While gardening usually conjures up images of suntans, sweat, portable radios, cold beers and rapidly-growing jungle-like harvests, the gardeners amongst us know that many days are spent in cold, rainy, muddy conditions, tending to crops that seems to have plateaued at 10cm. But each have their charm, and the lads at Little Veggie Patch Co let us know what is best to plant in the depths of wintery July…
Let’s face it, winter gardening can be wet and drab at the best of times, so entering the fray in the depth of the season will require a very dedicated effort!
However, if you have your heart set on a harvest of winter crops, better hurry along, because July is your last chance. Be aware that late planting translates to a late harvest, which may limit the space available for planting spring crops in only a matter of months. Why not assess your space and see if planting a faster-growing leafy green – lettuce, spinach or silverbeet – may be a better alternative? You’ll be picking these in roughly two months.
Winter crops that you planted early in autumn may be reaching maturity. When harvesting broccoli, cut off the head, then leave the plant in the ground to develop further smaller florets. The same will apply to brussels sprouts, which will continue to produce little baton balls as you pick them. Other varieties, such as cauliflower and cabbage, are less likely to develop any meaningful secondary growth, so it’s best to remove the whole plant after harvesting.
Most of you will be harvesting leafy greens and faster-growing root vegetables, such as radishes or beetroot. When harvesting whole plants, succession plant the next batch, as there is still plenty of time for these varieties to mature before spring proper. Can’t muster the enthusiasm for succession planting? Then dig through the patch with some compost and well rotted manure and see it out until September.
Herbs will be largely dormant, but established plants will still alleviate the need to buy supermarket produce, and that’s a considerable win, now give yourself a pat on the back. If you haven’t already cut back your herbs, trim back any woody growth now; these plants won’t mind.
The latter part of this month is your first opportunity to propagate the earliest of tomato seeds. Make sure you do so in a mini-greenhouse or propagation box. These will be ready to transplant in 4–6 weeks, so growing them now is only recommended for those living in warmer areas that are devoid of spring frosts.
What to Plant now…
(You can still grow Cabbage, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Broad Beans, Brussel Sprouts, but it’s getting very late…)