July – Permaculture Sustainable Food Gardening in Subtropical Australia

by Ewa Bekiesch, Permaculture designer, educator, sustainable living consultant, and healthy food advocate.

We are pretty much in the middle of our subtropical winter. It feels to me like this is the perfect time for reflection. Reflection and appreciation about what is important to us and what we can do to maintain, or improve it. Strolling through the garden while enjoying the warming sunrays, meditating, sitting around the fire, enjoying the time with your loved ones, with the garden, and with yourself. I personally think that garden is a perfect place to reflect, meditate, and create while feeling the connection to nature.

What can we create in the garden in July? The list below of jobs we do during this month might give you some ideas. Feel free to comment below if you would like to add something.

General gardening jobs

  • Applying compost tea every 3-4 weeks. Check my last month’s article here if you want to know more about it.
  • Sowing, planting, harvesting – check the list below
  • Weeding and mulching if required
  • Building new garden beds, or extending the existing ones. Check my last month’s article here if you want to know more about it.
  • Pruning deciduous trees like Mulberry and others before they get the new growth.

What NOT to do this month

  • Trimming tropical fruit bushes and trees should be considered carefully. All established and overgrown evergreen trees and bushes may help the young fruit trees and bushes to get through winter by blocking off the cold winds.
  • Leaving old leaves on the banana plants is also highly recommended to protect the trunks during winter.
  • Planting new tropical fruit trees and bushes is also a big NO in July.

Sowing, planting, harvesting


Many of them are self-seeding in our food forest. If you don’t know some of the plants in the list below, check my ‘Food Forest Guide’ for more info about the plants, how to grow and use them, along with some other tips and tricks.

  • Indiana Lettuce, Chinese Sword Lettuce – Lactuca indica
  • Ethiopian Cabbage – Brassica carinata
  • bok choy, pak choy
  • rocket lettuce
  • radish
  • beetroot
  • carrot
  • coriander
  • chives
  • dill
  • mizuna
  • mustard greens
  • leeks
  • lettuce
  • onion
  • parsnip
  • parsley
  • peas
  • rocket lettuce
  • flowers
  • garlic

No trees in this list, mostly because there are too many fruit trees you can grow in a subtropical climate so simply choose what you enjoy eating and what suits your garden. If you want to know what trees we are growing, check our ‘Food Forest Guide‘.

  • Carrot
  • Celery
  • Celeriac
  • Collards
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Mizuna
  • Mustard Greens
  • bush basil – Ocimum oxcitriodorum
  • Goldenrod – Solidago
  • Gotu Kola – Centella asiatica
  • Lemongrass – Cymbopogan citratus
  • Longevity Spinach – Gynura procumbens
  • Okinawa Spinach – Hawaiian lettuce – Gynura bicolour
  • Peruvian Parsnip – Arracacia xanthorrhiza
  • St John’s Wort – Hypericum perforatum
  • Goldenrod – Solidago canadensis
  • Tarragon, Estragon – Artemisia dracunculus
  • Pigface, Baby Sunrose – Aptenia cordifolia
  • Brahmi-Memory Plant – Waterhyssop – Bacopa monnieri
  • Bana Grass – Pennisetum purpureum x amaricanum
  • Sugarcane Red – Saccharum officinarum
  • horseradish
  • oregano
  • shallots
  • silverbeet
  • onions
  • garlic chives
  • sweet potatoes
  • strawberry plants
  • mint

We are harvesting daily and as required, depending on what we like to eat and cook, and/or what needs to be harvested. The July harvest list includes and is based on what grows in our food forest and what is possible, including fruit from our trees. As you may think, we don’t harvest all of it every day. Many of them simply keep growing and wait patiently for their turn to end up in the kitchen, as green mulch ‘chop and drop’, some of them go to compost if they are taking over, or as food for our chickens, ducks, or worm farm. The possibilities are endless.

Perennials crop we harvest in June:
  • bush basil – Ocimum oxcitriodorum
  • Cranberry Hibiscus – Hibiscus acetosella – leaves and flowers
  • Galangal – Thai Ginger –Greater Galangal, Alpinia galangal – leaves and roots
  • Gotu Kola – Centella asiatica – leaves
  • Lemongrass – Cymbopogan citratus – leaves and stalks
  • Longevity Spinach – Gynura procumbens – leaves and stalks
  • Okinawa Spinach – Hawaiian lettuce – Gynura bicolour –  leaves and stalks
  • Peruvian Parsnip – Arracacia xanthorrhiza – leaves and roots
  • Tarragon, Estragon – Artemisia dracunculus – leaves and flowers
  • Cassava – Manihot esculenta – leaves and roots
  • Brahmi-Memory Plant – Waterhyssop – Bacopa monnieri – leaves
  • Bana Grass – Pennisetum purpureum x amaricanum – leaves for mulch and food for animals
  • West Indian Arrowroot – Maranta arundinacea – root
  • Sugarcane Red – Saccharum officinarum – cane, mostly to dry and store for meat smoking later on
  • Elderberry – Sambucus Nigra – berries and flowers
  • Alpine strawberries – Wild Strawberries – berries
  • Aloe Vera
  • Loquat fruit
  • shallots
  • garlic chives
  • sweet potatoes – leaves and roots
  • bananas
  • passion fruit
  • pawpaw – leaves and fruits
  • Horseradish – leaves and roots
  • limes
  • grapefruit
  • Blackberry – leaves
  • Dandelion – leaves
  • Cotton balls
Short living perennials and annuals we harvest in May:
  • Cabbage
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • Madagascar bean
  • Pigeon peas
  • chilly
  • eggplant
  • tomatoes
  • all sorts of herbs
  • Asian Pigeonwings, Butterfly Pea – Clitoria Ternatea
  • Nasturtium
  • QLD Arrowrot – leaves for chickens and bulbs for us
  • mustard greens
  • bok choi, pack choi
  • kale
  • radishes – leaves and roots
  • Mexican cucumber, cucumelons
  • Lettuce
  • Chinese tree lettuce leaves
  • Purple Yam

I’m pretty sure that I forgot about one or the other plant which we sow, plant or harvest but will update as we progress into the month. Any questions or comments? Simply comment below Looking forward to meeting you there. If you would like to learn how to plan and design your edible garden, and how to grow food, consider joining one of our workshops or enroll in the self-paced online course. More info here.

Would you like to support our work? You can do so here.

I hope that my article helps you to plan and organise your garden, and brings you one step closer to growing an abundance of food to become self-reliant sooner than later 🙂

The next article comes out in the first week of August.

What are you sowing, planting, and harvesting in your subtropical garden at the moment? Leave your comment under the article below or in the discussion board on my website.