Winter to spring brings a wonderful change in the vegie patch as the weather starts to warm up and days get longer and sunnier. There are many challenges for moving from a winter to a spring vegie patch, but if you start preparing now, your plants will reward you with a bountiful harvest as the months progress.

Vegetables can be grown in the soil, in raised beds or even in pots so long as the area is sunny. When choosing what to plant, select from your household’s favourites and allow space for the mature size of each plant.

If you are still unsure of what to grow, follow our general guide below or visit your hardware or garden centre for some great ideas on what’s suitable for your location and climate.

 If you are new to growing vegies, try easy crops such as leafy greens including lettuce, spinach and bok choy along with spring onions, snow peas, beans and cherry tomatoes.

If you live in the tropics or subtropics, plant beetroot, capsicum, chilli, cucumber, eggplant, kale, lettuce, okra, pumpkin, rocket, rockmelon, rosella, sweet potato, tomato, watermelon and zucchini.

 If you live in the temperate south, plant beetroot, broad beans, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, garlic, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, onions, parsnip, peas, spinach and swede.

To get your spring vegie patch underway, follow our easy seven steps to a winter-to-spring vegie patch, so you can confidently grow your own tasty edible produce.

Tip: For more information on planting specific vegies, check out our vegie guides.

Follow our seven easy tips on changing from a winter to spring vegie patch including soil prep, what to plant and how to look after them.
Follow our seven easy tips on changing from a winter to spring vegie patch including soil prep, what to plant and how to look after them.

Step 1 – Remove spent winter vegies.

Winter vegies have produced a bumper crop, but now is the time to remove them to make way for new spring crops.

  • Start by harvesting the last of the produce then add the spent plants to the compost heap or green waste bin.
  • If there is any diseased or pest-affected foliage, bag it and add it to the rubbish bin. This will stop diseases or pests from spreading to new plants.
  • Check what has grown over your vegie patch over winter – there may be overhanging branches that need to be pruned away if they are blocking out much-needed sun.
  • For successful growing, ensure the vegie bed gets at least six hours of sunlight a day (preferably from the morning on).

Step 2 – Clean up and revitalise garden soil.

Vegies are hungry crops that take up a lot of nutrients and deplete soil health. To clean up, improve soil structure and add nutrients for spring crops follow these tips:

  • Remove stakes or trellis and garden twine used in winter crops.
  • Check for weeds and any debris and remove them.
  • If organic mulch such as lucerne, sugar cane mulch or pea straw covered winter crops, dig it into the topsoil to add nutrients.
  • Add organic manure and homemade compost and/or Seasol Super Compost to condition the soil and improve its health.

Step 3 – Clean up and revitalise pots and potting mix.

Pot life can be hard for plants especially vegies, as they can’t send their roots out into the soil to find extra water and nutrients. All they need must be contained within the pot and these are always rapidly used up.

  • Remove any stakes or garden twine used for growing winter crops.
  • Eradicate weeds, check for pests under pots and examine the potting mix to make sure it is still okay to use for another crop.
  • Improve potting mix for new crops with Seasol Potting Mix Booster. It adds beneficial microbes to extend the life of the mix and revitalise it for another crop. Remember to dig it into the potting mix and water it in thoroughly.
  • If the potting mix has been used for a few crops and is not fertile. Replace it with fresh premium potting mix such as Seasol Advanced Potting Mix. It has everything in the bag to make your plants flourish.
Follow our seven easy tips on changing from a winter to spring vegie patch including soil prep, what to plant and how to look after them.
Follow our seven easy tips on changing from a winter to spring vegie patch including soil prep, what to plant and how to look after them.

Step 4 – Check soil or potting mix moisture.

Vegies not only require lots of sun and nutrients, but they also require moisture (water) to keep them healthy and happy.

  • Check that your soil or potting mix is absorbing water. If it’s pooling on top, running off or flowing down the insides of pots, it could be hydrophobic (repelling water).
  • Applying a soil wetter such as Seasol Super Soil Wetter and Conditioner will fix hydrophobic conditions and ensure water gets to where it’s needed – the plant’s root system.
  • If you have irrigation, check that lines, drippers or sprinklers aren’t blocked, and replace worn parts.
  • Check soil moisture daily and water as needed. Early morning is a great time to water, as plants can use the moisture during the day when they are transpiring.

Step 5 – Prepare for planting.

Check soil pH, improve nutrients and water well.

  • The pH of the soil should ideally be between 6.0 and 7.5 for growing most vegetables. Highly acidic soils will benefit from a handful of lime per square metre dug in well.
  • A soil rich in nutrients helps build strong plants, so add Seasol Plant + Soil Booster (100g per square metre) and a fertiliser such as PowerFeed Controlled Release Tomatoes & Vegetables.
  • Water additives in well then let the soil rest for a week or two to help the soil settle. This also gives it time to increase worm and microbe activity and improve soil fertility.
  •  If irrigation is installed throughout the beds, ensure it is working correctly. If you have a new garden bed or pot, consider installing a drip irrigation system to make watering easy and to save valuable water.

Step 6 –  Choosing to sow seeds or plant seedlings.

Once you have decided what you want to grow, the next decision is how to get started. Plants can be grown either from seed or by planting purchased seedlings.

Both have advantages and disadvantages. Seeds can be cheaper than seedlings, but germination rates can be low and may be slow. Time from sowing seed to harvest takes longer with seed than starting with seedlings.

Seedlings are already growing removing the hard work of sowing seed and time to harvest is quicker than starting with seed.

  • Seeds can be sown directly into the soil or started in punnets or trays filled with a premium seed raising mix such as Seasol Seed Raising & Cutting Potting Mix. Once seedlings are large enough they are transplanted into the ground or containers.
  • When sowing seeds, follow the directions on the seed pack for depth and spacing requirements. Water newly planted seeds with Seasol to aid germination rates.
  • If starting with seedlings, follow the directions on the plant tag for spacing and growing requirements. Water seedlings in with Seasol to aid plant establishment.
  • Ensure seeds and seedlings stay moist but not wet. Check daily and, while there, look out for and control pests that love to eat juicy young plants such as snails and slugs.
  • When planting in your vegie patch, also consider adding herbs and flowers to grow with your crops. Consider basil, parsley, rosemary and flowers such as marigolds, nasturtium and lavender that will bring beneficial insects and pollinators to your patch.

Step 7 – Ongoing plant care

Plants need nurturing to ensure a bumper crop of tasty produce.

  • Once seeds have germinated and plants are young, remove any weak or overcrowded plants to ensure the strongest have enough space, moisture, and nutrients to crop well.
  • Apply Seasol every one to two weeks to ensure healthy growth and a strong root system.
  • Apply organic mulch such as lucerne, pea straw or sugar cane around plants to keep seedlings and the soil moist and weed free.
  • If growing vine crops such as beans, peas, tomatoes or cucumbers, ensure they have stakes or trellis to climb up.
  • To keep your plants growing strongly, flowering and fruiting, provide a constant supply of nutrients. Vegie crops need little feeding often. Apply a balanced fertiliser such as PowerFeed PRO SERIES for Tomatoes and Vegetables. Regularly apply every two to four weeks at 20mL of concentrate per 9 litres of water (standard watering can) while the plants are young and increase to 50mL of concentrate per 9 litres of water as plants grow and mature.
Follow our seven easy tips on changing from a winter to spring vegie patch including soil prep, what to plant and how to look after them.
Follow our seven easy tips on changing from a winter to spring vegie patch including soil prep, what to plant and how to look after them.

Things to watch for…

  • Snails and slugs: These are the biggest pests for vegie plants, search plants regularly and destroy them by hand. For an organic treatment, try barriers around the plants made from coffee grounds, broken eggshells or wood shavings. Snails and slugs can also be baited using commercial iron-based, non-toxic snail and slug baits or using a beer trap.
  • Aphids: These tiny pests can quickly destroy a crop as they suck all water and nutrients from the plant as they feed. The leaves can curl and wilt. Remove by hand or spray with an appropriate insecticide such as EarthCare Natural Pyrethrum insect spray.
  • Bolting: When temperatures become hot, plants are water stressed or the leaves are left too long before harvest the plant can bolt and go prematurely to flower and seed. Check plants daily to provide adequate water and harvest regularly.
  • Lack of germination: Low or no germination can be due to seeds being stolen by ants or eaten by birds or the soil may be too wet (causing seeds to rot) or be too old to germinate well. Resow with fresh seed. Use mesh or a cover to keep birds away and keep soil moist but not wet.
  • Powdery mildew: This fungal disease is caused by poor air circulation or wet or humid conditions. To prevent this disease, ensure plants grow with good air circulation by removing excess plants at planting time so each plant has adequate spacing.

Tip: Check out our pest and disease guide for specific vegie pests and diseases.