June is the slowest time of the year in the gardens of the cool, temperate regions of the Southern Hemisphere—Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina, Uruguay and Chile. Winter starts on June 21.
The spring planting season is not that far away, so now is the time to clean up around the garden and get ready for the busy season. If you live in the tropics, now is the beginning of the cool, dry season so now is the time to plant and begin to enjoy cool-season crops.
Whereever you live in the Southern Hemisphere, plant rhubarb crowns and asparagus crowns now. Remember that asparagus is a perennial crop that lasts for 20 years so choose a part of the garden that can remain undisturbed. It will be two years from planting before the first spears are ready for harvest.
Onions can continue to go into the garden until next month—mid winter. They will be ready for harvest next February—mid summer.
Peas can be planted now in the Southern Hemisphere: shelling peas, sugar snap peas, and snow peas. Be sure to set poles or trellises when you plant your peas.
If it gets cold in your region, mulching your garden to protect against winter frosts or freezes is a good idea. Add mulch at least 5 to 7 cm thick. It’s best that you not use deciduous leaves to mulch your garden; they don’t break down quickly and will keep water from getting to the soil. Use clean compost to mulch your vegetable garden.
Be sure to get fallen fruit out of the garden and clean around all fruit trees. Fallen fruit can harbor insect eggs and maggots that can emerge next spring.
Now is the time to prune apple and pear trees. Open up fruit trees by pruning out dead wood or crossing or vertical wood. This will make air circulation better and future fruit harvests easier. Revive old fruit trees by cutting back one-third of the tree’s branches each year for three years. Start now with one-third of the branches. You will re-shape the tree over the next three years.
Plant bare root fruit trees and vines now. Soak dormant roots in a bucket of water overnight before planting and then spread out the roots as you back-fill the hole.
Prune grape vines this month. Cut them back to short 3-bud spurs every 20 cm along the main branch.
Replace strawberries every three years. This way you will be rid of plants affected by viruses. The new plants will bring you bigger crops.
Here is a list of the vegetable crops that you can sow this month in the temperate, cold, tropical and sub-tropical regions of the Southern Hemisphere:
Temperate regions: artichoke suckers, asparagus crowns, broad beans, cress, garlic, lettuce, mustard, onions, peas, shallots, spinach, and strawberry runners.
Cold regions: asparagus crowns, cress, garlic, lettuce, onion, peas, spinach, and strawberry runners.
Tropical and sub-tropical regions: asparagus crowns, beans, beetroot, broad beans, buckwheat, cabbage, carrots, celery, Chinese cabbage, cress, endive, fennel, lettuce, mustard, parsnip, peas, potatoes, radish, salsify, shallots, silverbeet (Swiss chard), spinach, spring onion, strawberry runners, tomato, and zucchini. These herbs can be planted now: angelica, basil, borage, caraway, chamomile, celeriac, chervil, chives, coriander, dill, garlic, hyssop, lemon balm, marjoram, oregano, parsley, salad burnet, and thyme.