June In The Vegie Patch

winter missions

I’m not the only one who loves winter. Some legumes are good with it and so are alliums, brassica’s, chard, endive, parsley and all manner of leafy greens. Salads and beetroot survive it, but very slowly so best get them under cover from now on in.


Direct Sow

lupin in
  • Lupin greencrops after heavy feeders like broccoli. Mix with a few others like phacelia, mustard, daikon, calendula – whatever you have to hand.
  • Mizuna
  • I sow rocket and coriander in the greenhouse from now on in, but if its warm enough at yours – get some outside.

Tray Sow

  • Peas and snowpeas into plug trays or toliet rolls
  • A mixture of brassicas to keep dinners varied – broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collards for example.
  • Spring onions, red or brown onions

Direct or Tray Sow

  • Broadbeans
  • Spinach, bok choy and beetroot, in the warmth of the greenhouse if needs be.


planting garlic
  • Broadbeans, peas
  • Broccoli, cabbage, cauli and collard greens for a super handy spring crop.
  • Garlic, spring onions, shallots, potato onions, red onions or brown onions
  • Spinach, beetroot, saladings, bok choy, gai lan in the greenhouse
  • Asparagus crowns. Visit your local asparagus grower to purchase.


the asparagus is at the end of its run - the ferns are browning off

If you haven’t done it already, chop asparagus canes down this month. Cover the bed with a generous layer of rotten manure +/ or seaweed + a lovely mixed mulch that includes the chopped up canes.

Keep the brassicas coming

broccoli shoots - such a useful harvest

Late summer planted brassicas are all providing loads of useful shoots. Harvesting regularly is always a win for longevity – it prevents them heading off to seed. If they go to seed it’ll signal the rest of the plant to follow suit, which means the end of all those wonderful shoots. I know… flowering brassicas are awesome for the bees and beneficials, but lets keep you fed first. I’m sure your garden has lots of lovely bee kai going on.

Whenever you go out to harvest shoots, remove old ratty leaves and thin out older branches by cutting them right off where they meet the stem. This opens the plant to light and air, keeps it stocky and stimulates fresh, green productive shoots. In this way you can keep broccoli plants going for years.

In praise of Kale

red russian kale ediblebackyard nz

Not so much for eating it – although, of course its an awesome vital green! Rather, my love affair with it is more to do with its usefulness as a winter groundcover and source of OM.

  • plant closely in groups to cover any bare spaces.
  • team with lupin, daikon and phacelia for a robust winter greenmanure.
  • eat it
  • feed it to the chooks
  • harvest for mulch or compost ingredient as you need

The Patient Wait For Yams

yam harvest

I’m so grateful to yams because they’re ready in winter – not busy old autumn. And there’s no preserving required either. Just patience.

Yams fatten up threefold in the cold. Guaranteed big fat sweeties after a few frosts and the tops have died off.  If you’ve rushed in to harvest and been disappointed with your crop – it may just be that you were too impetuous, young at heart perhaps. You’ll be amazed at what happens in the yam patch after cold. Patience my friends.

Winter Missions

Remove the stake and ties

Winter provides an opportunity to do all the stuff you wish you had time for through those busy growing/ preserving seasons. Dividing and planting out perennials, finding cool fun new perennials, making new beds, planting trees, shaking up your garden layout, building fences, sorting drainage, scoring organic matter, organising hoses – all the stuff that makes our gardens better.

Indulge yourself. Re-organise your patch, give those improvements wings while there is sod all to do in the vegie patch.


  1. Beth Lew says

    Thanks Kath! Always helpful and inspiring!

  2. Tricia Joe says

    I’ve discovered the Dalmatian cabbage, a collard. It’s lasted ages and is a delicious addition to a slow cooked winter stew. I’ve planted heaps and am grateful for it’s plentiful and long lived harvest!

    On another note I bought mustard seeds a few years ago, but almost never have an empty bed. As long as I keep building with compost etc does it matter, or should I deliberately leave one empty.?

    • Collards are awesome Trish! If there’s no room for mustard, there’s just no room. Not a problem! You could try using your mustard beneath fruit trees or as a living mulch beneath tomatoes or beans in the summer. happy gardening!

  3. Rochelle says

    Hi Kath, I have a yam question please! My harvest this year was a mix of nice big fat yams, along with lots of smaller ones too. Should I use the tiddlers to sprout and replant for next years crop, or am I better to save some decent sized ones to use instead? Does the seed size make any difference to the next year’s harvest? Thank you.

  4. Hi Kath my garden has so much chickweed, but is it actually good for it. It just takes over and I feel like I’m always taking it out. Should I just leave it to multiply?? Thanks again.

    • Chickweed is awesome! Its a sign of good fertility so rejoice 🙂 Just leave it as a nourishing living mulch around plants and when it gets in too close, weed it out and pop it on the compost or gobble it up!

  5. Hi Kath,
    I managed to secure some stropharia mushroom from Joanna which has been sitting g in the plastic bag for two weeks. I am waiting in some ramial wood chips. Are they ok for another two weeks in their plastic home?

  6. sandra cully says

    I was so proud of myself, beautiful big strong broccoli plants, but it wasn’t to be, teeny tiny heads. Any idea of what might have gone wrong? We were so excited, they seemed to be doing so well.

    • Oh tricky things to get right Sandra – dont be disheartened. The techy term is buttoning off. Caused by some form of stress – most likely weather a sudden cold snap, or drying out at a key moment or unbalanced soils. Dont spend too much time analysing it is my advice. Reflect on the weather. Check in with your soil. See what you see then let it go and harvest the heads and stalks before they open and more shoots will come. A good safe guard is to plant a mixture of brassica together so that there’s always something to harvest.

  7. Looking at your picture of ladybugs, they look like they might be harlequin bugs. Do you have any tips for keeping those at bay?

    • Its a loosing battle and alot of head aches to stem the tide Wendy. The best bet is to be as diverse as you can in your plantings and manage your garden with as little intervention as you can manage to let natural cycles take care of all things.

  8. Jackie Todd says

    couldn’t find the “making new beds ‘ link ?

  9. Thanks for all your good advice, Kath, so kind and encouraging. And keeping the humour in the mahi 🙂 Love the list of winter jobs – I thought I would hibernate but maybe not lol!!!

  10. Hi Kath, thanks for your blog. I got many useful info.
    My question is: what organic insecticide would you use for diamond back moth and slugs. They appeared in my brassicas:( Is Neem oil good?


    • Hiya Kate, spray the crop with kiwicare caterpillar killer active ingredient baccillus thurengensis (BT) which is acceptable in an organic situation in small amounts. There is a predatory wasp that manages them also. Read this article https://www.ediblebackyard.co.nz/natural-ways-with-pests/ for ideas to build your beneficial insects and while you do use BT/crop covers/ squashing the caterpillars to manage them. Neem doesnt work for caterpillars ok.

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