Get garlic in.
Get garlic and shallots in the ground.
Garlic and shallots traditionally go in on the shortest day (which this year is June 21) although any time this month or next is fine. Give garlic a spot with rich and free-draining soil, and bury the cloves about 3-5cm deep and 20cm apart. ’Printanor’ is the most commonly available garlic variety, but if you are a garlic enthusiast, look out for heirloom varieties to try – I rate the garlicky ’Ajo Rojo’ (also sometimes called ’Spanish Red’). Unusual garlic varieties can be hard to find – Koanga Institute has a good range but tend to sell out very early – but check out what’s on sale at your local farmers’ market. Most shallots sold in New Zealand are ’French Red’, and heirloom or unusual shallot varieties are even harder to source. Shallots also need good soil and drainage – they can rot in boggy conditions. Don’t bury them, but plant them half in and half out of the soil with the pointy end up. Space them about 10-15cm apart. Both garlic and shallots will benefit from feeding over late winter and spring, so pile on blood and bone, worm wee, compost or whatever other delicious organic matter you have on hand.
Plant a few more cold hardy crops.
Unless the ground is frozen, you can plant silverbeet, spinach, cauliflowers, cabbages, broccoli, bok choy, kale and all winter lettuce seedlings. If you think the ground is too cold, plant them in pots instead. In colder places, cosset newly planted seedlings in a cosy cloche at night while they get established, or rig up a tent of frost cloth over a whole row.
Sow more broad beans and peas.
Both will still germinate reliably in cold soil although don’t sow them if your soil is frozen solid, or so wet they are likely to rot. Be aware that the growth will be slow for weeks, but they will take off like the clappers as soon as it warms up. Sow broad beans in a block rather than in rows – I support these tall plants by tying a long piece of twine around a block of them so they hold each other up. And give climbing peas something to climb, like a trellis or fence. Otherwise they pop up while you are not looking and grow into an impenetrable knot!