With the cost of living rising, one way to keep your household budget under control is to grow your own vegetables. While it can be hard to get out in the garden in the middle of winter, right now is the perfect time to get things ready for spring and summer.
Whether you prefer edible plants or the more visually stimulating kind, here’s a guide to what you should be planting in July and August so you can reap the rewards in the warmer months.
If you’re growing from seeds, it’s time to get some tomatoes, capsicum, lettuce, cabbage, celery, onions, and silverbeet started in good compost.
Because it’s still pretty cool, you’d want to be planting these in seed trays and keeping them in a greenhouse or indoors until they are ready to be transplanted.
This is just a partial list of course; check out a seasonal planting guide or visit a gardening centre to find out when your favourite veges are best started.
July is also the month to start your potato sprouts. These need to be taken care of until they are sprouting proper and then planted in soil in August.
As for seedlings, broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower are quite hardy and should survive winter to harvest in late spring, but take care to protect them from slug attacks.
Also, there are some veges that you can plant all year-round including winter, such as onions, radish spinach, and carrots.
Now is the perfect to plant a strawberry patch as they require a winter chill before they fruit in summer.
Pretty much any type of fruit tree can be also planted now in sunny spots sheltered from the wind, however fruit may not come for another summer or two, depending on their maturity and type.
Make sure you add compost and fertiliser, and it can’t hurt to add some plant-specific food (e.g. citrus food or strawberry food) to assist in their growth.
If you have existing fruit trees, take advantage of their dormant start by pruning and spraying them to ensure they stay healthy and happy.
Once the worst of winter is gone, August is the time to sow the seeds or bury the bulbs of your favourite summer flowers, such as sunflowers, poppies, gladioli, or whatever summer bloom you like.
Depending on where you live, it should be ok to plant them directly into the soil, but if you are in a particularly cooler climate, starting them off in a nursery or greenhouse could be a good idea.
It’s also time to prune and spray your roses and any other perennials while they are dormant.
If you prefer to plant more mature flower plants rather than seeds, wait until spring for that, however it will make that job easier if you use this time to prepare the soil and dig in some fertiliser and compost so it’s ready come September.