Sow seeds of summer leafy greens the week after the new moon

Sow seeds of summer leafy greens the week after the new moon

We aren’t the only ones who eat parsley! Many of our plants are bolting to seed now so I collect the seed for next season when it’s cooler.

This is a better time for us to grow Amaranth, Magenta Spreen, Orach, NZ Spinach, Asian greens.

Sow seeds for leafy greens after the dark of the moon [17th January 2018]  – best days are Saturday 20th through to Monday 22nd January 2018 [here in New Zealand]. best chance for getting some leaves is by sowing this week. In hot weather they have a strong tendency to bolt straight from seedling to flower and set seeds. So if planted at other times of the moon cycle, this tendency can over-ride leaf production.

This is a challenging time to grow leafy greens!

If you do plant, go for heat-lovers and know that cool-loving lettuce, spinach, coriander [cilantro] take more care and attention at this time – can you give it to them now? Especially water!

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]. Automatic watering systems are wonderful now.

Leafy greens are best in semi-shade now. Strong sun and dry soil are catalysts for seed production – survival is the primary directive and seed protects the plant line through hard times for the leafy phase of the plant’s life.

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

If you do sow seeds, choose from

  • Parsley – these self-seed around the garden. I help them along by leaving some plants to flower and seed, them shaking seed heads around where I want more plants to grow.
  • Lettuce – maybe I’ll spread around seed-heads from a number of summer varieties in shade, so hopefully some will do well no matter what the weather does this year – hot/dry/wet.
  • Silver-beet [including rainbow chard/ bright light beets – the ones with vibrant colored stems – so stunning to see in a garden] These are self-seeding around the garden at present.
  • Rocket [Arugula] – maybe lucky to get some leaves before they bolt to seed – in which case, the seeds will be waiting there for cooler weather. Or check out the perennial version which is stronger tasting, and has finely divided leaves. It seems to survive the heat better.
  • 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 [use just the new leaves from the growing tips and cook in 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] .
  • 20160228_081413
  • 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.

Cilantro is one I usually only plant in cooler weather as it bolts to seed so quickly in the heat. If you plant some, maybe sow more seed over a few days?

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

Grow hot-climate greens instead now.

 

Best wishes and enjoy the warm weather and your garden!
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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Sow seeds of summer leafy greens next week

Sow seeds of summer leafy greens next week

 

 

Sow seeds for leafy greens next week – Tuesday 19th through to Thursday 21st December 2017 and then again from Sunday 24th through to the morning of Tuesday 26th [here in New Zealand].

This is a challenging time to grow leafy greens – through the festive season and summer!

If you do plant, go for heat-lovers and know that cool-loving lettuce, spinach, coriander [cilantro] take more care and attention at this time – can you give it to them now?

Leafy greens are best in semi-shade now as they bolt to seed in strong sun and dry soil. 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]. Automatic watering systems are wonderful now.

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

If you do sow seeds, choose from

  • Lettuce – maybe I’ll spread around seed-heads from a number of summer varieties so hopefully some will do well no matter what the weather does this year – hot/dry/wet. In shade!
  • Silver-beet [including rainbow chard/ bright light beets – the ones with vibrant colored stems – so stunning to see in a garden] These are self-seeding around the garden at present.
  • Rocket [Arugula] – maybe lucky to get some leaves before they bolt to seed – in which case, the seeds will be waiting there for cooler weather. Or check out the perennial version which is stronger tasting, and has finely divided leaves. It seems to survive the heat better.
  • 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.

 

Enjoy the festive season, the garden will be waiting for you later when there is time and you can enjoy it too.

 

Best wishes and enjoy the warm weather, the festive season and your garden!
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

 

 

 

Plant leafy greens now; and save some for seeds

Plant leafy greens now; and save some for seeds

Leafy greens grow best in cooler, moister conditions. Sometimes we are lucky about this time of year. We have lots of varieties to choose from so now is a time for quick-maturing ones and heat-resistant varieties too. Those planted now will mature in warmer weather to keep an eye on them.

Watch out for a short hot spell which sends them to seed. Get ready to harvest leaves [they keep in the fridge for some days].

If it gets warm, well, that’s great for other crops so when we lose the lettuces we gain great tomatoes, pumpkins and zucchinis etc. So, for me, its all in how I look at the situation. We also grow mizuna, magenta spreen and other greens to fill the gaps.

When the leafy greens do bolt to flower and seed, that’s a great time to save yourself some well-adapted seeds which can regrow next season.

Plants which have grown well, producing abundant leaves over a long time – your best performers – are prime ones to save seeds from. Choose which now.

 

Choose the best performers and give them a  stake for support. As well as supporting the tall growth, the stake helps us remember to keep that plant for seed [and tells enthusiastic helpers to leave it alone!]

 

Could little lettuces, parsley, endive or silver-beet plants really need a stake?

They shoot up and up and up – as tall as me. And then blow over in strong winds; onto any other plants nearby. Not so good. Strong stakes support them and give an attachment point to confine their expansive spreading ways!

 

20141225_171548
Red-stemmed silver-beet and parsley flowering and seeding – 1.5 m tall and still going up!

 

How do we choose which plants to allow to seed and which not?

Here are the factors we use for saving leafy greens seeds:

PS

If we left the first plants to shoot up and seed, we are selecting for a shorter season of the leaves we like – hmmm.

 

Each garden is a unique little environment of its own – no two are the same.

We can take useful guidance from other gardens, yet the only way to find what works for us is by trying it in our own garden.

This also means that plants which grow wonderfully in our garden are adapted to our garden. They won’t necessarily do well in other gardens with different soil type, winds, rainfall, aspect [there’s a huge difference between north-facing and south-facing slopes]

Saving your own high-quality seed gives you a huge advantage next season in the garden which grew the seed!

 

Consider the whole life-cycle when you are choosing which plants to let flower and seed. There’s more about what to look for in this post.

Saving seeds is a wonderful adventure where we can experiment – and you never know when you will get wonderful types just right for you and your garden.

 

For a note about cross-pollination, see this important information

Pollen of one variety can cross-pollinate other similar types so it’s well worth finding which you need to be careful with.

Have a great time saving your very own seeds. For more about saving leafy green seed, here’s the post again.

 

Now, other useful info for planting seeds to produce great crops:

Best phase of the moon for lush leafy greens is the week after the new moon on Friday 20th October 2017.

Best days are

  • Saturday October 21st,
  • Sunday 22nd, then again
  • Wednesday pm 25th October through until Friday 27th October 2017.

 

May you and your garden flourish!

 

It’s time to sow seeds of leafy greens this week

It’s time to sow seeds of leafy greens this week

Sow seeds for luscious, tender leafy greens this next week – and best days are Thursday 21st September 2017 to Monday  25th [here in New Zealand]

 

 

In Auckland the weather has been alternated between winter chills and winds off the Antarctic through to warm and wet weather out of the tropics.  Welcome to Spring!

Let’s hope for good germination!  I will sow seeds throughout the week of

  • Lettuce – I left many varieties to seed 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] we left to seed in the garden and they are sprouting up now
  • Rocket [Arugula] is tasty rather than bitter at this time. We plant 2 types – the large leaf annual and the stronger, smaller-leaf perennial rocket
  • Mustard greens, or the giant red mustard is pretty nice early in the season before the heat of summer adds too much pepper bite.
  • Asian greens [assorted] – here they grow well in the cooler months – they grow so fast! We have Mizuna self-seeding. We grow 2 types – an ordinary green one as well as the deep red one – stunning in the garden [for a short time]
  • Endive  We grow 2 types – a broader leaf variety and a lovely fine, frilly variety. They are lovely and tender in cooler months so we enjoy them now. Both grow more slowly than lettuce.

This is a great time to have leafy greens grow well – they love cooler, wetter times.

 

Later, when the weather warms up they bolt to seed fast and produce fewer leaves which easily go bitter.

Enjoy delightful salads with a range of leaf types in these Spring months.

Sow seeds of leafy greens this week

Sow seeds of leafy greens this week

Sow seeds for luscious, tender leafy greens this next week – Thursday pm 24th August 2017 to Monday  28th 2017 [here in New Zealand]

After the dark of the moon on Tuesday 22nd August 2017.

Spring is springing! A new energy of the cycle of growth is appearing for us down-under. Buds are form on deciduous plants and bursting into blossom or leaf. Joy oh joy.

The days are getting longer.

Yet the ground is still cold and wet, wet, wet here in Auckland. Seeds sown outside take a long time to sprout and grow.

To have a successful planting for a good harvest we need to give delicate, tender seedlings protection from:

  • the heaps of slugs and snails which miraculously appear now.  Keeping them away from delicious, tender new sprouting seedlings requires some effort.
  • strong cold winds
  • birds – especially black-birds which are nesting at present and determinedly scratch for worms scattering seeds and seedlings out of the soil in their efforts
  • any pets which can dig [or neighborhood cats]
  • possums and rats which can cause havoc if you have them around

 

What sort of  protection?

These are my favorites: Full plastic cover over hoops on raised beds.

plastic covers over raised beds with bird netting over the top to hod all in place in strong winds
plastic covers with bird netting over the top to hold all in place in strong winds
  • a protective surround. Cut down plastic bottles, one per seedling can work. I put a bird net over the lot as we have determined black-birds which up-root most such attempts.
  • a plastic bag cover over a frame with the plastic buried into the ground so there is no access [+ snail bait/deterrent for the determined ones].
  • a plastic tunnel cover [with covered ends too] +snail bait/deterrent
  • any other inventive physical barrier
Beans growing in winter under a plastic tunnel 20170529
A plastic tunnel – very useful at this time

This is a time when last year’s leafy greens suddenly bolt to seed, sending up tall spires of flowers. The leaves become bitter and less appealing.

 

What shall we sow?

  • Lettuce – I’ll sow a number of varieties under a plastic tunnel 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] In fact, they are popping up all over as I left last year’s seeding plants to share their seeds in the garden
  • Rocket [Arugula] 
  • Mustard greens, or the giant red mustard is pretty nice early in the season before the heat of summer adds too much pepper bite and it goes to seed rather than make tender leaves. It’s an eye-catcher in the garden.
  • Asian greens [assorted] – here they grow well in the cooler months – they grow so fast! Mizuna is a favorite for us.
  • Endive  We grow 2 types – a broader leaf variety and a lovely fine, frilly variety. They are lovely and tender in cooler months so we enjoy them now. Both grow more slowly than lettuce.

 

This is a great time to have leafy greens They love cooler, wetter times and can grow well.

 

Later, when the weather warms up they bolt to seed fast and produce fewer leaves which easily go bitter.

Enjoy delightful salads with a range of leaf types in these cooler, wetter months.

 

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.