What a Spring! The community garden is leafy and lush, with enough silverbeet to feed a small island nation, the new strawberry runners starting to fruit and the peach trees showing every sign of another good crop, fingers crossed.
It has been a cool spring up until now, so new seedlings have been slow to grow away from the slugs, snails, slaters and bugs, but in the community garden this week it looks like the plants are starting to gain ascendancy. We still have a latent slater problem so perhaps a biodynamic pepper may be the answer. Perhaps that’s why the asparagus is not as prolific as it should be by now – a lot can happen underground over the cooler months.
Apart from weeding, time to plant summer veges, and it’s not too late if you haven’t started seed yet – the rule of thumb (folklore) in gardening for warm season crops is that if you can’t put your bare buttocks on the soil, it’s not warm enough (though I’ve not tried it yet!) These seeds need at least 20 degrees C to germinate. Many factors influence soil temperature and the insulating properties of soil – see the post on frosts. In Newstead the best bet is to grow summer crops as seed and transplant plant when the soil is truly warm enough for the seedlings to thrive. Otherwise late frosts and cold soil will stunt or even kill your darlings, and also allow the bugs free reign.
Put up supports before or as you plant climbing beans, tomatoes, etc. Add compost at planting as well and water in with diluted seaweed and/or worm juice to minimise the shock of planting. Water well for the first days. Mulching is a task this month. Even though we’ve had rain, the seasonal change is usually abrupt in our part of the world, so be prepared for watering.
Brian Keats is warning this month will feature some unsetlled weather around the solar eclipse on the 3rd. Also Jupiter’s movements around the 9th could result in some unusual weather. He says hail could be around as the moon crosses the equator on 13th and 27th.
Here are the dates for gardening this month. Enjoy the longer evenings in the garden, communing with your veges and flowers. Note that (s) means sow as seeds and (p) means plant as seedlings. Beware that frosts can still occur in Newstead through November and it may be worth waiting till later in the month to plant out frost tender summer seedlings!
Guide for temperate areas in SE Australia for November 2013:
Leaf Days: 4-6, 13-15, 22-25 – amaranth (s,p) basil (s,p), bok choi (s,p), chinese cabbage (s,p), chives (s,p) dill (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: 5-9, 15-18, 25-27 – bush and climbing beans (s,p) capsicum (s,p) peas (s,p), strawberries (p), amaranth (s,p) chilli (s,p), corn (s,p), cucumber (s,p), eggplant (s,p), okra (s,p), pumpkin (s,p), rockmelon (s,p), snopeas (s,p), squash (s,p), strawberries (p), tomatoes (s,p), watermelon (s,p), zucchini (s,p)
Root Days: 1-2, 9-11, 18-20, 27-30 – asparagus (s,p), jerusalem artichoke (p), beetroot( s,p), carrots (s,p), celeriac (p), fennel (p), kohlrabi (p), leek (p), spring onion (s,p) salad onion (s,p), bunching onions (s,p) potatoes (s,p), parsnip (s), shallots (s,p), radish (s,p), turnip (s,p)
Flower Days: 2-4, 10-13, 20-22, 30 -broccoli (s,p), cauliflower (s,p), borage (s,p), globe artichoke (s,p), sunflower (s,p) marigold (s,p), nasturtium (s,p), other flowers
Other Auspicious Gardening Dates:
Moon opposite Saturn: 17 (a good time to plant, transplant, etc)
Moon Descending: 6-20
Moon Ascending: 1-6, 20-30
Full Moon/New Moon: 18/3 (solar eclipse)
Apply soil food: 6-20
Apply foliar food: 1-6, 20-30
Mulch: anytime, but watch for frosts (thick straw mulch will intensify them) and remember the slugs!
Transplant seedlings, plants, cuttings: 9-11, 18-20
Graft: 2-4, 20-22, 30
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