June In The Vegie Patch, My Favourite Winter Greens + Yams

winter missions

I’m not the only one who loves winter – some legumes are good with it and so are alliums, brassica’s, chard and spinach. Salads survive it, but very slowly so best get them under cover to keep them growing and providing leafy goodness to keep you strong.

broccoli harvest

What to Sow and Plant and Do in June

  • Direct sow mustard or lupin greencrops. Yes to greencrops! Our soils have worked hard through autumn and all the work they’ve done has gone into our tummies. Give 100% back to the soil with a greencrop.
  • Direct sow peas, snowpeas and broadbeans, spinach, corn salad, miners lettuce, mesclun, gai lan (my new favourite asian green), onions and radish.
  • Plant bok choy, tatsoi, collard greens, kale, broccoli and cabbage. Even though the ground is cold and growth slows these guys don’t mind. Sure they’ll grow slowly but when it warms up in spring – boom!, they spurt away and finish off. A super handy spring crop.
  • Plant silverbeet or chard, shallots and garlic, strawberries.
  • Plant salads under cover (in a greenhouse or under a cloche or in a box on the deck).
  • If you’re planning on planting out onions next month put some thought into your bed preparation. I’ll be chopping my pea and oat greencrop down, adding a fine layer of compost and leaving it to settle for a few weeks.
  • 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 + prunings from herbs and spread the chopped up canes on as mulch.
  • Increase your beneficial insect/bee fodder by planting out more herbs and companion flowers. They’re our secret weapon!
ladybugs hibernating
Hibernating ladybirds abound at our place

My Favourite Winter Greens

spring greens

Leafy greens are the cats pajamas. Easy to grow and full of vim and vigour – just what we need to stay well through winter.

Brassica’s are where it’s at as far as keeping healthy goes – collard greens (a fabulous pick and come again cabbage), bok choy, gai lan, tatsoi (or any asian style cabbage) and kale are top of my list for no fuss, fast growth and being cold hardy. 

Salads always have a place in my heart. Even though I add all sorts of other things to the bowl – cress, chard, parsley or chickweed – I still love lettuces.

nourishing chickweed
Nourishing chickweed. I leave it to flourish all over the place to look after the soil and as a super healthy addition to salads and sandwiches and for garden nibbles!

Salads do best under cover at this time of year, (depending of course on where you live). My best winter performers are Drunken Woman Fringed Head (not a typo, but a true story!), Red or Green Salad Bowl, Red Oak Leaf, Merveille de Quartre Saison, Rouge d’hiver and Lollo Rosso. The red ones seeming to fare better in the cold, than the greens.

Parsley, chard, perpetual spinach and silverbeet might be ho hum, plain Jane but don’t under estimate these beneficent vegetables – such a lot of goodness for little care. If your vegie patch is small plant these guys in your flower beds, beneath fruit trees or in containers.

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

kath irvine tree-planting

Winter provides an opportunity to do all the stuff you wish you had time for through those busy growing/ preserving seasons. Moving plants, making new beds, planting trees, building fences, setting up irrigation – 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.