Gardening in June
It may be winter but…
There is still plenty to do in the garden this month, even if a chilly breeze is blowing and the sun isn’t giving much warmth. Early morning may be frosty but that soon burns off after sunrise. The days are often near-perfect for getting stuck into some of the many chores that need to be done now.
The benefits are many - good exercise that not only improves your fitness but keeps you warm, and the garden looks better too. Looking good this month are Sasanqua camellias – think about planting one or two next spring to give your early winter garden a splash of colour.
What to plant now:
In those regions that have a clearly defined winter, it’s too late for planting out all but advanced flower seedlings. As the month progresses bare-root roses, fruit trees and ornamentals will start appearing in garden outlets and planting can begin.
In warm temperate to tropical climates, where winter is really a misnomer for this time of the year, planting of the following evergreen trees, shrubs and climbers can continue: Australian native plants, exotic shrubs and climbers like hibiscus, tibouchina, hoya, bougainvillea, bomarea, mandevilla and pink or yellow trumpet vine (allamanda).
- Seasonal flowers:
Bloomer pots of pansies, violas, bellis, calendulas, cinerarias, cornflowers, polyanthus and primulas should be planted early in the month in cool to temperate areas. In warm temperate to tropical areas marigolds, impatiens, delphiniums, Iceland poppies, polyanthus, snapdragons and sweet peas will all do well.
- Woody and perennial herbs:
“Hard” herbs - rosemary, sage, thyme, bay laurel, oregano, mint* – may be planted now in warm climates. “Soft” herbs – parsley, basil, coriander, chives, tarragon – may be grown indoors in cooler areas or outdoors in warmer climates.
*Mint should be grown in a pot to stop it becoming invasive.
- Winter and spring vegetables:
Keep planting beetroot, brassicas, peas, rhubarb crowns and artichoke suckers in warmer areas. It’s generally too late to plant seedlings in southern areas.
The Vegetable Patch:
Some of the early autumn veggie plantings may be starting to crop now in cool climate gardens – look for tender Brussels sprouts, cabbages, kale and cauliflowers. Silver beet and other “cut and come again” leafy greens may also be ready to pick.
What to plant now:
Continue planting certified virus-free strawberry plants and runners. Protect young plants from cold with a straw, lucerne or sugarcane mulch that will help keep the soil warm and weed-free. Rhubarb and asparagus crowns will be available now from garden centres and some produce stores. Look for sturdy, firm crowns.
In temperate areas, a late planting of seedlings of:
- Silver beet
- Brussels sprouts
- Chinese cabbage
- Kale (including Tuscan kale or cavallo nero)
- Spring onion
In warm regions, sow seeds or plant seedlings of:
- Silver beet
- Soft herbs – parsley, coriander, basil
Veggie patch tips for June:
- Keep veggie crops healthy and growing well with applications of liquid fertiliser for vegetables and herbs such as Osmocote Boost+Feed Vegetables, Tomatoes & Herbs or a certified organic fertiliser once a month.
- Water deeply at least once a week if the weather is dry.
- In cold areas, add a layer of mulch over the soil to keep it warm and minimise effects of frost.
- If a severe frost occurs, hose plants off before sunrise to prevent burning of leaves.
- Hand pull or hoe out weeds as they appear – they compete for nutrients and moisture and may also harbour pests that could attack your crops.
- Use snail and slug traps or baits to protect plants and crops as they develop.
Fruit & Flower Beds:
Fruits to harvest now:
In cool and cold climates, most fruits are now in their dormant season, apart perhaps from a few late limes or lemons. In warm areas, however, there should still be some tropical fruits to harvest – custard apples, carambola, breadfruit, avocados, guavas, paw paws (papayas) to name a few.
What fruit to plant:
Evergreen fruiting plants such as passionfruit vines and citrus may still be planted in warm to tropical areas. From mid-month onwards, deciduous fruit and nut trees will start appearing in garden centres and other gardening outlets. These include:
What flowers to plant:
Bare-root roses are available this month. Prepare planting holes with a slight mound in the centre over which the roots should be spread. Check plants are put in no deeper than the soil mark on the stem - graft or bud unions should be well clear of the soil. Back-fill and water in well to settle soil around the roots. Don’t add fertiliser while the plants are dormant. Some further pruning after planting is recommended, despite having already been cut back.
Winter and spring flowering annual seedlings in warmer climates only:
- Aquilegia (granny’s bonnet)
- Iceland poppy
Garden jobs for the month:
- Keep flower seedlings growing well with regular applications of Osmocote Boost+Feed All Plant Types.
- Clean and sharpen your garden tools, especially secateurs, loppers and pruning saws so they are ready for action in winter.
- Clean out the garden pond – remove leaf debris, repot water plants (waterlilies, iris, etc), add a water conditioner (remove fish first!) and tidy up the plants around the edges. Add a good handful of garden lime per square metre to empty garden beds to “sweeten” the soil. DO NOT add lime around acid-loving plants like azaleas, camellias, rhododendrons or magnolias – they will react badly!
- Sow a “green manure” crop of oats, peas and field lupins in empty vegetable beds; dig it in to add nitrogen to the soil when about 300-400mm in height.
- Check garden beds under the eaves or in other protected spots to ensure they have not become too dry; water if required.
- Plants inside the home assist in purifying the air as well as lending a touch of greenery to your living areas.
- Keep plants out of draughts and away from heaters and air conditioners that can dry the atmosphere.
- If your house is at a comfortable temperature for you, then it will be perfect for your plants too. Place a saucer or bowl of water near your plants to humidify the air.
- Keep leaves clean by wiping occasionally with a damp cloth (no detergents or oils, please!) to remove dust and dirt that can affect photosynthesis.
- Keep them growing well with ready to use Osmocote Pour+Feed Indoor Plants – no mixing required.
Over winter, in southern areas, the lawn will benefit from a bit of TLC.
- If grassed areas stay wet after moderate to heavy rain, you may need to install a drainage system. See May’s notes for detail.
- Watch for moss in shady, moist areas of lawn. A solution of iron sulfate (30 grams in 4.5L of water) applied as a spray or with the watering will help control it. Re-apply if necessary.
- Apply a generous handful of garden lime per square metre a week or so after mowing, and allow rainfall to take it down into the soil. Don’t mow for at least a week or two after liming.
- Eradicate broadleaf weeds with Lawn Builder Bindii, Clover & Broadleaf hose-on, safe to use on ALL lawns.
In the warmer north:
- De-thatch with a garden rake to remove build-up of dead grass in buffalo, kikuyu and couch lawns.
- Remove weeds either by hand or with Lawn Builder Bindii, Clover & Broadleaf hose-on.
- Top dress with Lawn Builder Organic Lawn Soil – Topdress Mix & Underlay.
- Fertilise with Lawn Builder All Purpose Slow Release Lawn Fertiliser, Lawn Builder Buffalo, Lawn Builder Extreme Green Granular or one of the Lawn Builder hose-on equivalents.
- Chewing pests can destroy your plants overnight if not controlled. Use a general garden insecticide like Defender Pyrethrum Insect Spray to control them. Don’t forget to spray the undersides of leaves too.
- Watch for the caterpillars of the White Cabbage Butterfly on cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and other brassicas. Pyrethrum will assist or try a cabbage dust
- Slugs and snails can be active over Winter – Defender Snail & Slug Pellets in a bait trap will protect your plants and keep your pets safe.