May 2017

A brilliant start to autumn and not many frosts yet; all our birthdays have come at once!

Expect more cold nights and mornings from now on in though. The impact of frost maybe tempered by all this water-filled soil (water is the best thermal mass there is).  But unless you have microclimates in the garden (north facing, protected areas, sheltering walls or plants, natural protecting landforms and frost havens) or structures to extend the season, or quick fixes like sheets, curtains and frostcloth, then the season is just about over for tomatoes, pumpkins, zukes and other warm season crops. But there’s always jerusalem artichokes to harvest! Also quinces, pomegranates.

You’ll be cleaning up crop wastes and making compost with it. Clean up any mould or mildew affected plants, dropped fruit or unharvested crops (burn them or ensure your compost reaches at least 70C) and make sure you aren’t creating harbours for any sort of pestilence to breed. We’ve had a build up of slaters and cabbage moths, so it’s important to halt the life cycle of these pesky critters before new seedlings are planted and also for when the warmth comes again. This is more important in a community garden where we can’t always be in the garden every day to monitor and control. If one plot is affected, then everyone’s will be.

May means garlic, peas and broadies if you haven’t got them in (you can plant again in late winter/early spring, all of the brassicas, plus silverbeet, spinach, lettuce. Go for your greens! Onions can go in  from now on through winter (check your variety in relation to daylength).

Refer to the particular crop types for lunar planting, eg. broccoli is a ‘flower’, chinese cabbage is a ‘leaf’, onion is a ‘root’ and peas are a ‘seed’. A green manure crop to rejunevenate hard working beds is also paramount.

We’ll make compost this month and it is the time to feed it out as well – to fruit trees, berries, and garden beds. If your autumn fruiting berries have finished producing, prune them back to ground level (in the right lunar phase). In fact you can prune all your berries this month and next. And apply a spray of horn manure (BD500) in the right phase won’t go astray.

You’ll note that we have a very close perigee (the closest of the year) on the new moon and near to opposite Saturn, which will intensify the prevailing lunar influences. This should be good for our compost build on 28th, but there may also be Weather about, according to Brian Keats.

Gardening Dates for temperate areas of SE Australia:

Leaf Days: 2-4, 11- 14, 21-23, 29-31: bok choi, cabbage, kale, coriander, endive, mibuna, mizuna, orach, rocket, tat soi, lettuce, mustard, silverbeet, chard, spinach, chives, garlic chives, dill, parsley

Fruit Days:4-6, 14-16, 23-25: broad beans, mustard, peas,

Root Days: 6-9, 16-19, 25-27,  : beetroot, carrots, celeriac, garlic, garlic chives, bunching onion, kohlrabi, leek, onion, parsnip, radish, daikon radish, swede, turnip

Flower Days: 1-2, 9-11, 19-21, 27-29 : broccoli, borage, cauliflower,

Moon Opposite Saturn (considered a good date for sowing seeds, applying preps and planting, or 48hrs either side):27

Node Days (avoid planting if you can): 4, 19, 31

Apogee (moon furthest from earth; less lunar influence): 13

Perigee (moon clostest to eath; more lunar influence): 26

New Moon/Full Moon: 26/11

Moon descending: 15-28

Moon ascending: 1-15, 28-31


Apply soil fertilisers, spread BD500, compost, prune, take cuttings, plant seedlings: 16-19, 25-28 best, then 21-23

Apply foliar fertilisers, spread BD501, graft:1-2, 9-11 best then 2-4, 11-12

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.