August 2016

After a good (or at least average) winter, the soil should be holding some moisture, so it’ll be easy weeding and also perfect conditions for a BD500 spray this month (probably the last one you’ll get in before the warm weather). It’s also the time to get ready for the heat, believe it or not. Check your irrigation systems and shade/netting structures will be up to it and operable when the time comes (always sooner than you are ready for) as you don’t want to be fixing leaks or without water when plants are thirsting badly.

This month the codling moth traps will go out and sticky bands around the apple, pear and quince trees, hopefully. It’s still very cold at soil level, so seeds will take some time germinating, and need protection from slugs, snails and the rest, but time enough to get late-moment green manures in – cool season cereals and legumes. Get your spuds ready for planting. Think about starting seeds off under protection; windowsill, cloche or glasshouse (look ahead to September for a guide).

Or at least get your seed collection out and see what you need to order or buy. I sort and store my seeds according to the lunar planting calendar and their type – root, fruit, flower, leaf. As well as their growing seasons – warm (spring/summer) and cool (autumn/winter). There will be some overlap, but it’s a good rule of thumb and makes sowing straightforward. I also store them in a tin, away from light and insects. To keep them dry and stable, I throw in packets of dessicant – the little packets you get in vitamin bottles or cartons of miso paste. A scattering of diatomaceous earth can help with insect control as well.

Some good catalogues with organic seed can be found on-line: have a look at the links on our home page. You may be lucky enough to have a local seedsavers network. As more agribusiness multinationals patent, breed and hybridise our food supply, the home garden becomes a vital local seed bank for diversity and security.

I’m always late with my seed sowing. I wish had started earlier and more successively to ensure ongoing eating. This winter was a case in point. The beets kept going, with rationing, but it’s been mainly picking leafy greens and wishing they’d re-leaf more quickly … Reminder to self: sow more seeds in late summer!

Feeding is also on the agenda. In central Victoria Spring/Springs arrive (and exit) with a rush, so you want your plants to be able to make the most of the quick growth spurt. Compost, foliar sprays of dilute worm juice and/or fish/seaweed solution will all contribute to healthy growth.

And maybe we’ll also get around to making compost this month …

Don’t forget the Produce Exchange on the 6th August and our next Working Bee session on Sunday 28th.

Gardening Dates for temperate areas of SE Australia:

Leaf Days: 1-4, 11-14, 20-22, 29-31:  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: 4-6, 14-16, 22-25, 31broad beans, mustard, peas,

Root Days: 6-9, 16-18, 25-27: Beetroot, carrots, celeriac, kohlrabi, garlic, garlic chives, leek, bunching onion, onion, potatoes, radish, daikon, swede, turnip,

Flower Days: 1-2, 9-11, 18-20, 27-29: 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): 5, 20

Apogee (moon furthest from earth; less lunar influence): 10

Perigee (moon clostest to eath; more lunar influence): 22

New Moon/Full Moon: 3/18

Moon descending: 15-27

Moon ascending: 1-15, 27-31

Apply soil fertilisers, compost: 19-27

Prune, apply tree paste, take cuttings, plant seedlings: 25-27 then 20-22

Apply foliar fertilisers: 3-15, 27-31

Graft: 9-11 then 27-29, 1-4,

For more information on the astro planting dates (and where to get your own calendar) see the Gardening Notes page.

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.