July Gardening Guide | Winter Gardening

What to do & plant in your garden in July — Southern Hemisphere’s winter.

While you’re watching the rain fall outside and feeling the winter chill, we can be assured that spring is coming! We’re just past winter solstice, so we’re on the way to longer, warmer days.

Before the end of this month, get your fruit trees, deciduous trees and roses planted, get your strawberries in, and start preparing your soil for planting your spring vegetables.

Winter Gardening Guide

School holiday project

Natural food sources are scarce for the birds during winter. During the holidays, make a bird feeder with the kids then watch wild birds flutter in and out to feed outside your windows while you’re cosying up inside.

How to make a bird “pudding”

— Melt dripping/lard and mix in a small amount of uncooked oats (or wild bird seed). Set in a shallow container or half coconut shell. Place or hang it on a tree branch and watch as your visitors come and happily peck away.

— Another easy way to feed birds is with fruit. Try hammering a nail into a board to stake pieces of fruit on. Use half-cut oranges, apples, and pears can attract tauhou (silvereyes), korimako (bellbird), and tūī.

General Gardening


Winter planting continues — deciduous trees, roses and camellias. Use compost and sheep manure to add nutrients to the soil (or products like Blood & Bone, Chicken & Sheep Pellets, Seaweed & Fish Fertiliser). Mix them in with your existing topsoil as you plant. For clay soils and drainage issues add some gypsum to your soil. Add a layer of warmth by mulching with leaves, wood chips, or try wool garden blankets.


Protect plants from being shaken by the wind by tying trees to secure stake in the ground. Use a soft material (like chopped up old pantyhose) when tying trees to the stakes to avoid damaging the trunks.

Trees & hedging

Plant hedging and larger screening trees, ready for them to get growing as soon as spring arrives.

The Edible Garden


Citrus is so abundant through July. Lots of winter veggies are ready for picking — beetroot, brassicas and winter greens. And rhubarb is still around for stewing and adding to your porridge.

— In the Vegetable Garden

Dig your green crops

Now’s the time to start preparing the soil for spring vegetable planting. If you’ve sown ‘green crops’ (like lupin), dig them into your garden now – before they start flowering. Add compost and manure to the soil for extra nutrients.


Pluck all those slow-growing weeds out of your vegetable beds, before spring rolls around and they really take off.

Spot slugs & snails

Keep an eye out for creepy crawlies, and remove or squish slugs and snails — or they’ll get into your veggie seedlings before you do!

Plant strawberries

Get your strawberry plants in, so you’ll have plenty to harvest over summer. Plant about 5 plants per person so you’ve got enough for everyone. Add a clean layer of pea straw around the plants.

What to plant in the vegetable garden in July

Roots —

  • Beetroot

Tubers —

  • Potatoes (cooler areas)

Brassicas —

  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Kale
  • Pak choi

Herbs —

  • Coriander
  • Parsley
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Bay

Salad greens —

  • Lettuces
  • Mizuna
  • Rocket
  • Silverbeet
  • Spinach

Other —

  • Peas
  • Garlic
  • Jerusalem artichoke
  • Onions
  • Shallots

Fruit —

  • Strawberries
  • Rhubarb

( Photo by Mel Adams )

— In the Orchard


Plant new fruit trees — apples, pears, plums, peaches, apricots, nectarines and citrus. And berries — raspberries, blueberries, boysenberries and blackberries.


Most deciduous fruit trees can be pruned now (except for stonefruit trees which are best pruned after fruiting in late summer or early autumn.) Prune on a dry sunny day.

The Flower Garden


Your roses will now need a good prune now. With sharp, clean tools start by cutting out any diseased or dead branches. Cut back branches by about ⅓, taking them back to an outward facing bud. Prune on a dry sunny day.

Tidy up plants like lavender, agapanthus and other flowering plants by deadheading and chopping them back.


— Flowering plants: Daphne, camellias, hellebores, rhododendrons and lily of the valley. Later in the month you can plant gladioli, dahlias and lilies. Winter is also the best time to plant roses, with lots available in garden centres and online now.

— Winter colour: Pansies, sweet peas, stock, lobelia and cineraria

Sow for spring

You can sow these seeds now — Delphinium, forget-me-not, salvia, snapdragon and wallflower