August 2017

This winter certainly hasn’t been wet, but it has been cold. Luckily the good autumn rains have helped keep some soil moisture at depth, but some decent winter rain would still be welcome.

The sounds of lawnmowers in Newstead on a winter Sunday has been a usual – but unusual – occurrence this winter, so though it has seemed cold to us, perhaps the plants aren’t feeling the quite the same need for dormancy and hibernation.

August is the time we start to think about spring. Wattles blooming and stonefruits budding remind us of it. And that it’s time to get the curly leaf spray out. Our stonefruit is due for a second spray this month once the buds swell and go pink and just before the leaves unfurl. It’ll also be time for a BD500 spray when the buds go “woolly”. The soil needs to warm up a bit more though for the biodynamic preps to work at their best.

This month the codling moth traps will go out and sticky bands around the apple, pear and quince trees.

It’s still very cold at soil level, so seeds will take some time germinating, seedlings be slow to grow and both will need protection from slugs, snails and the rest. Start thinking and planning your spring plantings though; crop rotations and what you grew where last year, what you’d like to grow this one. Where you’ll get your organic/biodynamic seeds from. Room for a green manure this spring? Spuds could possibly go in. later in the month. Get any empty beds ready with a dig and application of compost.

If you haven’t got your irrigation systems sorted, checked, repaired and ready for summer, now is the time. Watering rostering will be here before we are ready for it, and I suspect even more-so this year.

And it’s grafting time, of course. It will be almost too late to collect scion, so do so early in the month.

Other August tasks – feed fruit trees and perennials (inc asparagus and rhubarb) ahead of the spring growth spurt – compost, dilute worm tea or dilute fish/seaweed emulsion, worm castings even. Mulch your garlic. Prune your trees and brambles, if you haven’t already, early in the month – it’s getting a bit late now for all those winter jobs you haven’t got finished …  And it’s probably worth a bit of a shed stocktake/maintenance of your tools, wheelbarrows, mowers etc. and all the things that are going to get a really good work out over spring and summer.

Don’t forget the garden meeting on Sunday 6 August 10.30am and on Sunday 27th August come along to the Railway Station Arts Hub first birthday to celebrate and hear from garden designers Anna and Cassia Read who will be working on a landscape design for the arts hub surrounds.

Get into the garden this month and enjoy the hint of spring in the air, and the soil.

Gardening Dates for temperate areas of SE Australia:

Leaf Days:1-4, 11-14, 19-22, 28-31  :  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: 4-6, 13-15, 21-24, 31broad beans, mustard, peas,

Root Days: 6-8, 15-17, 24-26: Beetroot, carrots, celeriac, kohlrabi, garlic, garlic chives, leek, bunching onion, onion, radish, daikon, swede, turnip,

Flower Days: 8-11, 17-19, 26-28: broccoli, borage, cauliflower,

Moon Opposite Saturn (considered a good date for sowing seeds, applying preps and planting, or 48hrs either side): 17

Node Days (avoid planting if you can): 8, 21

Apogee (moon furthest from earth; less lunar influence): 3, 30

Perigee (moon clostest to eath; more lunar influence): 18

New Moon/Full Moon: 22(and a solar eclipse at 04.30)/8(and a lunar eclipse at 04.10)

Moon descending: 5-18

Moon ascending: 1-5, 18-31

Apply BD500, soil fertilisers, compost: 5-18

Prune, apply tree paste, take cuttings, plant seedlings: 15-17  best then 11-14, other moon descending dates

Apply BD501, foliar fertilisers: 1-5 then 26-31 and other moon ascending dates

Graft: 1, 26-28

For more information on the astro planting dates (and where to get your own calendar) see the Gardening Notes page.

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.