June Gardening

Today winter hit our garden

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Orange Fruit nearly ready to harvest.

As a rule I don’t like to think of our seasons in Australia as aligning with the tradition of Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring.  However June 2nd, today, is definitely Winter for me! We are on a north facing slope and don’t often get the frosts and chill that occur lower down. Today, however, just as the weather report suggested WE had the isolated frost. Hubby rode to work and vouched for this as the usually frost pockets we are most use to were, in-fact warmer than our patch toady.

So do frosts affect our gardens and plants and are they all bad?  Our winter fruit and veg can tolerate very low temperatures and compared to the northern hemisphere, really, our winters are quite mild.  The citrus trees, which are starting to carry mature fruit, can be killed in extreme frost and snow. Mature trees in our inland climate (not the mountains or high country) will tolerate the frosts  and can sweeten the fruit.  I sprayed the citrus leaves with Seasol on the weekend, the trees can benefit from some “tonic” as the cold soils lock up available nitrogen.

Citrus are heavy feeding fruit trees and very generous fruiters so looking after them pays off.  If you want to plant citrus wait until spring once the soil warms up and frosts have virtually gone.  Nurseries generally don’t stock them until spring anyway. There a numerous varieties available and cultivars that are suitable for pots as well.

The obvious winter vegetables of the cabbage family (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale and Asian greens) will be producing their edible flowers (that is what we eat!) parts now.

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Broccoli leaf with frost

You could still plant some seedlings for spring eating this month – however I personally think May should be the latest date for planting as the plants don’t grow a lot over the colder months.  They can quickly bolt once warm weather creeps in in August.  Frosts on mature plants shouldn’t damage them – if however you had any exposed potato plants still in the ground they will be burnt very quickly – time to dig the tubers out of the ground!