Successional planting in September

20 September 2014
Written by Kath Irvine | Kath Irvine
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September means it's game on in the garden! Seeds are sprouting, the greenhouse is busy, things are happening and as Kath advices it's time to start working 

Whats New at Edible Backyard

Here's what's new - I'm blogging! It's been a big learning curve, and thanks to my partner-in-crime Anna at Help Me Net, I'm on the way. (For all of you who congratulate me on my wonderful website - the praise must go to her.) I thought it would be a chore and a bore; but I have to say I'm enjoying it. It's just like writing a garden diary. Join me on Facebook if you want to keep up with my weekly musings.

The Abundant Vegie Patch is coming up late October. (While not new - it's definitely worth a mention!) This is the workshop where we learn at all the stuff that underpins your food garden's success - cool stuff like crop rotation, compost making, greencropping... There'll be demos, hands on, and a lovely lunch on the deck together.

Successional Sowing in September

September means it's game on! Tomato and pepper seeds are sprouting, dwarf beans are growing nicely in the greenhouse and the broccoli are flowering like mad feeding all the bees. Winter ebbs away. A focus here on the word ebb - there will still be cold, so don't throw away the cloches yet folks.

And take your time. Over these next two months don't loose your head filling every possible corner with food plants. There are 9 months ahead of us for steadily drip feeding seeds and seedlings into the vegie patch; thus ensuring a steady drip feeding of ripe vegetables into your pantries.

To best help you along in your food growing ventures, and in a bid to halt your very human nature of going full boar and then not at all, today I'm going to talk with you about successional planting.

Successional crops are the quick turn around crops that you repeat sow for a constant supply. Sow these crops in the space below and beside long term crops like corn, carrots, tomatoes and beans to make the most of your gardens fertility.

I encourage you to learn how long from seed to harvest. It's important knowledge for the aspiring food gardener, allowing you to plan your crops and fill gaps with ease.

Below is a rough idea of my successional spring sowing. There are of course many other crops you could choose from - these are just what I'm using at the moment. Timing will, of course, depend on your skill, your soil and the weather. Amount and frequency will depend on what you like to eat (and how busy you are!)

In the greenhouse

  • Dwarf Beans (ready in 7 weeks.) Direct sow 10 seeds every fortnight from August - November.
  • Bok Choy (ready in 6 weeks.) Direct sow 10 seeds a fortnight from August to September. Bok Choy is a fabulous shoulder season crop. Quick to grow and takes over from the winter brassicas, filling a gap until the summer beans etc come in.
  • Lettuces (ready in 6 weeks). Direct sow or plant out 12 seedlings every fortnight.

In the Garden

There is no seed amount for the below greens, sorry folks. It's super impressive I have amounts for the greenhouse crops - I'm just not a counting type person. Sow an amount to suit yourself. 

The thing with seeds is it's very easy to oversow. Focus on sowing little and often so you don't take up valuable garden space with crops you wont use. You'll also make your precious seeds go further.

  • Spinach (ready in 7 weeks.) Sow some seeds every fortnight or month August through October.
  • Radish (ready in 4 weeks.) Direct sow a few every now and then.
  • Coriander (ready in 4 weeks) Direct sow every now and then. Coriander is best in the cooler months, so I stop sowing in November and leave it to self seed to feed the beneficial insects and save my own seed from (for some reason its very hard to buy untreated coriander seed)
  • Rocket (ready in 3 weeks) Direct sow every now and then. A hearty self seeder so mostly I leave it to come and go of its own accord.
  • Mustard Greens (ready in 7 weeks) Direct sow up to October. Definitely a cooler weather crop - my autumn sown ones are still providing well.

For more help on this and other illuminating topics come along to my Abundant Vegie Patch workshop.

I'm on the tail end of the Potager make over - making us handsome for open days and workshops. Mainly made up of easy care perennials like culinary and medicinal herbs, picking flowers and citrus; the potager is a wildly abundant garden once it gets going, and because I've chosen every day, easy care plants it's beauty is not hard won.

The perennials I favour are solid and dependable, the type of plant you'd gladly call 'mate'. A bit of inattention wont be met with a hue and cry, and they'll provide flowers and food, fragrance or medicine for months on end before quietly slipping off into their seasonal sleep.

Make your garden a garden for all seasons by coinciding the demise of one plant with the flourishing of another. Use bog standard, long flowering beauties to keep the beat going. My favourites are yarrow, shasta daisy, scabiosa, echinacea, lavendar, sage, verbena, hellebore, catmint, geum, rudbeckia, coreopsis, veronica, gaillardia and cranesbill geraniums. For the small effort of an annual hair cut and some seasonal deadheading they'll give loads of nectar for the beneficials, and loads of flowers for you.

Who needs prima donnas? (by these I mean alot of care for a short show). Perhaps you consider it worth while, well it's your garden after all! For me my money is on the ordinary, the unsung heroes. On their own perhaps a little dull, but together - what a show!


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