May 2012 Notes

Though I’m still picking tomatoes and corn in Daylesford, in Newstead and surrounds the chilly evenings and frosty mornings have just about put an end to that sort of activity. Powdery mildew has hit pumpkins and other crops. But if you’ve got some microclimates – sun traps, sheltered spots, etc. – in the garden you may be able to extend your summer vege harvest for a few weeks more….

It’s important to be aware of hygiene in the garden at the end of the summer peak. By that I mean making sure that you minimise the amount of unwanted disease and pests, by cleaning up any mould or mildew affected plants, harvesting any rotting fruit if you have had a glut of tomatoes, and generally ensuring you aren’t creating harbours for any sort of pestilence. I reckon this is more important in a community garden setting because we can’t always be in the garden every day and whatever’s going on in our plot will directly affect our neighbours.

It’ll be a bit of a rush now if you haven’t planted your greens and winter veges to take advantage of the last bit of soil warmth and day length until the winter advance. Garlic, peas, broadies (you can plant again in late winter/early spring) brassicas can all go in now as well as the start for onions (you can plant these through winter). Although  I am beginning to wonder whether the traditional planting times for specific veges still holds in our changing seasons. Just observing growing comditions for the past few seasons, especially coming out of prolonged drought, I’m more inclined to have a go at planting some seeds “out of season” and see what happens. That’s a wonderful aspect of gardening – the ability to experiment. After all, we are not so dependent on our gardens that if one crop fails we’ll starve!

And think about a biodynamic spray of horn manure (BD500) this month…..

Gardening Dates for temperate areas of SE Australia:

Leaf Days: 1, 7-9, 15-18, 25-28: bok choi, cabbage, kale, coriander, endive, mibuna, mizuna, orach, rocket, tat soi, lettuce, mustard, silverbeet, chard, spinach, chives, garlic chives, dill, parsley

Fruit Days: 1-3. 9-11, 18-20, 28-30: broad beans, mustard, peas,

Root Days: 3-5, 11-13, 20-23, 30-31 : beetroot, carrots, celeriac, garlic, garlic chives, bunching onion, kohlrabi, leek, onion, parsnip, radish, daikon radish, swede, turnip

Flower Days: 5-7, 13-15, 23-25: broccoli, borage, cauliflower,

Moon Opposite Saturn (considered a good date for sowing seeds, applying preps and planting, or 48hrs either side): 14

Node Days (avoid planting if you can):7, 21

Apogee (moon furthest from earth; less lunar influence):20

Perigee (moon clostest to eath; more lunar influence): 6

New Moon/Full Moon: 21/6 (solar eclipse on 21 at 19.20)

Moon descending: 8-23

Moon ascending: 1-8, 23-31

Apply soil fertilisers, compost: 8 -21

Prune, take cuttings, plant seedlings: 11-13, 20-21, (15-18)

Apply foliar fertilisers: 1-7, 23-31

Graft: 5-7, 23-25

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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