June in your edible garden
Daylight seems to be in short supply as we move towards the winter solstice. It has been milder than usual, and we have had heaps more rain than in years gone by.
I laid mulch in autumn over a good part of the garden, but not as far as I would have liked. I have finally realised that this is gardening and it doesn’t matter. “Do what you can, when you can”, is better than doing nothing.
Due to the milder weather, there are a few patches of weeds popping through. To combat those, and to get my dose of Vit D from the sun, I literally choose a wee spot, weed for 10 to 20 minutes and then cover the weeded area with mulch.
As well as harvesting lots of yummy leafy greens, some of the broccoli we planted at the start of March, are nearly ready for winter harvest. Meanwhile other plants, such as leeks, are still in the making.
In this issue:
- Prepare the ground for garlic
- Feeding the birds
- What to sow and plant in June
- Do the odd jobs you never have time for
Preparing to plant garlic
Now is the perfect time to prepare the garden for planting garlic. Garlic loves a sunny, well-draining spot. It also prefers to be in a weed-free area where it is not competing with other crops.
If possible, choose a different spot to where you grew garlic last year. It is greedy with nutrients and by switching locations you give the soil a chance to replenish. Once you have selected a suitable spot, give the area some yummy food. Compost, rotted-down horse manure, seaweed. All the good stuff.
You can plant garlic anytime from May until the end of July. Planting earlier, rather than later, helps to avoid the garlic being affected by rust.
Make sure the seed garlic bulbs you are buying are NZ in origin. To plant, separate the bulb into individual cloves. Make a small hole and drop the clove in, fat end first. Cover with soil, and sit back and wait for the shoots to appear.
Feeding the birds
A classic sign that winter is on its way, is when the tuis reappear in my garden. They disappear into the hills in the late spring and return about now. It’s absolutely magical having tuis and bellbirds in the garden. To encourage birds to choose your garden to visit, buy the orange bird-attracting feeders from the local hardware store and fill the feeders with nectar-like syrup. This is a mix of water and raw sugar, with a ratio of about 1:8 sugar to water. Once ready, hang them on the lower branches of a few established trees in the garden. The native birds really love them and you will be re-filling the feeders in no time. Give it a go, as it’s so special to have feathered friends in your garden.
What to sow and plant now
In June, direct sow mizuna, bok choy, coriander and kale. In trays, you can also sow spring onions, brown and red onions, as well as brassicas, such as broccoli, kale and cauliflower.
Plant silverbeet, parsley, spinach, coriander, and rocket in the greenhouse or under cover. I am growing mesclun leaves in the greenhouse so I can have salad greens all year round. The leaves grow slower in winter, so I have sown sections of the glasshouse in stages to maintain a constant supply over the cooler months.
It’s also a perfect time to be sowing and growing microgreens on the window sill.
Get the odd jobs done
The weather can be tough at this time of year and can prevent us from getting outside in the garden as we had planned. This can be frustrating. There is something special about donning a raincoat and gummies, and getting out for some fresh air when the weather allows. June is a good time to do garden chores you never get time for. Get the tools sharpened, build a new bed or put in that irrigation line you have always wanted.
After all your hard work getting the garden ready for winter, use the rest of your spare time to do some of the things you enjoy indoors. I like having friends over for a long lunch at this time of year or choosing something to read from the never-get-to stack of gorgeous books. Before we know it, we will be launching into preparing the garden for spring.
Until next month