February 2014

DSC03270Getting trees and food plants through the heat is the priority at the moment. It’s hard to be thinking about planting food for autumn and winter right now, but this month you need to start, else you’ll go hungry. In Newstead, the frosts can hit early in autumn (hard to believe now) so if you can get plants started whilst soil is warm, you’ll be that much ahead. But it’s a fine line, between planting too early and running into the last of the heat (shrivelled seedlings) and too late to have meaningful growth before things slow down (stunted plants, dormancy, slater and slug attack). Better to stagger your sowings, to spread the risk, and the harvest. Plant again in two or three weeks. You’ll need to have garden areas ready, that aren’t taken up by summer crops – tomatoes are very late this year, for instance.

Now is the time to be pruning stone and pomefruit and a drink of compost tea or wormjuice will help them recover from fruiting and pruning. Saving seed? Pick your best plants and do it in a ‘fire’ sign, i.e. on a fruit day.

Here’s some gardening guidance for the month ahead, thanks to Brian Keats’ calendar. Brian suggests a more neutral year this year – neither El Nino, nor La Nina (as does our weather bureau). He says if you have 19 years of good weather records you are off to a good start (thanks to the Trudgeons, we should be in Newstead…) as every 19 years the sun is at the same declination and so, therfore, is the season. The moon is also in it’s 18.6 year declination cycle. Look back to the future.

Enjoy the last of summer’s breath… and don’t forget to check in with our Garden Calendar.

Gardening Dates for temperate areas of SE Australia:

Note that (s) means sow as seeds and (p) means plant as seedlings.

Leaf Days: 3-5, 12-15, 22-24: Bok choi (s,p), brussel sprouts (s,p later in month), cabbage (s,p), kale (s), celery (s,p), chickory (s,p), endive (s,p), mibuna (s,p), mizuna (s,p), orach (s,p), rocket (s), tat soi (s,p), lettuce (s,p), mustard (s), pak choi (s,p), silverbeet (s,p), chard (s,p), spinach (s), borage (s,p), chives (s,p), garlic chives (s,p), coriander s,p, dill (s,p), parsley (s,p), rhubarb (p), clover (s)

Fruit Days: 5-7, 15-17, 24-26: broad beans (s later in month), peas – snopeas, sugarsnap peas (seed only, and probably still a bit early yet .. later in the month)

Root Days: 1, 7-10, 17-20, 26-28: beetroot (s,p), carrots (s), celeriac (s,p), fennel (s,p), kohlrabi (s), leek (s,p), bunching onion (s,p), parsnip (s), radish (s), dailon radish (s), spring onion (s,p), shallot S, turnip (s)

Flower Days: 1-3, 10-12, 20-22, 28: broccoli (s,p), cauliflower (s), nasturtium (s,p), sweet pea (s), love-in-a mist (s), poppies (s),

Moon Opposite Saturn (considered a good date for sowing seeds, applying preps and planting, or 48hrs either side): 2

Node Days (avoid planting if you can): 5, 20

Apogee (moon furthest from earth; less lunar influence): 12

Perigee (moon clostest to eath; more lunar influence):28

New Moon/Full Moon: 31 Jan and 1 Mar/15

Moon descending: 1-9, 24-28

Moon ascending: 9-24

Apply soil fertilisers, compost, take cuttings, plant seedlings, prune: 26-28 then next best 22-24, 1, 7-9 and other moon descending dates

Apply foliar fertilisers: 10-12 then next best 12-15 and other moon ascending dates

Graft: 10-12

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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