December in the Garden- Permaculture Food Gardening in Australia

by Ewa Bekiesch, Permaculture designer, educator, self-sufficient living consultant, and healthy food advocate.

Summer is here! Hot and humid days are going to be our companions for the next three months or so with more or less rain however, this doesn’t stop us from producing healthy and delicious food! There is no “food-growing brake” in a self-sufficient homestead. Firstly because we love naturally grown food without any additives, and secondly because many different foods are happily growing during this time of the year.

This article might give you some ideas about what can be done, sown, planted, and harvested in the garden in December in the warm parts of Australia. Note: this is all based on my experience and our work in the food forest. Feel free to comment below if you would like to add or ask something.

We do sell many of our food forest plants, cuttings, and seeds online through our website here. You will also find the link below at the end of this article.

For easy-to-grow vegetables in hot summer, check my video below at the end of this article or in my YouTube channel.

General gardening jobs

  • Applying compost tea every 3-4 weeks to plants with new growth and the garden beds with growing veggies. This is something I write about each month but it is really important! Check my video here if you want to know how to make your own. You can use any greens for it! Applying compost tea to your garden should be a regular task if you do serious gardening and you want to see a good crop. Worm farm tea, diluted at 1:10 works well, too.
  • Sowing, planting, harvesting – check the list below.
  • Weeding and mulching! Mulch will keep the soil cool and moist; this is exactly what we want. The earthworms are most happy and active when the soil temperature does not go over 24°C . Note! The layer of mulch should not be thicker than 10cm.
  • Apply fruit fly bags and nets on ripening fruit and veggies. Plant heat-resistant herbs like Bush basil, Rosmarine, mint, shallots, and other nearby fruit trees and garden beds to confuse the creatures you don’t want in your crop.

What NOT to do this month

  • Planting any brassicas and radishes is over now until autumn. They don’t like the humidity and hot temperatures we are coming into. All of them will bold quickly and all sorts of bugs will have a feast on them, too, so forget it! However, if you have some of them bolting now, you can leave them for the beneficial insects and seeds for the next season

Sowing, planting, harvesting

Notes:

  1. There are more plants you can grow but I am limiting my list to the plants which I grow in my food forest and I have the best experience.
  2. If you are looking to buy some heirloom, non-GMO, and open-pollinated healthy seeds or plants, consider visiting my online shop at www.foodforestseeds.au Thank you for supporting my small business 🙂
  3. I have included links to the individual seeds and plants I sell. Simply click on the name with the link and a new page will open where you can read more info about the plant, and you can buy it if you don’t have it yet (all coloured names include the links, more to come!). Enjoy!

Drought, heat, and humidity tolerant edibles – perfect for Australian Summer

Sow and/or plant now:

And here is the regular list of what you can sow and plant in December:

Sowing

Many plants are self-seeding and emerging like out of nowhere throughout the food forest now. If you don’t know some of the plants in the list below, check my ‘Food Forest Guide’ for more info about edible plants, how to grow and use them, and some other tips and tricks.

Planting

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

Planting throughout the entire month:

Harvesting

We harvest daily and as required, depending on what we like to eat and cook, and/or what needs to be harvested. The November harvest list includes and is based on what grows in our food forest and what is possible, fruit included. 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, as green mulch ‘chop and drop’, some of them go to compost if they are taking over, or as food for our chickens, ducks, or worm farm. The possibilities are endless.

Perennials crop:
  • Bush basil – Ocimum oxcitriodorum
  • Cassava – Manihot esculenta – roots
  • Cranberry Hibiscus – Hibiscus acetosella – leaves and flowers
  • Galangal – Thai Ginger –Greater Galangal, Alpinia galangal – 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
  • Brahmi-Memory Plant – Waterhyssop – Bacopa monnieri – leaves
  • Bana Grass – Pennisetum purpureum x amaricanum – leaves for mulch and food for animals
  • West Indian Arrowroot – Maranta arundinacea – root
  • Sugarcane Red – Saccharum officinarum – cane, mostly to dry and store for meat smoking later on
  • Elderberry – Sambucus Nigra – flowers
  • Lemon guava – Yellow Cherry Guava
  • Alpine strawberries – Wild Strawberries – berries
  • Aloe Vera
  • Mulberries
  • shallots
  • garlic chives
  • sweet potatoes – leaves and roots
  • bananas
  • Horseradish – leaves and roots
  • limes
  • Dandelion – leaves and flowers
  • Pepino fruit
  • Lots of herbs
Short-living perennials and annuals we harvest in December:
  • zucchini
  • Bottle Gourd
  • tromboncino
  • eggplant
  • Luffa
  • pumpkin
  • beetroot
  • Pigeon peas
  • tomatoes
  • all sorts of herbs
  • cucumbers
  • cucamelons
  • QLD Arrowrot – leaves for chickens and bulbs for us
  • Cassava
  • Chinese tree lettuce leaves

What are you sowing, planting, and harvesting in your garden at the moment? Leave your comment under the article below on my website. I would love to hear from you.

If you would like to support our work, you can do so in many ways:
*Subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit the bell so you get notified about new videos. It’s free!
*Leave a comment under the videos you watch
*Follow us on Facebook and Instagram
*Buy a plant, cuttings, seeds, or my Food Forest Guide at https://www.foodforestseeds.au
*Book one of our workshops or online course
*Buy us a coffee. Our PayPal email is permaculturehaven@gmail.com

Enjoy your garden!

Ewa

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