The winter months of June and July, known as Makuru when following the indigenous calendar, is a busy time in the garden in Perth. In nature, the animals will start to pair up ahead of the breeding season. Wild flowers that will start to emerge include the blues and purples of the blueberry lily (Dianella revoluta) and the purple flags (Patersonia occidentalis).
Although Makuru is traditionally the coldest and wettest season in the South West of Australia, we are still really lucky to enjoy some of the mildest winter weather in the world, with plenty of sunny days to get out in the garden. This also means we have extended crop growing times over winter.
The cooler weather makes Winter a great time to tackle some hard landscaping projects or preparation of new garden beds. The winter months are the best time of the year to tidy, prune, plan and reassess your garden so come Spring, and the start of the entertaining season, your garden will be looking it’s absolute best, and should be very productive too.
What To Plant in June
With some warmth still remaining in the soil, there is a wide range of seeds and seedlings which can be planted with great success. Here is our list of what to plant in Perth in June:
- Broad Beans
- Garlic - Perth Hills only
- Kohl Rabi
- Onions - Brown
- Potatoes - Perth Hills only
- Spring Onions
June/July Jobs In The Garden
This time of year is a fabulous opportunity to regain control, catch up on garden maintenance and plan for the year ahead. Getting stuck into pruning of shrubs and trees now will reap benefits when they have their Spring flush.
Check and clear guttering and downpipes to ensure all rainwater is being diverted into your rainwater tanks. Slowing down and keeping precious rainfall on your property rather than it washing away topsoil and disappearing down a street storm drain is crucial to a successful garden. Deciduous trees drop their leaves in autumn and when wet from rain they can clog and block the flow of rainwater in our house gutters. This can lead to gutters overflowing which can create expensive water damage on ceilings and walls.
Deter Cabbage Butterflies
Often mistakenly called a cabbage moth, the Cabbage White Butterfly caterpillars love to dine on brassicas and leafy greens from late Spring. Adult Cabbage Butterflies lay their eggs from May to September so it is important that you take steps to protect your crops as soon as they are planted. By the time you see one of those pretty white butterflies flying around your garden, it is probably too late.
They are territorial creatures so you can trick them into staying away by using cabbage butterfly decoys which will suggest to them that there are other (fake!) cabbage butterflies already in residence and this is not a good place to lay their eggs due to food competition for their young. Make sure that if you are buying vegetable seedlings from a nursery you check the undersides of the leaves for any eggs that may be already present.
Take some time to get your garden compost bins going. Deciduous trees supply a wonderful Carbon input to your various systems. All garden waste gathered from gutters, leaf litter and prunings are valuable inputs. If you are new to composting or if you're unsure of which composting method is best suited to your unique home and family situation, check out our Urban Composting Options workshops for detailed and enabling information to make it happen.
Cold Composting Bays are a great way to slowly but surely create soil
How to be Garden Waterwise in Winter
Don't forget to turn off your retic!
Winter Sprinkler Switch-Off Initiative
Due to climate change it is important we save water whenever possible. In Perth, we receive our highest rainfall over the winter months.
A significant amount of plants, trees and lawns are dormant over winter and due to the colder days there is less soil evaporation which means our gardens need less water.
The State Government imposed complete Winter sprinkler ban is from 1 June to 31 August, and applies to all scheme and bore water usage for homes and businesses in Perth, Mandurah and some areas in the South West and Great Southern.
This initiative has been in place since 2010 and creates a large saving in water which is stored for use when needed over the hot and dry months. Noncompliance can result in a $100 fine.
Winter Tree Plantings - Just Plant More Trees!
June is an excellent time to prepare the soil and start your winter tree planting program. Planting trees is one of the simplest and most effective ways of tackling climate changecaused by greenhouse gases.
In addition to the Carbon Dioxide trees capture, they also help the soil capture and store Carbon. Trees offer many and diverse benefits in the urban garden, bringing shade, cooling spaces, providing roosting places for birds and habitat for insects, and often bearing fruit too.
Planting trees at this time of year is a great idea for a number of reasons. Firstly, most food productive trees are dormant at this time of year and you will now start to see bare-rooted fruit trees in your local nursery. They might not be as pretty but they are a much more cost effective option than buying trees when they are all green and lush in Spring/Summer. You will often get a more established, taller bare-rooted fruit tree for a lot less money.
Secondly, you will save a lot of water by planting at this time of year. A fruit tree planted in the heat of summer can require up to 100L of water a week to establish it, but planting in Makuru (June/July) means that the rainfall will help ensure the tree gets all the water it needs - which is not as much anyway given their dormancy.
Rainwater which is free from Chlorine (which is heavily present in our scheme water) also gives the trees (and indeed all plants) a much better start so by the time the warm weather comes around, the tree’s roots are well established and will cope a lot better.
Garden Jobs Not To Do In June/July
While there are many jobs you can be doing at this time of year, fertilising your garden is not one of them.
This includes the use of granular fertilisers, full-strength liquid fertilisers and high nitrogen manures like pelletised chicken manure.
People mistakenly think that fertilising in conjunction with rain, means it will infiltrate into the soil quicker for rapid plant feeding. Unfortunately with our sandy Perth soils, applying fertilisers now simply means that all those nutrients go straight through to our water table, or run off into our storm water drains and end up in the river systems, causing toxic algal blooms.
As our lawns and deciduous trees are dormant, they are not taking up the nutrients anyway so save the fertiliser for Spring when they move into active growth again. Of course, their are a few exceptions such as citrus or passion fruit which are fruiting at this time of year so if your tree is showing signs of a deficiency, make sure you improve the sandy soil around it with some clay and compost before applying an accurate measure of fertiliser to that area only.
What are you planting and what jobs are you doing in the garden in Makuru?
We always love to see and hear what our community are growing in their gardens, or what projects they are doing, so please feel free to share your pics on our social media or leave your comments here. You never know who you may inspire!