September 2016

Time is of the essence this September. We are still likely to have more frosts this month, but it’s also important to get your seedlings underway now, to have enough growing season for them to bear fully and productively. Given that soil temperature needs to be at least 20 degrees Celcius for summer crops to germinate (tomato, capsicum, eggplant, zukes, cukes, pumkpins, beans, etc) it’s best to start them off indoors or a warm spot in the garden. If you are planting out seedlings this early, protect them at night with frost cloth or surrounded by water (the best form of thermal mass there is) filled containers – and don’t expect a huge amount of growth at this stage. Keep the mulch away (straw mulch will accentuate frost) unless is it something dark like rockdust, which will soak up the sun’s rays during the day and release the heat during the night (another form of thermal mass) and hopefully, early morning.

The bonus of sowing seeds direct this time of year, especially leafy greens, clovers, cereals, etc. is that germination will be swift, especially if planted at the right lunar phase. Expect a green tinge after a week, or even less if you pre-soak seeds.

A spring application of BD500 (horn manure) and a feed of seaweed/fish emulsion and/or worm juice are also jobs for this month. As the plants start growing vigorously it’s a good idea to give them a fortnightly feed of well diluted worm juice or other foliar feed. And of course applying compost when you plant and as a topdress (don’t forget your asparagus beds) is a useful rule of thumb.

Pheremone traps out in fruit trees for codling moth and other pests, sticky traps, good bug mix. Don’t forget to check your irrigation and watering systems to ensure they will work when you need them (hopefully) later in the season.

Another compost build? There’s the green materials for it, and moisture on tap, at the moment.

Two eclipses, the sun crossing the equator into the southern hemisphere, and plenty of other planetary movement across the equator this month means some unsettled weather – “dynamic weather” as Brian has called it this month.

Don’t forget the Produce Exchange this Saturday outside Dig (10.30-12) and enjoy the season’s expansion.

Guide for temperate areas in SE Australia for September:

Leaf Days: 8-10, 17-19, 25-27 – bok choi (s,p), kale (s,p), celery (s,p), endive (s,p), mibuna (s,p), mizuna(s,p), orach (s), rocket (s,p), tat soi (s,p), leek (s,p), lettuce(s,p), mustard(s,p), silverbeet(s,p) spinach(s,p), chives (p,s), garlic chives (p), coriander(s,p), dill (s,p), parsley(s,p), rhubarb (s,p), clover (s)

Fruit Days: 1-3, 10-12, 19-21, 27-30 – broad beans (p) mustard(s,p), peas (s,p), strawberries (p), amaranth (s) bush beans (s), climbing beans (s), capsicum (s), chilli (s), corn (s), cucumber (s), eggplant (s), okra (s), pumpkin (s), rockmelon (s), snopeas (s,p),  squash (s), tomatoes (s), watermelon (s), zucchini (s)

Root Days: 3-5, 12-15, 21-23, 30 – asparagus (s,p), jerusalem artichoke (s), beetroot( s,p), carrots (s), celeriac (p), fennel (p), kohlrabi (p), leek (p), spring onion (s,p) salad onion (p), potatoes (s,p), shallots (s,p), radish (s,p)

Flower Days: 5-8, 15-17, 23-25 – broccoli (p), cauliflower (p), borage (s,p), globe artichoke (s,p), sunflower (s)

Other Auspicious Gardening Dates:

Moon opposite Saturn: 22 (a good time to plant, transplant, etc. or 24hrs either side)

Moon Descending:  11-24

Moon Ascending: 1-11, 24-30

Full Moon/New Moon: 17 (lunar eclipse at 5.05am)/1 (solar eclipse at 19.03)

Nodes*: 2, 16, 29

Perigee***: 19

Apogee***: 7

Apply soil food: 17-24 best but anytime during 11-24

Apply foliar food:5-8 and 15-17 best but anytime between 2- 17

Mulch: anytime, but watch for frosts (thick straw mulch will intensify them) and remember the slugs!

Transplant seedlings, plants, cuttings: 21-24, 30, 17-20, 25-27

Graft: 5-8, 15-17

NOTE: s=seed, p=plant/seedling 

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.

# 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