May 262017
 

Ok, it’s official, winter is upon us. And while it may seem easier to curl up on the couch with a cup of tea and a good book, it is the perfect time to get amongst it in the patch! There is a sense of hibernation for a lot of us but wherever you are in this nation it’s time to don the boots and get to it.

Warm Areas

Frost free or occasional light frosts (North from about Coffs Harbour and all the way across to the west to Geraldton)

  • Time to plant some winter crops – think about some leeks, rocket, beetroot, celery, lettuce (oak leaf), broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, onions, kale, kohl rabi, spinach and silverbeet.

  • Pop in some coriander and chamomile… perfect for warming winter curries and cups of tea!

  • Stick in some spud, home grown is easy, and incredibly rewarding. The potato page is here! Don’t forget about sweet potatoes, they are great fun to grow as well!

  • There are a load of fruity favourites ready to go in, including kiwifruits and figs! Remember that kiwi fruits need to cross pollinate, so ensure you pick up one of each sex so that they can cross pollinate.

  • Nuts such as pistachio or pecan can also be planted. Beautiful trees in their own right, these nuts are number one in the garden!

  • A seaweed tea, or any low environmental impact liquid fertiliser is perfect for giving plants a kick start as they establish. Apply to the soil early in the morning and in the concentrations mentioned on the packet. Don’t forget to give the fruit trees a bit of a feed as well (particularly paw paw).

  • Much needed at this time of year is colour.  marigolds, lupins, pansies, violas, phlox, verbena and lavender (non-invasive varieties of course!). Popping these in around your veggies will give some colour and interest to the patch, and act as beneficial insect attractors!

  • Consider a green manure crop to add some life and love to an overworked patch. At this time of year, try millet, oats, lupins or field peas. This will improve your soil incredibly, and, as a bit of forward planning, you’ll find it well worth the effort!

  • Water smarter at this time of year. Water first thing in the morning, and instead of quickie irrigation, a nice, deep drink a couple of times a week is far more beneficial! Always check soil moisture before watering at this time of year….don’t waste your precious drinking water if Mother Nature has already done all the hard work for you!

  • Top up mulch on your veggie patches, herb gardens and ornamental beds, especially important for weed suppression at this time of year. A hot tip is to mulch after watering, to a depth of about 7cm. Keep mulch clear of plant stems, especially young seedlings. Choose sustainable, low environmental impact mulch, one that will enrich your soil as it breaks down. Also look for one that has done the lest amount of travel to get to you.

  • Weeding is still needed at this time of year. Most plant growth has slowed down though so it will not have to happen as often. But it also means that it is also a time of year to try and remove as many competitors as possible before the weather starts warming up again.

Cool to Cold Areas

Low temperatures for extended periods of time (all of Tasmania, most of Victoria, the southern highlands of NSW, the ACT and a tiny southern bit of SA)

  • You should start seeing bare rooted fruit and deciduous trees starting to appear in your local nursery. This is the cheapest and easiest way to purchase. The stress is less for the tree as it is dormant.  Pick trees with a nice shape, and don’t forget to prune them back before you plant them out (best thing to do is ask the local nursery to do it for you). Remember to make sure you have the correct pollinators to ensure a good crop. Some stone fruit trees will not fruit until they have been in the ground for a few years. So be patient.

  • Give Brassica’s a place in your patch, pop in the following: broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. Plant some sage with these guys as a great, caterpillar and moth-repelling companion!

  • For plants that will settle in over winter, so that when spring comes along, they will go gang busters are: peas, beans, radish, Swedes, turnips and spinach. Oh, and some spring onions would go a treat this month as well.

  • Set aside a bit of space and pop in an artichoke! These are gorgeous additions to the patch, look amazing, and taste pretty good too!

  • Plant some rhubarb crowns. Set aside some space in the patch, and check out out the Rhubarb fact sheet for all the tips and tricks.

  • Add some colour and movement to the patch, and pop in some of these little pretties- dianthus, cornflower, pansy, viola, verbena and lupins. Having these around your veggies will give some interest to the patch, and act as beneficial insect attractors!

  • Top up mulch on your veggie patches, herb gardens and ornamental beds, especially important for weed suppression at this time of year. A hot tip is to mulch after watering the patch, to a depth of about 7cm. Keep mulch clear of plant stems, especially young seedlings. Choose low environmental impact mulch, one that will enrich your soil as it breaks down. Also look for one that has done the lest amount of travel to get to you.

  • Green manure crops, including oats, wheat, faba beans and field peas are good to go now. Improve that nutrient deficient veggie patch, and get ready for next seasons heavy feeding plants!

  • A seaweed tea, or any low environmental impact liquid fertiliser are perfect for the seedlings you’ve just popped in. Apply to the soil early in the morning, and in the concentrations mentioned on the packet.

  • Weeding is still needed at this time of year. Most plant growth has slowed down, so it will not have to happen as often. But it also means that it is also a time of year to try and remove as many competitors as possible before the weather starts warming up again.

  • Water smarter at this time of year. Water first thing in the morning, and instead of quickie irrigation, a nice, deep drink a couple of times a week is far more beneficial! Always check soil moisture before watering, don’t waste your precious drinking water if Mother Nature has already done all the hard work for you!

  • Cold days mean a bit of shed time… why not build yourself a nice blackboard for the shed, to keep track of what has been planted in your patch where and when? This makes crop rotation a load easier, and allows you to keep track of feeding times and dates, what worked, what didn’t and what’s happening in the veggie garden.

Temperate Zones

Occasional winter frosts (pretty much the rest of Australia, most of the inland, some areas of Victoria, most of SA and the southern area of WA)

  • Great time to plant in the temperate zones, so pop in some Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli. Peas and beans can also go in, as well as radish, turnips, Swedes and spinach.

  • It’s time to get happy with herbs, so try some chamomile and lemon grass. You could give mint and lemon balm a go as well, but be careful to contain them as they can take over.

  • Why not try some lovely flowering stuff in your patch as well, like: cornflower, calendula, dianthus, pansies, viola, snapdragons, stock, ageratum and marigolds. These guys are great at attracting pollinators and beneficial insects to your patch, and I reckon they look tops as well.

  • You should start seeing bare rooted fruit and deciduous trees starting to appear in your local nursery. This is the cheapest and easiest way to purchase. The stress is less for the tree as it is dormant.  Pick trees with a nice shape, and don’t forget to prune them back before you plant them out (best thing to do is ask the local nursery to do it for you). Remember to make sure you have the correct pollinators to ensure a good crop. Some stone fruit trees will not fruit until they have been in the ground for a few years. So be patient.

  • Consider a green manure crop to add some nutrients back into your patch, especially before planting heavy feeders in spring. At this time of year try faba bean, field pea, oats and wheat. This will improve your soil incredibly, and, for a bit of forward planning, you’ll find it well worth the effort!

  • Top up mulch on your veggie patches, herb gardens and ornamental beds, especially important for weed suppression at this time of year. A hot tip is to mulch after watering the patch, to a depth of about 7cm. Keep mulch clear of plant stems, especially young seedlings. Choose low environmental impact mulch, one that will enrich your soil as it breaks down.

  • Plants feel the need for a feed at this time of year. A seaweed tea or low environmental impact liquid fertiliser is perfect, especially for the seedlings planted this month. Apply to the soil early in the morning, and in the concentrations mentioned on the packet.

  • Weeding is still needed at this time of year. Most plant growth has slowed down, so it will not have to happen as often. But it also means that it is also a time of year to try and remove as many competitors as possible before the weather starts warming up again.

  • Water smarter at this time of year. Water first thing in the morning, and instead of quickie irrigation, a nice, deep drink a couple of times a week is far more beneficial! Always check soil moisture before watering, don’t waste your precious drinking water if Mother Nature has already done all the hard work for you!

Of course, this is just a rough guide, and many of you will find your situation varies from the above listing, due to microclimates created in your garden, location in relation to your nearest major city, extremes of weather (Mother Nature does like to keep us on our toes) and garden type.

Information sources:
Bagnall, Lyn, Easy organic gardening and moon planting, published by Scribe Publications, VIC.
McFarlane, Annette, Organic Vegetable Gardening, published by ABC Books, Sydney, NSW.

 

Photos:

  2 Responses to “June in Your Patch”

  1. to deal with snails and slugs (all but eradicated now in the garden) I sink a margarine container into the ground so it looks like a mini in-ground pool. Then I fill it to the brim with fresh beer. then I add three heaped tablespoons of brown sugar. such that the top is flush with the soil. snails and slugs fall in and die happy. it also attracts European wasps and they die happy too. Once the beer has evaporated the ants come and eat the remains of the slugs and snails. then I tip out the empty snail shells and fill it up again with beer and brown sugar. works a treat.

  2. Great information!
    And will be sharing a beer with the snails
    We have a small glasshouse and would appreciate any suggestions for growing through winter

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