April 2011

The cold nights and shorter days are signs that winter is approaching and the end is nigh for late ripening veges. Think about composting and also utilising the autumn leaf fall – litter from deciduous trees can make a top potting or seedraising mix.

Remember to harvest in the corresponding sign, eg. root day for potatoes or carrots, fruit/fire sign for pumpkins or eggplants, flower sign for broccoli. This will help with storage and keeping qualities. 

Remember to feed the soil after harvest and before you plant your next crop. After such a good season as the one we have just had, the crops will have taken up a lot of soil nutrients which need to be replaced. Some crops are heavy feeders, so soils will need more replenishment.

Also consider crop rotation; it is good practice to rotate between leaf, root, fruit and flower crops and never follow with the same crop (you may be able to get away with it for a season or two but disease and nutritional problems are more likely). Mustard is a good disease break which can be grown now, as well as nitrogen fixing plants like peas and broad beans. So consider a green manure of these in your crop rotation, to grow through autumn and winter.

Enjoy the glorious autumn garden.

Gardening Dates for temperate areas of SE Australia:

Leaf Days: 2-4, 12-14, 20-22, 29-30: amaranth, bok choi, brussel sprouts,  cabbage, kale, celery, endive, mibuna, mizuna, orach, rocket, tat soi, lettuce, mustard, silverbeet, chard, spinach, chives, garlic chives, coriander, dill, parsley,

Fruit Days: 4-7, 14-16, 22-24: broad beans, mustard, peas, snopeas, peas

Root Days: 7-9, 16-18, 24-27 : beetroot, carrots, celeriac, fennel, garlic, garlic chives, bunching onion, kohlrabi, leek, parsnip, radish, daikon radish, swede, turnip

Flower Days: 1-2, 9-12, 18-20, 27-29: broccoli, borage, cauliflower, all flowers (poppies, lupins, calendula, etc)

Moon Opposite Saturn (considered a good date for sowing seeds, applying preps and planting, or 48hrs either side): 4

Node Days (avoid planting if you can): 9,22

Apogee (moon furthest from earth; less lunar influence):2,30

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

New Moon/Full Moon: 4/18

Moon descending: 1-9; 24 – 30

Moon ascending: 9-19

Apply soil fertilisers, compost, take cuttings, plant seedlings: 2-4, 7-9, 20-22, 24-27, 29-30

Prune, harvest for storage: 7-9, 24-27

Apply foliar fertilisers: 9-12, 12-14, 18-19

Graft: 9-12, 18-19

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.

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