July in your edible garden
Wow wee, we are now into the second half of the year. June gave Wānaka loads of very grey skies and cold inversion (fog). July has arrived and so have the frosts and the sun. Now, all we need is a good dollop of the white stuff for the skiers.
In my edible garden we are harvesting broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, leeks, miners lettuce, rocket, beets, coriander and parsley. I am extremely grateful to the glasshouse for providing our household with other leafy greens, including various mesclun salad leaves and lettuce.
In this issue:
- What to sow and plant in July
- Fruit trees including lemon trees
- Rainy day ideas
What seeds to sow in July
Unless you live in a warm climate and while it’s still consistently cold, I suggest you sow seeds in trays and keep them in a protected environment for now. A greenhouse or similar is perfect.
Sow leafy greens such as spinach, coriander, bok choy and winter mesclun mix. Broad beans can be sown outside.
What to plant in July
Broad beans, broccoli, kale and other brassicas can be planted outside. However, if you live in a mountain-cool climate there may not be much growth, so a protected area for those super-cold days would be best.
Garlic can still be planted if you haven’t done so already. Spring onions can start to go in.
If you have space in pots in a protected area such as a glasshouse, keep planting Bok choy, spinach, beets and mesclun mixes. All great so those bases for creating yummy salads.
Citrus is rolling in
Here in this mountain climate we generally don’t grow citrus a well as other parts of NZ, however cold-tolerant citrus such as the Meyer lemon do grow here. I can never have enough lemons, whether it be for cooking, making hot lemon drinks, adding slices to a G & T or just to have sitting pretty in the fruit bowl.
If you are planting a lemon tree, choose a warm sheltered north or northwest-facing brick or concrete wall to give it the best start. If you already have a lemon tree, now is the time your lemons will be ready. If the colour is good, and the fruit slightly soft, it will be time to harvest.
Fruit trees: I have just pruned my apples. July is a great time to do this. Some of the reasons we prune are to encourage new growth and fruit for the coming season, and limit the overall tree size.
If you have fence space to espalier (grow along wires against a wall or fence) fruit trees, then I highly recommend you consider it. They look gorgeous in all seasons and it’s a great use of space. Mini fruit trees could be another great solution for your garden, if you are short of space. It is a good time to plant fruit trees now. Apples, apricots, citrus, blueberries, nectarine, plums and peaches can all be planted and your local nurseries will have fruit trees available, ready for planting.
Get them in the ground now while they are dormant and allow the roots to settle, before they start to flourish in Spring.
Winter day ideas
Now is a good time to start thinking about what you might like to grow this Spring or any changes or additions you would like to make to your edible garden. Spend the rainy days looking for and saving pictures of things you like for inspiration. It’s also a brilliant time to find a cute vessel you would love for growing microgreens and popping on the windowsill. Microgreens are nutrient-dense and packed full of flavour. They are perfect if you don’t have anything growing outside.
Until next month, Mānawatia a Matariki.