May 2016

May is greens, and hopefully, green. As in ‘autumn break’ and the growth thereafter. We finally got the ‘break’, or a current version of it – late, but very welcome. Over the last couple of days, up to an inch (25mm) in places.

Because there’s been no frost, little rain, and the temperatures seasonally high, the summer vegetables are still producing; no sign of powdery mildew on the pumpkins or zukes, eggplants and the indeterminate tomatoes are still flowering. This means space is at a premium to plant winter veges. Especially if you have allocated space for green manures. The upside is that  the warm temperatures mean that sowing seeds and seedlings now will still provide a good window for root and leaf growth before the cold hits.

And what to plant? Traditionally greens, garlic (we are still to put ours in but will this month after the last rain event) broadies. In the garden, self seeded potatoes are well away – normally we wouldn’t think of them because of the frosts, but it may be worth a little experiment, somewhere sheltered …  It’s also the start for onions and other alliiums (and plant these on through winter). Radishes, swedes, turnips, kohlrabi and beets are other root crops that will do well in the cold months to come.


Fartichokes (Jerusalem artichokes) will be well and truly ready for harvesting. Our Chinese quinces are still unripe, but more conventional ones should be perfumed and ready to prepare.

Apples and pear trees would benefit from a codling moth trap – cardboard around the trunk will provide a sheltering spot for them to harbour over winter, instead of in the soil, and these can be removed and dealt with in spring. Sticky goo/glue also works. Trying to stop the lifecycle between tree and soil is the focus now.

And in a word, Compost. There’s plenty more words on it on this site (just enter the word into the search box on the home page!). Fallen autumn leaves are fantastic starting material. Plus it’s the ideal time to be putting out the biodynamic preps, either through the compost, or as a BD500 (horn manure) spray. We’ve just taken delivery of some very excellent preps from Rosie and Ernst at Biodynamics Victoria, who continue to generously support our garden.

Brian Keats is suggesting the lunar perigee on the 6 will bring strong southerlies our way (and perhaps our first frost?)

Finally, enjoy the (finally) autumnal garden.

Gardening Dates for Newstead and temperate areas of SE Australia:

Leaf Days: 3-5, 11-14, 21-24, 31: bok choi, cabbage, kale, coriander, endive, mibuna, mizuna, orach, rocket, tat soi, lettuce, mustard, silverbeet, chard, spinach, chives, garlic chives, dill, parsley

Fruit Days: 5-7, 3-16, 24-26: broad beans, mustard, peas

Root Days: 1, 8-9, 16-19, 26-28: beetroot, carrots, celeriac, garlic, garlic chives, bunching onion, kohlrabi, leek, onion, parsnip, radish, daikon radish, swede, turnip

Flower Days: 1-3, 9-11, 19-21, 28-31: broccoli, borage, cauliflower,

Moon Opposite Saturn (considered a good date for sowing seeds, applying preps and planting, or 48hrs either side): 9

Node Days (avoid planting if you can): 3, 16, 30

Apogee (moon furthest from earth; less lunar influence):19

Perigee (moon clostest to eath; more lunar influence): 6

New Moon/Full Moon: 7/22

Moon descending: 1-10, 25-31

Moon ascending: 10-24

Apply soil fertilisers, compost: 1, 3-5, 8-9, 26-28, 31

Prune, take cuttings, plant seedlings: 1, 8-9, 26-28

Apply foliar fertilisers: 10-14, 19-24

Graft: 10-11, 19-21

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.