Planting Ahead for Spring

Group of three seedlings in repurposed toilet paper rolls
So many decisions to make at this time of year. What should I plant, where and when? As with so many things in life in 2015, I can definitely say there’s an app for that! In point of fact there are quite a few that can help in designing your next planting sessions. A really simple one I’ve used for quite a few years now to help remind me about WHAT I can plant WHEN is at

Gardenate on the web or via a low cost app for your phone gives a good list of annual plants to get you started, tells you whether it’s the month for sowing seeds or seedlings for lots of edibles.  To get going you just need to say which country (the app covers Australia UK) and what climate you have. Being in the upper mountains I chose cool mountain, but in the lower/mid mountains the growing season starts a little earlier and winters are less, well, wintery, and so you’d mainly go for temperate. A sunny protected spot and even an upper mountain gardener might look to see which plants are ‘planting now’ for temperate neighbours and might be started off optimistically early.

If you buy fully formed seedlings from a shop then it’s a bigger financial risk to chance your bigger initial investment. It’s worth it if you want to grow plants which are marginal in the area usually, like grosse lisse tomatoes. As the name suggests these are big, and need a lengthy season of sun to get to their mature ripening size. Source them early to get a head start on mountains shorter season. Cherry tomatoes on the other hand are a much safer bet in the upper mountains.  It’s also well worth thinking ahead a little and seeing what seeds you can buy, without too much more work you can get a lot more plants for your money. Get an even better deal by hooking up with seedsavers, friends who garden and save seeds to see what’s grown well for them in your area and if they have any seed to share. In truth, knowing exactly what to plant when is a lifelong learning experience. You can optimise for a good outcome based on the information you’ve collected before, but you can never understand everything. It’s what keeps gardening interesting and sometimes infuriating!

Thanks to, gardeners around the world can now share our growing experiences and seeds beyond immediate gardening friends.  The more gardeners join up and share information and experiences the more we can all learn from each other about what grows well in our areas. There are nearly fifteen hundred gardeners around the world connected up, and already a couple in the mountains.

GrowStuff Aus Map

The project is run by a geek-meets-gardening community as an open source project, so as well as tracking your seedlings, your friends, and cousins tomato plants in QLD or overseas, you can even contribute to improving Growstuff code if you like.  Find out more at Growstuff on Github

Image of Seedlings by Stacie


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