella and pumpkin seeds in this month for a great crop and don't forget to start saving those tomato seeds, ready for sowing again in the dry season.

Arno King

Seeds to Sow Now

Seeds to sow now if you live in areas like BroomeDarwin and Townsville, or places where there are 47+ weeks a year or more with temperatures over 15°C and high summer rainfall.


Sow now:  

Amaranth, asparagus, basil, beans, beetroot, capsicum, celeriac, celery, celtuce, chilli, chives, choko, coriander, corn, cucumber, daikon, edemame, eggplant, kaliaan, leek, lettuce, mint, mizuna, okra, pak choy, parsley, perilla, pumpkin, radish, rockmelon, roquette, rosella, silverbeet, spinach, squash, tatsoi, tomatillo, watermelon, zucchini.

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

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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 save tomato seeds

How to improve your soil naturally

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2 year membership  + Free Seed Sowing Poster and 2 seed packets
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A beautifully illustrated heirloom ‘sow what when’ poster for all areas of Australia so that you'll never have to think about what to sow this month again! You will also receive some free Kale 'Red Russian' and Broccoli 'Green Sprouting' seeds to get your garden started.
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