The unknown and the unexpected, the constant learning and the fact that every season is different, or that every crop seems to respond differently, is all part of the joy and pleasure of gardening for me. Of course this would be tempered if my life or livelihood depended on my garden’s harvest! It’s a luxury to be able to fail, and learn.
I’m still learning how to schedule my plantings to avoid feast and famine. Seasonal conditions often put paid to all the best planning – a warm snap, a run of cold, cloudy days, repeated frosts. Things have grown so slowly this winter that I wish I had planted extra crops back in January and February, to still be eating from. Even the silverbeet has stalled.
Often the best performing plants are the ones that have self seeded of their own volition, not the pampered, hand sown, igloo raised ones. How many times have you carefully raised seedlings, hardened them off to prepare them for planting and lovingly transplanted into the vege patch, only to find the next morning a snail or slug or red-legged earthmite has munched them almost to death? Letting a few plants go to seed can be a good insurance policy and you can always transplant or move them later.
This month is about focusing on pest and disease control – the second spray for leaf curl as buds swell and color, putting out traps for codling moth and banding tree trunks with horticultural glues and cardboard, sowing good bug mixes or green manures around fruit trees to encourage positive predators, weeding, cleaning up the igloo or hothouse in readiness for seed sowing. The copper tape seems to be working against slugs and snails – I made up some heavy cardboard collars and stuck the band to it then placed around my seedlings – so far, so good.
It’s still wintery, but daylength is increasing and plants will respond to that, so a spray of wormjuice and a feed of compost won’t go astray. Think about planting deciduous trees and natives – the longer term forecast is for a wet spring, so they should be able to establish well before summer. If frosts are still about, consider a BD valerian spray. Think about getting new beds ready for spring/summer planting. And pottering.
Gardening Dates for temperate areas of SE Australia:
Leaf Days: 5-8, 15-17, 23-25: bok choi, cabbage, kale, celery, coriander, endive, mibuna, mizuna, orach, rocket, tat soi, leek, lettuce, mustard, silverbeet, chard, spinach, chives, garlic chives, dill, parsley
Fruit Days: 8-10, 17-19, 25-27: broad beans, mustard, peas,
Root Days: 1-3, 10-13, 19-21, 27-30: Beetroot, carrots, celeriac, kohlrabi, garlic, garlic chives, leek, bunching onion, onion, radish, daikon, swede, turnip,
Flower Days: 3-5, 12-15, 1-23, 30-31: broccoli, borage, cauliflower,
Moon Opposite Saturn (considered a good date for sowing seeds, applying preps and planting, or 48hrs either side): 26
Node Days (avoid planting if you can): 14, 26
Apogee (moon furthest from earth; less lunar influence): 3/31
Perigee (moon clostest to eath; more lunar influence): 19
New Moon/Full Moon: 7/21
Moon descending: 1-2, 17-30
Moon ascending: 2-17, 30-31
Apply soil fertilisers, compost: 1-2, 21-30
Prune, apply tree paste, take cuttings, plant seedlings: 1-2, 19-21, 27-30
Apply foliar fertilisers: 8-16
Graft: 3-5, 12-15
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.