Feb 262016
 

March, the month named after Mars, the Roman God of War, is an excellent month to wage war on your patch. Be it ripping out the weeds, mulching up a storm, or popping in a plethora of plants, March is the ultimate time to launch a full scale (but well planned) attack on you patch! So, all you weekend warriors … March into action!

Warm Areas

Frost free or occasional light frosts (North from about Coffs Harbour and all the way across to the west to Geraldton)

  • Okay, it’s still pretty warm out there, but you could certainly consider popping in the following incredible edibles, especially towards the tail end of the month. Consider cabbage, Asian greens, rocket, silverbeet, cauliflower, peas, spring onions, zucchini, pumpkin, sweet corn, cucumber, capsicum, eggplant and watermelon.
  • Whack some lettuce in but consider popping them under a shade cloth tent if the days are still quite warm.
  • Hop into the herb patch with coriander (try a slow bolting variety if it’s still very warm), sweet basil, lemon grass and oregano.
  • Feeling fruity? Go Carmen Miranda with some strawberries, watermelon, citrus, rockmelon, pineapple and passionfruit!
  • Plants feel the need for a feed at this time of year. A seaweed tea, or any low environmental impact liquid fertiliser, is perfect for giving them a kick start as they establish. Apply to the soil early in the morning and in the concentrations mentioned on the packet.
  • ‘Ave a go with an avocado!
  • Begin to prepare your potato beds now….you’ll be glad you did come April!
  • Pretty up the patch with these flowering fancies- marigolds, sunflowers and pansies, cornflowers, violas, snapdragons, stock, verbena and lavender (non-invasive varieties of course!). Popping these in around your veggies will give some colour and interest to the patch, and act as beneficial insect attractors!
  • Consider a green manure crop to add some life and love to an overworked patch. At this time of year, try millet, oats, lupins or field peas. This will improve your soil incredibly, and, as a bit of forward planning, you’ll find it well worth the effort!
  • Water smarter at this time of year. Water first thing in the morning, and instead of quickie irrigation, a nice, deep drink a couple of times a week is far more beneficial!
  • Top up mulch on your veggie patches, herb gardens and ornamental beds, especially important for weed suppression at this time of year. A hot tip is to mulch after watering the patch, to a depth of about 7cm. Keep mulch clear of plant stems….especially young seedlings. Choose a sustainable, low environmental impact mulch, one that will enrich your soil as it breaks down.
  • Weeding is an important job to do at this time of year. Cut down the competition between your tasty treats and these space invaders, and tidy up your patch. It may sound tedious, but it’s incredibly rewarding!

Cool to Cold Areas

Low temperatures for extended periods of time (all of Tasmania, most of Victoria, the southern highlands of NSW, the ACT and a tiny southern bit of SA)

  • Yup… it’s a touch warm, but there is still a whole heap of things you can pop in the patch at this time of year. Tasty herbs in the ‘burbs that are ready to roll include coriander and basil. You could give mint and lemon balm a go as well, but be careful to contain them, otherwise they can take over!
  • Whack these tasty wonders into your Yummy Yard this month: Chinese cabbage, spinach, tatsoi, rocket, silverbeet, broccoli, spring onions, leeks, lettuces and zucchini!
  • Add some colour and movement to the patch, and pop in some of these little pretties- dianthus, cornflower, pansy, viola, echinacea, stock, verbena and lupins. Having these around your veggies will give some interest to the patch, and act as beneficial insect attractors!
  • Top up mulch on your veggie patches, herb gardens and ornamental beds, especially important for weed suppression at this time of year. A hot tip is to mulch after watering the patch, to a depth of about 7cm. Keep mulch clear of plant stems… especially young seedlings. Choose a low environmental impact mulch, one that will enrich your soil as it breaks down.
  • Green manure crops, including oats, wheat, faba beans and field peas are good to go now… improve that dormant veggie patch, and get ready for next seasons heavy feeding plants!
  • Plants feel the need for a feed at this time of year. A seaweed tea, or any low environmental impact liquid fertiliser, is perfect for the seedlings you’ve just popped in. Apply to the soil early in the morning, and in the concentrations mentioned on the packet.
  • Weeding is an awesome job to do at this time of year. Cut down the competition between your tasty treats and these space invaders, and tidy up your patch. It may sound tedious, but it’s incredibly rewarding!
  • Water smarter at this time of year. Water first thing in the morning, and instead of quickie irrigation, a nice, deep drink a couple of times a week is far more beneficial!

Temperate Zones

Occasional winter frosts (pretty much the rest of Australia, most of the inland, some areas of Victoria, most of SA and the southern area of WA)

  • It is still a little warm in this part of the world, but there are a heap of things you could pop in to the patch this March. Why not try cabbage, Asian greens, lettuce, rocket, tatsoi, silverbeet, spring onions, spinach, carrots, celery, and pumpkins.
  • It’s time to get happy with herbs, so try some parsley, basil, coriander (try a slow bolting variety if it’s still pretty warm), rosemary, marjoram and thyme. You could give mint and lemon balm a go as well, but be careful to contain them as they can take over!
  • Why not try some lovely flowering stuff in your patch as well, like: cornflower, calendula, dianthus, pansies, viola, snapdragons, stock, nasturtium, verbena and marigolds. These guys are great at attracting pollinators and beneficial insects to your patch, and I reckon they look tops as well.
  • Consider a green manure crop to add some life and love to an overworked patch. At this time of year try faba bean, field pea, oats and wheat. This will improve your soil incredibly, and, for a bit of forward planning, you’ll find it well worth the effort!
  • Top up mulch on your veggie patches, herb gardens and ornamental beds, especially important for weed suppression at this time of year. A hot tip is to mulch after watering the patch, to a depth of about 7cm. Keep mulch clear of plant stems….especially young seedlings. Choose a low environmental impact mulch, one that will enrich your soil as it breaks down.
  • Plants feel the need for a feed at this time of year. A seaweed tea or low environmental impact liquid fertiliser is perfect, especially for the seedlings shoved in this month. Apply to the soil early in the morning, and in the concentrations mentioned on the packet.
  • Weeding is an awesome job to do at this time of year. Cut down the competition between your tasty treats and these space invaders, and tidy up your patch. It may sound tedious, but it’s incredibly rewarding!
  • Water smarter at this time of year. Water first thing in the morning, and instead of quickie irrigation, a nice, deep drink a couple of times a week is far more beneficial!
  • Of course, this is just a rough guide, and many of you will find your situation varies from the above listing, due to microclimates created in your garden, location in relation to your nearest major city, extremes of weather (Mother Nature does like to keep us on our toes) and garden type.

But the one thing that remains the same for all zones and regions is this: start out the year as you mean to go on, and give your patch some much needed love! So, grab a cool beverage, slip, slop slap, and spend some time under your favourite tree, admiring your patch!

Online Garden Discussion

Want to talk about your garden, share tips, tricks, hints, successes and failures? Why not join our SGA Facebook page.  It’s free, it’s active, it’s informative and it’s fun. Click here to get started.

Information sources:
Bagnall, Lyn, Easy organic gardening and moon planting, published by Scribe Publications, VIC.
McFarlane, Annette, Organic Vegetable Gardening, published by ABC Books, Sydney, NSW.

  11 Responses to “March In Your Patch”

  1. Hi everyone!
    Any ideas for getting rid of aphids and thrips on my passionfruit vines? I live on the Victoria sw coast and have tried white oil, soapyspray, pyretheum and various bugs spray but the wretchesarestill eating /destroying 96 per cent of my passionflowers. If your suggestion works I will mail you some chocolate frogs!

    • Hi Ali, I use my rhubarb leaves; 5 or 6, and a few; 3 or 4 crushed cloves of garlic, place them in a pot of boiling water, I add a touch of general laundry detergent, turn off the heat and let them steep until water is cool, I strain it all and put it in one of those pump action bottles from the supermarket garden section and spray away… I am in Bundoora if you would like a rhubarb plant I have some spare, email me at cfrogwoman@hotmail.com..

    • 6 years ago I purchased lady bug eggs from this company. http://www.ipmtechnologies.com.au/ I also grow beneficial bug plants which you can buy from greenharvest http://www.greenharvest.com.au. 2 years ago I had a cucumber vine smothered with thousands of aphids. The lady bugs came and ate all of them. Their juvenile feed on them. The lady bugs breed then I had hundreds and hudreds of ladybugs. They come back every year. You can see on my Facebook page under Jason Dullow in the picture section. Lady bugs LOVE flowering parsley, coriander and carrot. So let those go to seed every year.

    • I have an infestation of white fly throughout my two potted gardens. The soil mix is good, well watered and fed, but these little suckers are zapping all the life out of my tomato and bean plants. I’m in the cool zone in Victoria. I’ve sprayed with soapy water, I’ve tried frequent blasting with the hose, and I’ve made my own yellow card traps (yellow card hanging form plants, covered in vaseline). to add insult to injury, the yellow cards did work, but to be effective I’d need to completely wrap my plants up in it! Oh, and then another type of grubby bug thought it would be hilarious to start eating through the yellow cards.Yikes! I am getting beans and tomatoes growing, but obviously not at the rate I would have expected, thanks to these little white suckers. Any suggestions?

      • They are a dreadful nuisance! Have you looked at our post on whitefly http://www.sgaonline.org.au/whitefly/? To amplify what we wrote on using a vacuum cleaner, I know of someone who found the suction too strong if the cleaner was used directly, but found that if she constructed a cardboard cone and stuck it to the end of the arm of the cleaner with the wider part towards the outside, the suction was just right. Worth a try.

  2. I tried chilli and garlic spray and it seem to work fine on everything. Just cut up some birdseye chillies and I used a few teaspoons of minced garlic, soak for a few days then dilute, strain and spray

  3. tried Garlic spray?

  4. Tried 1.5 tblspoons potasium Bicarbonate, 1 tblspoon white vinegar, 1tblspoon ego friendly dish detergent, 1 tblspoon veg oil. Mix and add to 3.5liters water and spray. Weekly is great for bugs and fungal problems.

  5. Rather that trying to kill the bugs two things you could try are (1)to do nothing unless they are causing a major problemand let nature do its own thing or (2)spray with a product such as vegemite to attract the good bugs. Although the Chilli sprays etc and ‘natural’ chemicals the also are harmful to the gopod bugs.

  6. Have you looked at the page on our website (SGA’s) on aphids? Just a strong hosing with water gets rid of a lot (also spray under the leaves), and also having a bright yellow dish of water in the vicinity. They are attracted to yellow and drown. This method is better applied BEFORE the aphids arrive. In my experience those methods remove a large proportion of the little critters.

  7. Hi Ali,
    Have you checked the general health of your plants? It’s usually plants that are under stress that are attacked in such a way. I would be looking at soil moisture to start with as we have had showers but the water may not be penetrating through foliage or mulch.
    All the other treatments sound fine and planting to attract beneficial insects such as wasps and ladybirds will help in the future. Good luck and enjoy your passionfruit !

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