Subtropical Planting Guide for December

It is a hot time to be gardening, but first thing in the morning before the sun reaches this part of the earth, the garden is cool, moist and shady. This is the best time to get out and do summer gardening - either then or much later in the day as the sun is setting in the sky. 

I love the abundance at this time of year - especially when the rains come. Hardy and subtropical plants just thrive, and plants just seem to leap out of the ground.

This is my salad trellis - the cucumbers and self-seeded cherry tomatoes are climbing together.
Underneath are growing welsh onions and parsley.
Today I prepared some areas in the garden for new plantings and put in a couple of varieties of open-hearted lettuce, rosella, dwarf beans and three types of basil. 

After all the recent heat, and if mulch layers are thinning, the ground can be a little compacted. So firstly I loosen the soil with my sturdy old garden fork (the newer ones just seem to bend). I don't turn the soil, just open it - this really helps to let more air and moisture penetrate to activate soil life. I top-dress these areas with some compost and manure, and then water it all in well with some comfrey tea. The last layer I add is a thick thick covering of mulch. Particularly at this time, the mulch is so important to stop the soil becoming completely baked.

I also top-dress around the perennials with compost and add lots more much there too.

Hardy perennial Brazilian Spinach thrives in the subtropical summer and enjoys some extra compost and mulch.

Here is a list of some things to consider planting now - happy gardening!