By the moon, and stars, and planets


Did you notice the almost-full moon tonight? You should have, especially because it was low (descending) and close (almost a perigee) to us earthlings (and that there’ll be a lunar eclipse around 7am tomorrow morning). The moon is prevalent at present. It pays to pay attention to the moon – and stars and planets – when you are about in the garden. Find out more to aide your next gardening month in the October Notes, now posted.

After a long and very cold winter, spring has finally just about got the upper hand – but beware a few more frosts. The garden is certainly alive and springing forth, despite the lack of real rain. We are on watering rosters already – not a great sign for the months ahead. But it’s interesting to observe the garden as a whole at this stage of the season and to see what plants are performing, how and when, as opposed to last season, or the ones previous. Also heartening to see our newly planted/moved asparagus are trying to stick themselves up through the soil already!

If you haven’t started your warm season seeds it’s not too late to sow them now and early into the next month. I planted mine without decent protection or pre-soaking and despite this they’re starting to emerge, so by the time the last danger of frost has passed, it may be safe to plant the beans, tomatoes, capsicums, pumpkins, etc. If you’ve more protection, and you soak your seeds beforehand, then yours will be at least a week or two ahead of mine. See what else to plant in the October notes.

Don’t forget the October produce exchange on Saturday 3rd (also a good day to transplant, sow root crops or add compost) and a look ahead to November 7 for our garden get together in lieu of a big fundraising dinner this year.

Enjoy the garden’s spring.

Poly wrangling and wrestling, etc.

Julia, Sarah and Janet get ready for netting and shadecloth, and it's blooming in the garden

Thanks to Sarah and Julia for today and to them both again, plus Andrew, Robin, Dawn for last Sunday. We now have one lot of netting/shade structures done for the apple trees along Bob’s fence line, another row started along the western, Layard St end, and some new compost bays.

We plan to do a bit more on the structures next Sunday 13th September at 10am for a couple of hours if you can join us, now we’ve worked out a system, of sorts. Enjoying seeing the soil profile as we (they!) dig extra holes (but thanks Geoff) with crowbar and trench shovel – such an improvement in structure and organic content over the last five years.

The other pressing issue is water – or lack of it. We need to get our garlic watering roster going again, especially if we don’t get more rain in the next couple of days. (PS. It’s just started raining!) The garden’s communal plots and the fruit trees that are not directly connected to irrigation will also need watering on a regular/rostered basis as well. The chart in the igloo seemed to work in previous dry spells. Hint!?

As a part of the Local Lives Global Matters conference being held in Castlemaine next month, there’ll be a visit to Newstead on Saturday 17 October – first to Frances Cincotta at Newstead Natives at 1pm, followed by the garden from 2.15 – 3pm. If anyone is available to join us/help host/be available for chatting with conference people, please let Mary or I know. Looks like an interesting event.

It’s grass growing time, enjoy (and remember) it …. the grass is growing at a rapid rate – mowing and/or whipper snipping is always welcome this time of year – now we have more compost bays we can also utilise the valuable greens!

And if you haven’t visited the Newstead Railway Arts Hub Opening Exhibition, there’s still another weekend to do so. Around 200 people came to the launch at the station, so it’s obviously worth crossing the river for.

And it’s just stopped raining!

OPening of the Newstead Arts Hub, a Victrack Community Vacant Use Program project - $430.000 spent to refurbish and restore the station ahead of community use and ownership

Opening of the Newstead Arts Hub, a Victrack Community Vacant Use Program project – $430,000 spent to refurbish and restore the station ahead of community use and ownership


Spring, well the first one, has been here a couple of weeks now. I’ve seen Early Nancy’s, Common Hovea and a few Gorse Bitter Peas flowering in the local bush, along with the wattles, and the orchids are pushing out flag leaves. Time to get out the ID books again!

It’s also time to get sowing seeds for summer, admiring the fruit blossoms and bees, mowing and weeding every few days. Don’t worry, it won’t last too long before the second spring is upon us – still mowing and weeding, but less frequently – and then there’s the watering, unless we get a nice spring downpour. Brian Keats is tipping some ‘Weather’ at the start of the month and again towards the end of the month’s full moon (which is also an eclipse, plus perigee moon). He also says that the moon’s range this month (at it’s minimum descent since last occuring almost 19 years ago)  heralds a time of accentuated barometric pressure and higher than average rainfall. Hope we see it in Newstead!

Today, Sunday 30th, is also a perfect day for sowing seeds – moon is opposite saturn, descending and moving from ‘root’ to ‘leaf’ via ‘flower’ day – and that’s what I’m about to go and do after posting this.

But for now, go to the September notes for planting and gardening tips. Don’t forget the Produce Exchange next Saturday 5th outside Dig cafe.

And anyone for spuds? It’s a good time to put some in.


We love the mens’ shed

_DSC0109And thanks to them again, and for a constructive project this time. We now have 80 cut and drilled lengths of large poly (plus a tour of the shed and much discussion) ready to install in the holes that Geoff and co dug on our working bee weekend.

Getting ready for the heat and birds. Though we love the  birds, just not them eating the lovely fruit (and we have planted – and will plant more – other things for them to enjoy, alone). It’s the same at the garlic crop, where the cockies enjoy wanton destruction, so that’s been poly-piped and netted as well.

So, to finish the job. Sunday 1-4pm at the garden, bring a good drill and/or fencing wire (size 8, says Ray from the Shed).

And not to forget the Newstead Railway Station Arts Hub Opening the day before, Saturday 3-5pm – it’s assured to be a big Newstead Event.

Spring into Spring – Sunday Working Bee

I know it’s not officially Spring yet, but there’s some sort of Spring happening – the sky is lightening, the wattles flowering, and it’s windy & showery & sunny – and even colder!

This is the idea for our structures, only the poly will be fixed into the ground, inside another length of poly ...

This is the idea for our structures, only the poly will be fixed into the ground, inside another length of poly …

To prepare for Summer (!) we’re having a working bee this Sunday August 16 from 3-5pm followed by pizzas. The main task is to get some structures ready for the fruit trees and berries so we can easily net – and also shadecloth – them for when things get hungry, and heated. This will involve digging some holes, obviously best done when the soil is relatively moist and soft.

The plan is to bury some large rural polypipe in the ground with a pre-drilled hole at the upper end. Then we can slide the smaller diameter rural poly (also with a hole) into the larger one, line up the predrilled holes, put a pin or cable tie through them and there we have it … protection, hopefully.

Clear as mud? Come along, dig a few holes, and see if it works!