Darling Buds of May

Newstead gardeners will be eating spuds for a while yet, if the harvest last month is anything to go by! But we should also be making the most of the end of autumn, before the soil and air temperature cools off too much, to do some last minute planting and harvesting.

It’s also a good time for making compost, if you have a good supply of manure, with all the detritis of summers’ harvest, leaf fall and abundant green wastes. Compost bays and raised beds are on the garden agenda in the next few months.

Hopefully the cooler weather will bring to the end the havoc caused by catepillars and other unwanted pests this year. The brassicas are most affected. I’m going to make up a pesky bug mix of garlic and chilli crushed and fermented in water, diluted and sprayed onto the backs of leaves, with a drop or two of dishwashing liquid or biodegradable soap to help the mix stick to the leaves. It’s that, or bring in the chook patrol!

Go to the May Notes for more details of what to plant, when and other auspicious gardening dates. And don’t forget the Produce Exchange this Saturday, 10.30am outside The Red Store.

*Shakespeare’s celebrated Sonnet 18 (the darling buds refer to the northern hemisphere when May is approaching the warmer months, but we can get the gist here):

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed,
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimmed:
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st,
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

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