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!

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!

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!

Take a rest from sowing seeds this week

Until after the dark of the moon on Monday 27th February 2017.

This week, take a rest from sowing seeds – do other garden stuff instead.

Or

Down-under, enjoy holidays, beaches, etc.

Or, harvest the results of your efforts and store for future use – freeze, preserve, dry, make flavored oils, vinegar, jams, chutney etc

In the northern hemisphere, it’s time to plan to sow seeds big time for future planting out into the ground when it’s warmer.

 

Here are a few areas we turn our attention to:

  • Weather is warmer [hot? depending where you are], so check soil moisture. Simplest way is to poke a finger into the soil – is is dry or moist? Some areas will be drier than others in different parts of a garden.
  • Put out water in shallow dishes for birds – their pest management efforts will increase as a thank you. Summer is a time when fresh water may be harder for them to find otherwise. Keep the dishes clean and refill frequently.
  • Remove annuals which are past being useful [scrawny silver-beet, lettuces, other greens heading to seed and not needed as future seed stock] to plant another round of ???  maybe a green manure crop soon?
  • Read up on types of seeds to plant for success in summer/autumn – and what not to plant now as they will bolt from small seedling to seed production rather than the parts we like to eat.
  • Plan to create 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.

 

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.

 

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!

Grow great tomatoes – picked our first tomato in late Spring!

Grow great tomatoes – picked our first tomato in late Spring!

Here’s a story I think is like ‘Jack and the bean tomato stalk’: or also called an update in our experiment to grow great tomatoes.

So far:

In early spring this gardener’s family were looking wistfully at the tomatoes bought from shops – solid chunks of red which looked like a tomato but didn’t taste of much at all. So, I decided to aim high – for something better – quality, taste, and an abundant harvest.

I planted seeds early [over a heat pad so they were warm enough to decide to sprout – tomatoes are warmth-lovers]. I planted seeds from varieties which had grown well in past years.

And I also bought an early seedling cherry tomato from a garden shop – you know the ones – where the little seedlings are shivering in September cold winds? I know it’s too early and they struggle when they are cold but thought ‘we can only give it a go’ so home it came with us.

To sit on the back-patio pavers, in a nook protected from the cold winds blowing through, where the sunlight encouraged it to grow, and was surrounded by a clear plastic bag to make its own ‘mini-greenhouse’. It liked this place.

20161009_171710And grew, and grew, and out-grew its plastic hot-house – and its pot.

 

It was still very early, well before traditional time to plant tomatoes out into the garden.  So, we improvised. For the details of what we did, see post Joy in growing and eating early tomatoes

 

And, in the garden, it grew, and grew, and out-grew its plastic hot-house in the garden too. So, I slit the top of the plastic-bag and let the new shoots grow freely up, up and away. I made more holes in the bag for air flow.

20161022_112446

And still it grew, pushing new shoots outwards, trying to grow through the bag. So, next, I folded the bag down, rescued the shoots, encouraged them to go where I wanted rather than out onto the patio, over the parsley, the beans and anything else. Cherry toms growing well make a rampant, large vine! In fact, we have a hedge of tomatoes now.

 

20161126_164814

Traditional wisdom says to remove lateral shoots to increase air flow so disease pockets are minimized. I find this a challenge!

The little plant I nurtured lovingly is now growing wonderfully, happily and I like watching happy plants. How could I hurt it by taking parts of it away? I leave it to grow as it will.

I do keep a watchful eye on plants. If/when I see diseased leaves or stems I remove them. Removing sources of infection, reduces the spores floating around the plants. Diseased leaves with blight have black patches or streaks, so these are taken far from tomato plants pronto quick when I find them.

Yellowing leaves, mottled leaves, dead, black or oddly curling leaves, I remove.

I also remove leaves from the lower stems so there are none resting down onto the ground where they would be closest to disease spores.

Keeping a covering of clean newspaper and mulch over the ground which could have spores present, seems to have greatly reduced the potential for damage so far.

Having plants close to the back door and patio means I see them frequently, so it’s easy to care for these ones. The other plants are scattered around gardens further away and get far less attention. These others went in around late October and are growing much more slowly than the cherry varieties near the patio. Most are 20-30 cm tall at present, and just starting to flower.

The experiment to grow early, great tomatoes is so far, a resounding success, providing our first [red] tomato of the season in late November – woo hoo!

20161130_114200

 

I’ll do a review after harvests finish next autumn, so if you are interested, keep a look out, or join our mailing list to receive it to your inbox.

The technique we used this year has already given far better plant growth and harvest than last year’s efforts where we added compost and planted sort-of ‘normally’. We’ll certainly consider this for crops in future years.

 

Take a rest from sowing seeds this week

Take a rest from sowing seeds this week

Down-under, this week take a rest from sowing seeds – do other garden stuff instead.

Until after the dark of the moon on Tuesday 29th November 2016.

Here are a few areas we turn our attention to20141225_171548:

  • Weather is getting warmer, so check soil moisture. Simplest way is to poke a finger into the soil – is is dry or moist?
  • Put out water in shallow dishes for birds – their pest management efforts will increase as a thank you. Summer is a time when fresh water may be harder for them to find otherwise.
  • 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 plant another round of ??? maybe beans? or a lovely bed for chilies or capsicum or aubergine which like hot weather
  • Read up on types of seeds to plant for success in summer – and what not to plant now as they will bolt from small seedling to seed production rather than the parts we like to eat.
  • Plan to create 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.

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.

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!

 

Time for garden renovations!

Welcome to late winter here in NZ – a time for renovating our food gardens ready to plant new seedlings and seeds when the ground warms up a bit.

20160819_170931

Here is an experiment we are running to

  • increase fertility of the very poor soil in the garden beds we inherited with the house
  • provide a weed-free covering so weeds don’t take over the new seedlings

We cut off the big weeds at their bases and added them to the compost bin.

On top of the ground we added compost [from the compost bin – don’t you love cycles like this?!] 20160819_170807

Then covered the lot with newspaper – 2-3 sheets thick.

Then on top spread a thin layer of wood shavings.

On top of this went ‘Fodda’ organic fertilizer mix [rock dust, fish meal, seaweed meal, etc]  and ‘blood and bone’ around the plants we wanted to keep.

The small lettuces, silver-beet and last-seasons-chillies had been struggling amidst the weeds so we will see how they respond to this experiment.

Woo20160819_170952d shavings need nitrogen to decompose and, if not supplied, take it from the soil so plants haven’t enough from what’s left, and struggle.

Let’s see how adding nitrogen in different forms, along with the wood shavings works.

Next, we net the garden so the resident black-birds can’t follow along behind and create havoc as they love to do!

The net is pulled tight along the bottom so they can’t squeeze underneath. [It is pegged to posts with common clothes pegs]20160819_170847

For black-bird, the net only needs to be knee-high or so, as they invade from ground-level here.

For sparrows etc, the bed needs to be covered completely as they fly down and into it.

Each year we explore new ways and directions – isn’t food-gardening wonderful?!