August 2011 Notes

Spring is just around the corner, still there’s plenty of late winter tasks in the garden.

We are about to carry out our first of two treatments for leaf curl and brown spot on the stone fruit trees (can also be used for black spot on roses). We noticed last year – even though the trees are young – the early signs of leaf curl. After a very wet summer and spring the odds are high that we will see more fungal disease this year, unless treated now.

Ideally, in an organic or biodynamic system we shouldn’t have to use these treatments; they border on conventional fungicides, although are permitted on a restrictive basis in organic systems. The combination of seasonal conditions and the fact that we are still building organic matter and beneficial microorganisms in our soil means that we need to do a one-off treatment. Hopefully with some more organic/bd nurturing, we can avoid having to take this action next year.

We are going to mix lime with copper sulphate – the elemental copper will kill any spores which have overwintered and are now waiting to attack the immature leaves which will soon emerge from the dormant buds.

The idea is to spray now, while the trees are still dormant, to kill any spores hanging about. Hopefully the leaves will emerge unscathed and able to resist future infection.

A second application is needed two or three weeks later when the trees flower buds start to swell and turn pink but before the leaf buds have opened.

Peter Cundall suggests a mix of 100g hydrated lime to 5 litres of water and 100g copper sulphate in a separate 5 litres of warm water. Mix the two and spray straight away. We will try this recipe.

(Cheryl Kemp has written a good article on fungus control in soft fruit in the Summer 2010 Issue #85 of News Leaf.)

Besides this, there’s plenty more planting and soil preparation tasks that can be guided by the cosmos this month……

What to Plant, When:  Guide for temperate areas in SE Australia

Leaf Days: 1, 7-9, 16-19, 26-28

Cabbage, bok choi, kale, celery, endive, mibuna, mizuna, orach, rocket, tat soi, leek, lettuce, mustard, silverbeet, chard, spinach, chives, garlic chives, coriander, dill, parsley, rhubarb, clover

Fruit Days: 1-3, 9-12, 19-22, 28-30

Broad beans, mustard, peas, strawberries, berries

Root Days: 3-5, 12-14, 22-24, 30-31

Asparagus, jerusalem artichoke, beetroot, carrots, celeriac, kohlrabi, garlic, leek, bunching onion, onion, parsnip, potatoes, shallots, spring onion, radish, daikon, turnip.

Flower Days: 5-7, 14-16, 24-26

Broccoli, cauliflower, borage, sweet peas, globe artichoke

Other Auspicious Gardening Dates:

Moon opposite Saturn: 18 (a good time to plant, transplant, etc)

Moon Descending:  9-24

Moon Ascending: 1-9, 24 – 31

Full Moon/New Moon: 14/29

Nodes*: 9,24

Perigee***: 2, 30

Apogee***: 19

Apply soil food: 12 – 14, 16-19, 22-24

Apply foliar food: 5-7, 24-26

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

Transplant seedlings, plants, cuttings: 18, 22-23,

Graft: 5-7, 24-26

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.

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