All the signs of spring are about; the winds are picking up, showers rather than real rain, days lengthening, the sounds of small motors on a weekend, wattles flowering along with other bush flowers (seem earlier than usual – makes me think, again, about developing a local calendar, or at least a DIY calendar for gardeners and bush frequenters, to track the actual seasons, trends, in this part of the world…)
It feels like spring is in the air, however unscientific that is. The stonefruits are budding and had their second spray for peach leaf curl last week and I even noticed a couple of errant asparagus spears. This month the codling moth traps will go out and sticky bands around the apple, pear and quince trees, hopefully. It’s still very cold at soil level, so seeds will take some time germinating, and need protection from slugs, snails and the rest, but time enough to think about spring plantings and get late-moment green manures in – cool season cereals and legumes. Get your spuds ready for planting – see this great article by Helen Razer in The Monthly on spud growing (even if she does advocate no-soil methods). Think about starting seeds off under protection.
If you are planting natives to encourage birds and pollinators, then August is almost too late, but time enough if you are able to water them through the establishment phase. Thanks to Frances at Newstead Natives we have a couple of patches which are developing well, apart from the need to weed and keep the mulch up. But it is perfect and almost enjoyable conditions for weeding at present, and on through the month, as the soil stays moist.
August is also all about planning. Planning for the warm season, including thinking about watering (yes!) and crop rotation, ordering your seeds and starting some of them off in a warm spot – igloo or windowsill if you want to get fed early. Get out a spray of BD500 and spread biodynamic compost all about – feed your perennials with it, as well as diluted worm juice, seaweed and whatever nutrients you have on hand, in anticipation of our central Victorian growth flush – where spring is short, but very sweet. But be alert to frosts right through the next couple of months.
Don’t forget the Produce Exchange on the 2nd August and hope to see gardeners and interested others at our session on Sunday 27th. Get into the garden this month and enjoy the changes.
Gardening Dates for temperate areas of SE Australia:
Leaf Days: 5-7, 13-15, 22-25: bok choi, cabbage, kale, celery, coriander, endive, mibuna, mizuna, orach, rocket, tat soi, leek, lettuce, mustard, silverbeet, chard, spinach, chives, garlic chives, dill, parsley
Fruit Days: 7-9, 15-17, 25-27: broad beans, mustard, peas,
Root Days: 1-3, 9-11, 17-20, 27-30: Beetroot, carrots, celeriac, kohlrabi, garlic, garlic chives, leek, bunching onion, onion, radish, daikon, swede, turnip,
Flower Days: 3-5, 11-13, 20-22, 30-31: broccoli, borage, cauliflower,
Moon Opposite Saturn (considered a good date for sowing seeds, applying preps and planting, or 48hrs either side): 12
Node Days (avoid planting if you can): 2, 15, 29
Apogee (moon furthest from earth; less lunar influence): 24
Perigee (moon clostest to eath; more lunar influence): 11
New Moon/Full Moon: 26/11
Moon descending: 7-20
Moon ascending: 1-7, 20-31
Apply soil fertilisers, compost: 11-20
Prune, apply tree paste, take cuttings, plant seedlings: 17-20 then 13-16
Apply foliar fertilisers: 3-5, 30-31 then 5-7, 22-25
Graft: 3-5, 30-31
Dates are a guide for these particular crops. Timing will vary from region to region (particularly with climate change) and even within a garden’s own microclimates. Of course, rainfall, weather conditions and your own schedule will influence when you garden.