Despite being an arid land, Australia has a global reputation as a leading agricultural producer and is known for its clean, green, and safe produce. Wheat, barley, canola, cotton, sugarcane, fruits, and vegetables are the primary crops, followed by sorghum, oats, rice, pulses, and corn.
Summer is the best time to start a garden in Australia. The days are warm but not too hot, coupled with sufficient rainfall, which keeps your plants healthy and hydrated. In this blog, we have discussed the best vegetables to grow in summer in Australia.
But first, let us discuss
How to Prepare the Soil for Summer Plantation?
Since the scorching summer heat draws out moisture from the ground, it is essential to loosen the soil and add organic matter to maintain the moisture level.
To prepare the soil for summer planting,
- Check the Soil Temperature: Checking the soil temperature will imply how well your plants will grow. Cold soil will make your plants struggle to take root, and hot soil will not allow your plants to absorb water properly
- Test Soil Acidity: Ideally, the pH for most plants should be between 6 and 7, and you need to test the soil to check whether it falls on the pH scale.
- Add Organic Matter to the Soil: The texture and drainage of your soil while providing nutrients to your plants depends on organic matter. You can use compost, well-rotted manure or peat moss to add organic matter to your soil.
- Loosen Up Compacted Soils: It becomes difficult for roots to penetrate and grow if your soil is compacted. To loosen the compacted soils, you need to till them with a rototiller or gardening fork.
- Modify Clay Soils with Sand: Since clay soils are heavy and dense, it becomes difficult for plants to grow. To modify clay soils, mix sand to enhance drainage and aeration.
What to Grow in Summer in Australia?
The first point you need to consider is your local climate zone before deciding which summer vegetable you would plant. Usually, the summer growing season in Australia is from December to February; however, in some parts of the country, you can start as early as November or as late as March.
There are different types of vegetables to plant in Australian summer:
- Capsicum: A sweet addition to your summer garden, capsicums come in different colours, and you can pick the perfect one to complement other plants in your garden. Capsicums require a warm climate, so choose a sunny spot in your garden.
- Corn: Planted mostly in late spring or early summer, corns take approximately three months to attain maturity. Since corns are a bit hungry plant, you need to give it sufficient room to grow. At the same time, ensure that you add some extra organic matter to the soil before planting.
- Cucumber: Cucumbers are also another summer vegetable that requires hot weather. They are perfect for making salad or sandwiches and are easier to grow. You would need a sunny spot along with some well-drained soil.
- Eggplant: Like the above-listed vegetables, eggplants also require hot weather for growth. Ensure that you choose a sunny spot to grow eggplant because they don’t grow well if they don’t get sufficient summer sun.
- Tomato: Not only are tomatoes delicious, but they are also easy to grow in warm weather. All you need is a sunny spot and well-drained soil.
Other than the aforementioned vegetables, there are a few herbs that grow best in summer in Australia.
- Basil: A versatile herb that adds flavour to several dishes, basils are easy to grow and care for, especially if you are an herb garden beginner. To plant basil, make sure that you choose a sunny spot and well-drained soil, and keep watering the herb regularly.
- Chives: We know that chives add flavour to salads, soups, and sauces and are a perfect addition to any summertime dish. Can be grown both indoors and outdoors, chives require well-drained soil. However, you need to water these herbs regularly, particularly during hot summers.
- Mint: Known for being refreshing, and delicious, mint requires partial shade, and is perfect for summertime drinks. Hence, it is a good option in case you don’t have a spot in your garden that requires full sun exposure.
- Rosemary: Rosemary can be grown in pots or containers and is another great herb for hot and dry weather conditions. It is often used to add flavours to meats like chicken and lamb but can also be sprinkled over vegetables.
- Thyme: Thyme adds flavour to various dishes and is drought-tolerant, making it perfect for hot summer days. Ensure you choose a spot with full sun exposure and well-drained soil while planting thyme. Also, make sure that you water the herb frequently and trim back any stems that begin to flower.
Just like herbs, there are a few popular summer plants that are grown widely in Australia like:
- Hibiscus: Hibiscus requires heat and dry conditions to grow. Available in different colours such as white, cream, pink, red, purple, and orange colours, hibiscus attracts wildlife to your garden and also attracts butterflies and birds.
- Lavender: Known for its beauty and fragrance, lavender adds beauty and odour to your garden. It is also a great source of nectar for bees and attracts other wildlife.
- Marigold: Marigold is another flower that is perfect for hot and sunny weather conditions. Available in different colours like yellow, orange, and red, these flowers can deter pests like nematodes and rabbits. At the same time, marigolds are low maintenance and are perfect if you do not want to spend a lot of time caring for flowers.
- Sunflower: Sunflowers are perfect flowers that brighten up a summer garden. They are easy to grow and a great addition to your garden, irrespective of their size.
- Zinnias: Available in different colours including pink, red, purple, orange, yellow, and white, zinnias grow perfectly in full sun as well as partial shade. You need to water them regularly as they do not require dry soil. Zinnias are low-maintenance flowers and require deadheading to ensure continued flowering throughout the season.
If you are looking for the best plant options to grow in your summer garden, browse through the KG2 website- Australia’s largest independent farmer database to know what options have proven beneficial to most of the successful farmers in the country. This will help you make an informed decision about the crops that would yield better results.