What to plant in the Blue Mountains in Spring

Here are some suggestions for vegetables to plant in Spring (September, October & November) in the Blue Mountains NSW Australia . These can be either direct sow into the ground or into seedling trays ready to plant out in a few weeks.

But first we must state the obvious…

Most of the years weather is fairly predictable – but the temperature and rainfall varies greatly across the Blue Mountains region though this period of the year and we can swing wildly from warm sunny days with cool nights to severe cold fronts that rip through the mountains suddenly from the south west and bring snow, hail and sleet with unpredictable winds. We can frequently still have snow and hail storms right up to late November to cut down our crops that have been growing perfectly through the early part of the season. This spring period also brings the intermittent rolling electrical storms that can still surprise us with their ferocity.

What you plant can be greatly affected by your aspect and position on the mountain ranges. There are both warm and cold patch locations throughout the region that can vary from protected niche warm pockets with almost no wind through to exposed areas that can have your plants removed from the ground!

Also this period often has the added charm of the local hungry wildlife looking for easy accessed edibles. Roaming parrots, bower birds, lyre birds and possums will visit and stay like unwanted relatives.

So the plan should be to spend some time now thinking about dealing with these unpredictable changes in weather and how to moderate the effects on your garden spaces.

This can be mostly done by protecting your seedlings and new plantings using physical means. Try and delay your planting outside into the ground or work out some ways to quickly protect them from sudden changes in the weather. Try and plant initially into areas that are able to be covered quickly with frost cloth or some sort of barrier that is capable of withstanding hail stones such as shade cloth. Using protective structures such as cold frames and glasshouses or even individual plastic drink bottles to let your seedlings grow can make a huge difference.

This is also the time to start your summer seed planting if you have the space inside. A warm grow bed or even small miniature greenhouse on a windowsill works well.

Having them sit and age for a while in a protected environment ready to plant out when it gets warm outside is not a problem for some plants like the solanums – eggplants, tomatoes and chili. They will catch up when the warmer weather starts and you can put them outside or in more sun. You can also start to germinate all the basils and other herby produce with he understanding that you can have them ready to go as soon as it’s possible.

The same is usually ok for plants like the cucumbers, melons and the squash family that often need a longer growing period to develop and will then grow furiously in response to being planted out into warm sunny beds when the beds and weather are ready.

The cool weather does not deter plants like peas, broad beans, brassicas, radish, onions and most of the leafy greens like lettuce, shiso and cress. These can all be planted direct into the ground as long as the soil temperatures are above around 5c. They are surprisingly hardy.

All the herbs and plants that regrow from over-wintered underground stems like rhubarb, mint and strawberries will now start to come back into growth too. The perennial herbs like marjoram and oregano will also be resprouting now. And your chicories will now be starting to resprout with their beautiful cold enhanced white stems and red leaves.

Asparagus will now be sprouting.

And potato leaves will be starting to rise.

Keep in mind there are some seeds that require light to germinate. Basil and lettuce are examples that need to be placed on the top of the soil and not covered to get maximum germination.

Most of the plants we have listed here on this site for growing in autumn and winter will grow OK in this period too. Its an exciting time to get growing.

Seedlings to prepare with protection for summer – depending on your local weather these can be planted out from November.

  • Tomatoes
  • Tomatillos
  • Eggplants
  • Chili
  • Squash family – Pumpkins, zucchini etc
  • Melons
  • Cucumbers
  • Vines – Choko (Chayote), Achocha, Caigua, Bitter melons etc.
  • Basils
  • Beans – climbing, scrambling and bush can be started now in pots.
  • Warragul greens (NZ spinach)
  • Sweet corn
  • Amaranth seed can be started in trays.

These can all generally be planted into the ground as seedlings. Seeds may take some time to germinate.

Green Leaf

  • Kales
  • Collards
  • Endive, raddichio & chicory
  • Kohl Rabi
  • Cabbages
  • Celery
  • Celeriac
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Fennel (florence)
  • Lettuce
  • Mizuna
  • Mibuna
  • Mustards
  • Land Cress & Water Cress
  • Pak choy & other related brassica greens (Komatsuna, Choy sum, Bok choy etc)
  • Rocket
  • Corn Salad
  • Shiso
  • Spinach
  • Silver Beet (chard)
  • Coriander (cilantro)
  • Parsley
  • Calendula, Dandelion and other salad greens

Roots & Shoots

  • Salsify
  • Beetroot
  • Daikon and other radishes
  • Carrots
  • Turnips
  • Swedes
  • Parsnips
  • Sunchoke or Artichoke Jerusalem (these will sit for a while and start to spout as the weather warms up)
  • Cardoon & Globe Artichoke
  • Chives
  • Garlic
  • Shallots
  • Onions
  • Rhubarb

Legumes

  • Broad Beans (fava/faba)
  • Peas
  • Snow peas

Herbs

  • Oregano & Majoram
  • Chamomile
  • Salad Burnett
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Dill
  • Chervil
  • Mitsuba
  • Celery, Alexanders & other related
  • Nasturtium
  • Lovage

Its also time to check your vines and plants like Kiwiberries, Kiwifruit and grapes for new leaves. They may need protection form late frosts or cold snaps. Black currants and berries and related plants will be starting to come back into growth now too. You can still do some early/late cuttings to expand your collection.

Happy growing – it is an exciting time to be gardening!

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