December Notes 2014

Sounds like summer sprang early. Mulching, deep and regular watering in the early hours of the morning or evening, shade protection on sensitive plants on those blasting days (think newly planted seedlings, berries and other shallow rooted crops) will all come to the fore this month.

Garden pics newstead - festival of gardens 1 november 2014Not too late for planting advanced seedlings, but make sure though you harden them off  before planting and then cover during the hottest part of the day, until they are established and on their way.

Too late for BD500 spraying now, but the garden will benefit from BD compost applications – a handful at planting (a little goes a long way) before you pop the seedling in, make sure you cover it with soil, and mulch, and water it in well to ensure the lovely microbes prosper. Side dress during the growing season, again covering and moistening. Care of the heap is important as well – after removing compost from the heap, water and cover well and thickly with mulch. If making compost, you may need to cover with shade-cloth or other protection. A dried out heap is a dead heap. Compost is a living thing; you need to treat it gently and carefully.

BoysenberriesLooking forward to the fruits of the stonefruit and berries this month. Harvest gently with sharp secateurs or scissors (this goes for all crop/vege harvesting) and net, if you haven’t. Berries will need to be kept regularly watered and picked to keep producing. A foliar spray of dilute seaweed/fish will also help, on a fortnightly basis.

For some more tips on watering, see this earlier post.

corn and peasThink about companion planting where plants serve to shade others – the traditional trio is corn, beans and pumpkins. Theoretically, the corn provides shade for the beans (they don’t like extreme heat) and a structure to climb on, the beans provide nitrogen to the soil, and the cucurbits sprawl around underneath, making the most of both upper and mid level canopies and root zones (corn is a high water user, in my book, with only small yields for all that water, so better to hedge your bets and resources with three crops). In practice it’s not always so ordered and harvest can be a challenge. But there are other combos. Try a summer crop like amaranth, millet, quinoa, or dried beans. And leave some room to plant in late summer, your autumn and winter caulis and cabbages, brassicas and brussels (you could start seed off at the end of the month)

Here are the dates for gardening this month. Note that (s) means sow as seeds and (p) means plant as seedlings.

Guide for temperate areas in SE Australia for December 2014:

Leaf Days: 1-3, 5-6, 10-12, 15, 19-22, 28-30 – amaranth (s,p) basil (s,p), bok choi (s,p), chinese cabbage, cabbage (s) (s,p), chives (s,p) dill (s,p), celery (s,p), endive (s,p), kale (s), mibuna (s,p), mizuna(s,p), orach (s, p), rocket (s,p), tat soi (s,p), lettuce(s,p), mustard(s,p), salad greens (s,p), silverbeet(s,p) spinach(s,p), chives (p,s), garlic chives (p), coriander(s,p), dill (s,p), parsley(s,p), radicchio (s,p), rhubarb (s,p), clover (s)

Fruit Days: 3-5, 12-15, 22-24, 30-31 – amaranth (s), bush and climbing beans (s,p) capsicum (s,p) peas (s,p), strawberries (p), amaranth (s,p) chilli (s,p), corn (s,p), cucumber (s,p), eggplant (s,p), okra (s,p), mustard (s), pumpkin (s,p), rockmelon (s,p), snopeas (s,p), squash (s,p), strawberries (p), tomatoes (s,p), watermelon (s,p), zucchini (s,p)

Root Days:5-7, 15-17, 24-26 – asparagus (s,p), jerusalem artichoke (p), beetroot( s,p), carrots (s,p), celeriac (p), fennel (p), kohlrabi (p), leek (p), spring onion (s,p) salad onion (s,p), bunching onions (s,p) potatoes (s,p), parsnip (s), shallots (s,p), radish (s,p), turnip (s,p)

Flower Days: 1, 7-10, 17-19, 26-28 -broccoli (s,p), cauliflower (s,p), borage (s,p), globe artichoke (s,p), sunflower (s,p) marigold (s,p), nasturtium (s,p), other flowers

Other Auspicious Gardening Dates:

Moon opposite Saturn: 27 (a good time to plant, transplant, etc)

Moon Descending: 1-7, 22-31

Moon Ascending: 7-22

Full Moon/New Moon: 6/22

Nodes*: 2, 16, 29

Perigee***: 25

Apogee***: 13

Apply soil food, composts: 1-7, 22-31

Apply foliar food: 7-12, 17-22

Mulch: now and through summer, but remember the slaters and slugs!

Transplant seedlings, plants, cuttings: 5-7, 24-26

Graft:7-10, 17-19

Dates are a guide for these particular crops. For more info see Planting Notes. 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.

# Broccoli can be grown year round, apart from the hottest months. I prefer to plant through the colder months to avoid having the broccoli forming heads when the cabbage moth butterfly is active, in late spring and summer.

* Each month there are a couple of ‘node days’ when the sun and moon are in opposition. Many biodynamic gardeners choose not to plant on these days, or at least a couple of hours either side of the node.

** Perigee is the point where the moon is closest to the earth, so the influence of the moon is strongest. Apogee is the furthest point from the earth, so the opposite occurs

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