Consider this your winter planting guide! Here’s what to harvest, plant and sow in the garden during the month of June
What to harvest in the garden in June
+ Brussels sprouts are ready to harvest when they’re about the size of a golf ball. Pick them off the stem and leave plant to produce more sprouts.
+ Pick broad beans when young and eat them whole as you do runner beans. They’re great in stir-fries.
+ Keep picking leafy greens such as spinach, lettuce, mustard greens and mizuna to encourage plants to produce more leaves.
+ When picking perpetual spinach or silverbeet, don’t pick too many leaves from one plant at a time; leave a few on the plant so it stays productive.
+ Lemons are best picked when fruit is heavy and still on the tree. Fruit on the ground should be used as soon as possible as it will probably be over-ripe. Prune trees after harvest, taking out old and diseased wood and crossing branches so the centre gets plenty of air circulation.
+ When harvesting feijoas pick up fruit as soon as it falls as it can rot quickly. Alternatively, pick from tree by touching fruit gently, those that are ripe will come off the branch easily. After tree has finished fruiting you can cut it back quite heavily if necessary. Some say this does the tree a power of good.
+ To keep cauliflower heads white and tightly packed, wrap lower leaves around the head and tie loosely about 1-3 weeks before harvesting.
What to sow in the garden in June
+ Not keen on getting out into the vege garden during the colder months? Rather than let the weeds run rampant while you’re waiting for spring to arrive, think about sowing a manure crop such as phacelia, lupin or Kings green manure mix . Manure crops improve the soil and, when cut down in spring, can be dug into the soil to add organic matter. Wait about a month before sowing seed or planting vegetables into the bed, to give your manure crop time to break down.
+ Keep sowing broad beans directly into the garden every 3-4 weeks for continual crops.
+ Parsley can be sown in warmer areas, as can beetroot and parsnip.
+ Sow silverbeet seeds, or plant seedlings, in all but very cold places. Sow seed directly into the ground or in pots. As well as the commonly grown variety with dark green leaves and white stems, you can buy coloured types such as red-stemmed ‘Cardinal’, ‘Bright Yellow’ or multi-coloured ‘Bright Lights’.
What to plant in the garden in June
+ Plant blueberry bushes as hedges or in groups, as more than one plant will aid pollination. Soil needs to be rich in organic matter and reasonably moist for good production. Add compost, leaf mould or peat before planting and repeat annually. Choose varieties which suit your climate.
+ Plant strawberries if your garden is not too frosty (wait until early spring if it is). Space around 30cm apart and make sure crown is level or just above soil. Use a specialist strawberry-growing medium or mix blood and bone, dolomite and sulphate of potash evenly together and sprinkle a handful around each plant.
+ They may be slow-growing but onions are so useful and versatile they’re worth having in the kitchen garden, whether you grow red, brown or spring onions. The brown-skinned ‘Pukekohe Longkeeper’ stores very well and is less inclined to go to seed. Soil should be friable (crumbly to touch) and seedlings need holes about 3cm deep, spaced roughly 10cm apart.
+ Early-cropping seed potato varieties such as ‘Jersey Benne’ can be planted in frost-free gardens.
+ If the ground is not too wet or cold in your area, now is a good time to plant deciduous fruit trees such as plum, nectarine, apricot and peach.
Words by: Carol Bucknell. Photography by: Prue Ruscoe/bauersyndication.com.au.