June in the Vegie Patch

wild saladThere’s a new guild of plants in my vegie patch – I’m calling them the survivors. These are the crops that made it through the big storm. Root crops – hidden underground were fine; parsley, rocket, cress, perennial leeks and kale all handled it and are heads up again for harvesting. Insure yourself against climatic catastrophe by growing a large variety of crops and always have one or two from the survivor guild!

All my lettuces were shredded in the storm, but I can still pull together a nourishing pile of greens for the table. Chickweed abounds at this time of year is tasty and super nutritious, cleavers (a bit sticky but we’ll take it),  parsley, kale, coriander, cress, rocket, pea shoots, calendula, mustard, NZ spinach and the odd actual lettuce leaf as they start to re group. Miners lettuce and corn salad soon to grace the table. You cant buy a salad this good.

June to do’s:

  • Keep up with your harvesting
  • Check on your shelters and make sure they haven’t blown off or over
  • Pinch out the tops of your broadbeans once they reach a metre
  • Plant your garlic, shallots and onions
  • Clean up your asparagus bed. Chop the tops down, weed it, feed it (rok solid, rotten poo or seaweed) and mulch it (use the chopped up tops for this)
  • Protect your young saladings from the cold. Use whatever you have eg: tin cans with top and bottom removed, plastic bottles top and bottom removed, cloches, recycle your broken buckets into shelters, straw bales on the south side (this being my favourite shelter because come spring the straw will be nicely rotten and recycled into mulch.)

All these things cut the wind, stop the frost and warm the air and soil giving our plants a wee boost along in this coldest of times. Not an expensive or difficult exercise you must agree, but worth its weight in gold.

Where are the ladybirds?

A common question last summer was just this – where have the ladybirds gone. Well I’m afraid to say they’re at my place. I have no shortage. At the moment ladybirds are clustering as they prepare to hibernate through winter – I’m finding them in the oddest places (plastic insulators on the electric fence!) but especially in untreated wood which we have all over the place here. Our firewood pile, all over the beams on our deck, in the cladding, in the large prunings that I leave to rot under our natives – and it makes me wonder why you don’t have them too. Are you too tidy perhaps?


  1. Rosemairi Knowles says:

    Heaps of great things about Winter especially for outdoor/garden folk. It may be short days and long nights but the birds now start singing at 6am- singing ‘With Winter here can Spring be far behind’.. Lots of fat tuis squarking away with their latest food somewhere near. Fat blackbirds hopping around the garden looking for food.

    No excuse to be cold. As you say layer up, gloves hat jacket scarf even umbrella and cherish the fact we live in such a garden of Eden in NZ.. No six month Winters with snow for much of it and short Summers and long dark Winters. No long arid Summers with constant water restrictions and limits on what annuals can plant due to this We have the joy of Autumn colours then suddenly the world turning from black and white to technicolor in Spring .

    Every day we get sunrise and sunset, every month we get a full moon and every year we get four seasons. But we only get one life and no season repeats!!!

    You didn’t mention celery in your tough veges, or silverbeet and rainbow silverbeet.

    Rosemairi Knowles Palmerston North .

    • Hi Rosemairi

      So pleased to share your winter delight!

      My celery and silverbeet both got totally smashed in the big wind storm we had. They will come back , for they are magic like that, but how interesting that they didn’t stand up in the big wind. Me thinks its the big juicy stems that made them vulnerable. But you are correct, normally they are thoroughly reliable and tough as old boots.

      We have so much to be grateful for in NZ, lets spread the word!