5 July 2019
July is a quiet time in the gardening calendar. The cooler weather has finally come and it’s time to take a break from planting main crop vegetables. The ground is cold and wet and not ideal to work in.
We’re harvesting our winter crops like cabbage, kale, broccoli, beetroot, chards, spinach and fennel.
Consider sowing mesclun and microgreens in containers that can be kept in warmer places or even brought in at night-time.
Microgreens are really easy to grow and come in a great range of flavours and textures. They make up an important part of my winter diet.
This is the time of year to plan the season ahead. Crop rotation is important to take into account in your planning. The best approach is not to plant the same crop, like tomatoes, in the same place every year. Alternate this area with another crop, like beans or cucumbers.
If this is not possible, then add more carbon (compost), fertiliser (animal manures and seaweed) and minerals (volcanic rock dust) to the beds. This way the plants grow strong and healthy and they don’t lack the important nutrients they need.
If any part of the garden is not being used, cover it up to help the soil stay alive and to keep the weeds down. Any mulch is great. Cardboard boxes and newspapers covered with coffee grounds, straw, leaves, tree mulch all work well, as they break down and can be dug into the soil when the weather warms up. This creates a living environment and the earthworms will love you for it.
Now’s a good time to go through the catalogues and plan spring planting. If you’re planting fruit trees, choose varieties that do well in your bio-region. Forgotten Fruits have a great range of trees for warmer areas. Edible Garden sell trees for most parts of New Zealand.
There are also great seed catalogues out there too. Kings and Egmont have seeds for the home garden or if you would like some unusual varieties, try Italian Seeds Pronto and for really unusual tomatoes, there’s Bristol Plants and Seeds.
Take it easy and relax during the quiet months as spring is just around the corner.
From Rob, Jan and the Team at OEG!