What you need to get done in the garden before winter Solstice arrives

Hello fellow gardeners,

I thought it time to talk about the last plantings for the season, as the beautiful auburns and golds of autumn fade into the depths of your winter garden.

Over the next two weeks, it will be time to plant your last leafy producers until the end of July. The reason I say this is because, by June 21/22, we enter winter Solstice when we experience the shortest daylight hours.

At this time of year, I tend to do all my planning for spring and the coming season. I often hear people complain that their vegetables aren’t growing and they ask why is it that they are just sitting there and not growing.

And the answer is because it’s Solstice! The days are short and, in my mind, the garden is resting.

From experience, I advise you to avoid planting in June or the first three weeks of July. Honestly, the plants will just sit there and look at you, still the same size as when you put them in!

So let’s get busy now, and then we can relax after Solstice, confident and cosy in the knowledge that everything is as it should be…

The upcoming two weeks are a great time to get your brassicas planted. This can include cabbages, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts (if in cold areas), spinach, winter lettuce, and silverbeet.

You can even get cracking on sowing green manure crops and perennial flowers like pansies and cornflowers. Remember that most winter crops like a good amount of rotted manure and a mulch on top.

Another tip I have for you when planting is to make sure you pop them in the ground down to where the first leaves start to branch out. This little gem of gardening know-how will help them to form a sturdier root system to hold the plants against the winter winds.

If you are in a frost free area, you can continue to plant peas, broad beans and also sweet peas. My peas are just about to flower and my sweet peas are racing away up the trellis! I don’t know whether these will survive or produce over winter, as our seasons are all over the place and we could still have a lot of unusual weather patterns to come… However, my motto is it is better to try than not at all.

Green manure crops of lupins, mustard etc can still be sown. Read more about green manure crops in one of my earlier blogs here. If you grow medicinal plants in your garden, now is a good time to get these in the ground.

And my final tip of gardening gold is that I tend to put mulch on every bed, as this also prevents the soil splashing onto the plants when the heavy rain comes.

Over the coming weeks I would love to talk to you more about the importance and technique of pruning; winter planting of fruit trees and shrubs, and the dormancy of some lingering pests and disease that need to be taken care of.

When you sign up to my newsletter, you will be able to access a special discount on winter-essential products such as organic pruning paste, organic copper and organic oil for that all crucial winter maintenance.

I look forward to speaking to you next time.

Happy gardening!

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