June – Permaculture Sustainable Food Gardening in Subtropical Australia

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

June is the first winter month in the southern hemisphere. Sitting around a fire at night and appreciating the warming sun rays during the day make the time of the year very enjoyable. It is also the time when we grow and start to harvest our winter crop. The ‘summer bugs’ are nearly gone, and radishes, brassicas, and other subtropical winter veggies are thriving!

June is also a good time to extend the growing beds or to build new garden beds. I got two favorites. Very easy to build and super effective! See below:

Also, the herb spiral next to your kitchen window might be a good project for winter. You can watch the video of how we have built it here:

Winter is also the time of cold winds and sometimes even frosty snaps at night. That is why we need to protect our young tropical fruit trees and bushes in the food forest. Most of them are already protected by their older companions but still, the very little ones which have been planted last summer may need some additional protection.

What else can be done? Check the list below.

General gardening jobs

  • There is a competition going on in the garden beds. Some of the veggies may bold very quickly if growing too close to each other. We harvest the young greens like bokchoy, radish, and carrots, and enjoy them as they come while making more room for the others.
  • Sowing, planting, harvesting – see the list below
  • Weeding and mulching the garden beds if needed
  • Applying compost tea + water mix (1:4), every 2-3 weeks onto the garden beds. Most of the winter vegetables like brassicas, garlic, beetroot, carrots, and so on need lots of nutrients to grow. Help them thrive. I have made a video about how to make and use compost tea. See below or here

What NOT to do in June

  • Trimming 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. The deciduous ones like Mulberry, Peach, Nectarine, Apple, Nashi Pear, and others need to be pruned as required which is usually about the time before they get new growth.
  • 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 June.

Sowing, planting, harvesting

Sowing

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
  • broad beans
  • carrot
  • cauliflower
  • coriander
  • chives
  • dill
  • kohlrabi
  • mizuna
  • mustard greens
  • leeks
  • lettuce
  • onion
  • parsnip
  • peas
  • rocket lettuce
  • flowers
  • garlic
  • potatoes
Planting

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‘.

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • 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
Harvesting

We are harvesting daily and as required, depending on what we like to eat and cook, and/or what needs to be harvested. The June 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
  • Rosella – Roselle – leaves and calyx
  • 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
  • West Indian Arrowroot – Maranta arundinacea – root
  • Sugarcane Red – Saccharum officinarum – cane, mostly to dry and store for meat smoking later on
  • Sweet Leaf – Sauropus androgynous – leaves
  • Elderberry – Sambucus Nigra – berries and flowers
  • Alpine strawberries – Wild Strawberries – berries
  • Aloe Vera
  • Dragon fruit
  • Loquat fruit
  • Star fruit
  • shallots
  • garlic chives
  • pineapples
  • 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:
  • Winged bean
  • Madagascar bean
  • Poor man’s bean
  • Pigeon peas
  • chilly, capsicum
  • eggplant
  • tomatoes
  • all sorts of herbs
  • Asian Pigeonwings, Butterfly Pea – Clitoria Ternatea
  • West Indian Gherkins, Maroon Cucumber – Cucumis anguria
  • Luffa
  • QLD Arrowrot – leaves for chickens and bulbs for us
  • mustard greens
  • bok choi, pack choi
  • kale
  • radishes – leaves and roots
  • Mexican cucumber, cucumelons
  • Cabbage
  • Lettuce

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? Consider joining our discussion board. 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.

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 May.

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.

Ewa