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Mustard Greens

What to plant in July

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Depending on your climate, July's either a great month to plant vegies, or a time to hibernate, says Justin Russell.

My wife Kylie hates the cold. Her fingers and toes go numb, she sleeps under what feels like 10 layers and braces herself before heading outside on a fresh and blustery morning. I’m the opposite. I find cold weather invigorating and refreshing. I rarely sleep under anything more than a couple of layers, and on the coldest nights, I can’t help but check the thermometer for a flashing snowflake symbol, indicating that the temperature is approaching zero. 

Having said all that, winter is a time when I spend minimal time in the garden. For me, it’s a time to reflect on the seasons that have recently passed, and to plan for the months ahead. I like to peruse seed catalogues, and make notes about how I can make the garden function more efficiently. I do have to eat though, so on the odd occasion I do some work outside, it’s to plant vegies or at this time of year, fruiting trees and shrubs. Here’s some ideas for what you can pop in the ground at your place. 

In the cold temperate climate zone, July is a shocking month to be planting anything much. Focus your attention on planning for spring instead. If you’re a truly hard-core gardener who honestly can’t wait until August before getting things in the ground, go for the toughest of winter toughies such as spinach, mustard greens, onions and radishes. Additionally, get in as many bare-rooted fruit trees and productive plants as you can muster. 

In warm temperate and arid/semi-arid areas, the soil isn’t quite as cold, which means you’ve got a bit more scope. Try planting any of the vegies above, along with beetroot, chard, carrots, peas, rocket, lettuce and bare rooted fruit and productive plants.  

In the subtropics, go for beetroot, chard, carrot, dill endive, kohlrabi, mustard, Asian greens, parsnip, peas, radish, rocket and spring onions. It’s also the best month to get in bare-rooted plants, and to graft any trees that need to be “top worked” (changed to a different variety).  

In the tropics, you can plant almost anything this month. Go for brassicas such as cabbage and kale, solanums such as tomatoes and potatoes, alliums such as spring onions and leeks, cucurbits such as pumpkin and cucumber, and as many leafy greens and annual herbs as you like, including lettuce, rocket, pak choy, basil, parsley and fennel.