Winter Gardening Tips for Australia
Did you know that winter doesn’t really start on the first of June?
It actually starts around the winter solstice nearer to 22 June, if you look at sun and moon cycles.
When I raised this with my sister, she didn’t really agree that winter didn’t start on the First of June. And yes, you can have quite a chilly start, and winter can feel like it has started, even in late May!
So, does it matter whether its winter or still autumn?
Well in many ways it doesn’t. As we all know, in winter the days are shorter and the Sun is not so intense so the days are cooler.
This change is caused by the earth shifting on its axis, so that we are further away from the sun than we are in summer.
Why is this important?
Well it can alter which parts of your garden get sun and which parts of your garden are in shade.
I noticed a few years ago that several of my roses didn’t get enough sun in winter and they really struggled. Luckily I have planted a lot of my roses in pots. As a result, I can move them around the garden so that they get the maximum sunlight they can regardless of the time of year.
And, just because its winter doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to do in your garden.
You can still have a thriving vegetable garden. It just means that you grow different vegetables. You can plant all those vegetables that really don’t like our summer weather. This includes cauliflower, cabbage, peas and even broad beans.
I have just finished mulching mine with some mushroom compost straight from a mushroom farm. If I’m lucky I might even get a crop of mushrooms!
It’s also a good time to keep turning over the compost pile, so that all that leaf matter you put in there in autumn gets to break down in time for spring.
I have also renewed the fruit fly traps, as my tropical nectarine is already flowering and I want to be ready for when it sets a crop.
Finally, although plant growth has slowed down, don’t stop feeding your plants, unless they have gone into total hibernation. They will still need food. I find an organic liquid feed, diluted to half strength really good at this time of year.
My roses are still flowering merrily and the tomatoes are looking bountiful. Many of your herbs will also continue to flourish, though this will depend on where you live. In the sub-tropics I can grow Basil and Coriander. But don’t try this in a cold climate zone, as the frost will kill off your precious herbs!
And I have a great crop of self-sown lettuce growing. In winter I revert to the french method of sauteeing lettuce in butter, adding fresh peas and then a little chicken stock (yummy) as the weather isn’t really conducive to a cold salad.
Happy gardening 🙂
Rohanne, Your Personal Garden Expert