Now is the time to make the most of those fresh June days to plant, prune and prepare your garden in time for next spring.
Cool/Temperate: It’s a quiet time in the vegie patch. The winter brassicas should be developing, with cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli ready to pick. Keep harvesting the sprouting broccoli and it will reward you with florets into spring and beyond. Never allow it to flower or it will be spent in no time. Now is the time to plan next summer’s crop, so relax by the fire, immerse yourself in some catalogues and order your seed for sowing in July/August.
It’s time to plant potatoes. Use certified disease-free potatoes and plant them in soil that has not grown potatoes for at least three years. If you have run out of space, plant them in large pots or half-wine-barrels. Fill the bottom of your container about 20cm deep with rich, crumbly soil. Plant the potato “rose” end up — that is, where you can see a cluster of indentations that are the eyes or growth points for the new plant. Cover them with 15cm of soil; they should be about 30cm apart. As they start to grow, add more soil so the green tips are only just exposed. Continue to “hill up” around the plant like this until you reach the top of the container. When harvest time comes, just tip over the pot and you will have potatoes galore.
Cool/Temperate: Now that it really is winter, it’s time to have a very close look at your fruit trees. Deciduous trees are now easy to examine. Remove any dead or diseased wood or branches that are growing towards the inside of your trees. Remove any rough bark with a stiff brush to flake away a haven for codling moth — get rid of it now!
Compost and Soil
Cool/Temperate: The last of the autumn leaves should be falling, so get out there and rake them up! They are the ideal soil/compost improvers. If you are fortunate enough to live near any old oak trees as garden, park or street trees, get out there and gather the leaves — they make the best of leaf composts. Simply make a cylinder of chicken wire secured with a couple of stakes and then fill it with the leaves, adding a few handfuls of lime as you go. In spring it will have formed crumbly compost ready to dig into the soil.
Tropical: Keep the water up to the soil and protect the surface with mulch, which acts like a sunscreen. Mulch retains moisture and as it decomposes adds to the percentage of organic matter in the soil — another water absorber! Top up any mulch that has become a bit thin; a depth of about 10cm is ideal. Don’t forget to keep the water up to the compost heap; it can dry out in no time.