January here in the subtropics is normally wet, hot and humid! But if you love raising things by seed it is a good time to start planning your autumn crops (one of our best growing seasons).
Prepare for Autumn
Here in the subtropics we scale down the garden generally by the end of December. What is in the forefront of our mind is getting ready for Autumn crops. Autumn is our most productive season of the year, it's more like a temperate summer so we have less bugs, less rainfall but still have the warmth for things to grow.
In beds that we are resting we generally plant out green manure crops and move the chickens into the areas to give them a bit of love.
Now is the time that we plant our tomato seeds for autumn harvests. We generally grow cherry tomatoes all year round, but we do our bottling tomatoes now.
Prepare for rain
Between January and March we see the majority of our rainfall, mostly in form of storms. This means we need to make sure we secure tall plants to avoid damage from summer storms.
With the excess rain, it also means powdery mildew is prevalent. Avoid planting susceptible plants this time of year and Keep on top of it by using preventative milk spray 9 parts water 1 part milk.
If you end up getting a lot of rain you need to keep your eyes peeled for Bacterial and fungal diseases in susceptible plants. They can cause a plant to wilt and look like it needs water. We see this commonly with tomatoes and cucumbers.
Get your compost cranking
Compost production is in full swing here in January. If you want to get a good amount of compost before autumn you could try your hand at doing a hot compost as it will be ready before planting out the Autumn crops. We have loads of resources in the Dirt Lovers Membership for composting.
Bugs and pests to look out for
Be vigilant with the fruit fly prevention. They are at their worst this time of year.
Other bugs you might want to keep an eye out for:
- 28 Spot Lady Beetle (Cucumber, Luffa, pumpkin, rockmelon, Eggplant)
- Grasshoppers (Raspberry, Pigeon Peas, Calendula, Mint)
- Orange Tortoise beetle (sweet potatoes)
- Fruit Fly (tomatoes, rockmelon, watermelon, also spotted stinging our jap pumpkins)
- Mealy Bugs (calendula)
- Whitefly (eggplant, tomatoes)
- Brown Bean Bug (Pigeon Pea, snake beans)
- Caterpillars (Sweet Potato, Kale)
- Snails (Swiss Chard, Brazilian Spinach)
You might also be having issues with Possums and rats around now, rats especially seem to pop up after a bit of rain.
What to plant in January
January we don't plant a great deal as a lot of stuff is either finishing up or we're holding space for Autumn. If you do have the space you can check out the list of things to grow here.
If you want a quick reference guide on what to plant throughout the year you can download our free seed sowing chart here.
What will you be planting this month? Leave a comment below!