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April – Permaculture Food Gardening in Subtropical Australia

April – Permaculture Food Gardening in Subtropical Australia

by Ewa Bekiesch, Permaculture designer, educator, sustainable living consultant, and healthy food advocate.

April is the month when we start to feel Autumn, and we love it! The lower temperatures make gardening so much more enjoyable. The first winter seedlings are emerging out of the soil, and you can watch them grow, or at least some of them. Let’s have a look at the jobs that we usually do during this month.

General jobs in April

  • Regenerating, enriching the soil, and mulching, if not done yet. Check my previous articles and Youtube videos on how to do it.
  • Pruning fruit trees and bushes, depending on the variety and growing stage. “Chop and drop” is a great way to trim the overgrown plants and give the nutrients back to the soil. This may vary from year to year. I will make a separate article about pruning trees and bushes soon.
  • Sowing and planting into the prepared garden beds.
  • Watering young seedlings and keeping the soil moist is now crucial. Water helps the roots to absorb nutrients, and young plants need lots of nutrients!
  • Now is a good time to plant fruit trees and bushes (not the tropical ones though). The temperatures are still warm enough so the trees can get established before winter. Watering the newly planted tree/bush is essential! Straight after planting and then as required. If there is no rain, water your young trees every day in the first week, and then twice a week for a month to give the young tree the best conditions to get established.

Sowing, planting, harvesting

One of the reasons for providing all the information is to encourage everyone to grow their own healthy food, build resilience and confidence, and taste the difference of homegrown food! Your seeds and plant orders are always much appreciated as they help us do what we do.

We do sell many of the fruits and veggies in the form of seeds, cuttings, and plants through our online store at You can now earn reward points with each purchase and use them for a discount on your next order!


Many of them are self-seeding in our food forest. If you don’t know some of the plants in the list below, check my ‘Food Forest Guide’ for more info about the plants, how to grow them, and how to use them, along with some other tips and tricks. I have also included links to the individual plants so you just need to click on them to get to the shop to find more info about the plants and to order one if you like (all coloured names include the links, more to come!). All are naturally grown, non-GMO, heirloom, and open-pollinated plants, and most of them come from my food forest.


No trees in this list, mostly because there are too many fruit trees you can grow in a subtropical climate so simply choose what you enjoy eating and what suits your garden. If you want to know what trees we are grow, check our ‘Food Forest Guide‘.


We are harvesting daily and as required, depending on what we like to eat and cook, and/or what needs to be harvested. As you may think, we don’t harvest all of it every day. Many of them simply keep growing and wait patiently for their turn to end up in the kitchen, or as green mulch ‘chop and drop, go to compost if they are taking over, or as food for our chickens, ducks, or worm farm. The possibilities are endless.

Perennials crop we harvest in April:

  • Cherry Guava
  • bush basil – Ocimum oxcitriodorum
  • Cranberry Hibiscus – Hibiscus acetosella – leaves
  • Galangal – Thai Ginger –Greater Galangal, Alpinia galangal – leaves and roots
  • Gotu Kola – Centella asiatica – leaves
  • Lemongrass – Cymbopogan citratus – leaves and stalks
  • Longevity Spinach – Gynura procumbens – leaves and stalks
  • Okinawa Spinach – Hawaiian lettuce – Gynura bicolour –  leaves and stalks
  • Peruvian Parsnip – Arracacia xanthorrhiza – leaves and roots
  • Rosella – Roselle – leaves and calyx
  • Tarragon, Estragon – Artemisia dracunculus – leaves and flowers
  • Cassava – Manihot esculenta – leaves and roots
  • Brahmi-Memory Plant – Waterhyssop – Bacopa monnieri – leaves
  • Bana Grass – Pennisetum purpureum x amaricanum – leaves for mulch
  • West Indian Arrowroot – Maranta arundinacea – root
  • Sugarcane Red – Saccharum officinarum – cane, mostly to dry and store for smoking meet later on
  • Sweet Leaf – Sauropus androgynous – leaves
  • Elderberry – Sambucus Nigra – berries and flowers
  • Alpine strawberries – Wild Strawberries – berries
  • Aloe Vera
  • Dragon fruit
  • Hawaiian guava
  • shallots
  • garlic chives
  • pineapples
  • sweet potatoes – leaves and roots
  • bananas
  • passion fruit
  • Panama berries
  • pawpaw – leaves and fruits
  • Loganberries – leaves
  • Horseradish leaves – leaves and roots
  • Blackberry – leaves
  • Star fruit – fruit
  • Limes
  • Tamarillo

Short living perennials and annuals we harvest in April:

  • squash, tromboncino, zucchini, pumpkin
  • Cucamelons
  • Winged bean
  • chilly, capsicum
  • eggplant
  • tomatoes
  • all sorts of herbs
  • Asian Pigeonwings, Butterfly Pea – Clitoria Ternatea
  • Okra – Abelmoschus esculentus
  • West Indian Gherkins, Maroon Cucumber – Cucumis anguria
  • Bottle Gourd, Calabash – Lagenaria siceraria, and other gourds
  • Luffa – Luffa aegyptiaca
  • QLD Arrowrot – leaves for chickens and bulbs for us

If you want to know how we use the plants we grow, or you like to add something or ask a question, simply comment below, and follow us on YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. I am also offering onsite and online/email/over-the-phone consultations if you are not sure where to start. More info about my services here.

Buying seeds and seedlings

When buying seeds and seedlings, go for the heirloom ones. Heirloom varieties are open-pollinated which means that you can collect and save your own seeds from the plants you grow in your garden, store them for the following season, and use them to grow your own food from year to year. Some people say that the heirloom varieties give you a delicious taste compared to the hybrid ones but I cannot confirm that since I always use heirloom seeds. It makes me think now, maybe that is why our homegrown food tastes so delicious. All seeds and plants in our web-based online shop are heirloom, non-GMO, and naturally grown with lots of love and passion.

I hope that my article will help you to plan and organise your garden, and brings you one step closer to growing an abundance of food and becoming self-reliant sooner than later 🙂

The next article comes in the first week of May.


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