March In The Vegie Patch

March at ediblebackyard

Autumn is well and truly at our place! Cold mornings and nights start to cool the soil down which in turn slows growth right down. May plantings will take much longer to mature than April plantings, taking longer again than March plantings. The moral of this story is to plant some winter stuff today.


spring carrots
  • Its getting eleventh hour to be sowing winter rootcrops (carrots, parsnips, beetroot, turnip, florence fennel). Make this your very next garden job if you haven’t sown them yet.
  • Direct sow broadbeans, mizuna, salads and kale.
  • Direct sow coriander and rocket. Don’t buy a 6 pack and transplant them – they’ll shoot off to seed on the next hot day. Spend $4 on a pack of seed with 50 potential plants in it and sprinkle a few seed each month directly in the garden. Thereafter let them self-seed of their own accord and never buy seed again 🙂
  • Tray sow another lot of broccoli, cauli, cabbage for planting out next month.
  • Winter greencrops like oats, wheat, lupin and mustard should all be going in this month. Mustard is a brassica so dont sow it before or after brassica. Oats and wheat are magic for heavy soils – those big root systems open them up, and at the other end of their life they make the best mulch, unless you get rust at your place like I do – stick to lupin!
  • Direct sow miners lettuce and cornsalad. Such great winter/ spring saladings these and best of all if you let them flower and seed they’ll come up year after year = solid gold!
  • Sow lots of flowers to help the bees, beneficial insects and your good self get through winter! I’ve tray sowed stock and direct sowed cornflowers, larkspur and bishop flower. So many wonderful self seeders that I don’t have to worry about anymore – chamomile, calendula, borage, anise hyssop….


Broccoli seedlings
  • Plant another lot of broccoli, cabbage and cauli.
  • Plant salads or sow beetroot beside the brassicas. They’ll grow fast in the rich soil, and finish by time the brassicas begin.
  • Parsley, celery and silverbeet are the backbone of my winter kitchen and all need to be planted this month. It’s too late (down this end of the island) to sow them now and get a winter crop,  so if you don’t have the seedlings raised, go buy them.
  • Plant garlic. If there is one thing we can do to beat rust, it’s get in early. Setha’s seeds still has some early garlic left – better get in quick though! And while you’re at it read her latest newsletter for the best garlic rust advice in town.

Feed + Water

February planted brassicas under insect mesh
  • Liquid feed brassicas and leafy greens weekly to grow them fast before the cold hits.
  • Protect brassicas from cabbage whites with a fortnightly squirt of Kiwicare Caterpillar Killer or Yates Natures Way Caterpillar Killer or cover with insect mesh to stop the cabbage whites decimating your seedlings.
  • Keep up with watering. Its easy to forget once the weather cools off. Check your soil and water seed and new transplants as required.

Top up your Dung Heap

manure pile

Back in the day everyone had a dung heap. Before there were blue pills for gardens, there were cow do’s. And the cow do’s win (though don’t be poo-ist, whatever do’s you can get your hands on are great!) Rotten manure grows the best soil,  the best vegies and the best roses.

A dung heap is simply a pile of manure. Leaving manure to rot before using is the key.

  • Put it somewhere where the runoff will be appreciated eg near a rhubarb or around the edges of your vegie patch.
  • Keep it covered.
  • Add fresh do’s to the pile as you collect them.
  • Scrape out rotten do’s as you need them to prepare a bed or for side dressing heavy feeders like leeks or brassica.

A dung heap will improve your garden like you wouldn’t believe. Poo is THE BEST.


  1. hi Kath, thanks for the great list! What flowers do you recommend for this time of year? Thanks, nicky

  2. Sophie Campbell says

    Hi Kath

    Whats the name of the insect mesh that you use and where did you purchase it??