Glorious spring! Besides sowing and planting, this month should focus on feeding perennials and biennials as well as mulching. And thinking about watering rosters as the season warms and dries. All of our berries and fruit trees and other perennials have been given a worm juice tonic and this will be followed by a foliar seaweed spray this month. Feeding the soil with compost is another important aspect, especially in plots where crops are continually grown without green manures.
Weeding will be an ongoing task so think about making some quick cubic meter composts by chopping up the green weeds and layering thinly with manure, straw or other carbon rich matter (leaves, dried weeds) adding lime, eggshells, kitchen scraps, rockdust and (if you have them) bd compost preparations and then watering it all well. You should have a garden ‘lasagna’ which can be mixed and turned every week, until the mix is transformed. In a couple of months you’ll have compost ready to feed your summer crops. Or like Joan, you could introduce worms to do an even better job.
Do consider the provenance and source of your seeds and seedlings when buying and exchanging. Where you can, make sure the plants are open pollinated (not hybrid) and produced using organic or biodynamic methods, preferably locally climatised. See the links or the post about seed sowing. CERES in Melbourne, are amongst the growers producing organic seedlings. And just like food itself, it’s better to know directly where your seed or seedlings come from. Better still, grow, save and seed your own! A great diversity of seeds/plants were exchanged at Seedy Sunday, far wider than you would ever find at your local nursery.
Here are the dates for gardening this month. Note that (s) means sow as seeds and (p) means plant as seedlings. (eg. tomatoes can be planted as seed but probably still too early for planting seedlings early this month in frost prone areas). Beware that frosts can still occur in Newstead through October and it’s probably worth waiting till later in the month to plant out frost tender summer seedlings!
Guide for temperate areas in SE Australia for October 2012:
Leaf Days: 1, 9-11, 18-20, 26-29 – amaranth (s,p) basil (s), bok choi (s,p), chinese cabbage (s,p), dill (s,p), kale (s,p), celery (s,p), endive (s,p), mibuna (s,p), mizuna(s,p), orach (s, p), rocket (s,p), tat soi (s,p), lettuce(s,p), mustard(s,p), salad greens (s,p), silverbeet(s,p) spinach(s,p), chives (p,s), garlic chives (p), coriander(s,p), dill (s,p), parsley(s,p), radicchio (s,p), rhubarb (s,p), clover (s)
Fruit Days: 1-4, 11-14, 20-22, 29-31 – broad beans (p) bush and climbing beans (s,p) capsicum (s,p) mustard(s,p), peas (s,p), strawberries (p), amaranth (s,p) capsicum (s,p), chilli (s), corn (s), cucumber (s), eggplant (s), okra (s), pumpkin (s), rockmelon (s), snopeas (s,p), squash (s), tomatoes (s), watermelon (s), zucchini (s)
Root Days: 4-7, 14-16, 22-24, 31 – asparagus (s,p), jerusalem artichoke (p), beetroot( s,p), carrots (s), celeriac (p), fennel (p), kohlrabi (p), leek (p), spring onion (s,p) salad onion (s,p), bunching onions (s,p) potatoes (s,p), shallots (s,p), radish (s,p),
Flower Days: 7-9, 16-18, 24-26 -broccoli (p), cauliflower (p), borage (s,p), globe artichoke (s,p), sunflower (s) marigold (s,p), nasturtium (s,p), other flowers
Other Auspicious Gardening Dates:
Moon opposite Saturn: 25 (a good time to plant, transplant, etc)
Moon Descending: 1-6, 20-31
Moon Ascending: 6-20
Full Moon/New Moon: 30/15
Nodes*: 4, 18, 31
Apply soil food: 1-6 best, then 20-31
Apply foliar food: 15-20 best, then 6-15
Mulch: anytime, but watch for frosts (thick straw mulch will intensify them) and remember the slugs!
Transplant seedlings, plants, cuttings: 1, 4-7, 22-24, 26-29
Graft: 16-18, 6-9
Dates are a guide for these particular crops. For more info see Planting Notes. 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
lunar perigee (on the left) and apogee (right) viewed from the earth