Take a rest from sowing seeds until after 18th

Take a rest from sowing seeds until after 18th

Take time out from sowing seeds from Thursday 7th until after the dark of the moon on Monday 18th December 2017. As the moon nears its smallest visible ‘dark of the moon’ phase, this time is associated with spindly, weak growth – wait a week or so.

 

This is not a time to sow/plant – and, it is the ‘busy holiday season’.

 

It’s great we can focus on the holiday events, and keep garden maintenance just ticking over for a bit.

The garden can still get out of hand when warm weather gets plants growing fast.  Keep it simple now and know you can catch up later.

A garden can be a great place to spend a few moments to reduce the frenetic holiday-season state which is around so much at this time. Have you noticed?

Take a few minutes to sit and enjoy the garden – really sit and savor it.

Life is about more than ‘getting stuff done’ and at this time of year it’s easy to forget that as we see so many things to do [and urgently as the weeds take over our prized beds]. And there is a tug to be part of all the events happening at this time. Your well-being is supported by your garden if you can take a few moments and be revitalized and ready for the rest of your day.

And know that prioritizing your well-being over dealing with holiday season happenings and weeds is how you can enjoy all.

alternative ways to have great thoughts and solutions

Best wishes for the holiday season, and I hope you can enjoy your garden with whatever it offers now!
Heather

 

PS:

For more about planting by the  moon phases,

If you like experiments about when to plant for best results, a great one is to plant the same seeds in rows right beside each other [so all other conditions are identical], and label the rows with the date of planting. Then sow seeds from 1 packet at weekly intervals, each week in a new row.

This way you can see how the recommendations for best/worst seed sowing outcomes from moon-planting guides work for you. Maybe they do, and maybe they don’t.

I enjoy experimenting with such ideas – and if only I can rescue the rows from the snails and black-birds, I might even get some results to share!

Here’s a post I wrote about planting by the moon phases if you like more information and reflections on it.

Moon planting guides remind me to plant SOMETHING, plan a little, and help me have a continuous supply!

 

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It’s time to plant for strong root growth

It’s time to plant for strong root growth

Here in New Zealand, it’s good to sow seeds for strong root growth next week [after the full moon on Monday 4th December 2017].

  • Especially good on Tuesday 5th and Wednesday 6th December 2017.

 

If you can squeeze in a little planting time amidst the busy December time, the ground is warm, we’ve had a strange assortment of rain – very localized – here in Auckland, maybe if your ground is moist, sow some more root crops?

They’ll need watering to germinate and grow so if that’s a challenge in the December busy-ness, wait for another time. We do not sow carrots now for that reason. The larger seeds of beets and daikon radish can be sown deeper in the soil so are less prone to drying out – much more likely to be successful.

 

 

I might sow some

  • daikon radish – larger seeds can be sown deeper so will stay more moist than smaller seeds nearer the surface and drying out [like carrots]. The white root is great to eat. 20160927_172201

 

  • beetroot – ‘seed’ is a largish cluster of seeds so can also be planted deeper.  ‘Bulls blood’ or ‘Detroit red’ are some tried and true heritage varieties we use.

 

  • Ginger! We can even grow small ones here in Auckland. Joy! First time we have actually got a harvest – it might be small but it broke from the rest of the root and it gives hope we can grow even bigger ones.

    Ginger from our garden 20170417
    Ginger from our garden 2017 04 17

 

PS Seeds and plants like ‘real’ water – preferably rain. Otherwise the next best is tank water of stored rain. Then maybe bore water, last treated water from a mains supply.

One older gardener we knew would place all sorts of containers outside to catch the rain to water her seedlings. She used all sorts from teapots on! She also grew great veg!

Time to sow seeds for fruits and flowers

Time to sow seeds for fruits and flowers

Down-under this week we can sow seeds for optimum growth of fruits and flowers,

  • especially Tuesday 28th November 2017
  • then again from Friday 1st December to the morning of Sunday 3rd  [here in New Zealand].

Before the full moon on Monday 4th December 2107.

 

The ground is warm! hooray! It’s dried out heaps so keep checking soil is moist and water as required.

Still time to plant more

  • tomatoes – hopefully the ground is warm enough for them to grow well outside where you are.

    cherry tomatoes harvest!
    cherry tomatoes harvest
  • pumpkins/squashes/zucchini [courgettes] – if you have lots of space, compost and warmth

    12898258_900147743416881_1502145590120298891_o
    pumpkin/squash harvest
  • legumes – such as beans Beans 20170111
  • Flowers – check requirements – there are so many options – find which ones you like which are good to sow now.

    20161220_172118
    Vanilla passion-fruit – delicious

 

This week the moon is growing towards full and the days listed are when many aspects line up to give optimum good germination for strong seedlings if the outside climate is provided for their needs.

May the weather support growing great plants! 
Cheers
Heather

 

Sow seeds of leafy greens next week

Sow seeds of leafy greens next week

 

Sow seeds for luscious leafy greens next week – Wednesday 22nd November 2017 and Thursday 23rd [here in New Zealand].

We are moving into warmer times as summer arrives. Leafy greens are best in semi-shade now as they bolt to seed in strong sun. And they need constant moisture to stay tender so keep a watch on soil moisture around them [I poke a finger into the soil and feel if its moist or not].

It’s good to sow new batches often so there are more growing leaves when previous crops are making flowers and seeds instead.

I will sow seeds throughout the week of

  • Lettuce – I’ll sow a number of varieties so hopefully some will do well no matter what the weather does this year – hot/dry/cold/wet.
  • Silver-beet [including rainbow chard/ bright light beets – the ones with vibrant colored stems – so stunning to see in a garden]
  • Rocket [Arugula] 
  • Asian greens – maybe mizuna.
  • New Zealand Spinach ours is self-seeding so I’ll look see if there are little, new ones growing. It’s OK cooked [needs 2 changes of boiling water to draw out and minimize the oxalic acid content – in the same way that adult forms of true spinach and silver-beet also need]
  • Hot-climate ‘greens’ including:
    Magenta Spreen [Chenopodium giganteum] – see Wikipedia for more info 
    Amaranth [we like Mekong Red =  Amaranthus tricolor] – see Wikipedia for more info 
    Orach [Atriplex hortensis] – see Wikipedia for more info
    All grow more strongly in warmer weather than do lettuce or silver-beet. Most also grow far taller than lettuce. Do some research. Have a go with something different too.

 

Summer is a challenging time to have traditional leafy greens grow well – they much prefer cooler weather.

Grow hot-climate greens instead now.

 

When the weather warms up lettuce etc bolt to seed fast and produce fewer leaves which easily go bitter. When stressed, they stop making leaves and make flowers and seeds instead.

To encourage leafy greens to grow leaves instead of bolting to seed,

  • keep them well-watered 
  • Keep the soil moist and the leaves dry – a challenge for us! When the leaves stay wet they can go slimy or grow rust – not nice.
  • If you water from above, check the sun won’t shine onto the leaves while wet as the droplets focus the sun’s rays and can burn tender leaves.
  • give the plants filtered shade from hot sun – either by taller plants or by shade cloth coverings.
  • Check them daily [especially lettuce with its small, shallow root system]
  • pick individual leaves for salads and cooked greens
  • sow/plant a new batch each week for a continuous supply so we have some growing well even when previous lots are going to seed.

This is a time when I grow excess plants as some will be growing leaves when others are bolting – its all just the cycle of the plant’s life and I work with it as much as possible.

We usually manage to have greens available each day – often heaps! So nice.

Best wishes and enjoy the warm weather in your garden!
Heather

 

 

 

Take a rest from sowing seeds until after 18th

Take a rest from sowing seeds until after 18th

Take time out from sowing seeds from Friday 10th until after the dark of the moon on Saturday 18th November 2017. As the moon nears its smallest visible ‘dark of the moon’ phase, this time is associated with spindly, weak growth – wait a week or so.

Do other stuff instead.

  • Prepare garden beds
  • Check up on compost making – is there any to use [and where?] or is it time to get a new one going?
  • How about a worm farm? If you have one, how is it going? Can you get some ‘worm juice’ and spread it around to give a boost to the seedlings and plants growing in the garden now?
  • Wander round your garden and see where there is space for more plantings. What do you like eating which would go there? Is it sunny in mid-summer – so not lettuces! [Maybe tomatoes? Cucumbers? Chilies? Pumpkins?]
  • Where are weeds over-taking seedlings and its time to give new seedlings space?
  • What pests are around? Flying insects? Snails? Slugs? Caterpillars? The neighbors bunny? What could you do now, while their numbers are low, to minimize their effects on your plants?

 

  • What beneficial insects are around now? Honey bees, bumble bees, predators removing pests from your crops? And many others. How could they be encouraged to come and help your garden more?

 

  • Take a few minutes to sit and enjoy the garden – really sit and savor it.

Life is about more than ‘getting a list of jobs done’ and at this time of year it’s easy to forget that as we see so many things to do [and urgently as the weeds take over our prized beds]. But savoring your garden ‘as is’ can give unexpected bonuses. What is there for you?

For more about planting by the  moon phases,

If you like experiments about when to plant for best results, a great one is to plant the same seeds in rows right beside each other [so all other conditions are identical], and label the rows with the date of planting. Then sow seeds from 1 packet at weekly intervals, each week in a new row.

This way you can see how the recommendations for best/worst seed sowing outcomes from moon-planting guides work for you. Maybe they do, and maybe they don’t.

I enjoy experimenting with such ideas – and if only I can rescue the rows from the snails and black-birds, I might even get some results to share!

Here’s a post I wrote about planting by the moon phases if you like more information and reflections on it.

Moon planting guides remind me to plant SOMETHING, plan a little, and help me have a continuous supply!

Enjoy your garden and whatever it offers now!

It’s time to plant for strong root growth

It’s time to plant for strong root growth

Here in New Zealand, it’s good to sow seeds for strong root growth next week [which is after the full moon on Saturday 4th November 2017].

  • Especially good on Sunday 5th November 2017, then again on Wednesday 8th and Thursday 9th too.

 

The ground is warm, we’ve had good rains here in Auckland, maybe sow some root crops?

 

I might sow some more

  • daikon radish – larger seeds can be sown deeper so will stay more moist than smaller seeds nearer the surface and drying out [like carrots]. The white root is great to eat. Some people use the top green leaves too.20160927_172201
  • beetroot – ‘seed’ is a largish cluster of seeds so can also be planted deeper.  ‘Bulls blood’ or ‘Detroit red’ are some tried and true heritage varieties we use.
  • carrots

It’s a delight when we do grow carrots. The tiny seeds need to be planted close to the surface and kept moist.  Hot sun dries them out quickly – and they die fast.

One strategy I’ve heard when sowing carrots in hotter weather was to take 2 weeks off work, put a deck chair and sun umbrella by the carrot patch, take the hose and a drink, and sit there gently spraying the carrot patch often until they sprout and grow big enough to fend for themselves.

carrot-growing in hot times

Urban myth?

Or cover the seed with a plank of wood or hessian bags or similar. Check often and remove cover when they sprout. We find seed beds need covering with bird netting as blackbirds create chaos digging for worms, or the local cats think its a spot for them.

It’s best to sow carrot seeds directly in the ground as they dislike root disturbance being transplanted [they are very likely to bolt straight to seed and make no root for us to eat].

Why do carrots so often make odd-shaped roots?  When the ground is

  • hard,
  • clay,
  • rocky,
  • too rich with compost/manures/fertilizer.

The delicate seedlings are programmed to send roots downwards. As they grow down, when tiny roots contact hard spots [like rocks], they go round and grow more options [= forked roots]. They also avoid anything too rich in nutrients for the rootlets to process.

 

PS Seeds like ‘real’ water – preferably rain. Otherwise the nearest is tank water of stored rain. Then maybe bore water, last treated water from a mains supply.

One older gardener we knew would place all sorts of containers outside to catch the rain to water her seedlings. She used all sorts from teapots on – she also grew great veg!

Cherry blossom time again!

Cherry blossom time again!

Aren’t they lovely – I understand why in Japan cherry-blossom time sends people into the public gardens with cherry-blossom walks. Beautiful.

They tell me spring is well and truly here and summer will return.

 

And to take a few moments to enjoy the fragile blossoms as I go about the garden.

 

There’s more to gardening and life than one task after another – look up and enjoy nature’s wonderful creations too.

 

20171020_161651.jpg

Are there blossoms on trees in your area for you to enjoy too? There are some as street trees here – gorgeous for a little while.