Spring is in the air and it’s time to plant! The most important task to do prior to planting is to prepare your patch.

How do I prepare my garden for planting?

Healthy soil = Healthy Plants

There are many options for improving your soil as most fruit & vegetables need nutrient rich soil. In an organic garden we do this by:

Adding compost – either homemade which is always better or purchased. If you are buying soil onto your property make sure you do the water test. Wet the soil, grab a handful and try and make a ball. If it crumbles then it’s no good. You want the soil to stay in a ball, this way you know it has good structure with a bit of clay so the soil sticks together. The soil should smell earthy and ask the garden supplier if it has been treated with chemicals, if this is the case look elsewhere.

Chook pen soil – if you have chickens then simply rake back the top layer of the soil in the staw yard and dig out the soil from underneath. The staw yard is the area where the food scraps are thrown out to the chooks and staw is occasionally added on top of the food scraps and soil. This will be rich in nutrients but also will most probably contain some weed seeds.

Soil for pots – the cheapest way to get soil for pots is to buy at least 1 cubic metre of well draining compost and store this in clean garbage bins with a lid. If you do buy potting mix, try and get soil that has the certified organic symbol or has no added Osmocote (chemical slow release fertiliser) or other chemicals additives.

Planting seeds in the ground or in pots?

If you are time poor, then direct sow your seeds into the vegetable garden. Some seeds like beetroot, carrots and beans benefit from being directly sown into your vegetable garden.

If you have time, you can sew seeds in pots and then transplant out into the garden. You can use old plastic pots or polystyrene boxes, which are readily available at the tip shop, and you will save them from going in to land fill.

Simply fill the container with potting mix/ well draining compost and sprinkle seeds, double the depth of the seed. For example if your seed is 1mm just cover with 2mm of soil. It doesn’t have to be exact but just a rough guide.

Spring planting guide for your vegetable garden

What to plant in September in your Vegetable garden…

Asian greens

Asparagus Basil (herb)








Chinese Cabbage Chives
Climbing beans Coriander (herb) Cucumber
Dwarf beans Eggplant
French tarragon Globe artichokes Gourd Horseradish Leeks
Mint (herb) Mustard greens NZ Spinach
Oregano (herb) Parsnip
Rocket Rockmelon Rosella Rosemary (herb) Sage (herb) Salsify
Shallots Silverbeet
Spring onions Squash Sunflower
Sweet corn Sweet Potato Thyme
Turnip Watermelon Yam/Oka Zucchini

Happy Spring Planting!

Megan Cooke

Director Garden to Table Permaculture