February 2013

growing tomatoesIt has been a confusing time for plants – blasting heat in January halted growth and some plants were dramatically set back. Now it feels autumnal – still warm days and cooler nights. Not the norm for February. Here’s hoping the tomatoes and other summer fruits will have enough warmth left in the season to ripen. Zuchinnis seem less affected, and it’s been a boom year for basil.

I’ve just planted another crop of saladstuff – my third lot for the summer, as well as carrots and the autumn/winter veges – all as seeds. Some tomato and capsicum seedlings went in the igloo to see if they will produce through to winter.

Now is the time to prune apples and pears to encourage fruit bearing next year. But if you have young trees, hold off until winter – winter pruning is all about structure and developing a healthy, strong framework. After 3 or 4 years of winter pruning, trees should have established a strong, efficient structure. Then it is all about summer pruning to encourage lateral budding. Some summer ptruning of stonefruits can be done now, but wait until spring to do any major pruning of (esp young) stonefruit – peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots, etc.

Here are the dates for gardening this month. Note that (s) means sow as seeds and (p) means plant as seedlings.

Gardening Dates for temperate areas of SE Australia:

Leaf Days: 4-6, 13-15, 22-25:  Bok choi (s,p), brussel sprouts (s,p later in month), cabbage (s,p), kale (s), celery (s,p), chickory (s,p), endive (s,p), mibuna (s,p), mizuna (s,p), orach (s,p), rocket (s), tat soi (s,p), lettuce (s,p), mustard (s), pak choi (s,p), silverbeet (s,p), chard (s,p), spinach (s), borage (s,p), chives (s,p), garlic chives (s,p), coriander s,p, dill (s,p), parsley (s,p), rhubarb (p), clover (s)

Fruit Days: 6-8, 15-17, 25-27: broad beans (s later in month), peas – snopeas, sugarsnap peas (seed only, and probably still a bit early yet .. later in the month)

Root Days: 1-2, 7-10, 17-20, 27-28: beetroot (s,p), carrots (s), celeriac (s,p), fennel (s,p), kohlrabi (s), leek (s,p), bunching onion (s,p), parsnip (s), radish (s), dailon radish (s), spring onion (s,p), shallot S, turnip (s)

Flower Days: 2-4, 10-13, 20-22: broccoli (s,p), cauliflower (s), nasturtium (s,p), sweet pea (s), love-in-a mist (s), poppies (s),

Moon Opposite Saturn (considered a good date for sowing seeds, applying preps and planting, or 48hrs either side): 16

Node Days (avoid planting if you can): 4,17

Apogee (moon furthest from earth; less lunar influence): 19

Perigee (moon clostest to eath; more lunar influence): 7

New Moon/Full Moon: 10/26

Moon descending:  6-19

Moon ascending: 1-6, 20-28

Apply soil fertilisers, compost, take cuttings, plant seedlings, prune: 7-10 then next best 17-19, 6, 13-15 and other moon descending dates

Apply foliar fertilisers: 2-4, 20-22 then next best 20-22, 22-25, 4-6 and other moon ascending dates

Graft: 20-22, 2-4

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

lunar perigee (on the left) and apogee (right) viewed from the earth

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