Don’t let the chilly temperature prevent you from getting in the garden! Use this simple gardening guide on what to harvest, plant and sow this June
+ Before planting garlic, get rid of weeds like dock, make sure drainage is top notch and add plenty of compost. You’ll need to fertilise as it grows because garlic is a heavy feeder. Choose only the largest, healthiest cloves and space 7-12cm apart depending on size.
+ Plant snowpeas for salads and stir-fries in a warm, sheltered spot. Peas are happy in light or heavy soil, provided it is not boggy, but a rich, well-drained loam is best. Add plenty of compost and/or manure well before planting.
+ If the ground is not too wet, now is a good time to plant deciduous fruit trees. The golden rule when digging a hole for your tree is: twice as wide as the root ball and the same depth.
+ Eating asparagus straight from the garden is a true pleasure. You’ll need a very well-drained, sunny spot with soil high in fertility. Most asparagus is grown from 1-year-old crowns.
+ Early cropping potatoes can be planted in warm gardens. Buy well-sprouted seed potatoes and dig in compost, poultry manure, sheep pellets and other organic matter well in advance.
+ Pick celery when stalks are around 15cm long below the leaves. Don’t leave too long or they’ll turn woody and tasteless.
+ Loosen soil with a garden fork before gently pulling up beetroot by hand. Only harvest plants as you need them (although they do keep well in the refrigerator).
+ Adventurous gardeners who decided to give new superfood yacón (or yakon) a try this spring can start harvesting tubers this month, when plants are in flower. Also known as Peruvian ground apple, yacón looks like a golden kumara but tastes sweet and juicy. You can eat it raw in salads, sautéed, boiled or in a tea. It is deemed a superfood as it is low in calories and starch, high in fibre and full of vitamins and minerals. If you’re keen to grow yacón again, don’t eat the entire crown but divide it up and keep some tubers in a cool, dark place for planting around September.
+ Regular picking of silverbeet leaves encourages new, tastier leaves to form but don’t denude the plant of foliage as it may stop producing altogether. Watch out for slugs and snails; pick them off by hand or use non-toxic bait such as Tui’s Quash. Sprinkling coffee grounds around the base of young plants is said to deter these slimy gastropods, too.
+ For a continual harvest as spring draws near sow broad beans every 3-4 weeks. Tall varieties need some kind of support such as rows of bamboo stakes and twine. Make sure you give plants lots of space as they can get quite large, and choose a sunny, well-drained spot.
+ Beetroot can still be sown in warmer areas. Make sure soil is friable with excellent drainage as boggy ground encourages diseases. Sow seed around 1.5cm deep and 5-10cm apart.
+ Leafy greens help keep you healthy during the colder months whether you steam them or put them in a smoothie. Spinach (common, perpetual or New Zealand) does best in the cool seasons so sow seed now, either directly into the garden or into punnets for transplanting later. Soil should be high in nutrients such as compost and animal manure (eg sheep pellets). Keep seedlings well watered.
+ Sow cauliflower seed into punnets or pots before planting 6-week-old seedlings out into the garden (not in frosty areas). Regular feeding and a sunny position will ensure your cauli heads will be a good size.
+ If you live in a frost-free area you can sow carrots directly into the garden. Don’t add fresh manure or compost close to sowing time and remove soil clumps and rocks for nice, straight carrots.
+ Radishes are the ideal crop for young gardeners. They do best in the cooler months although those in very chilly places will have to wait until spring before sowing. Give kids a kaleidoscope of different coloured radishes to sow in pots or planters. You can also pick young radish leaves and use as micro greens to spice up salads etc.
Tip: Pick up fallen feijoas and bake in a crumble, chop up for fruit salad or perhaps try homemade ice cream.
Words by: Carol Bucknell. Photography by: Helen Bankers and Alexander Raths/123rf.