Move quickly if you haven’t planted your greens and winter veges to take advantage of the last bit of soil warmth and day length until the winter advance. Garlic, peas, broadies (and plant them again in late winter/early spring) and brassicas can all go in now. It’s also the start for onions (and plant these through winter). Radish, Swedes, turnips and spinach are others that will crop well even in the cold.
Think about some frost protection to extend the season a bit more for your later producing plants and to protect more frost sensitive ones through the cold months. Possibilities include shade cloth, frost cloth, brickwork, rock dust mulches, filled water containers, cloches, etc. See this earlier post for more info on frost and veges. Dry conditions exacerbate the impact of frost.
As the cold (and damp?) arrives, seedlings and plants can be more susceptible to slugs and snails and other bugs. We’ve tried a number of methods at the garden and the copper tape and plant guards tend to be pretty effective (except for the cos lettuce seeds) I’ve planted four times! Coffee grounds are another, but it’s worth reading this research trial, published by Sustainable Gardening Australia, before you go wild with your grounds.
Our garden does seem to have a lot of munching critters but that could also be because we aren’t at our plots everyday, or at least as regularly as you might in your home garden, so we probably miss opportunities to see the first signs and take action. Hopefully our many resident frogs and the increasing numbers of small birds are taking action for us.
The dry conditions – we’ve only had 22mm for April – mean that biodynamic compost (containing the BD compost preps) and applied to the soil will be more critical than BD500 applied alone. BD500 needs moist, cool conditions when applied to work its best. Here’s hoping for some so we can apply another spray before winter, although Brian Keats says wetter times are now behind us. Keep your spent crops in the soil as long as possible so you can use them as a source of green for composting – green materials will be hard to come by for autumn composts, but fallen leaves and herb prunings are excellent contributors to the pile.
Fartichokes (Jerusalem artichokes) should also be ready for harvesting this month. Pity they can’t become compost fodder too, though we should probably be looking at them as a likely source of biogas, to power local households …
See you on 17th for the compost build and enjoy the May garden.
Gardening Dates for temperate areas of SE Australia:
Leaf Days: 5-7, 14-16, 22-25: bok choi, cabbage, kale, coriander, endive, mibuna, mizuna, orach, rocket, tat soi, lettuce, mustard, silverbeet, chard, spinach, chives, garlic chives, dill, parsley
Fruit Days: 6-10, 16-18, 25-27: broad beans, mustard, peas
Root Days: 1-3, 10-12, 18-20, 27-30: beetroot, carrots, celeriac, garlic, garlic chives, bunching onion, kohlrabi, leek, onion, parsnip, radish, daikon radish, swede, turnip
Flower Days: 3-5, 12-14, 20-22, 30-31: broccoli, borage, cauliflower,
Moon Opposite Saturn (considered a good date for sowing seeds, applying preps and planting, or 48hrs either side): 13
Node Days (avoid planting if you can): 15, 29
Apogee (moon furthest from earth; less lunar influence):27
Perigee (moon clostest to eath; more lunar influence): 15
New Moon/Full Moon: 18/4
Moon descending: 7-20
Moon ascending: 1-7, 20-31
Apply soil fertilisers, compost: 7-18
Prune, take cuttings, plant seedlings: 10-12, 14-16, 18-20
Apply foliar fertilisers: 1-4, 20-31
Graft: 3-4, 20-22, 30-31
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.