Gardening Calendar (Australian Temperate Climate) – June

June brings us the start of winter, with colder, wetter weather, but there are still some sunny days to be had, winter vegies to harvest, and some tidying up to do around the garden.

As deciduous trees and shrubs shed their leaves and become dormant, it’s a good time to both plant new ones and prune existing ones. Winter pruning of deciduous fruit trees and grape vines begins now.

Harsh cold winds can be a problem, drying out plants very quickly, so it’s important to put up windbreaks such as plastic sleeve tree guards or shadecloth around young evergreen trees to prevent wind burn.

In frost-prone areas, vulnerable plants will need to be protected. When frost is anticipated, cover the plant overnight with hessian, shadecloth, plastic sheet, cardboard, straw or newspaper – make sure that the cover is not airtight and that air can still circulate.

Things to Do This Month:

  • Plant deciduous trees, shrubs, vines and cane fruits (and roses!). Wait till spring for planting citrus.
  • Divide existing perennials and plant new perennials.
  • Gather and compost fallen leaves.
  • Protect plants that are not frost-hardy in frost-prone areas.
  • Install windbreaks, such as the plastic tree guard sleeves, around newly planted evergreens.
  • Prune deciduous fruit trees (not apricots, best to prune these in late autumn when the leaves start yellowing, during dry, preferably windy weather to prevent diseases entering the pruning cuts). To prune fruit trees, first cut away any dead or diseased wood, then cut away any branches growing inwards towards the centre or crossing other branches (to prevent rubbing and bark damage), and finally, prune tree to shape using the appropriate technique for that species.
  • Prune deciduous shrubs (rose pruning is done in July!) and vines (such as kiwi fruit).
  • Prune grape vines and take hardwood cuttings from these for propagation.
  • Finish pruning currants and gooseberries and take hardwood cuttings from these for propagation.
  • Prune tall shrubs to reduce height to better resist winter winds.
  • Relocate any deciduous plants (trees, shrubs, vines) or herbaceous perennial plants growing in the wrong place in winter. (Evergreens can only be moved in autumn and early spring, where they have time to regrow roots – remember, they retain leaves in winter which transpire and lose water!).
  • Collect and sow seeds from berry producing trees and shrubs.
  • Some perennials can be propagated from root cuttings, which can be taken through winter.
  • Continue propagation of hardwood cuttings which began in autumn – prune off 30cm long shoots of current season’s growth, cut off the soft growing tip, cut off the bottom end below a bud, and dip end into rooting hormone. Make a ‘slit trench’ by pushing a spade into soil and rocking it back and forth. In clay soil, add some coarse sand for drainage. Put cuttings in so 2/3 is below the soil, and press the soil down around them. Cuttings will root and be ready to plant next autumn.
  • Continue planting garlic, strawberry runners and shallot bulbs.
  • Harvest parsnips, they will taste the better now that they have experienced some cold.

Vegetables and Herbs to Sow:

Sow in June Harvest (weeks)
Broad beans d 12-22
Garlic d 17-25
Lettuce ds 8-12
Mustard greens d 5-8
Onion ds 25-34
Peas d 9-11
Radish d 5-7
Shallot bulbs d 12-15
Snow Peas d 12-14
Strawberry runners d 11
Strawberries (seed) d 12 months

d = sow directly into ground
s = sow in seed tray
ds = sow directly into ground or seed tray

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