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!

Of potatoes and sowing seeds of below-ground crops

Of potatoes and sowing seeds of below-ground crops

It’s too cold yet for us to sow seeds outside here in Auckland, NZ. But we can turn our attention to:

Potatoes!

This is a good time to place seed potatoes somewhere warm and with a little light to sprout [‘chit’] – just as spuds for eating do in the cupboard when we forget them!

An egg carton makes a good base and support for them.

After some weeks each potato tuber sprouts from ‘eyes’ on the surface and grows new roots and shoots. Plant them when they grow short shoots.

Some light is important for growing sturdy, strong shoots. In darkness, shoots get longer, thinner and fragile – not so good for planting to get a great crop.

In a few weeks we’ll plant them out into open ground – under a lovely heap of soil to keep them protected from frosts. They will continue to grow slowly and poke their shoots above the surface in another month or so. By that time Spring will hopefully be coming and frosts rare.

Some people cut each seed potato into pieces – each with an ‘eye’ sprouting new shoots. I like smaller seed spuds and don’t cut them up as I’m not so sure about fungus invasion into cut surfaces which would make them go moldy rather than grow well.

Our spuds get planted into a garden bed that has been enriched with compost, rock-dust and whatever else we have for them.

We place them in depressions made in a big mound. Or in trenches in a warmer area and cover them well with soil. Over time we add mulch to cover the stems up to the top leaves.

Our potato bed
Our potato bed early in the growing season

 

Potato tubers grow from the stems – above the seed tubers we plant. So feeding them well and covering lots of stem encourages the plants to make lots of stems, leaves, flowers and new tubers.

A-n-d, tie back the tops when they grow way too big and fall over the paths.

Potatoes - 'Heather' - 2 months old
2 months on – growing well and lovely flowers

 

[This variety is called ‘Heather‘ – so I couldn’t resist trying it – not knowing if it would grow well here. It did, and had lovely purple flowers as a bonus. Most potatoes I’ve grown had white flowers so these were a surprise treat.]

We only plant seed potatoes from reputable sources so we keep our garden beds free from diverse diseases which spuds can carry. Supermarket spuds are not a good source of seed potatoes if they bring in diseases into our garden beds.

We now plant potatoes to crop before the psyllid bugs are out in force when the weather warms up. For more about this new pest, Horticulture NZ shared this psyllid bug poster. Koanga Institute shared their thoughts about organic controls here.

We find it simplest to plant early before the psyllids are active. The early variety ‘Rocket’ works for us – good cropper of nice tasting early spuds – just ideal so we plant them most years.

For more on spuds, Lynda Hallinan experimented with a range of Kiwi spud varieties and shared her results here. There are lots of options!

 

Kumera or Sweet potatoes 

[Not in the same family as potatoes, but often called ‘sweet potatoes’ because they grow a tuber underground like potatoes, and they can be very sweet.]

Now is a great time to sprout some ready to plant out into a warm, rich garden bed – when tomatoes are planted out is a good time for kumera too.

For more about how we grew a great crop,  here is a post I wrote.

 

Recommended best days for planting seeds to grow great root crops 

if you have a hot-house, tunnel-house or conservatory

  • Monday 10th July 2017
  • Thursday 13th – morning of Saturday 15th 2017

Often planting charts talk generally of sowing these seeds during the week after the full moon on Sunday 9th July 2017, as it appears to get smaller.

 

Take a rest from sowing seeds this week

Take a rest from sowing seeds this week

 

This is a time to wander around and really LOOK at:

  • what is doing well,
  • what isn’t,
  • what is ready for harvesting,
  • where you will soon have space for new plantings,
  • where you would like more screening from un-wanted sights,
  • where your lovely views are being covered by previous plantings,
  • where the cold/hot winds usually come from so you can screen, diffuse and moderate them

 

Do other garden stuff instead of sowing seeds this week. Eg, renovate your garden beds ready for Spring planting.

From Sunday 18th June until after the dark of the moon on Saturday 24th June 2017.

 

Add into the mix – the solstice, which, in the southern hemisphere, is on Wednesday 21st June 2017. Then days will lengthen again hooray! How might this affect our crops?

 

As the moon nears its smallest visible ‘dark of the moon’ phase, it is best to take a week off from planting or sowing seeds at this time as it is associated with spindly, weak growth.

For more information about moon planting, this post may help, or Organic Lesson gives a different, reasonably clear over-view. I like exploring such ideas for myself rather than just trusting and believing.

If you like experiments about when to plant for best results, check out the idea from a past month to 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.

 

At the minimum, these 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!

Down-under sow seeds for fruits and flowers this week

Down-under sow seeds for fruits and flowers this week

It’s time to sow seeds for fruits and flowers this week until the full moon on Friday 9th June 2017.

Especially good days include Saturday arvo 4th June through to Thursday 8th morning [here in New Zealand]

In the northern hemisphere, this is a great time to sow heaps for summer crops.

Here in New Zealand, the weather is cool/cold. Less day-light as we approach the shortest day means the ground is also cool. This is a time to plan more and sow less until the ground warms up. Or sow under shelter, such as a hot-house or tunnel-house.

We may still plant a crop of green manure into vacant garden beds. It can grow until the plants start to flower then we will chop them off and either dig them into the soil or, more likely, cover the lot with mulch and leave the worms to turn it all into lovely new rich soil for spring planting.

 

This week the moon is growing towards full and from Saturday through to Thursday are when many aspects line up to give optimum good germination for strong seedlings. Worth a try I think.

Take a rest from sowing seeds this week

Take a rest from sowing seeds this week

Do other garden stuff instead. Eg, renovate your garden beds ready for a green-manure crop or for re-planting.

From 19th May until after the dark of the moon on Friday 26th May 2017.

 

This is also a great time to enjoy the garden, and see it from a broader perspective than just working in it – one thing after another. What does yours offer you? What gifts – large or small – has it for you now:

  • Scent of flowers?
  • Beauty of flowers to gladden and lift the heart [a wonderful balance to the ‘heady’ world many of us live in]?
  • Something to harvest – a great bounty or a few dandelion leaves [small new ones, un-sprayed, can do great things for our livers and digestion]?
  • Butterflies to remind us of the importance of joy in our lives as they flit here, there and somewhere else for no apparent reason? Are any still around?
  • Birds which are great friends in the garden [clearing up pests on our plants] and how can you encourage the helpful ones [and discourage the nuisance ones]?
  • Worms! growing rich soil to grow great plants?
  • A seat to sit on and reflect
  • Views to enjoy
  • Space
  • Energy and vibrancy of growing things

 

Here are a few areas we turn our attention to:

  • Remove annuals which are past being useful [read – scrawny silver-beet, lettuces, other greens heading to seed and not needed as future seed stock] to prepare a bed for planting come spring.
  • Plan to create optimum conditions to grow GREAT crops of your favorite veg or fruit. Check their needs – do they want very rich soil or less nutrients?
  • Plan your next seed sowing, your garden layout, or crop rotation to minimize pest and diseases.

 

Harvest the fruits of your efforts from past months – this is a time to enjoy results. Store mature pumpkins, squash, Tromboncino squash [ like zucchini but tastier], chokos, lettuce, endive, chilies, broccoli, kale [which is pretty well perennial here now and self-seeds well], silver-beet, bright-lights beets, beetroot, daikon radish.

 

As the moon nears its smallest visible ‘dark of the moon’ phase, it is best to take a week off from planting or sowing seeds at this time as it is associated with spindly, weak growth.

For more information about moon planting, Organic Lesson gives a reasonably clear over-view. I like exploring such ideas for myself rather than just trusting and believing.

If you like experiments about when to plant for best results, check out the idea from a past month to 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.

At the minimum, these 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!

Down-under sow seeds for fruits and flowers this week

Down-under sow seeds for fruits and flowers this week

It’s time to sow seeds for fruits and flowers this week until the full moon on 11th May 2017.

Especially good days include Sunday 7th to Wednesday 10th [here in New Zealand]

In the northern hemisphere, this is a great time to sow heaps for summer crops.

Here in New Zealand, the weather is getting cooler and with less day-light so the ground is also cooling down. We may still plant a crop of green manure into vacant garden beds. It can grow until the plants start to flower then we will chop them off and either dig them into the soil or, more likely, cover the lot with mulch and leave the worms to turn it all into lovely new rich soil for spring planting.

 

This week the moon is growing towards full and from Sunday through to Wednesday are when many aspects line up to give optimum good germination for strong seedlings. Worth a try I think.

 

Take a rest from sowing seeds this week

Take a rest from sowing seeds this week

Do other garden stuff instead. Eg, renovate your garden beds ready for a green-manure crop or for re-planting.

From 19th April until after the dark of the moon on Wednesday 26th April 2017.

Here are a few areas we turn our attention to20141225_171548:

  • Weather is getting cooler here in New Zealand, so check soil temperature when sowing seeds. Simplest way is to poke a finger into the soil – is is warm still or not? Some areas of the garden will get sun and be warm. Some areas in shade will be cooling down too much to grow seedlings well.
  • Remove annuals which are past being useful [read – scrawny silver-beet, lettuces, other greens heading to seed and not needed as future seed stock] to prepare a bed for planting maybe broccoli? Cabbage? Kale? Cauliflower? Brussels sprouts?
  • Plan to create optimum conditions to grow GREAT crops of your favorite veg or fruit. Check their needs – do they want very rich soil or less nutrients?
  • Plan your next seed sowing, your garden layout, or crop rotation to minimize pest and diseases.

 

Harvest the fruits of your efforts from past months – this is a time to enjoy results. We are harvesting Tromboncino squash [ like zucchini but tastier, chokos – in bulk now!, lettuce, endive, chilies, broccoli, kale [which is pretty well perennial here now and self-seeds well], silver-beet, bright-lights beets, beetroot, daikon radish, beans [including snake-beans/’yard-long beans’ which are giving a great harvest this year]

 

As the moon nears its smallest visible ‘dark of the moon’ phase, it is best to take a week off from planting or sowing seeds at this time as it is associated with spindly, weak growth.

For more information about moon planting, Organic Lesson gives a reasonably clear over-view. I like exploring such ideas for myself rather than just trusting and believing.

If you like experiments about when to plant for best results, check out the idea from a past month to 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.

At the minimum, these 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!