A rough annual guide to when to plant vegetables in Brisbane. Times will change slightly depending on where you are and what your local microclimate is like, but this is roughly what works for me.
All Year Round
Some veggies can be grown all year round but may require special care at times to do their best. For example, lettuces do best in cooler times of year but can also be grown in summer under shadecloth if the water is kept up to them. They will bolt faster than in winter – but summer is the season when salad greens are most wanted for meals anyway.
I like to plant lettuces every two weeks to ensure a constant supply. They’re relatively fast to grow and pull out (though not as fast as radishes, which will also grow most of the year) so can be used to fill in gaps between slower growing brassicas or other veggies.
Shallots can also grow all year round in Brisbane, as can sweet potato and carrots (barring the hottest months of the year).
It’s usually very hot at this time year – grow greens under shadecloth but otherwise let the summer crops grow and keep the water up to them.
Plant brassicas (cauliflower, broccoli, kohl rabi, cabbages) in seed trays and protect from possums. They will be ready to plant out in mid-March when the weather is a little cooler.
March & April
Mid-March and April are the peak planting times for the year in Brisbane, as the heat of the summer is over and the humidity is less, meaning there are less pests and diseases and less sun scorching and wilting. This is when the broccoli and cauliflower seedlings should go into the garden, in a well fertilized spot (following the chicken tractor is best).
It’s also a good time to plant another round of tomatoes and capsicums. In summer tomato pests are everywhere (particularly fruit fly), but by autumn there is a better chance of getting to eat the crop. Zucchinis are also worth trying; in humid summers they succumb quickly to powdery mildew but may fare better over autumn and winter.
Potatoes can also go into the ground. Don’t plant them in the same place as last year to lessen the risk of disease.
Vegies that prefer cooler temperates now go into the garden in April. Celery, onions, turnips, peas, leeks, garlic, beetroot, and less hardy greens like lettuces, spinach and Chinese greens.
Plant strawberry runners.
Continue planting the same veggies as in April, progressively to ensure that the crop is spread over weeks rather than harvesting a huge glut at the same time.
More potatoes can go in, as can more peas (it’s hard to have a crop of too many peas over winter – they usually don’t even make it inside for meals), and winter greens like spinach. More turnips can be planted, they prefer cold weather but will be finished by September.
July & August
Maintain the growing garden and harvest the faster growing winter crops: lettuces, greens, radishes, beetroot, kohl rabi. Harvest potatoes, and in August begin to harvest the broccolis and cauliflowers.
Spring is here and it’s the time to plant asparagus. Choose a spot that won’t be in the way as it’s a perennial – it will be in the same spot for years.
In go the crops for summer. Plant pumpkins, rockmelon, watermelon, button squash (and zucchini, if you have a breezy spot for it and plenty of room for it to spread out without crowding, to reduce the chance of powdery mildew).
Progressively plant more summer crops
Plant hot season crops like snake beans and Ceylon spinach.
BEGINNING OF SUMMER
Progressively plant hot season crops. Shade plants that need it and keep water up to fruiting veggies like watermelons and pumpkins.