January 2018

Here’s cheers to a new year of gardening.

The early mornings and evenings of summer are the best times to garden now. You will have mulched well around plants and established a regular, consistent watering regime, so now’s the time to sit back with a book in the shade, right?

Well, if you want to eat from the garden right through late summer, autumn and winter, you will still need to do some planting and sowing. Late summer is good for putting in seeds for winter eating – parsnips, carrots, leeks, caulis, cabbages, brussels, so start sowing these seeds towards the end of the month. Keep planting herbs and leafy saladstuff in January if you have a sheltered spot in the garden and water to keep them going through autumn. A temporary shadecloth shelter (or other protection) will help protect more sensitive plants on days of high UV and/or high winds. Planting under taller crops like corn or sunflower can also help.

Now’s the time when you realise the value of having a garden with a range of microclimates – shady spots, full sun spots, leeward spots, etc. and you can plan to plant or build to enhance or create more of them come the cooler months.

Remember to keep an eye on the plants you have selected to save seed from – rule of thumb is your ‘best’ (perhaps earliest? most pest tolerant? largest? most mouth-watering? longest cropping? hardiest? latest yielding?) plants for your situation and location. ‘Tis always tempting to pick the best straight for the plate, but try to look to the longer term benefits. Remember that crops for seed will need to be fully ripened before harvesting (longer than for eating) and often need further maturing or treatment. More info on seed saving can be found in this earlier post and a very useful reference on all things seed saving is Michel and Jude Fanton’s Seed Savers Guide. Don’t be put off by the idea of saving seed – it’s easy once you get a feel for it and know your crops. The key thing is knowing which will breed “true to type” and which will “cross” (resulting in who knows how edible) and thus what other plant families are growing in the garden that might “cross” with your selects.

Thanks to Brian Keats for his ongoing work to produce the astro-calendar. His weather predictions are also proving pretty spot on (and he’s suggesting a ‘dynamic’ month, with some Weather in the first week of the year, with a supermoon and lunar peak north) . Brian’s calendar is far more comprehensive than these notes which are gleaned from it. You can purchase your own copy directly from Brian at http://astro-calendar.com/ or through Biodynamics Australia – Victoria. Please support Brian’s work.

Happy gardening for 2018, may it be a source of peace, health and inspiration.

January 2018 Gardening Dates for temperate areas of SE Australia:

Here are the dates for gardening this month. Note that (s) means sow as seeds and (p) means plant as seedlings. For more info on these planting notes and dates, refer to the gardening notes home page.

Leaf Days: 3-5, 12-14, 22-24, 30-31 – amaranth (s,p) basil (s,p), bok choi (s,p), brussel sprouts (s), chinese cabbage, cabbage (s) (s,p), chives (s,p) dill (s,p), celery (s,p), endive (s,p), kale (s), 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: 5-7, 14-17, 24-26 – amaranth (s,p), bush and climbing beans (s,p)  capsicum (p), strawberries (p), chilli (p), corn (p), cucumber (p), eggplant (p), okra (p), mustard (s), pumpkin (p), rockmelon (p), snopeas (s,p),  squash (p), tomatoes (p), watermelon (p), zucchini (p)

Root Days: 1, 7-9, 17-19, 26-28 – 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: 1-3, 9-12, 19-22, 28-30 -broccoli (s), cauliflower (s), 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: 1, 29 (a good time to plant, transplant, etc)

Moon Descending: 1, 16-30

Moon Ascending: 2-16, 31

Full Moon/New Moon: 2, 31 (and an eclipse at 23.26)/17

Nodes*:  4, 19

Perigee***: 2 (a supermoon, closest to the earth for the year), 30

Apogee***: 15

Apply soil food:  16 best, then other moon descending dates

Apply foliar food: 31 best then other moon ascending dates

Mulch: now and through summer, but remember the slaters and slugs!

Transplant seedlings, plants, cuttings: 16 best, then 1, 17-19, 26-28

Graft: 2-3, 9-12

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