Welcome to winter: With the shortest day almost here, growth is slowing down. The dormant season is a good time to prune deciduous trees and vines such as pipfruit (apples and pears), figs, grapes and roses. Citrus can also be pruned over winter. After pruning, feed with compost and mulch deeply.
Prune in June:
Want to learn more about fruit pruning? A good place to start is MOA community orchard at Jeep Rd Domain. The orchard demonstrates which trees do best in a sandy, windy dune situation, and shows how to care for trees with mulching, companion and shelter plantings. There are regular hands-on working bees - for more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or join your local Tree Crops Association, they hold regular information days: http://www.treecrops.org.nz/
Herbs for Kapiti:
Mint, chives and woundwort
Even the smallest garden, and the least experienced gardener, can grow a few herbs for flavouring, for tea and basic first aid. Many aromatic Mediterranean herbs grow well in hot, dry conditions and do well in pots - in fact the tougher they grow, the more concentrated are the oils in their leaves.
Herbs for hot, dry beds or pots: Thyme, rosemary, lavender, oregano, saffron, savoury, bay, sage.
Herbs for tea: Kawakawa, mint, lemon verbena, lemon balm, pineapple sage.
Herbs for first aid: Plantain, feverfew, parsley, sage, thyme, lavender, yarrow.
Other June jobs:
Mulch, mulch mulch: Feed that soil life! Now is the time to create your soil for next summer. Build it up with layers of wood chip, seaweed, straw, grass clippings, manure…
Seedlings: If you allowed a few plants to go to seed over summer, seedlings of lettuce, borage parsley, mizuna and other self-sowers will be popping up everywhere. Move them to a suitable spot (or pot up for your local school or community garden.)
Broad Beans: One of the few seeds that germinate at low temperatures, these are among the easiest veges to grow.
Sow: It’s getting too cold for many seeds, but you can sow broad beans, and onions in trays to plant out in late winter. Grow microgreens on a sunny windowsill.
Plant: Garlic, beetroot, winter greens (bok choy, mizuna, lettuce, miners lettuce, land cress, silver beet, parsley.)
Miner’s Lettuce: Not well-known, but gardeners who grow it will rave about how it comes back each winter with no effort. A Californian native, it was a staple food for gold miners (hence the name). It’s a hit with kids and adults alike, being soft and mild in texture and flavour, more like a bright green spinach rather than crunchy lettuce. Great for winter salads as well as spanakopita, soup, pasta etc. Sow now: seed available from LovePlantLife, Kings or Koanga
The Council Green Gardener, Hannah Zwartz, offers sustainable and waterwise gardening advice to local residents, community groups and schools.
Community Visits and workshops are free.
To contact the Greener Gardener, call the Council on 296 4700 or 0800 486 486 or see www.kapiticoast.govt.nz/greenservices