Take time out from sowing seeds until after the 22nd

Take time out from sowing seeds until after the 22nd

Take time out from sowing seeds from Tuesday 15th August 2017 until after the dark of the moon on Tuesday 22nd August 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 things instead.

  • prepare garden beds to be warm, nourished and ready for new crops as soon as they are warm enough. Feel the temperature with your hand – if the ground is cold, wait a while. Sometimes putting a plastic sheet or tunnel or cloche over the intended planting site makes enough difference that plants will grow happily in a week or so.
  • read up on seed types to plant for success now Spring is on the way – they all have their favorite times. Choosing ones which enjoy this particular time makes all the difference to successful harvests. In Auckland, this is still very early Spring so choose only ones which grow well early on to plant in open ground. All others still need a protected, warm place.
  • learn more about the optimum conditions to grow GREAT crops of your favorite veg or fruit. Each variety has its likes and dislikes. If we try to grow them outside their likes, we need to care a lot more for them. It’s much easier to set them into conditions they like.
  • Plan your next seed sowing, your garden layout, or crop rotation to minimize pest and diseases.

Another Eclipse

The 22nd August is another interesting day – there is a total solar eclipse of the sun occurring across the USA that day [for more information this site is interesting]. New Zealand won’t see any of it, yet the disturbance of the light/dark cycles of Earth may affect the rest of the globe somehow. I’ll watch with interest.

 

 

A week to grow below-ground crops

A week to grow below-ground crops

Here in Auckland, New Zealand, the outside ground is cold and germination will be slow, if at all, before seed is eaten by beasties. We wait until the soil warms up to sow seed outside. Or get inventive and creative to make warm spots.

If you have a hot-house, tunnel-house, or conservatory then these are good times to sow root crops:

  • Wednesday 9th August through to Friday 11th August 2017, then again on Monday 14th August 2017.

after the full moon on Tuesday 8th August 2017. [Here in New Zealand]

Some root crops can be transplanted, for example we’ve had success doing so with beetroot. Many others bolt straight to seed without forming nice big roots.

With carrots, we have only had success when sown directly into the open ground of warm soil. They will wait a while yet.

 

 

 

 

Celebration, I have just published 100 posts about food gardening in Auckland!

Celebration, I have just published 100 posts about food gardening in Auckland!

When I started posting, I would have had trouble believing I could write 100 posts about anything. Yet, we just passed that milestone and this is post 101 now.

Here’s a short collage of piks from the 3 years of this blog.

From when we first  moved into this house, created food gardens from bare ground, over lawn and in any tiny spot we had available.

 

Even before we had a garden bed, we grew food in bags of bought compost. They grew well.

 

Then we covered over the clay of the front yard [no real lawn at all], removed the dead trees we inherited with the place.

And grew heaps of food on the front yard.

As I wander through the piks, – gee its changed so much! From barren ground to a thriving, flourishing oasis in the city. An abundance for us and to share with others too.

It has also given us an opportunity to share harvests and exchange information with our community as people walk past. We meet so many lovely people of all ages this way.

 

We explored seeds and seed planting using the phases of the moon as a guide and a reminder to plant Something!

I’ll continue to note which sort of seeds to sow at each phase of the moon [or to not sow at all as the moon nears the darkest time]

I enjoy writing about diverse aspects of our gardens.

  • Successes and the not so good.
  • How we save and store our seeds,
  • The predators and pests in our garden,
  • There are many and varied bits of information and reflections on experiments we ran with crops.
  • From tomatoes to salads. Chokos to pumpkins.
  • And recipes as well. A feast for the mind and the body.

I hope you enjoy reading these posts as much as I enjoyed writing them.

So what about the next era of posts?

Who knows what will show up! We can look forward with anticipation of interesting times as the weather warms up and spring arrives here in this wonderful, lush ‘Land of the Long White Cloud’. I wonder what interesting gardening explorations it might bring?

 

May you and your garden flourish!
Heather

 

Sow seeds for fruits and flowers this week

Sow seeds for fruits and flowers this week

In Auckland the ground is cold and there is little we grow in the open now.

If you have a glass house or tunnel house then you have more options. It’s time to sow seeds for fruits and flowers this week – best on

  • Monday pm 31st July and am of Tuesday 1st August 2017
  • then again Friday 4th pm, Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th August 2017 [here in New Zealand]

Before the full moon on Tuesday 8th August 2017. 

This is an interesting time as there is also a partial eclipse of the moon that night [at 6.20 am on 8th August 2017]. As seen from Auckland it will cover only a little part of the full disc of the moon [assuming no cloud cover too].

Eclipses bring interruption to the regular cycles of the sun and moon which we are used to. The light usually shed onto our Earth disappears at odd times. There is a disturbance to natural cycles. Animals react to these changes. Maybe plants do too. It is something to observe and note for ourselves. If you are interested in eclipses, this site is informative.

 

So, what could we plant this week?

Peas, snow peas, snap peas, sweet peas are an option at this time – with LOTS of protection from slugs and snails!

 

For all peas and beans, I start by putting the seeds in a jar of water by the sink [so I remember them]. I leave them soak overnight. Next morning I tip off the water and rinse the seeds until the water is clear. I leave the seeds in their jars, rinsing occasionally until I see them sprout the first tiny roots from the seeds.

Then I plant them out into the open ground. I try to surround them with a plastic protector – multi-purpose as it keeps out slugs and snails as well as protection from cold winds and black-birds.

Maybe a  plastic tunnel over them would warm the ground enough for them to grow.

 

What about beans?

Beans like much warmer weather than peas do. Beans grow and fruit in summer/autumn quite happily [unless it is too hot]. Peas like cooler weather so grow well in spring and autumn [and into winter if the weather is just cool rather than snow and ice].

Early beans under a plastic tunnel? Maybe.  If we have an early spring, maybe it might work – it sure helped give us beans to eat at the end of the main season so we picked beans into winter. Maybe it can warm the ground enough for early spring sowing too?

I think we might put a plastic tunnel over our proposed planting site so the ground warms and dries enough to be OK to plant into. Beans prefer drier ground and will not grow if it is very wet and sodden – they rot instead.

We’ll plant the seeds under the tunnel after they have started to sprout in a jar on the kitchen bench.

Beans growing in winter under a plastic tunnel 20170529
Beans growing in winter under a plastic tunnel 20170529

Can I wait a little longer? Not sure. There is always the option of further sowing later in the season too. Its a wonderful time when we can ‘have a go’ and try for some early crops as well as plant later when success is far more likely.

We look forward to Spring planting!

Sow seeds of leafy greens this week

Sow seeds of leafy greens this week

In our garden in Auckland NZ, the open ground is too cold for much success planting there.

If you have

  • a hot-house,
  • tunnel-house,
  • conservatory or
  • warm, bright window

then this is a time to sow seeds for leafy greens. Best days are Friday 28th July, Saturday 29th and the morning of Sunday 30th July 2017 [here in New Zealand].

After the new moon on 23rd July 2017 – which always gives the possibility of a new beginning.

In Auckland the weather is cold and the ground is cold and wet.  

This is a time I

Grow micro-greens or sprouts instead now.

 

For more about our experiments with sprouts and micro-greens, go here.

 

 

 

Of beans in winter

Of beans in winter

It is winter here now. Mid July in Auckland has turned into a real winter – cold, rain, southerly winds straight off the antarctic ice.

Yet here is the productive bean harvest from yesterday – aren’t plastic tunnels amazing!

20170712_112851

 

I planted beans mid autumn as an experiment – lets see if we can extend our bean season!

I’d heard from Stella that ‘Prince’ dwarf beans were OK to eat and grew better than others in cooler conditions – early in the season and late at the end of the normal bean season.

We gave the bed some compost, rock fertilizer and ‘Fodda’ with wonderful mix of nutrients. Just a little as beans will produce the part we like to eat better with little nitrogen [or they make lots of leaves and few fruits we eat].

They grew – and grew well.

20170529_150600

Then the weather got cooler. Cold winds were forecast so out came a plastic tunnel house to protect them.

Beans growing in winter under a plastic tunnel 20170529
Beans growing in winter under a plastic tunnel 20170529

They kept growing then flowered – and then fruited – and kept fruiting for weeks!

We were very impressed [well, those who like beans were. Those who aren’t beans fans were not very impressed at all].

Eventually they slowed down in bean production. The weather turned even colder and a real winter storm was forecast so I finally cut the stems off at the base [leaving the roots to decompose and add nitrogen and other nutrients to the soil].

I picked the last of the smaller beans for us to eat [shown in the colander].

Beans with big seeds were left on the plants. I put them in a bucket to have time to send the nutrients from the plant into the seeds as they ripened and made hard seed coats. These will be our seeds to plant next season.

 

Overall, we were thrilled to have extended the season way beyond our normal one so will consider doing this again in future.

Maybe you might like to extend seasons of your favorite crops with plastic houses or tunnels or cloches too. It’s well worth a try.

May you and your garden flourish
Heather

Take time out from sowing seeds until after the 28th

Take time out from sowing seeds until after the dark of the moon on Sunday 23rd July 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 things instead.

 

 If your weather is cold, maybe its a time to:

  • Build a new compost bin
  • renovate garden beds
  • read up on this next season and seed types to plant for success – they all have their favorite times. New seed catalogs are out and a real treat to enjoy in winter.
  • learn more about the optimum conditions to grow GREAT crops of your favorite veg or fruit
  • Plan your next seed sowing, your garden layout, or crop rotation to minimize pest and diseases.