Wondering what to grow as we come into spring? Meg McGowan from Permacoach shares some thoughts.
I call this time of year “chuck it in!” because just about everything will do well!
Traditionally brassicas like cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower are planted to mature during winter because they need a long growing season and there is supposed to be less white cabbage moth around (not so true these last few years!) but dwarf varieties and sprouting varieties have a shorter time to maturity and are fine to plant in spring. Kale can go in any time as can Asian greens.
Predictions this year (2023) are for a scorching, dry summer so I’m focusing on things that will give me either a quick harvest or that can be repeat harvested over time; think cherry tomatoes, Thai eggplants, Paris market carrots, baby corn etc. I’m also starting sweet potato slips because they are pretty much indestructible and I’ve put seed potatoes into ceramic pots (see Huw Richards YouTube tutorial on growing potatoes; he uses plastic pots)
Permaculture puts an emphasis on perennials and those plants that happily self seed, and they form the foundation of our system, including oregano, mint, parsley, land cress, rosemary, all of the mustard varieties (also a great soil fumigant), arrowroot (great substitute for potato and can be side harvested all year), dandelion, daikon radish, radicchio, repeat harvest lettuce, strawberries, grapes, cane berries (blackberry, raspberry etc), macadamias, hazelnuts, avocados, citrus, persimmons and a whole collection of native food plants. Many of these will cope much better with harsh conditions that wimpy annuals. Oh, and perennial beans like scarlet runner and scarlet emperor, and the perennial Malabar gourd. These give us food with way less work that labour intensive manual beds. We have those too, but manage them more efficiently using “no dig” methods (see Charles Dowdings: NO DIG gardening for beginners)