Our winter gardening guide was so popular we decided to create an extra one! Consider this your checklist for what to harvest, plant and sow in June
What to harvest in the garden
+ Pumpkin is not only dead easy to grow, it also stores well, so you can keep pumping out the soup all winter. A cool, dry shed is best for storing and skin should be hard with no cuts or signs of rot. Try growing a variety of pumpkin – butternuts and buttercup varieties are all ultra tasty.
+ Gardeners in warmer areas should still have plenty of fruit to harvest. Tamarillos are delicious fresh, but they also make great additions to crumbles and desserts, as well as preserves. These frost-tender fruit are also high in vitamins, iron and potassium.
+ Ripening citrus fruit light up the winter garden. Grapefruit are best picked before they drop to avoid bruising. But don’t harvest too soon, as the fruit tastes sweeter the longer it is left to ripen.
+ Trim lemon trees for size and good fruiting straight after picking. Avoid pruning during spring and summer as borer beetles love to dig their way into freshly cut branches. Remove old and diseased wood and crossing branches so the centre of the tree gets plenty of air circulation.
What to sow in the garden
+ Broad beans straight into the garden in warmer areas for harvesting in spring. Keep sowing every 3-4 weeks for continual crops and stake tall varieties to prevent flopping. Be sure to give plants lots of space and choose a sunny, well-drained spot.
+ For that extra snap in salads and stir-fries, you can’t beat snow peas. Like all pea varieties they are not too fussy about where they grow, happy in both light or heavy soil, provided it is not boggy. To enrich soil, add plenty of compost and/or manure well before planting. Peas are a cold-season crop, which means they need to grow mainly during winter and early spring before temperatures climb above 15°C. Start planting now and make successive sowings for the next few months. In very cold areas growth will be slow until temperatures begin to warm up.
+ You used to see cabbages in just about every vege garden but not so much these days. It’s a shame because they are full of vitamins and minerals, they’re not difficult to grow and if you choose the right varieties you can grow cabbages all year round. Sow seed in punnets for transplanting into the garden when plants have about 5-6 leaves and a good root system. Savoy varieties are not so smelly as the other cabbage types when cooked. Remember not to plant them where other brassicas (broccoli, Brussels sprouts) have been growing, as the soil will be depleted of the vital nutrients they need, and plants are therefore more vulnerable to pests and diseases.
+ Rather than buying packets of salad mixes that only last five minutes, sow your own cold-tolerant lettuces, mizuna and mesclun mixes.
+ Sow seed for leafy greens such as perpetual spinach 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.
What to plant in the garden
+ June is traditionally the month for planting garlic. If you’re looking for a cost-effective vege, this is the one, as organic garlic can be very expensive. Of course, garlic is incredibly good for you so the better its growing conditions, the more health-giving properties it will contain. Plant cloves from a good source (not supermarket imports) in full sun and free-draining soil. Make sure the pointy end of the clove is upwards and make holes around 2cm deep and 15cm apart.
+ If you’re an asparagus fan and you’ve got plenty of space, it’s definitely worth giving this delicious vege a try. A member of the lily family, asparagus needs its own separate area in the garden with well-drained, fertile soil, high in lime. Give it a sunny position too. Plant crowns in a 15cm trench, about 30cm apart.
+ Plant strawberries in a sunny spot with well-drained soil but wait until spring in frosty places. The crown of the plant should be level with the soil; allow 25-30cm between plants. Fertilise each plant with an equal mix of dolomite, sulphate of potash and blood and bone, then mulch with pea straw or similar.
Why waste money on store-bought salad greens? Just one packet of mesclun seed mix can grow enough salad greens for a family of four for up to six months, if sown successively.
Words by: Carol Bucknell. Photography by: Alexander Raths/123rf.