Planting Time for Brassica and Allium

In our temperate climate, it is now time to plant vegetables of the Brassica and Allium families.

Common members of the Brassica genus is Kale, Cabbage, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, and Kohlrabi.  These are only a few cultivars.  You may also be surprised that mustard is also a member of this family.  So is Swede/Rutabaga.

Common members of the Allium genus is Onions, Leeks, Garlic, Chives, Shallots, Wild Ramp, etc.  There are just so many Allium cultivars that it would take a few pages to name them all.

Anyway, where is this botany lesson leading?  To my front yard veggie patch of course!

After I harvested all of the beautiful Queensland Blue pumpkins, I prepared the two garden beds for the next crop of home-grown veg.

Improving fertility in garden beds for Brassica and Allium crops

At the start of each season, I improve the soil fertility.  To each of these beds I added a bag of well-rotted cow manure, a bag of sheep manure, a couple of small flower pots of blood and bone, and then a couple of handfuls of dolomite lime per bed.  Both Brassica and Allium like a little bit of lime, and are heavy feeders, especially the Brassica.  Then I dig the beds over with a garden fork down to the depth of the prongs.

Prepared garden beds for Brassica and Allium

Once both beds are dug over, with all dirt clods broken down and raked to a smooth tilth, I usually add a thin layer of mulch in the form of sugar cane mulch.  I only apply a thin layer during winter for two reasons.  It allows the light rain we get here in winter to penetrate into the soil, and it provides less cover for insects like earwigs that may eat the seedlings.

Then I water the bed well to ensure it is moist before I plant anything.

Australian Purple Garlic ready to plant

So on to the planting.  Here are some garlic bulbs that I saved from last years crop.  Garlic is easy to plant and grow in the home garden, and you can see how I grow it in this post titled How To Grow Garlic.

Planting leeks

Leeks are just as easy to grow.  Just separate each seedling and then get a broom handle and push a hole into the soil, as deep as the seedling is tall.  Then just dropped the seedling into the depression, water the hole and the dirt fills in around the seedling.  If you would like to see a successful crop that I planted a while back, check out this post titled Taking A Leek!  I haven’t planted any for the last couple of years, so they are back by popular request from the good lady wife.

Bed of leeks

The reason I plant leeks like this is to maximise the white part of the leek.  Some growers wrap newspaper around the stem of the leek to blanch the stem, but I find that that technique attracts too many wood lice and earwigs that feast on the leek.  Initially planting the leek deeply does the same job and protects them at the same time.

Brassica bed

Finally, the Brassica bed.  I planted red and white cabbages, mini cauliflower, sprouting broccoli, and kale in the Allium bed (ran out of space).

I am keeping an eye out for cabbage moths to make sure that they don’t decimate the seedlings with their caterpillars.  As it is cooling down now, there shouldn’t be too many of them around, but I will check none the less.

So dear reader, that is what has replaced the pumpkins in the front yard veggie patch.  Over the coming weekend, I will take photos of what I have planted in the main veggie patch.  I have been a busy boy.

What have you been planting lately in your neck of the woods, even if it is as small as a balcony garden, or as large as an acre?  I am always interested to read what others are planting around this time of year.


  1. says

    I wish I had raised beds in my front yard. Maybe one year. I have planed most of my root veg (carrots, beets, radishes, turnips) as well as lettuces, and spinach. I also have the garlic popping up that I planted last fall. So excited that spring has finally arrived.

  2. says

    Gavin, I always plant a large variety of things, and mix them together in the same bed to help with pest control. Recently I planted broccoli, cabbage, cauli, kale, carrot, onion, spring onion, potato, lettuce, beetroot, garlic, snowpea, sugar snap pea, radish, and parsnip. Best wishes to your seedlings.

    • Gavin Webber says

      Good plan of attack Jason. I think I will need to plant something in between the rows of brassica. I did this last year with radishes, which worked a treat.

  3. theresa says

    Always like to know WHAT to plant and WHEN, you keep it so simple and easy that you just want to go out and start planting, I will defiantly be planting leeks so I can make Kims Anglesey Eggs again that was delicious…. not sure which is the best recipe, Kims Anglesey or Bens Pesto pasta, will have to make them both again and see :) Thank you

    • Gavin Webber says

      You’re welcome Theresa. Glad you like the recipes. We love to cook the veggies we grow, so it is only natural to share our successes and failures.

  4. says

    I have been slowly working my way through pating out brassicas and alliums too. Garlic don’t like the brassicas as a companion but onions do and I figure I will plant the onions around the brassicas and I am hoping the onion smell will deter the pests like cabbage moths and aphids. :) I’m planning carrots around someo of my alliums too – again great companions although I’m sure you know that already. :) Autumn planting is so great, particularly with the thought of nature doing the hard watering work. :) Here’s to a wet winter but not too wet please. 😉

  5. says

    Just about to the same! We have a group of homeschoolers visiting the farm this week and we are going to be planting the winter crops of broccolli , cauliflower and kale. Then later I will plant my garlic in the next chicken tractor bed.

  6. Clare says

    Thanks for your blog – long time reader finally thought I should say thanks :) Your blog is practical at an achievable level and always thoughtful. Here in northern NSW planted garlic and sprouted potatoes, kale, turnip and tatsoi (new to me). My first garden was in Perth – complete contrast to here sand vs clay, summer dry vs wet though this year not holding true only just got decent rain. Leeks are a new discovery for me, subtle yet flavourful – you can even cut them off and let them grow back, tough.

    • Gavin Webber says

      You are most welcome Clare, and thanks for your comment 😉 Yes, leeks are very versatile and full of flavour. Sounds like you have lots of goodies in the garden. Here’s to a wet winter!

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