June in your edible garden
Wow, just like that the days are getting pretty short as we are moving swiftly towards the Winter Solstice. A classic sign that winter is on its way for us here in Wānaka is the arrival of a couple of semi-permanent residents. I find myself absolutely filled with joy when the same three Tuis return about this time each year to live in our garden and let us feed them over the colder months.
The leaves have all but dropped. You may have had a chance to weed and complete laying mulch over your garden or, if you are like me, you may not have got as far ahead as you thought you might be by now. I have parts of the garden still to do … some garlic to still plant- it doesn’t matter. It’s still a perfect time to be doing it all.
As well as harvesting lots of yummy leafy greens, some of our broccoli and cauliflowers we planted back in the middle of March are nearly ready for winter harvest, while other brassicas like the leeks and brussels sprouts are still in the making.
In this issue:
- Protect your wee tenders from Jack.
- Rhubarb – so good and so easy
- Kick back a little – enjoy some time indoors
Jack Frost: Jack has been making some fairly decent appearances over the last few weeks and is sure to be back in town more frequently from here on in. If you live in a frost prone part of NZ, make sure you pop down to your local hardware store to grab some protective frost cloth to protect any delicate and frost tender plants. A classic most of us need to cover over winter is your lemon tree. The cloth will come in handy in spring for other plants so don’t think it’s only got one use. I highly recommend getting a medium weight frost cloth; the extra weight will help it to stay in place.
Hiatt & Co Top Tip: I can easily forget to cover the plants every night, so I tend to wrap my lemon tree up for the winter, using frost cloth and a bunch of a bunch stainless steel pegs. (Trust me, there is nothing more disappointing than forgetting one night to cover your bush, as rest assured this is the night Jack will unexpectedly appear and the damage can be devastating)
Rhubarb: I love having rhubarb in the garden and once you get it going, it is a divine yummy plant that really doesn’t require a lot of love in return for what it provides. It’s a great go-to fruit to use to whip up a winter pudding or to make a compote to have over granola.
Now is a good time to split the crown with a spade and divide mature crowns (4-5 years) and re plant. It is also good time to tidy up all the dead leaves around the crown, spread some animal manure or mature compost around it and I also lay lucerne around mine. They love being fed.
N.B. When harvesting the stems to cook, always cut the stem a good 3-4cm down the stem from the leaf – rhubarb leaves are toxic.
Hiatt & Co top tip: Instead of adding sugar to sweeten, I much prefer to cook it with other fruits such as apples or strawberries to get the natural sweetness.
Kick Back a Little: The weather can be tough at this time of year and can prevent us from getting outside in the garden when we had planned to or when our time allows. This can be frustrating. Although there is something I love about donning a raincoat and gummies and getting out for some fresh air, I recommend that instead of stressing out when the weather isn't on our side, we use this time to kick back a little.
After all your hard work getting the garden ready for winter, use the time to do some of the things you enjoy indoors but never get time to do. Before we know it, we will be launching into preparing the garden for spring. During this time of year, I like having friends over for a long lunch or reading one of my “never get round to it” stack of gorgeous books.
Until next month