April means the autumn break (hopefully) with seeds and seedlings springing out of the ground, BD500 spraying and garden bed feeding. Fingers crossed for moisture this month. Brian Keats warns of severe weather around 3-4th and 15-17th, but whether this means rain …? He is predicting a La Nina (and has been pretty spot on with his forecasting in 2015) though.
Make the most of the warm days and not so cool nights and get your winter veges in, especially the leafy greens which will feed you right through winter if planted now and into May. It’s also a great time for planting herbs and perennials, shrubs and trees (inc natives), and for striking cuttings of herbs and many other edible plants. And plant your garlic now if you haven’t already. Remove soil mulches, especially straw ones as you want the germination benefit of warm soil (mulches can also intensify frosts and attract slugs and snails and slaters over the cool months).
We’ve not had a frost yet, but soon the zukes, pumpkins and other summer veges will be on their last legs, beset by powdery mildew, slowly dying off as the days shorten and nights cool. Compost the residues or even finely chop/mulch and dig back the residues straight into the soil. Be sure to put any plant residues you suspect have disease problems into (hot) compost. A handful of lime will help the breakdown and ‘sweeten’ the soil. Add compost or organic soil conditioner/fertiliser, rock dust, dig it all through and you’ll be ready to plant the next crop.
Make sure you rotate your plantings and follow with different crop types and families, eg. fruit (tomatoes – solonacae) followed by root (carrot – umbelliferae, not spuds as they are solonacae too) followed by flower (broccoli – brassicae), etc. And make sure at least one rotation is a green manure crop that you dig back into the ground without eating. If you have a small garden and can’t manage to set aside some for a green manure it’s important to ensure you constantly feed your soil – add compost everytime you plant and regularly during the season, incorporate mulches after they have broken down, use worm castings and juice. Feed your soil and the plants will reward you.
On that note, it’s a good time to apply BD fish emulsion – see here for notes on how to apply ours – or buy your own through Ernst and Rosie – and also a spray of BD500. Of course you will also be incorporating the BD compost preps in your heaps, large or small and applying that compost to all those hard working fruit trees and perennials, as well as your annual beds.
Gardening Dates for temperate areas of SE Australia:
Leaf Days:2-3, 8-10, 16-18, 24-28: amaranth, bok choi, brussel sprouts, cabbage, choi sum, chinese greens, kale, celery, coriander, endive, mibuna, mizuna, orach, rocket, tat soi, lettuce, mustard, silverbeet, chard, spinach, chives, garlic chives, coriander, dill, parsley
Fruit Days: 1-3, 10-12, 17-22, 28-30: broad beans, mustard, peas, snopeas, peas
Root Days:3-5, 12-14, 21-23, 30 : beetroot, carrots, celeriac, fennel, garlic, garlic chives, bunching onion, kohlrabi, leek, parsnip, radish, daikon radish, swede, turnip
Flower Days: 5-8, 14-16, 23-25: broccoli, borage, cauliflower, all flowers (poppies, lupins, calendula, etc)
Moon Opposite Saturn (considered a good date for sowing seeds, applying preps and planting, or 48hrs either side): 15
Node Days (avoid planting if you can): 4, 17
Apogee (moon furthest from earth; less lunar influence): 1, 29
Perigee (moon clostest to eath; more lunar influence): 17
New Moon/Full Moon: 19/4 (and lunar eclipse at 10.05pm)
Moon descending: 10-23
Moon ascending: 1-10, 23-30
Apply soil fertilisers, compost: 10-19
Prune, take cuttings, plant seedlings: 12-14, 21-23 then next best 16-18
Apply foliar fertilisers: 1-4, 23-30
Graft: 5-8, 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.